3 October, 2019

SS02 – Special Session on Hidden Lessons in Practical Exercises


At high level education, we cannot be satisfied with just teaching the content of disciplines of the different fields. In order to truly imbue (or instill) the graduates and professionals of tomorrow with a profound and persistent knowledge and understanding, we must go further. This applies in particular to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) students who engage with scientific or technological experiments, who must also acquire the hidden lessons embedded in the learning of these disciplines. Specifically we refer to two aspects of this hidden learning.

The first, critical thinking, is a crucial skill for students’ social performance, which helps them mature as thinkers and enables them to better assimilate their instruction. In particular, students who use ICT (Information and Communication Technology) and computational tools for their practical exercises should look beyond the fact that their device has not given errors in the execution of a code, but should question whether the results are actually correct, i.e., whether they make sense. Students should actively develop this critical attitude instead of trusting blindly in the superficial reports from their software or computational devices.

The second aspect refers to the specific hidden lessons behind the teaching practices within robotics and other technological subjects. In order to get a reliable result, many challenges regarding hardware, sensors, connections, etc., must be overcome.  Robots, drones, autonomous moving vehicles, and platforms to test different algorithms and techniques all pose interesting learning obstacles.  However, the challenges surrounding these technologies can represent opportunities for imparting different skills to the students, such as the need to be careful, systematic, orderly, and patient.

This special session is focused on exploring these two learning paths that are so appropriate for STEM disciplines; the session seeks to enable the sharing of experiences and initiatives that help to get the best out of practical exercises in those areas. Innovative practices, ongoing experiences and discussions on these hidden lessons are most welcome.


Session topics include but are not limited to:

  • Practical exercises
  • Development of critical thinking
  • Computational skills
  • Scientific and technological experiments
  • Educative robotics
  • Educational technology challenges
  • Engineering approaches for education
  • Teachers training for critical thinking
  • Transnational education tech platforms

Session Chairs

  • Matilde Santos, University Complutense of Madrid (Spain)
  • Jennifer Bruton, Dublin City University (Ireland)
  • Victoria López, University Complutense of Madrid (Spain)


Prof. Matilde Santos

Computer Science School, University Complutense of Madrid

C/ Profesor García Santesmases s/n. E-28040. Burgos, Spain e-mail: msantos@ucm.es