All About Science

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Why Technology is Essential to a 21st Century Education?

15 Characteristics of a 21st-Century Teacher | Edutopia

First, it is important to discuss the value 21st-century education technology brings to the classroom environment. There are four major areas:

First: The addition of technology into the classroom can help transform the classroom experience from a classic teacher-centered one into a student-centered experience – with students taking a more active role in their learning. In a student-centered classroom, the teacher becomes more of a guide as the students engage with and tackle the day’s lesson. And there is nothing better than seeing your students fully engaged! It is important to understand that integrating technology into the classroom is by no means a replacement for an effective teacher. To put it simply, the ideal classroom environment would be one that is student-centered and includes a carefully selected blend of instructional technologies with face-to-face communication.

Second: Technology provides teachers and students with access to a variety of educational resources that inspire creativity, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration.

  • It promotes inclusion and the development of digital literacy skills.
  • It extends learning beyond the text – and beyond the classroom walls.
  • It ultimately exposes students and teachers to new online global communities. This in turn promotes a global awareness, which is an essential component to a 21st century education.

Third: We all know that there have been, and will continue to be, different levels of students in our classrooms – and with uniquely important learning needs. Through the use of instructional technology, differentiated instruction can be made much easier. It can become more of a reality! With differentiated instruction, students are provided an education that is personalized – and that meets them where they are, developmentally. More students are able to benefit from this type of instruction. The use of technology also provides students access to very rich learning materials outside of the classroom.

Why Learning English Is So Important In The 21st Century

Finally, it is of paramount importance that while in school, students use tools that will best prepare them for their future academic and professional experiences. – This includes a blend of new tech and old tech. Integrating technology into the classroom provides students with a set of skills to navigate through the variety of online tools we have today! It also provides teachers opportunities to educate students on digital citizenship and the new challenges to academic integrity.

Sounds great, doesn’t it? But effective integration of technology into the classroom isn’t easy! Successful integration requires time, customization, experimentation, and support. While there are many schools successfully integrating technology into their classrooms, there is an even larger number of schools that are faced with obstacles impeding this process.

Here are a few of the current realities experienced in many K-12 schools in this process.
Schools struggle with finding meaningful, ongoing professional development experiences for their faculty regarding technology integration. Which tools should they learn? Who should go? How long will the skills they learn be relevant?

Current professional development opportunities tend to be highly inefficient when groups of teachers with dissimilar skills and backgrounds are learning new technologies together. Teachers sometimes struggle to see the personal, immediate benefit – and can disengage from the material. Even the most meaningful conferences and workshops don’t provide the managed follow-up to ensure that the newly acquired skills, strategies, and approaches are being developed and shared with the school community. Unfortunately, in many cases, the investments by the school and the teacher are quickly lost. Including technology in the classroom adds an extra layer of complexity to classroom management. Devices can quickly become a major distraction and not a meaningful learning tool.

UDL and 21st Century Learning | Faculty Focus

Lastly, a major obstacle for teachers and students is unreliable technology. Even the best-prepared lesson can collapse when there are technical issues! The typical teacher population in most schools includes novice, intermediate, and advanced technology users. Placement into each category is based on a teacher’s ability to integrate technology into their classroom. But exactly does it mean to “integrate technology”? How far do we need to go?

The following theoretical framework, known as the SAMR Model, explains four different levels associated with instructional technology use. Take a look at this video to learn more.

Effects of science and technology in everyday life

Technology in Everyday life – nailydelgado

In the present global situation, numerous powerful technologies have been developed to assist people in households and offices. Faster communication is made possible through mobile phones and the Internet. New technology impacts our daily lives in every field, from the cars, cell phones, computers and networks and power. In fact, humans have always been greatly affected with the developments in new technology. However, today new information technology is slightly complex with cloud computing, new methods of security and data encryption. It is a prevailing fact that new information technology not only benefits programmers, database managers, hardware engineers and network analysts but it also benefits the common user. New information technology was developed in 1940’s and 1950’s for the better working of military and universities.Buy These Notes in PDF Format

It is appraised by experts that continual progression of new technology and science made human life simpler. Works can be done easier through high-tech machines and equipment. It gives less work for humans and job can be done faster. It makes human to feel comfortable and easy to live. It also helps people to organize their daily activities. Nowadays, computer is the most useful and popular invention to every people. It is true because computer makes life more enjoyable and through this persons may be able to discover and explore new things. Using computer is like an adventure. It provides people all the information and is used to solve mathematical calculations. Through science and technology, it is easier for inhabitants to communicate with other people around the globe. It is also significant in the field of business because transactions and other events are done through the computer. Science and technology enables every people to live in an easy and modern way of life. It opens the door and allows people to enter into a new world which is fully developed and well civilized.

