|Commenced in January 2007||Frequency: Monthly||Edition: International||Paper Count: 3|
Nuclear technology is part of our everyday life and its beneficial applications help to improve the quality of our lives. Nevertheless, in Brazil, most often the media and social networks tend to associate radiation to nuclear weapons and major accidents, and there is still great misunderstanding about the peaceful applications of nuclear science. The Educational Portal Radioatividades (Radioactivities) is a corporate social responsibility initiative that takes advantage of the growing impact of Internet to offer high quality scientific information for teachers and students throughout Brazil. This web-based initiative focusses on the positive applications of nuclear technology, presenting the several contributions of ionizing radiation in different contexts, such as nuclear medicine, agriculture techniques, food safety and electric power generation, proving nuclear technology as part of modern life and a must to improve the quality of our lifestyle. This educational project aims to contribute for democratization of scientific education and social inclusion, approaching society to scientific knowledge, promoting critical thinking and inspiring further reflections. The website offers a wide variety of ludic activities such as curiosities, interactive exercises and short courses. Moreover, teachers are offered free web-based material with full instructions to be developed in class. Since year 2013, the project has been developed and improved according to a comprehensive study about the realistic scenario of ICTs infrastructure in Brazilian schools and in full compliance with the best e-learning national and international recommendations.
Nuclear technology is a controversial issue among a great share of the Brazilian population. Misinformation and common wrong beliefs confuse public’s perceptions and the scientific community is expected to offer a wider perspective on the benefits and risks resulting from ionizing radiation in everyday life. Attentive to the need of new approaches between science and society, the Nuclear Energy Museum, in northeast Brazil, is an initiative created to communicate the growing impact of the beneficial applications of nuclear technology in medicine, industry, agriculture and electric power generation. Providing accessible scientific information, the museum offers a rich learning environment, making use of different educational strategies, such as films, interactive panels and multimedia learning tools, which not only increase the enjoyment of visitors, but also maximize their learning potential. Developed according to modern active learning instructional strategies, multimedia materials are designed to present the increasingly role of nuclear science in modern life, transforming science education into a meaningful learning experience. In year 2016, nine different interactive computer-based activities were developed, presenting curiosities about ionizing radiation in different landmarks around the world, such as radiocarbon dating works in Egypt, nuclear power generation in France and X-radiography of famous paintings in Italy. Feedback surveys have reported a high level of visitors’ satisfaction, proving the high quality experience in learning nuclear science at the museum. The Nuclear Energy Museum is the first and, up to the present time, the only permanent museum in Brazil devoted entirely to nuclear science.
Food irradiation is a processing and preservation technique to eliminate insects and parasites and reduce disease-causing microorganisms. Moreover, the process helps to inhibit sprouting and delay ripening, extending fresh fruits and vegetables shelf-life. Nevertheless, most Brazilian consumers seem to misunderstand the difference between irradiated food and radioactive food and the general public has major concerns about the negative health effects and environmental contamination. Society´s judgment and decision making are directly linked to perceived benefits and risks. The web-based project entitled ‘Scientific information about food irradiation: Internet as a tool to approach science and society’ was created by the Nuclear and Energetic Research Institute (IPEN), in order to offer an interdisciplinary approach to science education, integrating economic, ethical, social and political aspects of food irradiation. This project takes into account that, misinformation and unfounded preconceived ideas impact heavily on the acceptance of irradiated food and purchase intention by the Brazilian consumer. Taking advantage of the potential value of the Internet to enhance communication and education among general public, a research study was carried out regarding the possibilities and trends of Information and Communication Technologies among the Brazilian population. The content includes concepts, definitions and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about processes, safety, advantages, limitations and the possibilities of food irradiation, including health issues, as well as its impacts on the environment. The project counts on eight self-instructional interactive web courses, situating scientific content in relevant social contexts in order to encourage self-learning and further reflections. Communication is a must to improve public understanding of science. The use of information technology for quality scientific divulgation shall contribute greatly to provide information throughout the country, spreading information to as many people as possible, minimizing geographic distances and stimulating communication and development.