¿Cómo aprenderán los científicos del futuro?

Recientemente me han invitado, en dos días consecutivos y en lugares diferentes de Europa, a hablar en reuniones relacionadas con la ciencia. En un caso se trataba de la inauguración oficial de una red de centros científicos en Viena, que enlaza actividades descentralizadas en una exposición interactiva que recorre Austria. El otro fue el Festival Científico de Génova (Italia), actividad reciente y lograda que comprende la celebración de exposiciones y la participación de conferenciantes muy destacados por toda esa antigua ciudad.

Lo que me impresionó en las dos ocasiones fue el intento constante y evidentemente logrado de llegar a los grupos destinatarios de los que dependerá el futuro de la ciencia y la tecnología. El primero es el de los adolescentes, que están profundamente interesados en todas las nuevas tecnologías y aparatos que los rodean. Han convertido dichas tecnologías en parte integrante de su vida, pero su relación con la ciencia ha seguido siendo distante. El otro auditorio se compone de niños más pequeños, cuya apertura y curiosidad innata no han sido sofocadas aún por la escolarización oficial.

El éxito de los centros y festivales científicos recién creados en Europa a la hora de llegar a posibles auditorios refleja su invención de una nueva forma de enseñanza y aprendizaje. Han logrado crear un ámbito docente en gran medida extraoficial, centrado principalmente en un aprendizaje de verdad interactivo. Al animar a los niños a que formulen preguntas que no caben en el sistema educativo oficial, se orienta al auditorio para que experimente el proceso de investigación... que con frecuencia comienza precisamente formulando el tipo adecuado de preguntas.

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