With the arrival of the internet and the cell phone, kids are also benefited. This new technology to the older generation is novice and unique in their lives. New science and technology offers breakthroughs in life times and children’s lifetimes too that will significantly impact the world in which people live. It is believed that scientific discovery and technological innovations in medical science will be able to cure cancer, HIV-AIDS and other life threatening diseases. New medical technology is being continuously developed, from clinical trials for pharmaceuticals to robotics for complex surgery.

New science and technology may also one day lead to mainstream alternative fuel vehicles, space travel for civilians, virtual reality conferences, a worldwide network of personal wireless electronics, data-transmission at the speed of thought, reversal of global warming and too many other innovations to mention. Latest research in computer science is not limited to medical, business, gadget, IT, space, and education. But it will mean better health, more knowledge and more power.

As technology has grown ever more prevalent in everyday life, so too has it  became important to the business world. Smart workplaces and new software  allow modern companies to reach new levels

New research technology is in a continuous process and researchers have explored new topics for investigations such as environment and renewable energy, space science, electronics, stem-cell investigations and many others. All these developments in human lives are wholly credited to the amazing invention of computers. The computer application is used and acknowledged worldwide. New models of computers are emerging daily, having different features, unique shapes and attractive designs.

Basically technical innovation of computers has changed the life of humans. It occupies a prominent place in their lives. Used and cheap computers are available in the market for the benefits of students and professionals, working mothers or for home-based jobs, from businesses to medicine, from education to aviation, from government departments to the corporate trading world, these used computers and refurbished laptops are performing incredible tasks. Cheap computers and refurbished laptops are available at very affordable rates to help students and young professionals to enhance their career.

Advancement in business technology help companies get an edge on their competition as well as bring more engaging products and services into the market place. But it must be realized that as new business technology will lead to more productivity, it will also create tough competition at global market.

It is documented in researches that the initiation of science and technology has brought so many progresses in the life of today in whole world. Science is the intelligent and practical activity incorporating the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment. It is the investigation of the understanding of the natural world. Technology is the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes. It is the use of the resources made available by nature to produce and make changes. Technology is the way we apply scientific knowledge for practical purposes. It includes machines such as computers but also procedures and processes. It might seem like all technology is only electronic, but that is just most modern technology.

As far scientific development is concerned, it is essential for the development of any nation. Its most important contribution is that it helps in creating the larger social ecosystem required for growth. It promotes new ideas, removes all feudal institutions, conservatism, superstitions. It makes society open to change which is essential for the growth of society. But it also creates many unintentional challenges and also may be inadequate by itself. So it is not a solution and needs to be managed well and supported by appropriate policy framework.

In India, in the year 1965, our Prime Minister Late Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri gave the slogan, “Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan”. It can be said that without scientific discovery, nation cannot progress. Military and farmers are main pillar of country and there is need for continual scientific development in these areas. In the year 1998, after the Pokaran tests, the then Prime Minister of India, Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee also gave the slogan, when the changed it to, “Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan, and Jai Vigyan”. It is equally important for a country to be self-sufficient and strong in the field of science and technology for development and make good position at global level.

Recently, Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, indicated that India is the only country in the world which has amalgamation of democracy, demography, and demand. Hence, he has invited foreign investors to invest to give the India economy global recognition with a slogan “Make in India”. However, PM Mr. Narendra Modi has stated that, Government was taking good initiatives for skill development to guarantee the availability of skilled manpower for manufacturing. Science and technology can assist to convert these ideas in creating jobs in India. Science and technology not only help in Making in India/Making for India but there is a need to “Made in India”. Since decades, India purchased technology from abroad to make enhancement and development in country. There is desperate need to give emphasis on technique and technology so that technology is generated indigenously through the help to transform indigenous India as well as transforming global technology for Made in India. India has taken major steps in the field of science and technology and it has left its mark on every aspect of human life. From the development of various vaccines to genetically modified crops, Tissue Culture, Ayuraved, Homoepathy, Naturapathy or the launch of Aryabhatta to the development of ICBMs, India has showed its immense power to world that its science and technology is higher as compared to other countries.

