Bienvenidos a Ciencia en Canoa, una iniciativa creada por
Vanessa Restrepo Schild.

martes, 31 de marzo de 2015

Bioluminescence: Nature’s Light Show [Photo Gallery]

Long before humans figured out that sporting glowy lights could make you look really cool at dance parties, animals large and small had already figured out that light could be an advantage. Organisms that make their own light through bioluminescence use their flashy accessories to 
  • lure prey, 
  • attract mates, 
  • warn off predators, and 
  • perform a host of other functions.

Most bioluminescent organisms reside in the ocean, but landlubbers find ways to make good use of light too. Just recently, scientists discovered that bioluminescent mushrooms glow green in order to attract insects that help them disperse their spores, and while we’ve known of fireflies’ flashing abilities for a long time, late last year scientists learned how they actually add oxygen to their light-producing cells.

Science has taken advantage of natural glowing for its own ends—the Aequoria victoria jellyfish shown above was the source for the isolation of green fluorescent protein (GFP), which is used throughout biological experiments to measure gene expression. GFP, which earned its discoverers the 2008 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, lights up green when exposed to ultraviolet or blue light—the latter being produced by the jellyfish using the protein aequorin. Researchers have even isolated bioluminescent proteins from bacteria to create glow-in-the-dark plants. But equally beautiful specimens can be found out in nature. Here are some glowing examples.



Image Credit: istock / GaryKavanagh


ORIGINAL:
World Science Festival
03/31/15 

Memories May Not Live in Neurons’ Synapses

The finding could mean recollections are more enduring than expected and disrupt plans for PTSD treatments

Do memories live outside neurons or within them?
ISTOCKPHOTO
As intangible as they may seem, memories have a firm biological basis. According to textbook neuroscience, they form when neighboring brain cells send chemical communications across the synapses, or junctions, that connect them. Each time a memory is recalled, the connection is reactivated and strengthened. The idea that synapses store memories has dominated neuroscience for more than a century, but a new study by scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles, may fundamentally upend it: instead memories may reside inside brain cells. If supported, the work could have major implications for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a condition marked by painfully vivid and intrusive memories.

More than a decade ago scientists began investigating the drug propranolol for the treatment of PTSD. Propranolol was thought to prevent memories from forming by blocking production of proteins required for long-term storage. Unfortunately, the research quickly hit a snag. Unless administered immediately after the traumatic event, the treatment was ineffective. Lately researchers have been crafting a work-around: evidence suggests that when someone recalls a memory, the reactivated connection is not only strengthened but becomes temporarily susceptible to change, a process called memory reconsolidation. Administering propranolol (and perhaps also therapy, electrical stimulation and certain other drugs) during this window can enable scientists to block reconsolidation, wiping out the synapse on the spot.

The possibility of purging recollections caught the eye of David Glanzman, a neurobiologist at U.C.L.A., who set out to study the process in Aplysia, a sluglike mollusk commonly used in neuroscience research. Glanzman and his team zapped Aplysia with mild electric shocks, creating a memory of the event expressed as new synapses in the brain. The scientists then transferred neurons from the mollusk into a petri dish and chemically triggered the memory of the shocks in them, quickly followed by a dose of propranolol.

Initially the drug appeared to confirm earlier research by wiping out the synaptic connection. But when cells were exposed to a reminder of the shocks, the memory came back at full strength within 48 hours. “It was totally reinstated,” Glanzman says. “That implies to me that the memory wasn't stored in the synapse.” The results were recently published in the online open-access journal eLife.

If memory is not located in the synapse, then where is it?
When the neuroscientists took a closer look at the brain cells, they found that even when the synapse was erased, molecular and chemical changes persisted after the initial firing within the cell itself. The engram, or memory trace, could be preserved by these permanent changes. Alternatively, it could be encoded in modifications to the cell's DNA that alter how particular genes are expressed. Glanzman and others favor this reasoning.

