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The project KiP - Kids Participation in Science

Learning about the Nature of Science in Student-Scientist-Partnerships: The approach in the project KiP

The development of a model for student-scientist-partnerships in KiP

In many developed countries, science systems seek solutions to encounter the problems of traditional science curricula (e.g. lack of engagement by students, poor image of science). Inquiry learning at authentic study sites is a promising approach to address this issue. In the research and development project “Kids Participation in Research” (KiP; AECC Biology), life scientists from various fields (e.g. neurobiology, palynology, marine biology) invite school classes to their research facilities to work collaboratively on their current research topics.

So far 14 such cooperation took place in KiP and about 250 students worked together with 5 scientists and 14 teachers.

In KiP, a theory-& evidence-based model for student-scientist-partnerships was developed. It is designed to improve the learning processes of students (and their teachers) in terms of their knowledge about the NoS and their scientific literacy. A deeper understanding of how knowledge is gained in the natural sciences is considered to be an important prerequisite for participating in today’s decision-making society, which is founded on scientific information. KiP places an emphasis on the development of the scientific and epistemological discourse of students: understanding science and scientific argumentation are key issues here.

The model in KiP relies on three main features: authenticity, inquiry learning and cooperation “on equal terms”. The students work together with real scientists, in their authentic laboratories. Students get the chance to carry out their own research questions in the research fields of the scientists while being mentored by the scientists. Teachers and educational researchers moderate these cooperation so that students are able to negotiate their understanding of scientific issues with the scientists’ views, on equal terms.

KiP is a participatory research and development project: All stakeholders (teachers, students and life scientists) are invited by the educational researchers of the AECC Biology to develop knowledge about these special learning environments they are part of (e.g. The teachers in KiP follow their own action research questions. They investigate specific aspects of their role in KiP from a teacher’s view).

KiP implementation

A working model developed and tested in the pilot project KiP (“KiP-Pilot” aeccbio.univie.ac.at) from 2008-2010 is the basis for the cooperative effort between students, teachers and scientists. The second and third project phase (KiP2 and KiP3: 2010-2014) is designed to implement the adapted model in the educational landscape. Here, KiP links up with two pedagogic universities (Baden, Krems) and the biology teacher curriculum at the University of Vienna: At these institutions, a project-based practical course for Authentic Inquiry Learning is being developed. Experienced teachers and scientists from KiP-Pilot, students and schoolchildren are the active participants, reflecting their experiences and the developing of class curriculum for authentic science learning. The dissemination of this form of Inquiry Learning is being supported by European and regional networks (EU-project PROFILES, Austrian network IMST – www.imst.ac.at).

Funding

KiP is being funded by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science and Research as part of the program “Sparkling Science” (www.sparklingscience.at). This program is designed to sustainably improve the interface between the school system and universities in Austria.

Literature

Papers (peer reviewed)

Bardy-Durchhalter, M., & Radits, F. (2010). Wissenschaftsverständnis von SchülerInnen - Exploration sozialkonstruierter Bilder über die Naturwissenschaft Biologie. In D. Krüger, A. Upmeier zu Belzen & S. Nitz (Eds.), Erkenntnisweg Biologiedidaktik 9 (pp. 39-54).

Heidinger, C., & Radits, F. (in print). Authentic Inquiry Learning: Students and Scientists “On Equal Terms”. In C. Bruguriere & et al. (Eds.), E-BOOK: Proceedings of the ESERA 2011 Conference (pp. 7). Lyon.

Radits, F., Heidinger, Ch (2010). Professionalisierung von BiologielehrerInnen durch systematische Reflexion in Forschungs-Bildungs-Kooperationen In: Janík,T./Knecht, P.: Neue Wege in der Professionalisierung von Lehrer/-inne/-n. Austria: Forschung und Wissenschaft - Erziehungswissenschaft Bd. 7. LIT Verlag, Wien-Münster.

Reports (not published)

AECC-Biologie. (2011). KiP2: Kids Participation in Research. Forschen und Lernen in biologischen Forschungsprojekten (Zwischenverwendungsnachweis des AECC-BIO). Wien.

Radits, F., Bardy-Durchhalter, M., Heidinger, C., Rauch, F., Strametz, B., Amon, H., et al. (2010). KiP: Kids Participation in Educational Research. Forschendes Lernen in biowissenschaftlichen Projekten – Ein fachdidaktisches Forschungs- und Entwicklungsprojekt (Abschlussbericht des AECC-Biologie für Sparkling Science). Wien: unveröff. Bericht.

Report-extracts (not published)

Heidinger, C. (2011). Aktueller Stand der Modellentwicklung für "authentisches Inquiry Learning" in KiP2. In AECCBiologie (Ed.), KiP2: Kids Participation in Research. Forschen und Lernen in biologischen Forschungsprojekten (Zwischenverwendungsnachweis des AECC-BIO) (pp. 6-16). Wien (Unveröff. Zwischenbericht).

Heidinger, C., & Radits, F. (2010). Die Spinne im Labor kennt keine echten Bäume! Evaluation der authentischen Lernumgebung für Inquiry Learning in KiP. In F. Radits & et al. (Eds.), KiP: Kids Participation in Educational Research. Forschendes Lernen in biowissenschaftlichen Projekten (pp. 26-44). Wien: unveröff. Bericht

Höll, M. (2010). Die Lernumgebung im NEURO-KiP aus Sicht der SchülerInnen. In F. Radits & et al. (Eds.), KiP: Kids Participation in Educational Research. Forschendes Lernen in biowissenschaftlichen Projekten (pp. 45-55). Wien:unveröff. Bericht.

Strametz, B., Pangl, A., & Heidinger, C. (2010). "SchülerInnen als Top-Forscher - Eine Utopie?" Reflexionen über SEAKiP aus vier Perspektiven. In F. Radits & et al. (Eds.), KiP: Kids Participation in Educational Research. Forschendes Lernen in biowissenschaftlichen Projekten (pp. 56-62). Wien: unveröff. Bericht.  

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