India has taken major steps in the field of science and technology and it has left its mark on every aspect of human life. From the development of various vaccines to genetically modified crops, Tissue Culture, Ayuraved, Homoepathy, Naturapathy or the launch of Aryabhatta to the development of ICBMs, India has showed its immense power to world that its science and technology is higher as compared to other countries.

What is technology? And why is it so important for us in everyday life? -  voestalpine

It is recognised that technological advancement and scientific innovations are significant at the time to different ages in different societies, psychologically if not practically, in a variety of modern societies, for example, young people presently feel a heightened empathy with the digital age (Bennett and Maton, 2010). Many studies have shown that as globalisation becomes an progressively significant factor in’ economic success of nations, technological competence is also vital tool for surviving and prospering not only in society, but in its constituent parts, such as employment, education, agriculture, and industry.

To summarise, science and technology is major threads of global society to live in enhanced way. Technological advancements have shown a substantial growth concerned with each and every field whether it be the communication systems, astronomy, semiconductor devices, automobiles, and electronic devices of daily usage, bio-electronic devices, building and architectural design techniques or the computers. India has made unparalleled development in the arena of scientific research and technology during the post-independence period and there are countless possibilities. It is well established in scientific studies that progress of science and technology in India has been quite significant. Innovative methods, products and better quality goods have been developed in the country. India has made fast progress in the frontline areas of science and technology like space research and atomic energy. There is a need to plan and organize in a way so as to be able to harness intellectuals in the right direction and provide it with the right opportunities. Science and technology are used as an effectual instrument for progress and change. It is being brought into the mainstream of economic planning in the sectors of agriculture, industry, and services. The country’s resources are used to derive the maximum production for the benefit of humanity and improvement in the quality of life.

Why Science Education is Important in Early Childhood

Science Education | Department of Curriculum & Pedagogy

Young children are naturally inquisitive, full of questions about the world around them, and the drive to investigate how things work. It follows, therefore, that we should take advantage of this innate curiosity and start channeling their enthusiasm for scientific discovery as early on as possible. In this article, we’ll explore some of the reasons why science education is so important in early childhood, and how you can support this in your childcare setting.

The Benefits of Early Years Science Education

Providing opportunities for scientific discovery in early years settings is beneficial to young children in several ways:

1. It can foster a lifelong love of science

Children are programmed to explore and experiment right from the start, even as babies. On the other hand, research suggests that by the age of 7, most children have developed either a positive or negative attitude towards science education that will remain entrenched. So by tapping into their natural predispositions early on, during this key developmental phase, we can nurture and establish a positive approach to science education that will stay with them into the future.

Early Years Science Education - Happy ChildStarting early helps foster a lifelong love of science

2. It gives a basic grounding in scientific concepts and scientific thinking

Even the very simplest activities can introduce children to scientific concepts and stimulate scientific thinking. Early years science education can provide a strong foundation in terms of both what is learned, and how it’s learned, that will stand them in good stead. By encouraging and directing their natural curiosity, and familiarising them with basic scientific vocabulary, early years educators can help children begin to make sense of the world around them, and gain some understanding of how things work.

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3. It supports the development of other skills and attributes

Science education activities provide children with opportunities to develop and practice many different skills and attributes. These include communication skills, collaborative skills, team working and perseverance, as well as analytical, reasoning and problem-solving skills. Help them expand their vocabulary by using scientific terms that are appropriate for their age group. Encourage them to extend and embed their learning through related literacy, numeracy and creative activities.

Early Years Science EducationScience activities provide opportunities to develop collaboration and communication skills

Taking the right approach to early years science education

When it comes to instigating early years science education in your childcare setting, there are plenty of resources available to get you started, as well as ideas for activities (see, for example, our article on ‘10 Early Years Science Activities EYFS‘). But there are also some key considerations to keep in mind:

  • The process is more important than the results: although it’s really valuable for the children to gain some scientific understanding along the way, finding the ‘right’ answer should not be your topmost objective; the main goals are to channel their curiosity, and to foster their investigative skills.
  • Be open to child-led discovery: as well as organising specific activities for the children to participate in, try to look out for spontaneous, daily opportunities for scientific discovery, guided by you but ultimately led by the children. Encourage them to always experiment and ask questions, and make sure you have plenty of resources available for them to use.
Early Years Science EducationChild-led discovery activities are a great way to encourage scientific curiosity
  • Offer active, fun, hands-on experiences: most young children love physical exploration – the messier the better – so if you can tap into this, their favoured learning style, you’ll find it much easier to engage them and maintain their interest. Keep activities short and varied, and always make sure that there is plenty of opportunity for active, first-hand involvement for everyone.

