Presentation on theme: "An educational innovative pilot project on Portuguese professional schools: ‘Multimedia Didactic Material on Plant Genetics and Biotechnology’ Lima*, M."— Presentation transcript:
An educational innovative pilot project on Portuguese professional schools: ‘Multimedia Didactic Material on Plant Genetics and Biotechnology’ Lima*, M. Alexandra; Abreu**, M. Filipa and Silva**, Márcio ; *Departamento Protecção de Plantas/ Estação Agronómica Nacional INIA, 2784-505 Oeiras, Portugal ; **Instituto Virtual/ISQ 2781-951 Oeiras, Portugal (firstname.lastname@example.org) ; (MFAbreu@isq.pt) REFERENCES Simmoneaux, L. (2000). A study of pupils’ conceptions and reasoning in connection with ‘microbes’, as a contribution to research in biotechnology education. ? Int. J. Sci. Educ. 22(6): 619-644. Simmoneaux, L. (2001). Role-play or debate to promote students’ argumentation and justification on an issue in animal transgenesis. Int. J. Sci. Educ. 23(9): 903-927. FINDINGS Pre-test results reflected that students’ scientific awareness was incomplete, with some ideas correct, others quite wrong. Our interest was on main ideas and understanding held by these students, rather than on frequency of scientifically full correct answers. From pre-test total set of 10 questions analysed, a brief discussion implied that only the following group of 6 questions were selected (according to their focus -A to D) to be described: A- with focus on students’ awareness about scope and importance of genetics for agriculture were investigated questions: 1.1.‘What does genetics studies?’, and 1.2. ‘Which importance has genetics for agriculture?’ Relevant data: Genetics- from responding students around 60 per cent indicated ‘genes’, and usage of other correct terms (and implicit ideas) are on Table I; Genetics importance for Agriculture- two thirds (66,5 per cent) of responding students stated correctly its’ role in Plant Breeding/Improvement, and were aware of other features involved such as: Yield, Disease Resistance, Stress tolerance (see Table II). B- with focus on students’ awareness about scientific terms, such as ‘genome’ and ‘transgenics’, were studied questions: 2.1.‘What means genome?, and 3.2. ‘Explain by your own words what does ‘transgenics’ means?’ Relevant data: Genome- almost six out of ten (59 per cent) responding students connected correctly ‘genome’ with an idea of a ‘total set’ of genes or of DNA (see Table III);Transgenics- again, almost six out of ten (59 per cent) responding students associated ‘transgenics’ with genetically altered/transformed living cells/beings, and curiously around 8,3 per cent used the designation «Made in laboratory» (see Table IV). C- with focus on students’ source of information about genetics and biotechnology, among various Media channels, was investigated question 4.1. Relevant data: Main sources are Television (TV), in agreement with results obtained by Simmoneaux(2000), and Internet (WWW); being Radio a insignificant source (Graphic 1). D- with focus on students’ motivation\interest level on genetics and biotechnology, was performed question 4.2 Relevant data: Majority among responding students expressed medium interest followed by some very interested, being those with few interest only 13 per cent of them (see Graphic 2). Graphic 2- Level of Interest declared on responses to question 4.2., by the set of students (total of 189 students) INTRODUCTION AND AIMS The Portuguese identified educational situation of an absence or inadequacy of pedagogic contents concerning plant genetics and biotechnology topics, has challenged us and teachers from schools to engage on this Pilot Project, included on the specific «Aid Programme for Research Projects on Educative Domain’ 2001» from the Educational and Grants Section of Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian (Lisbon). The project aims are, succintly: 1)identify and surpass difficulties that students meet while attempting to comprehend issues of biotechnology; 2) development of new teaching materials on these issues, covering areas of knowlegde application on various activities sectors (eg.: agri-food, environment, health, raw-material industries). Outcomes may be expected to occur at both instructional and citizenship levels. Figure 1-Location of Portuguese schools of this project. Green- five enrolled schools Red- five collaborative schools FINAL CONSIDERATIONS In agreement with Simmoneaux (2001) statements «Biotechnology is not a scientific discipline as such but a combination of several sciences and techniques. (…) Biotechnology applications raise questions in several areas, including ethics, sociology, economy, ecology, regulation and politics.»; we consider very important and useful, all actions and measures, even small ones, aimed to guide and help students to comprehend basic information that could, in future, enable and facilitate them to perform thoughtful decision-making processes, for a full citizenship. METHOD Project team includes five Portuguese secondary professional schools (mainly agricultural and rural development ones), located all over the country and covering a range of rural, suburban and urban areas (Figure 1). These are called ‘enrolled schools’ (ES- green spots, figure 1). Other five secondary professional schools (with similar curricula) that agreed to collaborate as a ‘control group’, whenever necessary during the pilot project, are designated as ‘collaborative schools’ (CS- red spots, figure 1). Teachers were asked to select a class within each school, and a total of 189 students (adolescents) are engaged on this pilot project, being 94 from ‘enrolled schools’ and 95 from ‘collaborative schools’. The Pre-test was performed (May 2002) in order to study the students initial conceptions. It was designed with contributions given by some teachers This pre-test has 4 groups of questions. (shortened version -questions 2.2.; 2.3., 3.3. Here omitted) (1) The 20th century has seen great advancements of Science and Technology, mainly on Life sciences and technologies, or biotechnologies, that are in accelerated development. The advancements were particularly important on Genetics field. 1.1. What does genetics studies? 1.2. Which importance has genetics for agriculture? (2) The awaited novelty arrived on February 2001: the great book of life, the human genome, had been completely decoded, (…) 2.1. What means genome? (3) Genetic engineering has been showing to be so extraordinary, that their applications don’t stop growing. (…) 3.1. What means Genetic engineering? 3.2. Explain by your own words what does ‘transgenics’ means? (4) Some events of Science and Technology from 20th century were spectacular (…) nowadays we receive, through diverse communication channels, images of (…) and of many other adventures of Humankind. 4.1. Among the various communication channels (Internet, Television, Radio, Written press – newspapers, magazines) of your access, which of them has made you more information available about genetics and biotechnology themes? 4.2. Are these themes of your interest? (underline your option): -Very much; -Reasonably; -Few Project activities will be focused on these educational content sections:1. ABC of genetics; 2. ABC of genetic transformation and plant biotechnology; 3. Plant protection; 4. New products and substances; 5. Phytorremediation; 6. Quality of plant; 7. Law and regulatory aspects, 8. Intellectual property rights and patents. Within each section a set of different activities are being scheduled both inside and outside school (eg.: guided-tours; web-portfolios and a ‘opinion gallery’ for the project web page) Web project page (under construction at: http:\\www.institutovirtual.pt/edu-agri-biotec). Acknowledgements Authors wish to express their acknowledgements to all the schools communities that have accepted our invitation to participate on this pilot project, and that are performing crucial tasks with their students. Our Acknowledgements are also extended to all other project colleagues and technicians working on our Cd rom and Web project page (under construction). Finally, but equally important, are our acknowledgements to Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, by their financial support to the project, and by trusting in us to perform this challenging project. Graphic 1- Distribution of responses concerning ‘source of information’ given in question 4.1., by the set of students (Note: these responses are not mutually exclusive) (total of 189 students) Financed by
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