Eric R. Kandel, a neuroscientist at Columbia University and recipient of the 2000 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work on memory, cautions that the study's results were observed in the first 48 hours after treatment, a time when consolidation is still sensitive.

Though preliminary, the results suggest that for people with PTSD, pill popping will most likely not eliminate painful memories. “If you had asked me two years ago if you could treat PTSD with medication blockade, I would have said yes, but now I don't think so,” Glanzman says. On the bright side, he adds, the idea that memories persist deep within brain cells offers new hope for another disorder tied to memory: Alzheimer's.

FURTHER READINGS AND CITATIONS :
ScientificAmerican.com/apr2015/advances


ORIGINAL: Scientific American
Mar 17, 2015

These Are the Most Beautiful Science Labs in the World

Top photo: ENERGY.GOV
Who said that laboratories, research centers and other science institutions have to be boring places? Believe me, architects are doing their bests when it comes to designing the headquarters of such facilities. The following 22 images prove that I am right.

Technical Area 3 of Los Alamos National Laboratory, which is one of the largest multidisciplinary science and technology institutions in the world.  Photo: LANL
The Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, Illinois Photo: John Hill, Tigerhill Studio/Argonne National Laboratory

Oak Ridge National Laboratory Multiprogram Research Facility (right), and the Visitor Center (left), in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.  Photo: ORNL

The Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies (CINT), Sandia Labs, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Photo: Randy Montoya/Sandia Labs

Technology & Engineering Development Facility, Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, located in Newport News, Virginia. Photo: Jefferson Lab
The New Interdisciplinary Science Building for Energy Research at Brookhaven Lab, in Upton, New York. Photo: BNL

The Thomas J. Watson Research Center, the headquarters for IBM Research, in Yorktown Heights, New York. Photo: Simon Greig
The European Southern Observatory's headquarters in Garching, Germany. Photo: E. Graf/ESO
They conduct basic research in the fields of networks and distributed systems, scientific computing, and software engineering in the Simula Research Laboratory, Fornebu, Norway. Photo: Peter
i.lab, the new research and development center for Italcementi in Bergamo, Italy. Photo: Italcementi
Beatson Institute for Cancer Research, at University of Glasgow. Photo: The Gist
Wilson Hall, the central laboratory building of Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Batavia, Illinois. Photo: Reidar Hahn/Fermilab
The Mechatronics Building in the Science Park of the Johannes Kepler University (JKU) Linz, Austria. Photo: JKU
The Science Learning Center at the University of Texas, Dallas. The tile exterior represents two scientific patterns: atomic emission spectra of gases, and human DNA. Photo: Datum Gojer Engineers
Natural Science Engineering and Research Laboratory (NSERL) at the University of Texas, Dallas. The overlapping colorful anodized stainless steel shingles cover 15 percent of the building's surface. Photo: Datum Gojer Engineers
The Health Sciences Education Building at University of Arizona in Phoenix was inspired by the canyon formations found throughout the state. Photo: University of Arizona
The Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, England. Photo: MRC-LMB
The Atlas Building of Wageningen University and Research Center, is an environmental research complex in Wageningen, the Netherlands. Photo: Rico
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Stata Center is a home for computer, information, and intelligence science, in Cambridge, MA.  Photo: Bizuayehu Tesfaye/AP
The Bharati Antarctic research station, India's third Antarctic research facility. Photo: COMNAP
ALBA is a synchrotron radiation laboratory in Cerdanyola del Vallès, Catalonia, Spain. Photo: Alba-Cells
The Shanghai Synchrotron Radiation Facility (SSRF), Shanghai, People's Republic of China. Photo: SSRF

NCATS Support Leads to Clinical Trial to Test Repurposed Cancer Treatment as Alzheimer's Therapy

In a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease, amyloid beta clusters (red) build up among neurons (green) in a memory-related area of the brain. (Strittmatter Laboratory, Yale University Photo/Adam Kaufman)
As Baby Boomers get older, the number of people with age-related conditions such as cancer and Alzheimer's disease continues to grow. Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia, a group of disorders that cause progressive loss of memory and other mental processes. About 5 million Americans have Alzheimer's disease, and current drug therapies can only ease symptoms of the disease without stopping its progression. New treatments — so-called disease-modifying therapies — are needed to halt Alzheimer's by targeting its underlying mechanisms.