The Use of Science in Environmental Decision Making

A Student's Guide to Conservation and Environmental Science - Best Degree  Programs

The level of scientific literacy in the United States is low by so many measures there isn’t a reason to rollout the data on science education in the United States to make the point. With a determined effort, we could overcome our science literacy problem, but I see no sign of deep concern about the state of science education. The impact of our lack of science literacy can be seen in decision making in the White House and in regulatory agencies like EPA that are aggressively resisting science. Environmental science is seen as biased and even anti-capitalist. I’m certain this is the result of climate and other environmental scientists expressing their alarm about the impact of pollution on the planet and their effort to communicate that threat. Instead of debating the validity of scientific findings on scientific grounds, some people reject environmental science entirely. This exacerbates our science literacy problem and is profoundly troubling.

We live in a complex world, built by centuries of scientific advances from the Enlightenment to the present. That world provides enormous benefits like the computer I am writing this on, but also creates enormous risks ranging from global warming to biodiversity loss to exposure to toxic substances. We rely on science for our comforts and economic advances, but also for the analysis of risk and methods of mitigating or reducing risk. To some, the science that yields economic benefit seems pure but the science that identifies potential costs seems biased.

Science is not without value choices and ideology. The problems that scientists choose to study reflect what they consider important and what they consider to be important reflects their values. An earth scientist’s values may simply be the advance of human knowledge about how the earth works and may have little connection to any concerns about the impact of humans on the planet’s well-being, but even the goal of advancing knowledge must also be seen as a value choice. While values play a role in science, the scientific method places a high value on the role of measurement and observations. In other words, a high value is placed on verified facts and observations. Good science tries to reduce bias. The scientific method itself, the importance of replicability, peer review and other standards of scientific inquiry are designed to make it possible to establish facts. These methods are reasonably clear, and most scientists and students of science know how to distinguish sound science from unsound science. But scientific illiterates, like President Donald Trump and a number of other government and business leaders, can’t distinguish sound science from unsound science and they assume that environmental science reflects the biases of the “ideological” scientists who choose to study environmental issues.

Some political leaders assume that scientific analysis is like political analysis, subject to spin and a wide range of interpretations. While new discoveries and observations may be interpreted in a variety of ways, the goal of science is to achieve consensus. Scientists read the challenges to their work and learn from critiques and from each other. That is a key way that scientific knowledge expands. A competent doctor will encourage patients to get a second opinion of a diagnosis. In fact, they will engage colleagues in that effort before informing a patient of their diagnosis.

While science operates according to a carefully constructed and reasonably well understood set of norms, it can and has been corrupted by economic power. Tobacco interests were famous for paying scientists to downplay the connection between smoking and lung cancer. Most recently we saw the conflict between sound science and economic interest in EPA as that agency tried to decide how to regulate asbestos. Lisa Friedman of the New York Times reported last week that:

Celebrating Earth Day & the Environmental Benefits of Electricity -  Carolina Country

“Senior officials at the Environmental Protection Agency disregarded the advice of their own scientists and lawyers in April when the agency issued a rule that restricted but did not ban asbestos, according to two internal memos…Andrew Wheeler, the E.P.A. administrator, said when the rule was issued that it would significantly strengthen public health protections. But in the memos, dated Aug. 10, more than a dozen of E.P.A.’s own experts urged the agency to ban asbestos outright, as do most other industrialized nations…It was not the first time administration has sidelined government scientists. Under President Trump, the E.P.A. has rolled back environmental protections and come under criticism for relaxing rules on toxic chemicals. Last month, the agency weakened a proposed standard for cleaning up groundwater pollution caused by toxic chemicals. In March, it scaled back a proposed ban on a deadly chemical in paint strippers. And it has rejected a proposed ban on the use of chlorpyrifos, a pesticide that has sickened farm workers and been linked to developmental disabilities in their children…”

The Trump EPA rarely misses an opportunity to tilt a regulation away from human and environmental safety toward a narrow but well defined economic benefit.  During the 2020 presidential campaign, we will hear that this anti-regulatory zeal has contributed to the business confidence that has contributed to the economic growth we have seen during the Trump Administration. While the idea horrifies me, business antipathy to regulation seems hard-wired into America’s culture. The counter to that cultural norm takes place when there has been an empirical demonstration of harm. When the same type of Boeing jet crashes twice within months for reasons that seem suspiciously similar, business leaders join the public in a call for greater government oversight.

