TLTLab Collaborates with a Brazilian Public Education System to Revamp Science Education
Sobral, Brazil. Science education has been undergoing important transformations around the world, moving from content transmission models to the integration of scientific practices such as asking questions, analyzing data and building models. Since 2017 a team of researchers from TLTLab are working with educators from Sobral to develop a science education program based on this conception of learning.
Over the past three years researchers and educators have been working on the design of a new science curriculum for primary and middle schools in Sobral. The researchers from TLTLab conducted a comparative analysis of international documents such as NGSS, British Columbia and the Australian curriculums. As part of their activities, educators identified the main common components of these documents, such as science practices and technology and engineering integration in the light of the Brazilian science standards (Base Nacional Comum Curricular).
Recent research has highlighted the importance of involving teachers in the design of educational policies and learning materials that will be used in classrooms. Thus, in this project, we included, as part of the curriculum redesign strategy, a teaching component that works as a laboratory for applying the theoretical aspects of modern science teaching. As part of this strategy, a group of educators, supported by the TLTLab team, redesigned and implemented investigative science classes, in which students were encouraged to create and test their hypotheses to discover or explain phenomena studied during the classes. As the teachers studied and implemented new approaches for teaching, it was possible to test parts of the curriculum under construction. This approach allowed the elaboration of a modern and innovative document, at the same time realistic and feasible for the context of Sobral.
At the same time it needs to adapt to the learning spaces so that they offer students the opportunity to experiment, investigate and create, uniting areas such as science, engineering, digital fabrication and computing.
Thus, pilot learning laboratories in Sobral are being implemented, designed to provide teachers with the necessary resources to implement their curricular units, meeting the learning goals that are based on modern science teaching principles.
Building on the experience of the Transformative Learning Technologies Lab (TLTL) in implementing the FabLearn network of schools in several countries, including the United States, Australia, Thailand, Spain, Finland and Denmark (see Figure 1 ), these innovative spaces have areas dedicated to science, digital manufacturing, electronics, carpentry and sewing, among others.
Unlike traditional science labs, where students are generally instructed to follow a predefined script of observations or watch demonstrations of scientific principles,
Other FabLearn laboratories consider that equipment is an important resource for modern science education and technology, however, the most important asset so its implementation is integrated with the training of laboratory teachers and the teaching strategy that the learning maker encourages, stimulates the exploration and the creation of multiple solutions to explain a phenomenon or solve a problem. Through training for careful lesson planning, integrated into the formal curriculum and collaboration between laboratory and discipline teachers, students are encouraged to use the tools to express their ideas concretely and to build new knowledge.
Fuhrmann, T., Fernandez, C., Hochgreb-Haegele, T., & Blikstein, P. (2018). Professional Development of Science Teachers in Underserved Communities: An Initial Report From the Field. Proceedings of the 13th International Conference of the Learning Sciences (ICLS 2017), London, England.