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Real and Virtual Biological Science Living Laboratory for Science Teachers' formation: promoting global scientific literacy and critical thinking for sustainable development

8 pagesPublished: February 12, 2020


Global attempts to renew scientific education aim to stop the decline of young people's interest in science and technology, and to promote the development of citizens' scientific literacy for sustainable development. Among other changes, these aims require the adaptation of K12 Biological Science Teacher’s training to meet the new objectives.
Scientific literacy involves knowing science and how knowledge is developed and validated, recognizing the interactions between science, technology and society, that is, the nature of science (NoS; a set of meta-scientific contents that encompass historical, epistemological and sociological aspects of science with great value for scientific education). It also involves grasping of cognitive skills underlying critical thinking (CT; a set of cognitive abilities, including self-regulation and metacognitive processes) and creative problem solving. Therefore, scientific literacy contributes to making informed decisions, facilitating the participation of citizens in situations and dilemmas of scientific tenor.
In addition, CT is closely related to the performance of educators in their professional work. Particularly, in the teaching of science, CT skills favour and enhance the learning of concepts and theories linked not only to science but also to the NoS.
Considering the current conditions of middle-higher K12 Biological Science Teachers’ formation and classrooms´ limitations in our country and the region, we propose a pilot project aiming to promote the transformation of initial teachers´ training, seeking to improve the development of CT skills and to deepen NoS comprehension. It will involve the immersion of K12 Biological Science Teacher students in Biological Science Living Physical and "mirror" Virtual Reality Laboratories. These laboratories will be equipped with "do it yourself" (DIY), "do it with others" (DIWO) and "bring your own device" (BYOD) technologies for the implementation of research-type activities framed in the philosophy of the "fabrication laboratories". The virtual platform will also comprise a library with didactic resources under permissive licenses to ensure a broader impact.
Within these environments, K12 Biological Science Teacher students will engage in the creation of didactic units involving problem solving and knowledge building in parallel to deeper understanding of scientific processes. We also hope to promote the creativity and innovation of the participants, and the appropriation of DIY/DIWO/BYOD and virtual reality technologies as educational resources in the classroom and everyday life.
Thanks to the virtual environment, this approach would also allow to reach both National and International K12 Biological Science Teacher students and graduate Biological Science Teachers. Considering the universal access to the Internet and free access to educational platforms in several countries, we also hope to impact on the non-formal and informal Biological Science education and contribute to achieving quality education for all (Objective # 4 of the Agenda for Sustainable Development 2030, UNESCO) beyond geographical and cultural barriers.
This pilot project will be implemented by an interinstitutional, multidisciplinary and international team. It will capitalize on confluent groups´ previous experience and complementary strengths in Science didactics (particularly biology), engineering, arts, virtual reality, fabrication, as well as open hardware and open software culture.
The experimental approach corresponds to a quasi-experimental pre-test/post-test design with control groups, and formative and summative evaluation.
As a result of the implementation of this educational innovation we expect to contribute to the improvement of Biological Science Teachers students´ CT skills and promote their active involvement in practical activities that should enhance their professional activity.

Keyphrases: BYOD, critical thinking, DIWO, DIY, Virtual Reality

In: Claudia Urrea (editor). Proceedings of the MIT LINC 2019 Conference, vol 3, pages 27--34

BibTeX entry
  author    = {Maria Castello and Virginia Pellegrino and Daniel Argente and Jos\textbackslash{}'e Gomez-Marquez and Urs Gaudenz and Gregory Randall and Ana Carolina Pereira and Sandra Alonso and Javier Calvelo and Anna Young and Fernando Nicol\textbackslash{}'as Acosta and Nikolas Albarran and Marcos I. Gimenez and Pablo M. Sedraschi and Marcos D. Umpi\textbackslash{}'errez and Martin Figares and Maria I. Rehermann de Sagastizabal and Milka D. Radmilovich},
  title     = {Real and Virtual Biological Science Living Laboratory for Science Teachers' formation: promoting global scientific literacy and critical thinking for sustainable development},
  booktitle = {Proceedings of the MIT LINC 2019 Conference},
  editor    = {Claudia Urrea},
  series    = {EPiC Series in Education Science},
  volume    = {3},
  pages     = {27--34},
  year      = {2020},
  publisher = {EasyChair},
  bibsource = {EasyChair,},
  issn      = {2516-2306},
  url       = {},
  doi       = {10.29007/72c2}}
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