Blocking that path to therapeutic success is the costly, complex process of drug development. The average length of time from discovery of a therapeutic target to approval of a new drug is about 14 years. The failure rate during this process exceeds 95 percent.

NCATS is addressing these translational bottlenecks through programs such as the Discovering New Therapeutic Uses for Existing Molecules (New Therapeutic Uses) program. Launched in 2012, this initiative matches academic researchers with pharmaceutical industry assets that have undergone significant research and development to accelerate the process of finding new therapies.

Now, NCATS is celebrating one of the first promising results from the New Therapeutic Uses program: Center-supported scientists at Yale University School of Medicine have found that an experimental compound originally developed as a cancer therapy potentially could be used to treat Alzheimer's disease. The compound successfully reversed brain problems in mouse models of the condition, and now the researchers are testing it in humans. The results of the animal study were published for early view on March 21, 2015, in the Annals of Neurology. Read the NIH news release.

A NEW THERAPEUTIC TARGET
Back in 2012, Yale neurobiology researcher, neurologist and senior author of the animal study Stephen Strittmatter, M.D., Ph.D., and his colleagues found an important, missing piece of the Alzheimer's puzzle. They wanted to understand more completely the molecular events that occur in the brain to produce symptoms.
Two types of brain cells, microglia (red, left) and astrocytes (red, right), surround amyloid beta clusters (green) located in the brain of a mouse that exhibits Alzheimer's-like symptoms. Strittmatter Laboratory, Yale University Photo/Adam Kaufman
In Alzheimer's disease, abnormal clumps of amyloid beta protein build up in the brain. These protein clusters damage brain cells (neurons), eventually killing them. However, howamyloid beta harms cells has been unclear.

The Yale team discovered that aggregated amyloid beta activates a series of signals within neurons that leads to abnormal functioning and loss of synapses, which are the spaces between neurons that enable the cells to "talk" to each other and form memories. Central to this process is the activation of a protein called Fyn kinase through another molecule, cellular prion protein. These results suggested that a compound that blocks Fyn activity might represent a potential disease-modifying therapy for Alzheimer's.

THE POWER OF CROWDSOURCING
Around the time Strittmatter's Fyn finding emerged, NCATS launched the New Therapeutic Uses program and released a list of pharmaceutical industry assets, inviting scientists to pitch new ideas for diseases that might be treated with those assets. That 2012 list included a Fyn kinase inhibitor, saracatinib (AZD0530), developed by biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. Strittmatter, along with co-principal investigators Haakon Nygaard, M.D., Ph.D., and Christopher van Dyck, M.D., submitted a proposal to test the hypothesis that saracatinib could improve Alzheimer's-related brain abnormalities. The team received one of the first New Therapeutic Uses awards in June 2013.

"AstraZeneca developed saracatinib to treat cancer outside the brain, so nobody had thought to link it to Alzheimer's disease," Strittmatter said. "This connection — between our knowledge of Fyn kinase in the brain and AstraZeneca's information on this compound — would never have happened without the New Therapeutic Uses program."

A PROMISING EFFECT IN MICE
AstraZeneca scientists teamed with the Yale group, providing saracatinib for the mouse study and sharing knowledge and data gathered from previous studies.

"No one individual or group has complete knowledge of disease pathways and treatment targets," said Craig Wegner, Ph.D., Head, Boston Emerging Innovations Unit, Scientific Partnering & Alliances within AstraZeneca's Innovative Medicines and Early Development Biotech Unit. "This program successfully unites scientists from government, academia and industry and is a great example of how we are working together to push the boundaries of science."

