Research in science education

Main research fields:

  • scientific literacy (incl. biological literacy)
  • context based teaching and learning
  • science teachers' beliefs
  • design-based learning
  • 21st century skills
  • development and evaluation of relevant learning materials 
  • inquiry learning

Present projects:

  • HighFly (Highly Interactive Guidance Helpful For Leadership In Educationally Relevant Skills)
  • SciCar (Addressing Attractiveness of Science Career Awareness)
  • Evidence (Promoting students’ key competences for making evidence-based decisions on controversial socio-scientific issues).  

Past projects:

This project builds on literature research outcomes and proposes to study the impact of real life related, career focused stories (referred to as scenarios) as the introduction to the learning of science subjects by secondary school students (ages 13 to 15). Through such an innovative development, initiating motivational and meaningful context and inquiry-based science studies, the project researches the impact on learning and attitudinal gains, as well as students’ own ideas to enhance the relevance of science studies. The target is to increase students’ future preferences for choosing science studies and their desire to reflect on and pursue science-related careers. There has been a general educational trend towards context-based approaches and viewing science education as being education through the context of science. Context-based approaches and strategies that actively engage students in the learning process have been shown to result in improvement in students’ attitudes towards science, although the need for students to input their ideas and their indigenous knowledge should be taken into account. However, research has shown that middle grade students were not aware of career options, were not conversant with competences needed and few indicated knowing professionals actively working in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields. Yet in recruiting graduates, employers have indicated that a range of skills were important and that the most important skills were team working, sector-specific and communication skills. The intended project outcome is to raise youth awareness of the role of science and technology in society, an awareness of science and technology careers and orientation of students towards gaining positive views towards undertaking science careers. The project is planned as a longitudinal study over 3 years, involving multi-stakeholder co-operation between different stakeholders.

The PROFILES project promotes IBSE ( inquiry based science education) through raising the self-efficacy of science teachers and in so doing aiding a better understanding of the changing purpose of teaching science in schools and the value of stakeholder networking. The project innovation is in utilizing existing science teaching materials to support teachers through longitudional training programme reflecting stakeholder views and needs, while simultaneously promoting a reflective IBSE school-based, training related, intervention to promote learning through creative, scientific problem solving and socio-scientific decision making procedures. The measures of success are: a)determining the self efficacy of science teachers in teaching innovative science education approaches allowing student acquisition of life skill competencies b) in attitudes of students toward context lead, student centered learning. Dissemination approaches, reactions and reflections from a further key project target. PROFILES developes teachers on four fronts: teacher as a learner, as tecaher, as reflective practicioner and as leader.

THE AIM is to facilitate and implement an inquiry based approach in the teaching and learning of science across Europe foccussed through collaborative action between 60 partners from 11 countries on teacher education and support using treialled and tested materials. Inquiry teaching methodologies are encouraged to engage students in science by increasing their interest and by stimulating teacher motivation. The project is creating authentic learning environments and actions to bridge the gap between science education community, science teachers, students, parents, local industry. The main outcome is a large team of science teachers who are confident in their delivery of inquiry teaching. The further outcome is identification of suitable pre and in service models and dissemination of best practices across Europe.

Üksik puu

Conference “Natural scientists on sustainable development: what colour is the future?”

Kaart ja kompass

This autumn’s orienteering month introduces places related to the Faculty of Science and Technology

Pilt Tartu Ülikooli Physicumi fuajeest_Foto autor Andero Kalju

University of Tartu sets out to increase climate awareness