LET´S GO THE UNIVERSITY LABORATORY: A SUCCESSFUL COLLABORATIVE EXPERIENCE
Recent surveys carried out by the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (FECYT) show that approximately 30% of the Spaniards are little or not interested in science. They argue as main reasons that “it awakens no interest” and “do not understand it”. This fact is also reflected in high school students. There is an alarming decline of student interest in science studies and, more specifically, in regard to Physical and Mathematical Sciences. It is clear that public institutions should try to change, as soon as possible, this trend. Otherwise, in the near future, we will lose capacity for innovation and research.
In order to encourage high school students to be interested in Physics and Optics, the Technological and Educational Innovation group “Teaching in Optics and Vision Sciences” (DOCIVIS) has been working closely with numerous secondary schools within the territory covered by the University of Alicante (UA) for four years. The collaboration is framed within the UA’s Research Networks which are directed to preparation sections to entrance University. The main objective is to promote the coordination and teamwork between teachers from different areas and/or educational levels. Main initiatives are the research on the design and planning of the teaching-learning proposals, the improvement of the adaptation of students to the University and a better conceptualization, understanding and characterization of the degrees.
One of the core activities in the teaching of Physics is to conduct laboratory experiments. However, few secondary centres perform this type of activity. Therefore, along last four years, we have received in our labs to 589 high school students and also, in the latest edition, students from 4th year of compulsory secondary education (ESO). Students have become the true protagonists of the learning process. It has gone from receiving in our facilities students from just 3 centres in the first year, to 14 centres in this one, so we think it is time to gather and reflect on all the work done. The obtained results have been very encouraging. The satisfaction degree between students, teachers from secondary schools and University faculty has been very high. A percentage greater than 95% of students and 100% of teachers encouraged us to continue making this type of activity.