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Science education and learning at museums: study of methods and assessment tools

Grant number: 13/25238-0
Support type:Scholarships abroad - Research
Effective date (Start): August 11, 2014
Effective date (End): December 30, 2014
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Education - Educational Teaching and Learning
Principal researcher:Paulo Henrique Nico Monteiro
Grantee:Paulo Henrique Nico Monteiro
Host: Chantal Lise Barriault
Home Institution: Instituto Butantan. Secretaria da Saúde (São Paulo - Estado). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: Science North, Canada  

Abstract

Is currently consensus that knowledge on topics of natural science is not just part of schooling, but of the general education of the citizen and, because of that, there are many ways and places that purport to discuss scientific topics. Among these, there are the science museums and science Centres, occupying increasingly important spaces in society and geared, mostly, to the formulation of exhibitions and activities with clear educational concerns. Due to the specifics of the museum, the learning developed through the activities developed in these spaces must be understood from different reference from those used in the school environment, to the extent that they are different and distinct factors that interfere with this process, as well as the characteristics of the moment when they are developed. Aspects such as the relative brevity of the visit, time management, the centrality of the object in the pedagogical relationship and the possibility to choose what, how and when learn are fundamental to the understanding of how learning occurs in the museological spaces. As a result, there is a need for develop and apply specific learning assessment methods and tools for science museums and science centres, which must be distinguished from those used in the school environment, under the risk of the application of the models that do not take into account these specifics. In Brazil, the assessment researches at museums are mostly aimed at the characterization of the visitors (public research) and there are few experiences of assessment about the development of learning from exhibits, which it points to a shortage in the construction of knowledge about this issue in the country. This project aims to investigate the method and set of learning assessment tools that have been developed and applied systematically in a Science Centre in Canada (Science North) with respect to the assumptions, the effective management and development tools and the use of the information collected to evaluate and redesign the exhibitions. For that, is intended to accompany the work process related to the evaluation of learning in its various phases (collecting and analyzing data, planning meetings from the data, recast proposals of exhibitions) through an immersion in the daily work of the assessment staff of the Centre. Additionally, it is planned a series of interviews with the professionals responsible for the formulation and implementation of the proposal in order to understand some aspects related to the theoretical framework, about the use and management of the assessment tools set, and also related to the accuracy of the information for the improvement of the exhibitions. As a result of this investigation we intend to propose elements in order to subsidize the development of a learning assessment program appropriate to the Brazilian museums' reality, and specifically to Butantan Institute museums, that takes into account their characteristics and current contexts. (AU)

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