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Exploring the cultures: European values in science and technology education in higher education
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Mathematics and Computer Science, Department of Information Technology. (Uppsala Computing Education Research Group, UpCERG)
2009 (English)In: Cultural Dynamics: Inheritance and Identity: Starting Activity, 2009Conference paper, Poster (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Universities are a part of the globalisation. They belong to the local community in which they are situated,at the same time as they are heavily influenced by the cultural and social background of teachers andstudents and as they carry a culture of their own. Each subject area in science and technology, such ascomputer science or biology, also brings its own sets of values and norms. What it means, for example “tobe a computer scientist” and “what computer science is” are thus evolving in the interplay between thesubject area, the university and its people, the local community and an internationalising world.It is hard to enter this culture for a student, who enters university to study science or technology. Maybethe difficulty is still larger for non-European students, who bring other norms and experiences than themajority culture. For example, Asian students tend, more than their European counterparts, to focus onrote learning. Although learning in this form often is highly sophisticated and successful, Europeanuniversities normally do not support these ways of learning. The Asian students frequently alsounderstand concepts, which are taken for granted in a European community (such as originality andintellectual property) in different ways. In science and technology, the students’ relationships to the roleof the literature and purpose of practical assignments often differ from that of the majority culture.In this context it becomes interesting to explore how the diversity in itself is understood by students andstaff. The issue of how the different subject areas stand out, which values, norms and cultures that theyinteract with and are constituted by becomes another important research question.The diverse environments that is constituted by science and technology education at the universities offerpossibilities for the researchers to explore the variation in the above mentioned factors, in a way thatwould not possible in a culturally homogenous environment.The rationale for studying such topics in this cultural environment is three-fold:1. The study opens for scrutinizing our own, European, values. By making our values explicit, wecan determine which of these values that we honour and find important. For example, originality,intellectual property and equality are important European values, while the unwillingness torespect rote learning is not. Thus, universities need to communicate with their students in order tomake our values visible and understandable. Further we need to accommodate those behavioursthat are not fundamental in a European perspective in the repertoires of the universities.2. The study also opens for integrating new practices into the universities, both as institutionallychanges and by acting in such a way that the universities profit from the diversity in theuniversities.3. Finally, this research program offers the kind of insights concerning our culture, which haspedagogical implications. It can ultimately help us in improving science and technologyeducation.The study will take its empirical basis in a qualitative exploration of the expressions of the experiences ofstudents and staff from different subject areas. The outcome of this study will be interpreted in culturaltheory and/or socio-cultural frameworks.My personal research interests lies in the interaction between the subject area (specifically computerscience) with the culture of which it is a part. The implications in science and technology education andits pedagogy are questions that I find particularly relevant and appealing to explore.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009.
National Category
Educational Sciences Computer and Information Science
Research subject
Computer Science with specialization in Computer Science Education Research
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-290392OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-290392DiVA: diva2:925108
Conference
Cultural Dynamics: Inheritance and Identity
Available from: 2016-04-29 Created: 2016-04-29 Last updated: 2016-05-03

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