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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

IS HISTORY JUST A GAME FOR YOU?
THE NATIONAL SCIENTIFIC OLYMPIADS OF HISTORY IN BRAZIL (2009-2015)

Cristina Meneguello  

Communication of science is no longer restricted to the natural sciences. Yet, little attention has been paid to the issues social scientists or historians face when communicating their findings. There is a general interest for history, as shown by the wide collection of newspapers and non-academic journals, "historical movies" and novels. However, the spreading of common-sense views about the historical past, as well as of deeply rooted prejudices communicated by the non-specialist media does not help to bridge the gaps between academic history and the general public. With these preoccupations in mind, a group of Brazilian historians, under my coordination, created in 2008 the National Olympiads of History of Brazil, sponsored by the Ministry of Education. The traditional model of scientific Olympiads was successfully adapted into the study of historical documents and images ranging from Colonial times to today, in collective activities for students from 12 to 17. The first edition took place in 2009 and nowadays, in its 7th edition, the Olympiads bring together yearly 50 thousand students (from 12 to 17) from each and every state in Brazil. What are the most important results of this initiative in terms of public communication of science and social inclusion? What could we learn throughout the process of creating a digital plataform for the online stages of this "game"? How it has influenced traditional teaching and learning strategies, as documented by the depoiments from students and their teachers?

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