We put our faith in companies and governments to protect us against potential risks we don’t understand in order to benefit from products and services that provide the benefits we want. It is a science that creates the technologies we don’t understand but benefit from and it is a science that must be relied on to alert us to the risks of these technologies. But the system breaks down if the science is not objective, not understood, or ignored.

The risks caused by toxic substances in our environment, or by pollutants like greenhouse gases, are complicated. Sometimes causality is difficult to prove. Sometimes danger is in the future and models must be developed to project future harm. The danger to children of lead in water is long-term and may not be immediately obvious. The impact of smoking on your lungs is also not immediate. The danger of flawed software in an airplane is sadly more immediate and the outcome more dramatic. Biodiversity, on the other hand, is maintained by a complex web of biological and chemical relationships that scientists can spend a lifetime studying and still know only a fraction of the reality of risk posed to any given ecological system.

What decision-makers need is at least a minimal understanding of chemistry, biology, physiology, physics, and ecology to undertake sophisticated and effective environmental decision-making. They also need to value the preservation of the planet for posterity. The need for a viable planet is obvious to many people, but not to everyone. Jeff Bezos recently presented his vision of space travel that would create artificial environments in outer space for a trillion earthlings. I guess a trillion would include a lot of Amazon Prime customers. According to a recent piece by Kenneth Chang of the New York Times:

Premium Photo | Environment earth day in the hands of trees growing  seedlings.

“Mr. Bezos described on Thursday a dreamy, ambitious vision of the future: a trillion people in space, living not on moons or planets, but bucolic space colonies…He spent the first half of the presentation selling the idea of space and countering criticisms that space exploration is a frivolous pursuit that diverts people’s attention from pressing problems on Earth. But he argued that humanity must eventually push into space. Rising energy consumption is crucial to raising the standard of living for more people, but “We will run out of energy,” Mr. Bezos said. “This is just arithmetic. It’s going to happen.”At that point, to remain on Earth would require rationing and declining opportunities. But the rest of the solar system offers virtually limitless resources. “Do we want stasis and rationing or do we want dynamism and growth?” he asked rhetorically. “This is an easy choice. We know what we want. We just have to get busy.”

It may be that someday we will develop the technology to live in outer space, it may be that we will so poison the planet that we’ll have no choice. But the scientific case made by Bezos claims that we will run out of energy. That is a scientific conclusion that may well be worthy of study. But Bezos cites no study when he makes the claim. He might want to take a closer look at the sun as a source of energy. Other decision-makers have dismissed climate change, the impact of asbestos, smoking, and countless other dangers. They assert scientific conclusions that fit into their plans to accumulate money, power, or both. We need to do a better job of integrating scientific knowledge into management decision-making. If we don’t we will leave ourselves open to sales pitches ranging from Bezos futuristic vision to Trump’s more nostalgic rap. The world is too complicated, interconnected, and dangerous to act without real scientific observations and analysis. Contact us for more information.


Impact of Information Technology on Society

Information has become an important part of our daily lives and we are living in the age of information. Information has a great impact on our society. Technology is playing a crucial role  in the success of organizations in the ‘information age.’ The changing times and the invention of the computer have transformed every aspect of our society. However, the rapid growth of technology has both positive and negative aspects in our lives. Information technology is a broad subject concerned with all aspects of managing and processing information, especially within a large organization or company. IT is generally not used in reference to personal or home computing and networking.

The impact of Information technology is increasing day by day. Every day, we use Information technology in several ways. Computers are highly affordable and thus reach a larger number of consumers. IT has not only brought the world closer but also made it an interdependent system.  It means we can share information quickly and effectively, without bothering about geographical distance.

With the help of IT communication has become cheaper, faster, and more efficient.  With the help of the internet, direct, face-to-face communication has become so easy. Even mobile phones have become cheaper, which have modern facilities to communicate effectively.

