A better way for children to learn, through nature...
EarthScholars' Research Vision
(c) 1 November, 2002 by R.M.C. & J.H.W.
Our research vision is a dated statement of intent and first principles for a research program.
At the initial public presentation by the EarthScholars Research GroupTMon 1 Novemberat the 2002 national convention of the National Association of Biology Teachers held in Cincinnati, Ohio, we set forth this research manifesto.
Our primary goal is sharing nature with childrenTM.
Our secondary goal is improving public understanding of geology and biology/botany through novel, integrated learning approaches.
Our tertiary goal is improving the quality and effectiveness of informal geobiological education at public science sites--as well asimproving its articulation with formal science education at the high school and college levels.
We assert that informal and formal science education programs have too long separated, and for quite artificial reasons, geological and biological knowledge, to the great detriment of science learning.
We assert that too much of the context and nexus of geology and biology is left out of today's educational programs, so that a rather uninteresting final form science remains, and thus actually contributes to scientific illiteracy.
Our aim is to conduct high quality state, national, and international, field-based, image-based, and archival research aimed at improving and INTEGRATING geological and biological learning.
We seek to improve public understanding of these two sciences by identifying, emphasizing, and promoting their intersections and cross-links.
We also intend to reconnect both informal and formal bioscience and geoscience learners to the scientists of the past --whose ideas led to today's geology and biology by researching, writing, and sharing insightful interactive historical vignettes (IHVs).
We see integrated geological and biological learning as a life-long endeavor, and we assert that immediate post-visit and post-course testing fails to capture the actual cognitive gains (which are sometimes delayed gains) in scientific understanding--contrary to the assessment practices of today's so-called scientifically based educational research.
We assert that well-planned and well-integrated geological and biological field experiences must not be seen as merely a desirable option or possible supplement to formal classroom science learning, nor reducible to virtual experiences alone, but should instead be viewed as the very core of bio-geo science understanding. For biology and geology learners, "nature is the laboratory for memorable learning!"
Our two chosen areas of research specialization are: (1) the fundamental understanding, integrated design, and improvement of geological and biological (with emphasis on botanical) education programs at public informal science education sites, specifically at FOSSIL PARKS, NATURE PARKS, ARBORETA, and BOTANIC GARDENS, and, (2) the improvement of formal geology and biology classroom instruction at the high school and college levels through instructional innovations based on our archive-based, visual, and graphic research, informed by the histories of geology and biology.
Our evaluative focus is on opportunity to learn and on the value-added by field experiences and object-based instruction.
We monitor and aim to improve the public understanding of geology and botany.
We employ technologies to accomplish our goals and we use travel to reach research-relevant historical archives and field sites.