HSci 2005   July 13 -16, 2005 - University of Crete campus at Rethymno - Greece.
Opening Session:      Mr. Professor A. Hourdakis, Alternate Head of the Department for Primary Education of The University of Crete
Dear Vice- Rector of the University of Crete,
Dear Regional Director of Education,
Dear Representative of the Greek Minister of Education,
Dear Colleagues and Participants,
As historian of education I would like to begin my short address with a famous phrase from Aristotle “Metaphysics: “All human beings, by nature, desire to know” (Üíèñùðïò öýóåé ïñÝãåóèáé ôïõ åéäÝíáé). For well over 4,000 years much of our basic “desire to know” has focused on the area we now call science. But the study of the natural world, known as “natural philosophy” (öõóéêÞ öéëïóïößá), begins in the time of the ancient Babylonians and Egyptians and passes afterwards in the Greek natural philosophers who served as the foundation for western scientific inquiry until the Scientific Revolution. From the late 17th century until the late 19th century the vision of the cosmos was developed and filled in by what you now call "classical science" (episteme/ åðéóôÞìç). You now see the achievements of this period as accurate only with certain boundaries.
However in our days I believe that we need to understand scientific study in its historical and cultural context. Theological, philosophical, social, political, educational and economic factors deeply impact the development and shape of science education. The scientists and philosophers of the Vienna Circle e.g. established such a basis in the decades of ’20s and ’30s.
Most scientists are convinced, that better lecturing is not the best way to improve science education, and so they are attracted by the magical claims of inquiry-based learning.
Constructivists believe that each child can learn the scientific process in a rather straightforward manner by observing patterns and making predictions. To this direction the Conference poses its problematic with a challenging indeed title «Science in a changing Education». As we know Information and Communications Technology are changing the face of education, and an increasing number of everyday decisions are dependent upon Science and Technology developments, in order for the citizen of a democratic society to be able to participate in the publics. A child who cannot master an ever-increasing body of skills and knowledge will be left farther and farther behind. This is an area in which science education can make essential contributions.
Dear Colleagues and Participants,
The need for new knowledge, skills, and “deep learning” will increase day by day. Therefore, the process of changing education more widely and deeply is, itself, an educational process – a transformative one. Changing education is Education. And if changing education is education, then it cannot be done quickly, casually, or without difficulty. It will require much good will, supervision, and hard work. This is not really a new argument or account of what is necessary to improve science education. However, the new options provided by information technology have raised the limits and the workload.
With these words, as Vice-President of the Pedagogical Department, I would like to congratulate the Organising Committee and especially Prof. Panagiotis Michailidis, and to welcome you to the 2nd International Conference on "Hands-on Science”, wishing you success in your work and a nice stay in beautiful Crete!