CoReflect: Digital support for Inquiry, Collaboration and Reflection on Socio-Scientific Debates

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CoReflect seeks to design interactive web-based science education resources, developed in collaboration with an international team of researchers and teachers, to introduce evidence-based learning using socio-scientific debates.

CoReflect is a three year research program (2008-2011), funded by the European Commission under the FP7 Science in Society program. The project brings together eight diverse and multi-disciplinary teams (Local Working Groups) involving university researchers, practising teachers, educational authorities and scientists from six European countries and one associated state.

Project members seek to promote evidence-based practice in science teaching and learning, by collaborating in the development, implementation, study and validation of seven project- and problem-based innovative inquiry digital learning environments on the web.

Each learning environment addresses a specific socio-scientific issue and seeks to support the development of students’ understanding of scientific practices (How Science Works), while motivating them to engage in learning about science in a meaningful way:

The learning environments hosted on the STOCHASMOS web-based teaching and learning platform combine data-rich scientific rigor with the flexibility and easy modifiability that is needed for widespread adoption and use.

A driving question guides students’ inquiry of the socio-scientific problem under investigation. Suggested activity sequences and teacher guides are developed by the Local Working Groups to accompany each web-based learning environment. The topics covered in the learning environments are:

  • Biotechnology-GMOs (Biology)
  • Global warming (Environmental Science)
  • Nicotine addiction (Biology)
  • Sustainability (Environmental Science)
  • Extraterrestrial life (Science, Astronomy)
  • Water pollution (Chemistry, Biology)
  • Fog control (Natural Sciences)


For full information. please visit http://www.coreflect.org/nqcontent.cfm?a_id=3899&tt=coreflect&lang=en

Each learning environment has been piloted in local classrooms by teachers and researchers. Following design-based research, data was collected during each pilot, based on which the Local Working Groups made revisions and re-enacted the learning environment. 

The main goal of CoReflect is to create Europe-wide empirical and research-validated learning environments that can support students’ development in scientific literacy.

Furthermore, the Local Working Groups work together to carry out each other’s learning environments in a different national and cultural context, with the goal of studying the transfer of best practices and the adaptation processes at play. Finally, each Local Working Group is also exploring its own research questions.

Basic information

Country: Cyprus, Germany, Greece, Israel, Netherlands, Sweden, United Kingdom, Other

Coordinator: Dr. Eleni A. Kyza, eleni.kyza (at) cut.ac.cy

Programme: FP7

Project Acronym:

Target groups: education authorities, policy makers, primary school students, researchers, secondary school students, teachers, trainee teachers, university students, university lecturers

Topic: Applied sciences, Biology, Biomedicine, Biotechnology, Chemistry, Earth science, Environmental sciences, Genetics, Materials science, Medical sciences, Meteorology, Physics, Technology, Education

Start year: 2008

End year: 2011

Url: http://www.coreflect.org

Contact person: Dr. Eleni A. Kyza, eleni.kyza (at) cut.ac.cy

The research of CoReflect aims to develop a mechanism for spreading the crucial attributes that make the design of interactive learning environments on socio-scientific topics and their classroom implementation effective. Solutions for overcoming systematic, cultural, organisational and language barriers that complicate the transfer of educational programs from one educational system to another have to be considered.

Little research has been conducted at the European or global level of the factors that may foster or hinder the adaptation of best practices from one context to another. The CoReflect project aims to address this and seeks to develop:

  • an empirically-tested, web-based library of interactive, inquiry environments, which can be modified at the teacher level. The development of these learning environments is guided by science education research findings and each team’s design-based research.
  • a model for interdisciplinary teams (Local Working Groups) working together to develop, implement, and validate innovative learning environments in science education that are research-based, scientifically sound, and take into account pedagogy as well as cultural, operational, and functional constraints.
  • collaboration between countries and contexts at the Local Working Group level. Each Local Working Group is paired with a collaborating Local Working Group from another country to work together to translate, implement and adapt each other’s learning environment. This helps to identify the factors that influence the transfer of successful innovative curricula from one context to another.

CoReflect also seeks to engage its partners in a series of research studies on specific aspects of the classroom implementation of web-based, inquiry-oriented science teaching and learning environments, such as the role of student reflection in facilitating inquiry processes and the importance of collaboration in investigating hypotheses using actual scientific data.

The CoReflect project members have developed seven web-based interactive inquiry Learning Environments and associated activities for students aged 8-18 years.

For each Learning Environment, the following are available:

  • The web-based learning environment, which includes the students’ learning environment and the teachers’ authoring environment.
  • A teacher’s guide in English and at least one other language, including a suggested activity sequence for each learning environment.


Each learning environment addresses a socio-scientific issue and seeks to support the development of students’ understanding of scientific practices (How Science Works), while motivating them to engage in learning about science in a meaningful way. A driving question guides students’ inquiry of the socio-scientific problems under investigation. For example:

  • “Would you allow the growing of genetically modified foods in your country?”
  • “Is global warming man-made or natural?”
  • “What measures should be taken to reduce greenhouse gases?” 


Each learning environment has been enacted and empirically validated with students by teachers in an authentic classroom environment.

The learning environments are hosted on the STOCHASMOS web-based teaching and learning platform. Once teachers are familiar with the platform they can modify and adapt existing learning environments and even develop new resources which they may choose to share with other teachers, building partnerships locally or internationally.

STOCHASMOS has a number of useful and exciting tools that may enhance teaching and learning and help motivate students, such as the data capture tool and camera to collect data, the chat tool and electronic post-it notes for communication between the teacher and students, and the glossary, hints and graph tools for preparing results. Students can debate issues or share ideas via the WorkSpace sharing area or forum pages. See more at http://www.coreflect.org/nqcontent.cfm?a_id=4460&tt=coreflect&lang=en

 

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