The Yale team gave the experimental drug to mice with Alzheimer's-like symptoms, such as memory problems and age-related buildup of abnormal amyloid beta clusters, modeling the development of the disease in humans. After four weeks, the Alzheimer's mice showed complete reversal of spatial learning and memory loss. When the scientists examined the brains of the mice, they found that the characteristic synapse loss had been fully restored, providing a biological explanation for the memory improvement.

The treatment also reduced several other Alzheimer's-related biochemical changes in the mice and did not appear to be toxic. Although many experimental treatments have aimed to reduce abnormal amyloid beta buildup in the brain, this one is unique in that it targets the toxic effects of the protein clusters within a cell, appearing to protect it from damage.

The Yale research team also has completed a successful Phase 1b safety study of saracatinib in humans with Alzheimer's disease, showing that the compound reaches the brains of patients at levels similar to those beneficial in mice. The study results have been accepted for publication later in 2015. The data are encouraging, but the researchers cautioned that more human studies are needed to determine if saracatinib is an effective treatment for Alzheimer's.

AN ACCELERATED PATH TO THE CLINIC
Saracatinib's prior development and the Yale team's successful completion of animal and human studies enabled the compound to advance rapidly into a larger, multisite Phase 2a trial in Alzheimer's patients now ongoing. "The speed and efficiency with which this research has advanced has set new standards of excellence, enabling us to jointly push the boundaries of medical science," Wegner said.

Using the pre-negotiated NCATS template agreements, which were designed to streamline the legal and administrative process for research collaboration by multiple organizations, "really facilitated our collaboration with Yale, so scientists could be scientists," he added.

"Through this project, NCATS and AstraZeneca have provided us with an incredible shortcut in the drug development process and have accelerated the path to finding a more effective Alzheimer's disease treatment," Strittmatter said.

In the Phase 2a trial, 152 participants will receive saracatinib or placebo for one year. Researchers will assess safety, tolerability and effectiveness of the experimental drug, and they will use brain imaging to visualize the effect of saracatinib on synapse function — the same feature improved by the drug in mice. Study investigators currently are enrolling older adults with Alzheimer's disease to participate in the trial and expect to have results in about two years. Learn more about the trial via ClinicalTrials.gov or the study website .

Both human trials were funded by the New Therapeutic Uses program. The Phase 2a study will take place at multiple clinical sites as part of the Alzheimer's Disease Cooperative Study , an initiative for multisite studies sponsored by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) to facilitate the development and testing of new therapeutics for the condition. In addition to funding from NCATS, the NIH Common Fund, NIA, BrightFocus Foundation, Alzheimer's Association and Falk Medical Research Trust provided support for the animal study.

"The Yale team's awareness of this new Alzheimer's drug target, combined with AstraZeneca's drug development resources, allowed the rapid advancement of saracatinib to clinical testing, demonstrating the power of NCATS' New Therapeutics Uses crowdsourcing approach," said NCATS Director Christopher P. Austin, M.D. "By reengineering the drug development pipeline through projects like this, we can more quickly deliver new and better treatments to patients."

ORIGINAL: NCATS-NIH
March 2015

domingo, 29 de marzo de 2015

Applications are invited for a full-time Research Fellow in Artificial Intelligence (AI) safety within the Future of Humanity Institute (FHI) at Oxford University



Now Hiring Researchers



Applications are invited for a full-time Research Fellow in Artificial Intelligence (AI) safety within the Future of Humanity Institute (FHI) at Oxford University. This post is fixed-term for 2 years from the date of appointment.

The application deadline is April 27th, 2015.

