I’ve been consumed by this topic all day as seen by two previous posts today about the science gap. I believe there is a clear need to improve the general public’s understanding of science and the scientific method. Doing so would make myths like the December 21, 2012 Mayan apocalypse less likely. Understanding science leads to a better informed public that can comment knowledgeably about current issues and policies that will impact the U.S. and globe now and in the future. Participation is a foundation of democracy, and a logical and rational electorate could help our nation tackle current and future troubles responsibly.
Now comes the huge, overwhelming question: Where do we start? How do we increase public interest and participation within the science community?
I am 34 years old. Growing up, we did not have a computer in our house, and I did not use the internet until college. It was a new, very different world surfing the internet. However, my 4 year old daughter will never have a memory of not owning a computer or iPad or TiVo. Times have changed with most people becoming more and more adept at using the internet and social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. We are all connected and have instantaneous information in real time at our fingertips. However, how many members of the general public surf STEM related websites? How many keep up to date on the latest findings within the science community or a particular field of personal interest? Sadly to say, a minority are fluent in the virtual avenues to pursue for these answers.
So, could we have a reliable social media portal where scientists can deposit and share their latests findings or innovations for the mass public to be informed? By reliable, I mean a portal or site in which only the most sound and accurate science will be taken seriously and pseudoscience can be weeded out. One way I can think of doing this would be if other scientists reviewed data or claims made, using their training and expertise, and serve as judges or examiners on behalf of the public. Pseudoscience and the like could quickly be discarded through this process. This would allow members of the public to have a “one stop shop” for reliable, objective knowledge that impacts their lives or will soon.
I am naive, and I’m not usually known to be an optimist. I am only a realist with a dream. To live in a nation of informed citizens based on logic, not ideology or propaganda. Am I alone?
- Neanderthal cloning chatter highlights scientific illiteracy | Reuters #science #scichat #STEM #scied (mhrussel.wordpress.com)
- Next Generation Science Standards: A ‘do over’ in teaching #STEM #science #Scicomm (mhrussel.wordpress.com)
- SciComm Matters Because … the Future Depends On It (scilogs.com)
- Materials for My #scichat Homies [Handouts] (teacherleaders.typepad.com)
- “Social Media for Science and Conservation: A Guide to Making an Impact in the Digital Age” (djslocker.org)