By Patricia Verdugo Flores, Outreach Coordinator UPN03A
According to the Meaningful Theory of Learning, there is a relation between previous and new knowledge.
This relationship can be described as a process influenced by various factors, elements, and circumstances; from the environment created by the teacher to the experiences lived by the students.
In this sense, Colorado State University, through the Department of Biomedical Sciences, has provided the town communities of Todos Santos and Pescadero in B.C.S., an educational space of great value during the development of the Science Expo on Anatomy and Physiology, held last May.
The director of the CSU Todos Santos Center, Dr. Aines Castro Prieto and McKenzie Campbell responsible for outreach, extended an attentive invitation to Dr. Hedgart Ojeda Famanía, director of the National Pedagogical University Unit 03A (UPN03A), to participate in that event, so that the “first academic meeting between students from CSU and UPN03A” was organized.
Thus, students of Biomedical Sciences of CSU and Educational Psychology and Pedagogy of UPN03A, lived together for three days carrying out activities of scientific dissemination with a pedagogical approach, through the design and development of play strategies and didactic material, previously planned, organized, and translated by the students themselves.
The meeting opened with a general presentation on the conceptualization of education, the mission-vision of UPN03A; mention was also made on the humanist approach on which the Compulsory Education Model in Mexico is based, encompassing in the discourse the relevance to meet the psychopedagogical needs of the student, as a basis for lifelong learning. Later visits were made to the Basic Education Schools in Todos Santos to invite the students to the Science Expo, with some demonstrations.
The next two days, organized in pairs (one CSU student/ one UPN03A student) were received in each of the eight stations of the Science Expo, Blink and You Will Miss It, Blood Composition, Cardiac, Lungs Under Pressure, Move It, Snow White and the Seven Hormones, Spin to Win and Vision, to more than 800 visitors, among which were students, teachers, parents, and the general population, who were given accurate and detailed information of the functioning human body.
The academic activities carried out with students of basic education were related to the anatomy and physiology of organs, muscles, senses and reflexes, and were designed with specific materials including the lungs, diaphragm, structure of the ear, neurons symbolizing synapses, among others. They could also hear their blood flowing through their veins and understand how the heart pumps through the body. The study of the digestive system was approached through an experiential activity, where the students were participants in the tour of the organs that compose it, knowing how food is transformed to be absorbed by the cells.
Unlike other similar events, this occasion was distinguished by the collaborative work among CSU-UPN03A university students, who utilized this space of academic exchange as way to experience pedagogical theory in practice in addition to linking it with disciplinary knowledge of Biomedical Sciences.
“The activities of the second day were more educational as we further developed our knowledge and put into practice in collaboration with the activities that CSU colleagues planned. Although the day was not very relaxed, we had the opportunity to enjoy interacting with the children and youth of the villages, which was a great learning experience.”
2nd Semester Pedagogy UPN03A
“What gave me great satisfaction was seeing the emotional faces of children and young people listening to their heart; the experiment to see how the blood was transported to our whole body was great.”
6th Semester Pedagogy UPN03A
“The experience was very gratifying in the personal and academic spheres. I think that a determining factor in the development of the activities and why I think the experience was a success, is the attitude that CSU students showed from the outset, even though they faced a different culture and context, and even more to the fact of exposing and expressing themselves in a language that is not their native language, showed in every occasion an attitude of respect, collaboration, and much enthusiasm to learn and do well, this facilitated the integration with UPN03A team so that together from the outset, we could work collaboratively. From the beginning, a communication between the CSU-UPN teams was established without allowing the language to be a barrier. Academically, I consider that as a student establishing a practice with students who have different backgrounds and experiences, it is a great learning opportunity. The innovation and creativity in the activities that the students of CSU presented to the different attendees was a great sample of skills and knowledge; this was notable and stimulating so that the participants were engaged”.
3rd Semester Educational Psychology UPN03A
Undoubtedly, based initially on didactic interests, an academic, cultural, and human relationship has been established between the students of CSU and UPN03A, leaving aside the language differences.
It is indisputable and even inevitable to consider a new event like this, organized as a ‘gradual process of learning’ under the pedagogical principles of Educational Sciences, where various learning situations are developed to enhance (CSU-UPN03A) as well as the students of Basic Education of Todos Santos and Pescadero, to raise the quality of education.