by Mats Lundström & Helen Hasslöf (Malmö University, Sweden)
Malmö University has collaborated with researchers from different fields during their teacher professional development courses. By bringing together researchers from science, science education and technology, the aim was to problematize teaching in an area such as nanotechnology, which is an example of a scientific area in development on the edge of science, with a constantly changing and developing knowledge base. In this way, the TPD team wanted to increase the possibility of understanding the integrated framework of SSIBL with a special focus on RRI.
The participants in the TPD were firstly exposed to a pro-nano perspective by listening to a podcast by Prof. Maria Strömme, who emphasized the many possibilities this technology may open in the future. This was followed by a lecture delivered by researcher Christina Isaxon from Lund University, concerning the risks of nanotechnology. Isaxon problematized the fact that almost all resources in the field are spent on developing new materials.
Nowadays, nanomaterials are found in a wide range of consumer products, and the market is expected to increase. Meantime, our knowledge of risk perception of nanomaterials is limited. A rough estimation about resources spent on research on nanomaterials and nanotechnology today, gives a distribution of 10% regarding safety issues of new nanomaterials, and 90% on innovation and development.
The participating teachers also attended a lecture by Sumitta Bhattacharyya, who presented the different aspects of making a new drug. As part of her lecture, she emphasized the long process from investigating molecules to the final drug. In addition to researchers from science and technology, we also had an invited lecture by Mats Lindahl, a science education researcher from Linneaus University. His lecture focused on teaching models and examples regarding SSIs.
Both the in-service and pre-service teachers joining the project appreciated the opportunities to meet and discuss science education from the different perspectives brought in by different researchers .
The lectures were examples of how to recognize responsible research and investigation and how scientists regard these areas. The evaluation from the teacher workshops shows that these lectures delivered by different researchers gave the teachers knowledge and perspectives they could use in their own lessons. Several of the participants in the workshops chose to work with issues connected to nanotechnology during their own PARRISE projects.