The post-holder, who will occupy an office at the Future of Humanity Institute in central Oxford, will work closely with Professor Nick Bostrom and other members of the FHI, and with external collaborators. The post-holder will conduct independent research related to the long-term safety of machine intelligence, including technical issues in AI control. The balance between the theoretical and practical aspects of the post is flexible and will be tailored to the research interests of the successful applicant. The Research Fellow will be expected to produce a number of publications, single and/or co-authored.

The successful candidate must demonstrate strong evidence of relevant research potential in the indicated area. Outstanding analytical skills and the ability to engage with results and methods of computer science are essential. A Bachelors degree (2.1 or above, or international equivalent) in mathematics, computer science, statistics, or other relevant subject is essential. A PhD is desirable but not required. Expertise in machine learning is desirable but not required. For further details, see here.

The Cambridge Centre for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER) is also hiring research fellows capable of examining the ethics and evaluation of extreme technological risk, horizon scanning, and/or issues in responsible innovation. For more information on these posts, please see here.


ORIGINAL: FHI Oxford

March 29, 2015 

viernes, 27 de marzo de 2015

This 17-Year-Old Has Discovered DNA Mutations That Could Combat HIV And Meningitis

photo: Gio.tto via Shutterstock]

High schooler Andrew Jin is answering previously unasked questions in biology.


Like plenty of science-oriented high school kids, Andrew Jin is interested in human evolution. But Jin, one of three $150,000 first-place winners in this year's Intel Science Talent Search, took that interest further than most. For his project, the high school senior came up with machine learning algorithms that detect mutations in the human genome—mutations that could one day be used to develop drugs to combat diseases like HIV and schizophrenia.


Initially, Jin wanted to investigate how humans have evolved over the past 10,000 years. "I was doing it out of curiosity," he says. "I started thinking about natural selection and evolution, and that we understand so much about its theory, but we know nothing about reality. I was curious about what mutations help us be sophisticated human beings."

Jin decided to examine 179 human DNA sequences from different parts of the world. Each sequence consisted of 3 million base pairs of DNA—far too much to look at without help from an algorithm. So he set up a machine learning algorithm and found 130 potentially adaptive mutations, related to things like immune response and metabolism, that played a role in human evolution.

Working from a summer program at MIT, Jin refined his research and came up with a handful of mutations, including ones involved in resistance to meningitis and decreased susceptibility to viruses like influenza and HIV, that could potentially be used by pharmaceutical companies in new drug development.

There have been other natural-selection studies in the past looking for adaptive mutations, but Jin says that many of his findings are new. There's still a long way to go before he starts chatting up Big Pharma, however. "There's very, very strong evidence for these mutations playing a role in disease resistance, but in order to confirm, I would have to do biological experiments to study their protective mechanisms. That’s what I’m interested in doing now," says Jin.

Once he gets to college (he's not yet sure where that will be), Jin plans to pursue computer science or biology. But that's not all he's good at: The teen is a talented pianist who has played at Carnegie Hall. "I'm also an avid Boy Scout," he says.

miércoles, 25 de marzo de 2015

Scientists Seek Ban on Method of Editing the Human Genome


Jennifer A. Doudna, an inventor of a new genome-editing technique, in her office at the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Doudna is the lead author of an article calling for a worldwide moratorium on the use of the new method, to give scientists, ethicists and the public time to fully understand the issues surrounding the breakthrough. Credit Elizabeth D. Herman for The New York Times

A group of leading biologists on Thursday called for a worldwide moratorium on use of a new genome-editing technique that would alter human DNA in a way that can be inherited.
The biologists fear that the new technique is so effective and easy to use that some physicians may push ahead before its safety can be assessed. They also want the public to understand the ethical issues surrounding the technique, which could be used to cure genetic diseases, but also to enhance qualities like beauty or intelligence. The latter is a path that many ethicists believe should never be taken.

