Attention all art/science web-collaborative types! Dave Ng has just formally announced the Phylomon Project. Here’s the hook: a paper published in 2000 determined that an 8 year old could identify and characterize 120 different Pokemon characters, but when it comes to animals in their own backyard, kids have no clue.
There’s nothing wrong with kids having rich fantasy worlds – far from it. But why not give them the chance to discover that real biology is also incredibly cool – not to mention complex, beautiful, and for many kids, right outside their back door? Maybe I’m showing my age, but I got excited about biology by digging under logs, catching insects, frogs and snakes, and looking them up in books. Old-fashioned? Yeah. But it was still a great way to become a biologist.
The Phylomon Project is inviting the graphic design, gamer, and science education communities on board, first to create a series of playing cards that depict real animals, second, to design compelling games to use them, and third, to try them out with kids. Skeptical? You’re not the only one. But as Dave says,
we’re well aware of the cautionary comments about the utility of such things. However. it is one of the luxuries of web projects, in that while the resources sunk in are relatively minor, the results can be quite amazing if the Gods of the Web are happy with what is going on.
So, since most of us agree we need new, innovative approaches to science education, why not try it? Head over to the Phylomon Project, its Facebook Group, and/or its flickr site to contribute thoughts, art, and ideas.