Thank you very much. I would like to thanks scientix conference and european schoolnet for having me here. It has been a real pleasure for me to be able to know all the wonderfull projects that are promoting science education in europe and i hope i could get somoe insigths from your experience and to aply them in my conutry. Today i will shrotly talk about the inquiry science education project in Colombia calle pequeños cientificos (little scientist) and i will specifically talk about our partership with private companies and how this have been a succesfull link between schools, universities and industry.
Pequeños Científicos® (little scientist) , was born an initiative of several institutions in Colombia, including Los Andes university, and during more than 10 years has been promoting science and technology teaching an learning based on inquiry and design strategies (Equipo Pequeños Científicos, 2002). Colombia was motivated for initiatives like George Charpak in “ La main à la pâte ” program and hands on experiences in united states during the 1970s and 80s. in 1998 los andes university initiated a pilot project trainign teachers and implementing inquiry curriculums in the french school at bogota. From that pilot, the project became a program in 2000 and we have worked with a lot of schools and teaches since then. Altought we have grown since 2000. the program is still small. We don’t have a significant coverage of colombian teachers and because of that we can say that one of our priorities now is to expand the project and get a higher impact
Thinking in the talk we had before I must say that not only europe needs scientist but colombian and developing countries does too. Actuallly, science education and scientific literacy is really importan in countries like ours, not only because colombia produces less than 100 phD a year but also because we believe it is necessary to promote critical thinking and attitude, crucial competences for any XXI century citizen. This initiative focuses mainly on training and assistance to in-service teachers in primary and some times in secondary schools, in order to develop innovative teaching practices that promote ideas, skills and scientific attitudes. The main goal of professional development training is to promote a transformation in science teaching, involving strategies of guided inquiry in order to allow students to learn science in more effective scenarios and recreating learning environments that promote the development of scientific thinking and citizenship values.
In order to promote inquiry in Colombian schools, Pequeños Científicos has developed a framework oriented to guide professional development, and research activities in the program. We have a general framework that includes: An IBSE conceptual frame, developed by researchers from Colombia, Panamá and United States, which includes 4 inquiry domains (conceptual, epistemological, procedural and social) and the actions of teachers and students oriented to promote these domains. A knowledge frame, based on the types of scientific knowledge expected to be learned in a teaching-learning process (Shavelson et al., 2003). A professional development (PD) strategy, based on different papers and proposals, oriented mostly into pedagogical content knowledge PCK of science teachers (Magnusson et al. , 1999), in order to teach science by inquiry. A curriculum framework, in which different learning materials are included, oriented to teach main ideas of science, skills and concepts, aligned to international test like PISA and TIMMS
Pequeños cientificos is a network of universities, schools and teachers in all teh country, we have now 16 municipalities incluidin bogota, te biggest city in colombia. Working with los andes university there are 10 universities in different parts of colombia. Including public and private universities During these 10 years we have reached almost 2000 schools and we have had collaborations with the ministry of education, local goverments and specially private companies
Since the program does not have enough governmental support, funding and fundraising have been a problem since the beginning. The professional development scheme proposed by Pequeños Científicos implies a long-term training and follow-up, along with supplies of experimental materials and teacher guides. This kind of training demands economic resources that schools are incapable to provide. In order to get the funding necessary to cover the training, the program Pequeños Científicos has explored different sources of fundraising, including private corporations and some funding from research and consulting activities. However, the program has been funded primarily by private corporations, mainly non profit foundations related to companies Gas Natural and Siemens , but also other companies that have presence in the country. This joint effort between universities and the private productive sector, set in social responsibility activities (Corporative Social Responsibility CRS) has made of Pequeños Científicos a landmark project in Latin America. The two private corporations mentioned above- Gas Natural and Siemens- have been the most important collaborators for the program. Gas Natural has supported the program since 2002, making inquiry education its main project in education. Siemens Corporation got involved in the project since 2008 when the head of corporate social responsibility was looking for a partnership to promote company’s program Siemens Discovery Box. In this section, the two successful cases of Gas Natural and Siemens will be presented, showing