Creating an Integrated Science Learning Environment, Dr.
In addition to the three online articles you’ll need to retrieve for
the seminar lessons, I do encourage you to take a look at the suggested
text, Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point. It offers an interesting
perspective on these seminars. For example, these two items from the
author's website help set an appropriate stage for this course.
Check out gladwell.com for more!
6. How would you classify The Tipping
Point? Is it a science book?
I like to think of it as an intellectual adventure story. It draws
from psychology and sociology and epidemiology, and uses examples from
the worlds of business and education and fashion and media. If I had to
draw an analogy to another book, I'd say it was like Daniel Goleman's
Emotional Intelligence, in the sense that it takes theories and ideas
from the social sciences and shows how they can have real relevance to
our lives. There's a whole section of the book devoted to explaining the
phenomenon of word of mouth, for example. I think that word of mouth is
something created by three very rare and special psychological types,
whom I call Connectors, Mavens, and Salesmen. I profile three people who
I think embody those types, and then I use the example of Paul Revere
and his midnight ride to point out the subtle characteristics of this
kind of social epidemic. So just in that chapter there is a little bit
of sociology, a little of psychology and a little bit of history, all in
aid of explaining a very common but mysterious phenomenon that we deal
with every day. I guess what I'm saying is that I'm not sure that this
book fits into any one category. That's why I call it an adventure
story. I think it will appeal to anyone who wants to understand the
world around them in a different way. I think it can give the reader an
advantage--a new set of tools. Of course, I also think they'll be in for
a very fun ride.
7. What do you hope readers will take away from the book?
One of the things I'd like to do is to show people how to start
"positive" epidemics of their own. The virtue of an epidemic, after all,
is that just a little input is enough to get it started, and it can
spread very, very quickly. That makes it something of obvious and
enormous interest to everyone from educators trying to reach students,
to businesses trying to spread the word about their product, or for that
matter to anyone who's trying to create a change with limited resources.
The book has a number of case studies of people who have successfully
started epidemics--an advertising agency, for example, and a breast
cancer activist. I think they are really fascinating. I also take a
pressing social issue, teenage smoking, and break it down and analyze
what an epidemic approach to solving that problem would look like. The
point is that by the end of the book I think the reader will have a
clear idea of what starting an epidemic actually takes. This is not an
abstract, academic book. It's very practical. And it's very hopeful.
It's brain software.
Beyond that, I think that The Tipping Point is a way of making sense
of the world, because I'm not sure that the world always makes as much
sense to us as we would hope. I spent a great deal of time in the book
talking about the way our minds work--and the peculiar and sometimes
problematic ways in which our brains process information. Our
intuitions, as humans, aren't always very good. Changes that happen
really suddenly, on the strength of the most minor of input, can be
deeply confusing. People who understand The Tipping Point, I think, have
a way of decoding the world around them.
http://gladwell.com/tippingpoint/index.html on March 22, 2007.
The design of this course is supported by the extensive research I did for my
Doctor of Philosophy thesis in Science Education. As you’ll see in the seminars, careers in science and education can change
with the times and advance in almost any direction you might choose. You’ll also
notice that communication and collaboration are keys to success in both science
and education. In the context of this course, the terms teacher and student are
The influence and ability of teachers impact every person within the
respective city, county, state, country, and ultimately the global community.
Because we live in a closed system, each of us must appreciate and value the
natural world. As citizens of this age, we must also be able to understand and
judge the science within it. Learning is not a time-constrained event. It is a
process that continues throughout each person’s life. Effective educators enable
individuals to realize their potential, developing lifelong learners – and
A multi-faceted learning environment makes content and pedagogy relevant. It
binds the basic strands of science, research, and science education together
through a deliberately designed program of study. Real-world experience,
presented in an openly versatile, inquiry-based product, weaves a single
tapestry that prepares our teachers to lead our students powerfully and wisely.
Theory does not effect change; people do. Teachers, in particular, must be
encouraged to exercise playfulness, ingenuity, and creativity. Always a matter
of context, ‘play’ is the free spirit of exploration, doing and being for its
own pure joy. Technique is acquired by “the practice of practice, by
persistently experimenting and playing with our tools and testing their limits
and resistances” (Nachmanovitch, 1990, p. 42). This course provides a tangible
opportunity for teachers to gain organized knowledge to make practical changes
Nachmanovitch, S. (1990). Free play: The power of improvisation in
life and the arts. Los Angeles: Jeremy P. Tarcher, Inc.
Hopefully you’re slightly curious as to what I
decided to research – or at least how I investigated this topic!