posted by: jdzurisin
I think I need to add “blog time” to my google calendar. I keep forgetting I have this thing, but I care about science and education and all that and I don’t want to fall away from discussing it while I’m not actively involved with NDeRC or some other teaching group. Now, carrying on…
Last December (was that really two months ago?!?) we had the third annual NDeRC forum thing. I have to say that I really liked the format this year, with the breakaway groups. The BioEYES session was fairly introductory, which turned out to be somewhat ineffective for the teachers that had already had it in their classrooms twice, but that could easily be solved by suggesting they attend another session. Or by turning those teachers into discussion leaders. I attended several small sessions and did enjoy talking with the teachers again. I’m not teaching this semester at all, and while I do miss leading a group of students, I also really miss working with the teachers. I don’t know how they maintain their level of enthusiasm working in South Bend public schools, but they do it admirably and I’m really thankful I had the opportunity to work in the trenches of education, if you will.
I was also present for Pat and Tom’s introductory session, and while I don’t clearly remember all of the details, I’m looking over my notes and seeing something Tom mentioned that fits well with another seminar I attended last fall. He said something to the effect of “we need to bring research, science, and math to people that have never experienced it.” Or maybe he didn’t say anything like that and that’s just how I interpreted it, I don’t know. But we’ll go with that statement.
Last fall I attended an ethics workshop, and also took the NIH ethics course for grad students. Although the main focus of the course was how to behave ethically as a scientist, ie, what constitutes authorship, issues surrounding peer review, conflicts of interest, etc., I wondered about my ethical obligations that extend to the community. I have all this knowledge of science and the scientific process (see my last blog entry) that is so critical for everyone to know about, and I feel almost obligated to share it. I don’t want to come across as obnoxious or arrogant though, and I think that can be tricky. Still, I want to share what I know and how I know it. Hmm… I’m kinda stumped. How do we as scientists educate the public without coming on too strong, seeming too arrogant, or making science seem wholly unaccessible?