The most important of IT has been the job recruitments. Student study IT and thus the rate of employment is increasing with time. Youths are highly inclined towards IT as it has a wider scope of jobs openings. Employment opportunities are also rising.

Industry experts believe, that technology keeps on changing every day. Thus, to keep pace IT practitioners need to constantly study and keep themselves updated with the change for their job security.

It is a true fact that we are living in the era of computers and technologies. The impact of these new technologies is enormous. In many aspects we find IT solving complex problems very efficiently. With increasing technologies, the world is now a smaller and united place to live in.

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The Role of Science in the 21st Century

The challenging environment for science in the 21st century

The Look and Feel of 21st Century Science | by Joe Brewer | Age of  Awareness | Medium

Successful universities the world over are deeply connected with the social, economic and political environment in which they serve. However, universities should also operate independently as they are not factories or political tools, and they do not need charismatic leaders the way armies and churches might.

Universities are collectives, and open, critical discourse based on democratic principles is essential for their success. As part of their time-honoured compact with society, universities should not blandly surrender to outside pressures, but actively and critically engage with them.

Social and political context

There are an increasing number of national imperatives that universities need to consider in deciding how to position themselves. For instance, since the dawn of South Africa’s democracy, there has been a push to broaden access to higher education in order to accommodate more students with different prior experiences, different goals and ambitions, and different levels of preparedness. Importantly, transformation of our universities has included calls to diversify the professoriate and to change the culture of universities.

The weak South African economy suggests that the country’s universities should prepare their students more directly for the job market. There are cries for a stronger focus on practical skills development, almost akin to vocational training. There is an expectation that academics and researchers should make more direct contributions to marketable innovations, and be more inventive with developing practical applications and solutions to everyday problems.

Funding agencies call for research programmes with more direct relevance to South Africa. There are, thus, enormous pressures for curriculum reform, and invariably arguments for decolonisation, with all its political ramifications.

Coupled to the above, a burgeoning agenda for African development is being set by the African Union’s Agenda 2063, and looking further afield, the global socio-economic and political environment for change is being defined fairly comprehensively by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. These are further considerations that universities are being asked to take on board to frame their research and teaching programmes if they are going to be relevant in the future.

Politicisation of research

Bringing 21st-century science into schools -

The challenges for science in the 21st century do not end there. A real problem today is that truth is increasingly being undervalued, and scientific research is becoming politicised, for example, in the context of climate change. This is a scourge that is spreading world-wide.

The efforts required to advance knowledge for societal benefit are not always understood and appreciated by society, including by decision-makers. The need for an independent, critical academy is not always appreciated and, on the contrary, is often seen to be a threat by many autocratic regimes.

It is becoming difficult to discriminate between real and bogus information ‘out there’ because much of the information on the internet has not been sufficiently tested for veracity and truth. Lies can be propagated at a phenomenal rate. For universities, which should pride themselves on uncovering the truth, this is debilitating. In this environment, it is also becoming more difficult to counter plagiarism and protect intellectual property – matters that are of profound importance for our universities.

Most, but not all, citizens of the world have free and easy access to information, which begs the question: “Are our universities becoming less relevant?” They will be if educational and research systems are not adjusted. We certainly need more discussion on how universities should change, and this will remain a hotly contested area in planning for the future of universities for many years to come.

Global challenges

There is a growing number of substantive challenges in academia. Across a majority of disciplines, we are moving into the era of extremely large data sets, calling for smarter and more secure means of storing and transporting data, as well as accessing and mining data intelligently for research and decision-making.

This means that an increasing number of researchers across many different disciplines, including the humanities and social sciences, need to become more computationally competent. In addition, these researchers need to be preparing to work in larger, multidisciplinary teams to resolve quantitative problems more effectively. While this need is set to grow, this transition is arguably not happening fast enough.

The world-wide science system has become enormous, and it is proving to be extremely difficult to keep up with research outputs in one’s own narrow research area of interest, let alone more broadly. The flood of information is overwhelming and we need smarter ways to keep up, or else we run the risk of duplicating efforts and falling behind.

On the topic of peer-reviewed publications, it has finally dawned on academics and universities that they should not be paying exorbitant costs to access publicly-funded research and in so doing enrich large corporations. The entire world of publications in this age of the internet is in a process of radical change. Academics need to seriously contemplate the pros and cons of open access, and actively participate in the global discussions currently taking place, for example, around the proposed European Plan S.