the results and rationalities for each project. Finally the implications of corporate social responsibility in this kind of educational projects will be discussed. The Company Gas Natural has supported the program since 2002 and it could be said that Pequeños Científicos has grown alongside this company. In fact, many of the current processes of the program have developed from the experience and learning of this project. It is very important to recall that thanks to this project, Pequeños Científicos started special training oriented to trainers, in order to help teachers become leaders able to train other teachers. Since 2007, 79 teachers have been trained to become trainers thanks to the support of Gas Natural Company. Additionally, along with the work experience it was found that the sustainability of the project depended not only of teachers training but it was also influenced by institutional conditions. In this context, the company has donated resources to promote institutional consolidation in each school, accompanying school directors and communities in order to make the program part of the school dynamics and make it their own. Siemens stiftung was created in 2008 and includes activities based on social commitment, education and technology. Since the beginning, the company and its CSR department recognized the importance of working along with universities and research groups. In 2008, the Company contacted Pequeños Científicos in order to develop the project Siemens Discovery Box born in Germany. The main idea of this partnership was to adapt the project to the Latin-American context. Since that year, Siemens and Los Andes University have been partners in different activities, including: Development of curricular materials for elementary and high school teachers and students, designed to teach science ideas like electric circuits and human body systems with a pedagogical approach of inquiry and design. Professional development for in-service teachers, in order to learn about some science and technology ideas and to develop didactic aspects of inquiry based approaches Currently, with the support of Siemens Company, 155 teachers and 36 schools are trained and involved in the project.
This graph shows in some way the evolution of the program. We started really like a small project. And only after 2004, with the special collaboration of private foundations, we start to grow and to work with more teachers. Afeter 2004 many companies decide to invest resources from corporate social responsability into the program and thats the way the program could move from bogota to the other cities in Colombia.
As final remarks ui will like to discuss the rol of corporate social responsibility in pequeños cientificos program. As an educational program, Pequeños Científicos has grown thanks to corporate social responsibility in Colombia, since we have established partnerships with companies that are willing to promote inquiry learning and science education in the country. Nowadays, the relationship with these companies has changed from being just financial donors to being part of the program, participating actively in the professional development and consolidation activities. We are convinced that including corporate social responsibility in programs like Pequeños Científicos , is an important strategy to assure sustainability of these initiatives and to get companies to become more involved in the country. Table 1. summarizes the numbers of schools and students beneficiaries of corporate social responsibility (CSR) inversion on Pequeños Científicos program in Bogotá, since 2002 until 2010.
A Little History 1970´s Inquiry projects around the world 2000 1998 1996 2011 Expansion of Colombian project
Our Rationalities <ul><li>This initiative focuses mainly on training and assistance to in-service K-11 teachers. </li></ul><ul><li>The main goal is to promote better teacher practices in science education </li></ul><ul><li>Strategies of guided inquiry </li></ul><ul><li>Recreating learning environments that promote the development of scientific thinking and citizenship values . </li></ul>
Our Framework <ul><li>Learning assessment </li></ul><ul><li>Focused on formative and summative assessment tools and learning types </li></ul>Curriculum guidelines Based on guided inquiry, represented in IBSE guides for teachers covering different subjects <ul><li>Professional Development </li></ul><ul><li>Situated professional development, </li></ul><ul><li>Effective workshops </li></ul><ul><li>Developing pedagogical content knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>IBSE conceptual frame </li></ul><ul><li>Conceptual schemes </li></ul><ul><li>Process strategies </li></ul><ul><li>Epistemological frameworks </li></ul><ul><li>Social processes </li></ul>
We Are a Network… 16 Municipalities, including Bogotá 10 Colombian Universities Almost 2000 schools Local government, Ministry of education, private sector
Pequeños Científicos and industry Donations for: training, design of guides, materials, assistance in situ, institutional consolidation.
Our Partners in CSR <ul><li>Pequeños Científicos has grown thanks to C orporate S ocial R esponsibility in Colombia </li></ul><ul><li>Companies are willing to promote inquiry learning and science education in the country. </li></ul><ul><li>The relationship with these companies has changed from being just financial donors </li></ul>
<ul><li>Mauricio Duque, José Tiberio Hernández, Rocío Cardona, Adry Manrique, Claudia Vázquez, David Cardona, Diana Gutiérrez, Javier Sanabria, Margarita Gómez </li></ul>Thank you!