The concept of Kids University Vienna (KUV) is as simple as successful: One week a year, children aged from 7 to 12 years take the place and the role of ordinary students at the University of Vienna.

In summer 2005 - during the third KUV - 3.500 children attended one or more of the 300 lectures and workshops. Scientists present research outcomes and come up for discussion. Experimental arrangements and innovative didactical approaches provide the chance to take a glimpse into the world of technology and science while looking over the scientists’ shoulders. The latter not only act as role models, but are mutually inspired when children’s commonplace curiosity is brought together with scientific problem formulation and research hypotheses.

Children are as active interested as critical and one of the keys to the project’s success is that subject matters are close to their everyday interests and concerns, but approximate scientific ways of thinking - as they do for parents or relatives who frequently accompany them. (f. ex. Environmental pollution, renewable energy, cross-cultural relations).

The concept of KUV is an excellent model of enhancing young people’s interest in science studies and careers and is totally in line with political strategies and social attempts of bringing science into society. However, recurrent evaluation outcomes show in the same way that there is a considerable social divide in participation, which is a well-educated and upper-class domain and predetermined by the constitutive cultural disposition within the scope of social origin. This might by a substantial contribution to the basic discussion of educational inequality and to finding more advanced models of bridging the gap between scientific community and the society at large.

The paper presents the concept and is based upon >100 interviews with scientists and children, supplemented by an analysis of the social background of participants (survey: n>1.000).

">
 [PCST]
PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Kids university ViennaCchildren squestions to science

Christian Gary   University of Vienna

Karoline Iber   University of Vienna

The concept of Kids University Vienna (KUV) is as simple as successful: One week a year, children aged from 7 to 12 years take the place and the role of ordinary students at the University of Vienna.

In summer 2005 - during the third KUV - 3.500 children attended one or more of the 300 lectures and workshops. Scientists present research outcomes and come up for discussion. Experimental arrangements and innovative didactical approaches provide the chance to take a glimpse into the world of technology and science while looking over the scientists’ shoulders. The latter not only act as role models, but are mutually inspired when children’s commonplace curiosity is brought together with scientific problem formulation and research hypotheses.

Children are as active interested as critical and one of the keys to the project’s success is that subject matters are close to their everyday interests and concerns, but approximate scientific ways of thinking - as they do for parents or relatives who frequently accompany them. (f. ex. Environmental pollution, renewable energy, cross-cultural relations).

The concept of KUV is an excellent model of enhancing young people’s interest in science studies and careers and is totally in line with political strategies and social attempts of bringing science into society. However, recurrent evaluation outcomes show in the same way that there is a considerable social divide in participation, which is a well-educated and upper-class domain and predetermined by the constitutive cultural disposition within the scope of social origin. This might by a substantial contribution to the basic discussion of educational inequality and to finding more advanced models of bridging the gap between scientific community and the society at large.

The paper presents the concept and is based upon >100 interviews with scientists and children, supplemented by an analysis of the social background of participants (survey: n>1.000).

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.

BACK TO TOP