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“An innovative way in which to teach Food and Health”

The research group ”Feed” at the University of Agder has received funds to make LifeLab a reality, a learning laboratory for students, employees and pupils in the region.

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Forskningsdagene Kristiansand, barn som eksperimenterer, foto.

LifeLab is a research based learning laboratory tied to the education of teachers of Food and Health and in teaching pupils the same subject. The concept will, for now, be developed in connection with the kitchen facilities at the University of Agder (UiA), Gimlemoen. In the learning laboratory, students and employees from UiA will team up with Food and Health pupils from Agder. They will encounter research on a simple and specific way, and gain knowledge and understanding of science and subject through practical exercises.

“Here, one will learn both to cook and of the science behind health advice. One example is that the pupils in the learning lab can measure their blood sugar with a simple blood test before cooking and again after eating to see what happens with the blood sugar in the body,” says Frøydis N. Vik. 

She is an Associate Professor and part of the research group Feed at the Faculty of Health and Sport Sciences at UiA, which has received funds for the LifeLab project from the strategy area of ”Learning and Education for the Future” (LUF).

 

Interdisciplinary meeting place

“LifeLab should be a new way of teaching Food and Health. Such a laboratory could become an interdisciplinary meeting place for all employees at UiA, students and the region,” says Hanne Graver Møvig.

She is a Senior Advisor at University of Agder and head of the action group LUF3, which is part of the strategy area Learning and Education for the Future.

“The project provides space for testing new methods of learning and education, more student active forms of learning and will give new knowledge on content and methodology, which will create a more future-oriented subject in the school,” says Graver Møvig.

They are currently looking for a PhD candidate to implement the project: ”LifeLab Food and Health – innovative teaching in a future-oriented school.” Frøydis Vik, together with Professor Nina Øverby and Associate Professor Gun Åbacka, make up the supervising team for the PhD candidate.

“The PhD candidates main task is to work with the content, and hopefully we can start testing the educational material for LifeLab next spring,” says Vik.
 

According to the plan, the employment of a PhD candidate will be made before the summer vacation.

 

Reputation building

The project is based on Feed´s work to promote a healthy and sustainable diet from an early age. The major health challenges in today´s society, like obesity, lifestyle diseases and mental illness, can all be prevented. Food and Health is still the smallest subject in school, and less than half of the teachers have an education on the subject. An innovative commitment to Food and Health education can strengthen the subject’s reputation, the initiators believe.

“The goal of LifeLab is to contribute to lift the Food and Health subject by adding something new and exciting to the education. We hope that those who take their Master´s in Food and Health in Teacher Training at UiA, will increasingly experience that they can contribute to making a difference,” says Associate Professor Frøydis Vik.
 

The LifeLab project will be presented at UiA´s strategy conference Monday 12 June. The pre-project of establishing a school laboratory for natural sciences at UiA will also be presented. This project has recently been granted FoU funding and will collaborate closely with the LifeLab project henceforth.

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