Science education

We often hear talk these days about failure in leadership and gutless congress people. I understand wanting to keep out of the fray. Last year, I wrote about a reasonable proposal to help young people and unwittingly tapped into a strain of people out there with an amazing amount of hatred towards kids. That experience really made me appreciate the courage displayed by Senators Richard Durbin, Patrick Leahy, and Richard Lugar in not giving up on the Dream Act and working once again to try to see it get through ... Read more
Jonathan Eisen (@phylogenomics) shared this wonderful Lady Gaga lab spoof on Twitter the other day. It rocks. And, it makes me wonder if my pals who've been thinking about getting students interested in careers by having scientists talk on camera might be going at this the wrong way. Sure, videos of scientists talking are totally fascinating (yawn..) and... Oh right, where was I? Well, here's the thing. If you want to get kids interested in something, you have to use something that interests them. Your strategy isn't going ... Read more
If you're a high school or college student with an interest in biomedical sciences, or healthcare careers, the NIH has set up an electronic mentoring program to help you find a guide. The mentoring happens via email and students must be 16 yrs or older. The site claims the mentors are carefully screened. I'm not sure what screening means to the NIH. At our local high school, they used to require that mentors get fingerprinted and have a background check. Maybe NIH screening means you have to have gotten a grant ... Read more
Last summer, I had the good fortune to attend a conference in Washington D.C. on Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology education. There were lots of inspiring speeches, cool videos, and talks about building more student-centered classrooms and strategies for change. Surprisingly, many of the attendees seemed unaware that there is a group of instructors, and educational programs who embody this vision, albeit with a bit of twist. These are the biotech instructors and biotech education programs at the community colleges. Many of the ideas ... Read more
Okay, I'll grant that visiting Second Life can seem a bit uncomfortable, especially at first, but it does open some new doors and present an alternative to travel. In flu season, virtual visits could be the next best thing to being there. (Yikes, that sounds like an ad. No more yahoo news for me!) Here's where you can attend ScienceOnline 2010 in Second Life (http://slurl.com/secondlife/Research%20Triangle%20Park/ ... Read more
A common theme I hear in talks on personalized medicine, is that increased access to genomic data and medical literature are changing the relationship between doctors and patients. Patients are through being passive recipients of paternalistic health care. They are demanding to participate and be treated as partners with health care providers. Citizen science can serve a similar role. Just as personalized medicine is starting to make it possible for individuals to monitor and participate in their own personal health, citizen science is making it possible for people to ... Read more
When I was a post-doc, I spent a few months seriously thinking about changing careers and teaching high school. I might have followed through on that plan, too, but I didn't know how to pay for it. Today, if you have a background in science, technology, math, or engineering, you can retrain to become a teacher and the National Science Foundation will help. The Robert Noyce scholarship program has funds to help ease that transition to the classroom. From the NSF web site:
The Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program seeks to encourage talented science, technology, ... Read more
Do citizen science efforts ever go beyond "feel good" contributions? Do the data get published in peer-reviewed journals? In an earlier post, I started a list of citizen science projects that allow students to make a contribution. Many commentors are graciously adding to that list and I thank you all! I'm glad to learn there are so many interesting projects and ways for people to get involved. Science is so empowering! My question today concerns things like outcomes and deliverables. We' ... Read more
Next Saturday afternoon, at ScienceOnline2010, the science goddess, the chemspider, and I will be presenting a workshop on getting students involved in citizen science. In preparation, I'm compiling a set of links to projects that involve students in citizen science. If you know of any good citizen science efforts, please share them in the comments. Here we go! Before I start listing links, I am limiting this list to projects that ... Read more
Blaine Bettinger has an absolutely wonderful post where he compares his results for type 2 diabetes from 23andMe and DeCODEme. I really liked his post and I appreciated the way he showed the data from the two companies and elaborated on their interpretation of his genotype and his risk. Interestingly, his story goes beyond a simple relationship, where one base changes, one amino acid changes, and voila! you've got the disease. Bettinger describes what happens when there are changes in ... Read more

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