Established by UNESCO in 2001, World Science Day for Peace and Development is celebrated worldwide on 10 November each year. The Day is an occasion to recall UNESCO’s mandate and commitment to science. This annual event was instigated as follow-up to the World Conference on Science, organized jointly by UNESCO and the International Council on Science in Budapest (Hungary) in 1999.
The Day offers an opportunity to reaffirm each year our commitment to attaining the goals proclaimed in one of the twin documents adopted by the World Conference on Science: the Declaration on Science and the Use of Scientific Knowledge and to follow up the recommendations contained in the Conference’s Science Agenda: Framework for Action.
Ale Okada was invited to participate in the World Conference on Science 2013. She presented two European projects whose aim is to foster scientific cooperation between scientists, researchers, educators, learners and citizens through co-inquiry based learning.
The WeSPOT project (Working environments with social, personal and open technologies for inquiry based learning) started in October 2012, and is being led by Dr Ale Okada and Dr Alexander Mikroyannidis. It aims at propagating scientific inquiry as the approach for collaborative science learning and teaching in combination with today’s curricula and teaching practices. WeSPOT will support the meaningful contextualization of scientific concepts by relating them to personal curiosity, experiences, and reasoning.
The ENGAGE project (Equipping the Next Generation for Active Engagement in Science) is starting in January 2014, led by Dr. Ale Okada. Its aim is to help teachers develop the beliefs, knowledge and classroom practice for RRI (Responsible Research and Innovation) teaching. This requires adopting a more co-inquiry based methodology, which gives students opportunity for self-expression and responsibility for coming to informed decisions thorugh collaborative and open scientific research projects.
Both KMi Projects ( weSPOT and ENGAGE) highlight the rationale behind celebrating World Science Day each year, which is rooted in the need for a new social contract for science, one which acknowledges the importance of the role science, educators and scientists play in creating sustainable societies and which ensures that citizens (including all learners) are kept informed of developments in science and empowered to participate in science. Our case studies in the UK, Brazil, Portugal and Spain aim to build bridges between science and society through co-learning and co-inquiry by engaging intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations, scientific research institutions, professional associations, the media, science educators and schools (teachers and students).