You could exert control over human heredity with this technique, and that is why we are raising the issue,” said David Baltimore, a former president of the California Institute of Technology and a member of the group whose paper on the topic was published in the journal Science.
Related Coverage


A Powerful New Way to Edit DNA  MARCH 3, 2014


Matter: In Short-Lived Fish, Secrets to Aging FEB. 27, 2015

Ethicists, for decades, have been concerned about the dangers of altering the human germline — meaning to make changes to human sperm, eggs or embryos that will last through the life of the individual and be passed on to future generations. Until now, these worries have been theoretical. But a technique invented in 2012 makes it possible to edit the genome precisely and with much greater ease. The technique has already been used to edit the genomes of mice, rats and monkeys, and few doubt that it would work the same way in people.

The technique holds the power to repair or enhance any human gene. “It raises the most fundamental of issues about how we are going to view our humanity in the future and whether we are going to take the dramatic step of modifying our own germline and in a sense take control of our genetic destiny, which raises enormous peril for humanity,” said George Q. Daley, a stem cell expert at Boston Children’s Hospital and a member of the group.

The biologists writing in Science support continuing laboratory research with the technique, and few if any scientists believe it is ready for clinical use. Any such use is tightly regulated in the United States and Europe. American scientists, for instance, would have to present a plan to treat genetic diseases in the human germline to the Food and Drug Administration.

The paper’s authors, however, are concerned about countries that have less regulation in science. They urge that “scientists should avoid even attempting, in lax jurisdictions, germline genome modification for clinical application in humans” until the full implications “are discussed among scientific and governmental organizations.

Though such a moratorium would not be legally enforceable and might seem unlikely to exert global influence, there is a precedent. In 1975, scientists worldwide were asked to refrain from using a method for manipulating genes, the recombinant DNA technique, until rules had been established.

We asked at that time that nobody do certain experiments, and in fact nobody did, to my knowledge,” said Dr. Baltimore, who was a member of the 1975 group. “So there is a moral authority you can assert from the U.S., and that is what we hope to do.

Recombinant DNA was the first in a series of ever-improving steps for manipulating genetic material. The chief problem has always been one of accuracy, of editing the DNA at precisely the intended site, since any off-target change could be lethal. Two recent methods, known as
  • zinc fingers and 
  • TAL effectors
came close to the goal of accurate genome editing, but both are hard to use. The new genome-editing approach was invented by Jennifer A. Doudna of the University of California, Berkeley, and Emmanuelle Charpentier of Umea University in Sweden.

Their method, known by the acronym Crispr-Cas9, co-opts the natural immune system with which bacteria remember the DNA of the viruses that attack them so they are ready the next time those same invaders appear. Researchers can simply prime the defense system with a guide sequence of their choice and it will then destroy the matching DNA sequence in any genome presented to it. Dr. Doudna is the lead author of the Science article calling for control of the technique and organized the meeting at which the statement was developed.

Though highly efficient, the technique occasionally cuts the genome at unintended sites. The issue of how much mistargeting could be tolerated in a clinical setting is one that Dr. Doudna’s group wants to see thoroughly explored before any human genome is edited.

Scientists also say that replacing a defective gene with a normal one may seem entirely harmless but perhaps would not be.

We worry about people making changes without the knowledge of what those changes mean in terms of the overall genome,” Dr. Baltimore said. “I personally think we are just not smart enough — and won’t be for a very long time — to feel comfortable about the consequences of changing heredity, even in a single individual.

Many ethicists have accepted the idea of gene therapy, changes that die with the patient, but draw a clear line at altering the germline, since these will extend to future generations. The British Parliament in February approved the transfer of mitochondria, small DNA-containing organelles, to human eggs whose own mitochondria are defective. But that technique is less far-reaching because no genes are edited.

There are two broad schools of thought on modifying the human germline, said R. Alta Charo, a bioethicist at the University of Wisconsin and a member of the Doudna group.
One is pragmatic and seeks to balance benefit and risk.
The other “sets up inherent limits on how much humankind should alter nature,” she said.
Some Christian doctrines oppose the idea of playing God, whereas in Judaism and Islam there is the notion “that humankind is supposed to improve the world.” She described herself as more of a pragmatist, saying, “I would try to regulate such things rather than shut a new technology down at its beginning.

