As you may have noted I’m not the most prolific blogger around. I’m still trying to find my niche so to speak. I think I’ve mentioned this already so I won’t get into it again. But a few things caught my eye:

First of all, SEED magazine has a nifty little writing contest going on. SEED is calling for entries for their science writing contest. The topic ‘What does it mean to be scientifically literate in the 21st century‘. How apt! I know my pet science literacy issues. But what are yours? This is a VERY important issue for our students moving into this century. Look at the problems we’ve provided them:

  • climate change
  • ‘bird’ flu
  • a general nature of science ignorance
  • genetically modified organisms
  • rampant obesity
  • stem cell research
  • evolution theory ignorance
  • on and on and on

Please comment on YOUR science literacy issues and I dare you to sharpen your keyboard and get your 1200 words into SEED.

This leads me into a related topic…..

A colleague of mine, Jason Welker, recently blogged at Utechtips about an article many of us read and became emotional about in The International Educator. I laughed at the article. I know Jeff Utech got angry. Jason blogged!

Jason made some good points about the weaknesses inherent in the study. I encourage you to read his post. It seemed timed with a New York Times article about some American secondary schools dropping their laptop programs. I was surprised this hasn’t been blogged yet at Utech. Nevertheless, the news is out that laptops provide little progress in education.

So whats going on here? Are they right?

I agree with Jason that – no – they are not right. But here’s the rub. I have no more evidence to support my position than the TIE article. Maybe it is time we did our own study to refute the article. As to science literacy, could we do it better than they did? I think so!

How does this relate to the SEED contest?

I would hope that any high school graduate would have been able to critique the TIE paper on a number of facets. The small sample size was an obvious one. The lack of critical reporting by the author. The lack of details outlining the data collection.

Considering the general lack of critical reporting in today’s news I’m not that surprised the article in TIE was so poor. It seems reporters believe equal verbiage, equal thoughtlessness, equal ineptitude, equals ‘fair and balanced’. As subjective and personal the blogosphere is, at least we understand it to be biased. Our hackles are raised upon entry. We know to be immediately critical of blogs. We generally expect reporters to do their homework, investigate the data the present, and be critical of falsehoods. However contradictory, news seems to have become a form of entertainment and blogs have adopted the role of critical thought. I get much better science from scienceblogs than any newspaper.

I can’t help but wonder where this is headed.

As for performing our own study, who is with me? [who is working on their master’s/Phd] I’ll be teaching at a school thta has used laptops for seven years and have just moved to tablet pc’s. It might be interesting to share the workload next year.


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