I mostly covered the prompts for this post in my last one. I decided I wanted to present at the NSTA area conference in Portland in October 2013. But ever since I visited their site, I have been getting email alerts and am feeling as though I would like to try and attend their western area conference this year in Seattle, with the theme: For All For Now Forever, which I really resonate with.
Unfortunately, my school has no interest in science eduction, and so would not support my attendance, although I think it would be useful to me for planning my presentation for the following year. There is a Serious Play conference in Redmond Washington this fall which I am trying to get my school to support, as I am actively working on the gamification of my current film production course. However, two conferences a couple months apart, and both in Seattle just seems weird.
Reading about the scientific education community as part of this leadership project, especially with its STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fixation, has been highlighting for me the contrast between what I want to do (and what I think is more vitally important) and what the science literacy movement in general is aiming at. From a patriotic, business and economic perspective, we have a significant problem with there being too little interest among American students in working in the STEM fields. This is and will continue to cause us to fall behind in global technology development, which is the center of the emerging modern economy. Granted a big problem worth addressing.
But we have another problem, and that is that people who have no interest in anything STEM, and who moan “b-o-r-i-n-g” whenever anyone like myself talks about science, think of it as this esoteric geekdom, and write it off. In fact, among even among a whole wave of humanities scholars, there has been a movement of scientific criticism that, while sometimes valid, has also fostered an attitude that science is just one of many equally valid world views which has been falsely enshrined by an intellectual oligarchy.
So, I am not so interested in fostering an enthusiasm for STEM careers among gifted students, but in correcting the common misconception among lay folk that science is first, a body of anointed knowledge, and second, a belief system. I believe that it is this general and widespread conventional wisdom that discredits rigorous problem solving, which actually underlays not only our deficit of STEM professionals, but also other more common spiritual deficits in our culture.