Other scientists agree with the Doudna group’s message. “It is very clear that people will try to do gene editing in humans,” said Rudolf Jaenisch, a stem cell biologist at the Whitehead Institute in Cambridge, Mass., who was not a member of the Doudna group. “This paper calls for a moratorium on any clinical application, which I believe is the right thing to do.

Writing in Nature last week, Edward Lanphier and other scientists involved in developing the rival zinc finger technique for genome editing also called for a moratorium on human germline modification, saying that use of current technologies would be “dangerous and ethically unacceptable.

The International Society for Stem Cell Research said Thursday that it supported the proposed moratorium.

The Doudna group calls for public discussion, but is also working to develop some more formal process, such as an international meeting convened by the National Academy of Sciences, to establish guidelines for human use of the genome-editing technique.

We need some principled agreement that we want to enhance humans in this way or we don’t,” Dr. Jaenisch said. “You have to have this discussion because people are gearing up to do this.


ORIGINAL: NYTimes
MARCH 19, 2015

Finlandia acaba con matemáticas, física, historia y otros ramos individuales


El país líder en educación implantó hace dos años en su capital un proyecto donde se trabajan las materias en torno a temáticas globales, una revolución necesaria para nuestros tiempos. Hoy planea extenderlo a toda la escolaridad y en todo el país.

Para el año 2020 Finlandia planea eliminar gradualmente de todos sus colegios la enseñanza de las materias individuales y en vez de eso, enseñarle a los alumnos por temas o fenómenos amplios que integren diversas áreas de conocimiento. Están revolucionando las aulas al mismo estilo que la red de colegios españoles que hace unos días les contamos.

Hace dos años que comenzó el proyecto en Helsinki, donde se eliminaron los ramos en cursos de alumnos de secundaria (16 años) y donde se ha capacitado al 70% de los profesores capitalinos de esos niveles con el nuevo enfoque.

"Lo que necesitamos ahora es un tipo diferente de la educación para preparar a las personas para la vida laboral" aseguró Pasi Silander, gerente de desarrollo de la ciudad.

¿Cómo funciona?
Por ejemplo, un adolescente que estudia un curso de formación profesional podría tomar clases de "servicios de cafetería", que incluiría materias como
  • matemáticas, 
  • idiomas (para ayudar a atender a los clientes extranjeros), 
  • habilidades de escritura y 
  • habilidades de comunicación, 
indican en The Independent. Los primeros resultados han sido beneficiosos, informa el diario británico, donde los datos medibles del aprendizaje han mejorado con el nuevo sistema.
Evidentemente este cambio revolucionario ha generado reacciones en los profesores que a lo largo de su carrera se han especializado en ciertos temas, pero el nuevo modelo plantea que los maestros de diferentes áreas trabajen juntos para planificar la enseñanza por estos "temas", además de ofrecerles un pago como incentivo.

Según Science Alert, el nuevo sistema también se enfoca en los diferentes tipos de aprendizaje, tales como la resolución de problemas de forma interactiva y colaboración entre los grupos más pequeños, para ayudar a desarrollar habilidades de comunicación. La idea es cambiar el formato tradicional donde filas de alumnos se sientan pasivamente frente al profesor.

Marjo Kyllonen, directora de educación de Helsinki, que presentará el anteproyecto a fines de este mes, insiste: "Realmente necesitamos un replanteamiento de la educación y un rediseño de nuestro sistema, que prepare a nuestros hijos para el futuro con las habilidades que se necesitan para hoy y mañana" y añade "No es sólo Helsinki, sino toda Finlandia que lo abrazará".

¿Debiera ser todo el mundo?


ORIGINAL: El Definido (Chile)
Por Magdalena Araus @mmaraus
2015-03-24