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Ingeniare. Revista chilena de ingeniería

versión On-line ISSN 0718-3305

Ingeniare. Rev. chil. ing. vol.26 no.3 Arica  2018 


The accomplishment of scientific and technological activities in the school population and their contribution to the regional scientific development

Mónica Navarrete* 

2EXPLORA Project Arica and Parinacota, PhD in Applied Economic Modeling, Universidad de Tarapacá, Arica, Chile

Researching Chile is not an easy task, especially for the regions farthest from the center of the country. In addition to competing for financial resources with the regions of the center and south, we are affected by the lower availability of specialized human capital that often opts for the attractions offered by the scientific and technological agglomeration that exists in the densest regions of the country. In this sense, collaborating in the scientific and technological training of children of school age is a crucial task to improve the conditions of regional competitiveness. However, in the academic environment, performing actions of this type is usually less valued than the publication of a work in a journal with a high impact index. That is why the actions of scientific dissemination to the non-specialist community, depend on the wills in time and personal conviction of the researchers rather than a policy of the university.

We know from the empirical evidence that improving the competitiveness conditions of a region or territory means focusing on valuing, retaining and attracting their own, betting on their formation in early ages. Moreover, researchers can and should collaborate in the strengthening of the educational system with actions in science, technology, and innovation to achieve a sustainable development based on knowledge and training of regional human capital.

In the Region of the extreme north of Chile, the EXPLORA program of the National Commission of Scientific and Technological Research CONICYT (soon to be the Ministry of Science and Technology), carries out a series of activities among the school population to promote interest in science and technology. Technology, showing local scientific work, the benefits it brings for people and territory, but above all; showing research as a professional option. There are numerous examples of school research where the joint participation of scientists, students, and their teachers have resulted in fascinating and innovative research. Even some of these works have been awarded at regional/national and international science and technology congresses. Many of these works have allowed the transfer of students and teachers to the place of the Congress, also granting life experiences in the students who contribute to defining their professional option.

From the university, we have added to this challenge by postulating from the region to various funds that seek to increase the opportunities for experiential access with science and technology to students of elementary and secondary education. The participation of researchers in human and ancestral genetics, plant genetics, big data, regional economy, mathematics, and entrepreneurship and innovation activities carried out within the framework of school camps, without a doubt, leave their mark on those who live it, especially if it is done in company of young people from different schools, communes, and regions. Other cases are related to the development and transfer of educational elements to collaborate with primary and secondary school teachers. An example of this is the use of the tools ARToolKit and Vuforia of Unity to recreate employing Augmented Reality, the housing environment of the ancestral community "Aldea de San Lorenzo"; that inhabited the north of Chile a thousand years ago. The interpretation of their habitat raised by archaeologists and historians from physical findings of the village are used to recreate scenes with 3D modeling and support of interactive interfaces that are of great help to increase in the new generations. The valuation and protection of the regional cultural heritage taking advantage of step, its interest in the technological development of applications of this type. Another technological option that has had a significant impact on school education is the use of the GameMaker tool. This tool is specialized for the creation of video games and which contains a graphics engine to view 2D drawings, which facilitates the creation of educational games that can be adapted in the different platforms that exist today (computer, cell phone, tablet, among others). With this technology, a video game was created that recreates the habitat and the process of mummification carried out by the Chinchorro, a group of fishermen from northern Chile who practiced artificial mummification two thousand years before the Egyptians. Finally, other intervention experiences are related to the lifting of technology fairs in educational establishments with the support of 3D printers, elements of Lego robotics; use of platforms such as Kahoot for online school competitions or the design of entertaining mathematical educational strategies as elements to contribute to the formation of future generations.

Activities that from research, can be inextricably linked to the training process; giving it an excellent sense of belonging to science and that in the company of the appropriate technological elements; It is entertaining and productive. It is here where the impact factor measured in the contribution to the formation of regional human capital at early ages, maintains and reinforces our vocation to contribute as researchers, to the creation of advanced human capital in the furthest regions from the center of the country.

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