I am so glad to see that conversations started face-to-face at the Science Blogging Conference are now continuing online (see the bottom of the ever-growing linkfests here and here). While some are between science bloggers, as expected, others are between people who have never heard of each other before and who came from very different angles and with different interests. The cross-fertilization we hoped for is happening (and if you had such an experience, let us know)!
See, for instance, what a casual chat over lunch at the Conference did to David Warlick – made him think about education and about online technologies from a – new to David – perspective of someone who watches the way scientists think:
…He said that science used to be reductionist in nature. I asked what that meant, and he said that science was about drilling down to components, cutting out and examining bits of the world, reducing it to its barest fundamentals. He said that the younger scientists spend more time synthesizing, that they seem much more interested in systems and networks, not so much how things operate independently, but how they operate as part of a larger organism, ecosystem, or cosmos.
I suspect that all kinds of speculation might be made about why science seems, at least in the eyes of this science communicator, to be shifting, and one could probably make a case relating it to younger scientists’ digital experiences. The connection that occurred to me, however, was with schools, which seem to me to be in a reductionist mode still…..
My own state, for one, has been teaching and testing computer skills for more than ten years. However, it is a reductionist response to the need for digital literacy (what I call contemporary literacy). We have reduced computer skills out into their own list of standards, separated again into objectives, and performance indicators. We’ve reduced it down to components that can be discretely measured.
I don’t think that this happens entirely because of the industrial mechanized environment that many of us come from. I think it’s just easier to separate things out and teach them in isolation, especially when we believe that our job is to simply teach.
Read the rest…then go and comment on his blog with your ideas. Cross-fertilize some more!
Technorati Tag: sciencebloggingconference