Thursday, September 19, 2013

Citizen Scientists | September 13, 2013

Jessica Anderson

As an educator, we have standards, goals, and objectives brought forth by others that we must meet and achieve with our students every year.  But when I think about my own classroom, what do I really want my students to accomplish? I'm an advocate of many types of learning including inquiry, PBL, blended-gamified, and online learning. But these are just the foundational pieces of learning in my classroom. If I do nothing more as an educator, my main goal for students is to help them become citizen scientists. When I say citizen scientist, I’m not referring to an amateur participating in public research.  I’m referring to a citizen who is scientifically “with-it,” aware of their environmental obligations, and interested in the importance of understanding and positively engaging in one's environment. Why is this important to me? My students live in an absolutely beautiful state. When they aren’t stuck in the brick-and-mortar building, they are out exploring their environment. Whether that exploration takes them to new places, environments they visit everyday, or to a virtual environment, I want them to be able to make sound scientific decisions while taking action. Isn’t that what learning is really about? Being able to apply scientific knowledge to your life and in return make thoughtful, beneficial and educated decisions. Would I be thrilled if a handful of my students actually became scientists? Of course I would. However, I’d be more thrilled if my students actually took the lessons they learn in science and make them a life reality.