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The Tragedy of the Unexamined Cat: Why K–12 and University Education Are Still in the Dark Ages and How Citizen Science Allows for a Renaissance

    Authors: Robert R. Dunn1,2,*, Julie Urban3, Darlene Cavelier4, Caren B. Cooper3
    VIEW AFFILIATIONS HIDE AFFILIATIONS
    Affiliations: 1: Department of Applied Ecology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695; 2: W.M. Keck Center for Behavioral Biology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695; 3: North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, Raleigh, North Carolina, Raleigh, NC 27601; 4: Center for Engagement & Training in Science & Society, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • Published 01 March 2016
    • ©2016 Author(s). Published by the American Society for Microbiology.
    • [open-access] This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/legalcode), which grants the public the nonexclusive right to copy, distribute, or display the published work.

    • *Corresponding author. Mailing address: Department of Applied Ecology, 231 David Clark Labs, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695-7617. Phone: 919-513-7569. E-mail: [email protected].
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. March 2016 vol. 17 no. 1 4-6. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v17i1.1049
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    Abstract:

    At the end of the dark ages, anatomy was taught as though everything that could be known was known. Scholars learned about what had been discovered rather than how to make discoveries. This was true even though the body (and the rest of biology) was very poorly understood. The renaissance eventually brought a revolution in how scholars (and graduate students) were trained and worked. This revolution never occurred in K–12 or university education such that we now teach young students in much the way that scholars were taught in the dark ages, we teach them what is already known rather than the process of knowing. Citizen science offers a way to change K–12 and university education and, in doing so, complete the renaissance. Here we offer an example of such an approach and call for change in the way students are taught science, change that is more possible than it has ever been and is, nonetheless, five hundred years delayed.

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/content/journal/jmbe/10.1128/jmbe.v17i1.1049
2016-03-01
2019-06-25

Abstract:

At the end of the dark ages, anatomy was taught as though everything that could be known was known. Scholars learned about what had been discovered rather than how to make discoveries. This was true even though the body (and the rest of biology) was very poorly understood. The renaissance eventually brought a revolution in how scholars (and graduate students) were trained and worked. This revolution never occurred in K–12 or university education such that we now teach young students in much the way that scholars were taught in the dark ages, we teach them what is already known rather than the process of knowing. Citizen science offers a way to change K–12 and university education and, in doing so, complete the renaissance. Here we offer an example of such an approach and call for change in the way students are taught science, change that is more possible than it has ever been and is, nonetheless, five hundred years delayed.

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