Association for Technical Culture of Slovenia (ZOTKS)

Research Activities

Aims

Popularization and development of technical culture, education and transfer of knowledge,  stimulation – especially young people – to innovativeness, creativeness and research, to effective use of energy, environmental issues.

Argument for inclusion

Outstandingcapacities, technical and science loving activities performed through the whole country, using scientific methods, together with youth research and competitions. Well rooted within the school system.

Potholing - Geological Camp Research
  
Geological Camp Research

Relevant information in short

Main Research Partners

Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Faculty of Education MB and LJ, Faculty of Computer and Information Science LJ,  Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology LJ

Educational partners

Slovenian primary and secondary schools

Other partners

University of Ljubljana, University of Maribor

Age classes

Years  6 -15, 16-19

Thematic orientation

Sciences: physics, biology, chemistry, mathematics, computer and information sciences, geography, history, language, also farming

Main Focus

Techniques (radio broadcasting, models in avionics, boats – motor and sail, etc.) and sciences (research summer camps, competitions with research works)

Duration of activity

Each year: school year activities including holidays; 60 years (celebrated in 2006)

Resources

National funding (Ministry of Education and Sport, Ministry of Higher Education, Scienceand Technology), Competing at national and local calls for applications

Website

http://www.zotks.si/

Contact person

Brane Sotošek, brane.sotosek@guest.arnes.sl

Context and conditions

REC started as an Association for technical education of youth. The partners` roles are to enable help from experts, to assure space for an activity or finance. REC is organized also as a network over Slovenia with a long tradition.

Activities and Contents

The activity of ZOTKS is focusing on areas and implementations of actions and programs which are in the public interest.

They include activities of clubs of young technicians, model-construction interest groups and school cooperatives, agricultural and technical activities, research project camps, summer schools and workshops, competitions testing young people's knowledge in a number of areas of technical, natural and other sciences, as well as other specific interest activities.

With its sections and commissions the Movement Science to Youth has been long implementing the programs, which focus on systematic introduction of scientific and research work primarily to secondary school students. Each year over 20.000 young people are involved in various forms and types of activities at all levels.

With its Commissions for technical education, logic, computer education, work training, model construction and agriculture, the Council for Polytechnic and Work Training and Education develops and implements a number of activities, which include primary and secondary school students. Each year over 30.000 students are involved in such activities at all levels.

Special attention has been given to computer and information technology education. In various workshops organized with other institutions and faculties, ZOTKS introduces the fundamentals of information society and the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) to youth making these technologies accessible to anyone. The basic goal of these workshops is to show the importance of the use of ICT in all disciplines. The participants learn about the possibilities that ICT offers in everyday life, obtain a systematic overview of the ICT fields, especially in the education environment, find out about ITC services as well as gaining knowledge about web site design, general internet use, use of videoconferencing etc.

Prospecting for grasshoppers at Volovja reber, Research Biology Camp Brkini 2007

Prospecting for grasshoppers at Volovja reber

Prospecting for grasshoppers at Volovja reber, Research Biology Camp Brkini 2007

Research Biology Camp Brkini 2007

50th State Competition in ploughing: The area 

50th State Competition in ploughing: The area    History of farming research: 105 years old machine backing straw cutter

History of farming research: 105 years old machine backing straw cutter

Methodologies

Interdisciplinary, researchers from research institutions introduce students to scientific methods to tackle problems, involves critical thinking and creativity, develop social equity, connect rural and urban youth.
Problem-solving methods are mostly used combined with interactive work. Through analyzing problems and making hypothesis, experimental work is then a typical activity at workshops.
Teachers from primary and secondary schools are participating with shaping contents of workshops and collaborating with researchers.

Curriculum relevance

The primary and secondary schools curriculum enables activities which are interdisciplinary interlinked and chosen among several free-choice titles. The activities take into consideration curriculum and also provide links between experimental work and theoretical knowledge.
The gap between research results in Science and school curriculum is in such a way narrowed successfully.

Other outcomes and mutual benefits

Teachers work together with researchers from research institutions and/or education institutions, students are involved in real life work and research.
Students of secondary schools find the activities as an opportunity to find out what discipline, what part of science, if any, they will study at the university level.
Students of primary schools find the activities helpful in choosing the secondary school with the programme which they found out favourable.
Good exchange opportunities are used among teachers and researchers to promote science and to involve students more into some new scientific and/or technical areas as are for example nanotechnology, genetics, and environmental disciplines.
Lack of critical thinking methodology in school courses is partly compensated by these activities with the participants from primary and secondary schools.

Evaluation /feedbacks  

Teachers` and students` courses are evaluated by participants using questionnaires. Activity reports are prepared for the Ministry each year and for the budget source from successful applications.

Positive feedbacks are observed through good results achieved at competitions on local and country level in several scientific disciplines with the primary and secondary schools (for example Pregl competitions, named after our Nobel laureate in Chemistry, 1923 and others).
Such RECs are a successful way to discover talents and enthusiasts for Science among the youth population. 

Limits and possibilities

The lack of systemic financing of RECs in our country is more and more a limiting factor. Expenses for such activities are growing faster than available finances. 

Further possibility: to include greater research institutions and university in a systemic way into young people education. We have two ministries which should be involved in these activities, Ministry of Higher Education, Scienceand Technology, which says at their site:  »Slovenia wishes to be a recognisable, knowledge-based society, conscious of the importance and value of knowledge.« and, Ministry of Education and Sport, which says among others:  “ The Lisbon Strategy will be key to a successful and competitive Europe only by giving a more prominent role to education and youth”.

 Pictures from the project web pages