Developing science responsibly

There are enormous disparities in science around the world, which demand that we think more deeply about how we develop science more extensively on a global scale for the good of all of humanity.

The big science questions need big – meaning expensive – research infrastructures. This calls for large, multidisciplinary teams and multinational collaborations. We must ask how we can participate more effectively, especially from the southern tip of Africa. The rest of Africa is falling behind because there has been relatively little commitment from many African countries to invest in scientific research infrastructure and in people development. This will continue to hold Africa back.

South Africa is globally connected though the internet, which means that the country is also susceptible to international terror through breaches in cybersecurity. The ways in which some international agencies and governments are protecting themselves against cyber-attacks are top secret for obvious reasons, which means that many countries in the developing world are left in the dark and will need to figure out their own solutions. African countries and their universities need to invest in their own programmes to interrogate cybersecurity for their own well-being and national security.

Open-ended, unfettered science in its purest form has, over the centuries, been pursued in the interests of understanding nature in a fundamental way, and long may that continue. Scientific ideas and discoveries have often been very successfully exploited for commercial gain and societal improvements, and much of the science system today the world over is designed to push scientists in the direction of more relevance. The applications of science coupled with critical thought have been essential in solving many problems facing society.

Usually, that impact has been positive, but not always. There has been collateral damage and unintended consequences along the way; for example, plastics in our oceans, and other harmful environmental effects. The military has been a strong supporter of science in many countries, including during apartheid South Africa. Science has been driven in particular ways to gain superior might. Many authoritarian states, such as North Korea, have invested significantly in a very narrow set of scientific endeavours and technologies with a singular purpose in mind.

Through the millennia, there has always been the potential for scientific outputs to be misused, from the time the simple domestic knife was invented. Science in the wrong hands can be catastrophic – and a climate for the misuse of science is growing.

Limited global resources

Some of the more difficult questions that academics need to think about relate to the consequences of the rapidly increasing global population and the stress this places on our resources and environment. This is already resulting in a power struggle for limited resources. The future of the human race depends on scientists finding more intelligent answers to difficult questions, and here researchers have a central role to play.

With the rapidly increasing world population one can conclude that, purely from a statistical viewpoint, each life is becoming less significant. It should boggle the mind, then, to think about what this could imply in terms of the potential for increased unethical behaviour towards our fellow human beings, for example, in terms of mass exterminations, human experimentation and cruelty.

We should think deeply about this and how academics can try to counter these tendencies in their work – by identifying the problem early on, and proposing solutions before the problem gets beyond our control.

History will show that so much has been accomplished by so few with so little over the past 100 years. This period has been unprecedented in the history of the human race. It is difficult to believe that the electron was discovered just over 100 years ago, and through science and the applications of science, technology, industrialisation and commercialisation, and sheer ingenuity, humans have been able to harness the fullest potential of the electron to fundamentally change the way in which we live our lives, not only in a technical sense, but also in a social sense. This tiny particle has come to define our age, namely the electronic age.

This stunning growth over a short period does raise unrealistic expectations that new scientific ideas and technologies needed to solve challenges in the 21st century will emerge just as easily, just as rapidly and just as cheaply, with the snap of a finger, so to speak.

But that is not correct.

Support for science

Our universities are working under extremely tight fiscal constraints. Academics are being asked to do much more with much less at a time when our universities are under enormous pressures to be ‘world class’. Science needs much more support for the public good.

In striving to be nationally responsive and world class, South African science must be connected with the global environment that frames science. We should be consolidating and setting the foundations to be world class. We need to be excellent in all aspects of the academic enterprise including our management, operations, teaching and learning, research and external engagements.

Universities in South Africa have been in a state of stress for a while, and one wonders whether an era of stability is possible in which to focus on core functions.

A successful and prosperous South Africa depends on a modern, scientifically literate and technically competent workforce, and here, universities have a central role to play. They are a precious resource.

Stakeholders need to engage more intelligently and constructively with each other within and without the university, or the idea of the university will be under threat. We are but temporary custodians of the institutions we inherit. The hope and expectation are that we will build on the foundations that have been laid by others over the years, and to leave it in a better state than we found it.

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Nithaya Chetty is professor of physics at the University of Pretoria and dean-elect of the faculty of science at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa. He is vice president of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics. He writes in his personal capacity.

