Museos y Centros de Ciencia Virtuales. Complementación y Potenciación del Aprendizaje de Ciencias a Través de Experimentos Virtuales
The present work inquires on how virtual museums, applied to science museology, can complement and harness science museums and interactive science centre's labour in promoting public understanding of science and technology and scientific literacy, examining in a critical way which are the unique possibilities of this medium.
In the first part, we make a revision of the state of art, beginning from the different characteristics of "virtual" and "real" as a discussion basis for virtual learning spaces implementation. We research the way public understanding of science's historical development, aims and difficulties shape its development, as a shared project with science museums and interactive science centres, in order to reach a generalized scientific culture. Special emphasis is put in concepts and practices that underlie science education and learning in the museum, and to applying these same concepts to the virtual museum, understood here as a triggering factor for specific pedagogical actions in digital domain. At last, we investigate the learning object concept, as a mean to share resources and boost museums' educational mission.
In the second part, trough an experimental research design, we determine the virtual museums situation in Latin America, Spain and Portugal, inquiring on how its museums are bringing up this question and performing their actions in the digital domain.
Lastly, in the third part, we propose a Digital Repository on Science and Technology Multimedia Resources, as a technological tool that would help promotion of scientific literacy and learning in virtual museums. The convergence between learning objects, digital repositories and virtual museums presents itself as an opportunity to harness the museum's educational mission, relating them to the formal educational system. In conclusion, virtual museums open many opportunities of access to cultural works, being an own and unique experience in the digital domain and justifying its conception. At the same time, they complement in a relevant manner the educational use of computer technologies applied to science education.