Friday, March 09, 2012

A Call for More Hands-On Learning in Science

An Op-Ed: Learning by Doing

About college hands on science research and learning.

A quote, italics and bold are mine:

"Researchers have always successfully apprenticed budding scientists in their labs, and inquiry-based learning, research-based courses, and undergraduate research have nurtured the flame of interest students bring with them when they enter college. Decades of data show that this kind of engagement improves student retention, levels the playing field for students with varied backgrounds, and improves the quality of scientists produced.

However, such traditional models of engagement affect far too few students; the interaction occurs too late to change a student’s career trajectory; and the opportunity may simply not be available at some institutions. The challenge, highlighted in a President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology report on undergraduate education scheduled for release this month, is to substantially expand opportunities for undergraduate students to participate in research."

I would argue that apprenticeships should start before college admittance at the traditional age of 18. Kids younger than 18 may have the flame of curiosity ignited by doing real science. This is done in some magnet schools such as what is done in the high school years at Connecticut's Greater Hartford Academy of Math and Science.

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