The 2nd course of Xplore Health entitled “Bringing biotechnology revolution into the classroom', was held at the Open Lab at the Barcelona Science Park on 7, 14 and 21 November. The course was aimed secondary school teachers in Catalonia and was organized by the Public Engagement Unit of the PCB with the support of the Amgen Foundation and the collaboration of the Caixa Foundation, the Department of Education of the Generalitat de Catalunya and the European School Net (EUN). On this occasion, the program was offered in parallel at the Domus Museum of La Coruña, and through the eTwinning virtual community –coordinated by the EUN– which brings together 175,000 teachers and 95,000 European schools.
The course was offered in parallel at the Domus Museum of La Coruña, and through the eTwinning community. © CdePaz.
A total of 125 teachers and high school teachers from across Europe participated in this initiative. The course was aimed to help teachers update and provide educational resources to bring biotechnology into the classroom with multimedia tools, games for discussion and experimental protocols offered by the European educational portal Xplore Health, a project developed by an international consortium led by the PCB, with the collaboration of the "la Caixa" and the Amgen Foundations, among others. As part of this course, the PCB has selected 30 "pilot schools" that, in addition to participating in all sessions of the course, will implement and evaluate classroom activities around biotechnologies -using the tools offered at Xplore Health and promoting at the same time Inquiry Based Science Education.
All participants enjoyed a very complete program with presentations by renowned experts such as Luis Ruiz, CEO of Janus Developments, located at the PCB; Ángel Carracedo, Professor of Legal Medicine and Director of the Genomic Medicine group at University of Santiago de Compostela; and Josep Santaló, Professor of Cell Biology at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, which stimulated a debate to reflect on the ethical, legal and social issues related to this topic.
The coordinator of Xplore Health, Rosina Malagrida –director of public engagement at the PCB– also presented proposals for enquiry-based classroom activities to work with the participative and multimedia tools offered by Xplore Health. The attendees had the opportunity to participate also in the research of a potential drug against atherosclerosis and to perform an experiment involving a bacterial transformation, led by Theresa Leon, a researcher at the University of Barcelona.
In the Barcelona sessions, the program included a workshop taught by representatives of CESIRE-CDEC from the Department of Education on how to develop classroom activities to promote Inquiry-Based Science Education and presentations by CosmoCaixa experts, who explained to attendees the offer available at the non-formal education museum around biotechnology.
Bringing biomedical research closer to the European education community
Xplore Health is an educational portal of European biomedical research that offers innovative multimedia contents and activities for young people through the Internet, schools and science museums. The program is designed for teachers and students, and structured around thematic modules areas related to current research. The site was created with the aim of expanding the range of dissemination provided by the Barcelona Science Park under its program 'Research in Society', which includes 120 activities aimed at 4,500 people per year.
The project is developed by a European consortium coordinated by the Barcelona Science Park, and also includes the Centre of the Cell, University of London and two European networks: the European School Net, which includes more than 30,000 schools in over 30 countries and the European Network of Science Centres and Museums (ECSITE), with more than 400 science museums. Xplore Health is funded by the European Commission through the 7th Framework Programme, and is endorsed by "la Caixa" and Amgen Foundations.