Presenting educational resources co-produced by teachers and researchers. New workshops starting in January!

On November 28th, 2012 the second edition of the Talentlab project was publicly presented at CSIC. This is a project supported by the Unit of Scientific Culture of the CSIC Delegation in Catalonia, and it is done in collaboration with la Mandarina de Newton. The Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology, FECYT, has also provided financial support.

The presentation of the second edition of TalentLab was open to all people interested in science. It took place at 5pm in the CSIC Delegation in Catalonia facilities (Egipcíaques, 15, Barcelona) and it showed the goals and results of the first edition of the project. Among them, the educational resources co-produced by participants. It also presented the new edition of TalentLab and their upcoming co-creation workshops. There also was an open round where researchers an secondary school teachers shared their experiences as active participants in the project.

Talentlab: past, present and future.

TalentLab is a co-creation project. It revolves around the organization and analysis of participatory workshops that put in contact different communities. These communities are mainly researchers in CSIC centers and secondary school Science Teachers. Together, they co-designed new educational and science communication materials for secondary school students, focusing on scientific topics.

Its first edition was launched in the 2011-2012 academic year. There were four workshops for teachers and researchers. Each one facilitated that their participants worked together to create new online educational resources, These resources were meant to be later shared and used by the broader educational community in Spain.

One of the results of those experiences are four educational resources that show great richness and variety of content and formats. They include:

The interest of all these resources lies in how they turn secondary school students into the protagonists of a research activity. This could promote their capabilities for research, creativity and reflection.

The second edition of Talentlab is now under preparation with upcoming new workshops open to teachers and researchers alike. They will start next January, 2013. This time, Talentlab will be focused on archeology, space sciences and marine sciences. It will try to exploit to its fullest the common thread connecting all them, namely, risk and technology. On the other hand, Talentlab has opened a new line of work that includes the participation of a wider audience with the aim of involving them in the design and subsequent creation of a scientific exhibition.

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TalentLab: Listening to the Earth - Session II

On February 15th we started the second session of the “Listening to the Earth” workshop, within the TalentLab project, with a visit to the centenary facilities of the Ebre Observatory (Observatori de l’Ebre de Roquetes). From the beginning the center was focused on the study of the relationships between the Sun and Earth, a pioneering research that, over time, has become increasingly important.

The visit focused on three main areas: the astronomical observatory, the meteorological station and the library. At the observatory we saw different telescopes used to observe the activity of the Sun and other less bright celestial bodies. At the weather station we saw different devices (traditional and modern) used to measure weather parameters. The Observatory owns a very homogeneous and stable data register (temperature, precipitation, humidity, etc.), which is highly relevant for climate studies. Finally, we accessed the library, specializing in Earth science, a pleasant place that over a century has accumulated more than one linear kilometer of publications. A centenary documentary essential for students of History of Science, where you can find technical books from the library of Narcís Monturiol.

After the visit, we went to a room to continue with the workshop in order to reach a specific proposal for an educational resource. We decided to join together in one group and to start working with our hands. But it took us a while: our engines were still cold!

Slowly, the first ideas arose: vegetation, facilities of the Observatory, videos, students, researchers, teachers, a wiki platform, a channel, weather stations, etc. From this point we began to mold the shape of the resource. It could be a wiki platform to work on the local climate combining the data collected with the observation of the vegetation. Students could try to find answers to the questions posed in a questionnaire and the results would be published on the platform with short videos easy to produce (MovieMaker). The idea is to offer an independent and interesting practice in itself, but could be complemented with a visit to the Ebro Observatory, thus adding value to the resource, comparing and discussing the data with professional researchers. The platform could also allow to compare data from different locations provided by different educational centers and, if done continuously, establish temporary records.

At this point, the proposal was contrasted with “future users”. They pointed the need for scheduled resources (files), that can be done in the classroom and in a cooperative way. Finally, the proposal was refined by introducing a wiki page for teachers and researchers where answer questions, include a protocol for making a rain gauge (if the school does not have one) and the possibility of comparing data between countries.

The group felt that the coordination between the Ebro Observatory and the CSIC Delegation is essential to go ahead with the project, both in preparing the contents and in managing the access to the wiki platform. The budget for this educational resource should not be too high. Finally, concluded that the title could be “My time and wether”. We could not ask for a more specific proposal.

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Laura Valls. Unitat de Cultura Científica Delegació del CSIC.
Irene Lapuente. La Mandarina de Newton S.L.

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