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Newsletter – October 2014

Video clips of scientists can engage students. Find out why and how to make the best use of videos in the classroom.

Bringing scientists into the classroom

Georgina Mackie

Research suggests there is value in involving scientists in classrooms as a way to engage students. Volunteers like Futureintech Ambassadors are an ideal way to organise such visits. Another approach – using the videos on the Biotechnology Learning Hub – allows for short, sharp and regular involvement.

Local relevance

The videos link New Zealand research to New Zealand issues. For example, primary industries are important export earners for our country. When viewing videos, students are able to see how scientists meet some of the technological challenges associated with primary industry – whether it involves dairy products, shellfish or fruit.

Encouraging a passion for science and technology

Tracking pea crab larvae

When students learn about the actual characteristics of scientists and how they work and solve problems collaboratively, they come to appreciate that scientists are people like them. Students are influenced by the scientists’ passion for science and technology, which encourages students to make links with possible future careers. For instance, school students might see themselves as a marine scientist, an award-winning cheesemaker or a consumer and sensory scientist.

Scientists as alternative and authentic authorities

Bringing a scientist into the classroom provides an alternative and authentic source of authority. With sensitive and ethical issues in particular, a video allows teachers to withhold their own opinions and focus on engaging students in discussions. Pertinent examples of these are when discussing xenotransplantation or transgenic research.

Find out more

A research brief published on the Science Learning Hub in 2013 reports on how teachers have used short video clips of scientists in their classrooms and the educational impact of the videos.

Contact us

We’d like to hear from you if you’re using Hub resources in the classroom. Please email enquiries@biotechlearn.org.nz, and we’ll be in touch.

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Best wishes
The Biotechnology Learning Hub team


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