Blogging in the 21st-Century Classroom

Photo credit: iStockPhoto

This year, I admitted a hard truth to myself. I wasn’t having my students write enough. In an attempt to follow Kelly Gallagher’s advice that students should write more than we can assess, I decided to have them blog weekly.

One Assignment, Many Objectives

After giving students some practice and solidifying my ideas by talking to a colleague and past student, I developed this assignment. I tried to ensure that the assignment would:

  • Address multiple Common Core standards
  • Hold students accountable while minimizing stress
  • Be structured enough to provide clarity while giving freedom to experiment
  • Be varied enough to keep students engaged
  • Get students to write for multiple purposes

I introduced blogging to my juniors, reminding them to keep an open mind about this experiment (they could relate to that; I teach in a STEM school that focuses on life science and experimental research). We spent one-period creating profiles and writing ungraded posts to get to know the interface. (Side note: students are allowed to make blogs private as long as they provide access to me. As far as I know, no one has chosen this option.) After that, I let them loose.

It. Is. Awesome.

Skill and Enthusiasm

First and foremost, student writing is improving by leaps and bounds. When I read their blogs (which, by the way, are mature, insightful, funny, and engaging), I don’t find myself pulling my hair out over the careless mistakes they make in formal papers. Not every post is perfect, but the majority are well written and free of grammar and usage issues that I am so familiar with seeing in their other work. If they become sloppy, all I need to do is politely comment about it on their blog, and I don’t see it again.

Their improved skills transfer to formal work. Integrating quotations in literary papers has become simple now that we have so much practice with smoothly embedding hyperlinks. Additionally, student response to texts has improved; some of the posts they must write are based on stimulus texts of their choice. Once a student blogs about archetypes in Kim Possible, tackling Pride and Prejudice becomes that much easier.

Students’ persuasive writing is improving, too. A mini-lesson and quick in-class prompt using rhetorical questions has resulted not only in well-argued blog posts but also in students excitedly telling me how they used that technique for their HSPA persuasive task.

Benefits extend beyond the classroom. Introverted students tend to share more online than they do in person; blogging is an invaluable way for me to get to know them better as people and students. It’s also great to see reserved students garnering attention from their peers. Furthermore, students understand the importance of hearing many voices. One recently noted that she enjoys the blogs because “[s]ome of the quieter folks during the discussion can talk about their opinions too, so we finally get to hear them.”

Less Agonizing Pain

It’s no secret that students value an authentic audience for their writing. One student enthusiastically posted on my class Facebook wall that his blog post turned his friend into a Dave Matthews Band fan. As the new fan says, it’s “the power of the pen (or the keyboard in this case)”! Additionally, I post exemplars on a student showcase, and students are visibly proud when I ask for permission to share their work with a broader audience.

I surveyed students for feedback, and the majority of responses were favorable. Here are a few:

  • “[I]t forces me to write. I usually try to write a couple times a month on my own but that is pushed to the side when I have too much homework.”
  • “It is a good way to have us write without it being formal or full of pressure. I also like the fact that I have control over what I write about, and that definitely makes the assignment easier.”
  • (my personal favorite) “I don’t like any assignments in general. However, I feel like the loose nature of the structure of the assignment makes it less agonizingly painful to do than most other assignments.”

If making my homework “less agonizingly painful” than other assignments isn’t a success, I don’t know what is!

Of course, some students aren’t enamored by blogging, expressing frustration with the class-related response (one of the required posts). I can understand their point, though I keep the assignment as written because I want to provide them with different levels of challenge. If the passion and free-choice posts are easy, the class-related responses should be more difficult. This reinforces the fact that writers need to have a broad repertoire when they encounter more challenging tasks.

I believe this assignment can be adapted to every grade and subject area. Encouraging students to blog about topics from other classes helps them see connections among subjects and realize that writing is a worthwhile skill in any field. As an added bonus, blogging addresses many of the Common Core literacy standards that most teachers now need to address.

Have you tried blogging in the classroom? Or will you? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

How do we affect our evolution?

Scientists sometimes conceal a lack of knowledge with vague words | Science  News

Medical advances

In the past, those of our ancestors who were best adapted to the environment passed on their genes to their offspring. Today, medical advances have allowed those that would not previously have survived to reproduce and contribute to the human gene pool. The benefits to the individual person are obvious. However, due to the size of our population, this has little effect on the overall genetic make-up of our species. The major consequence of medicine has been the increase of genes that have little or no resistance to disease. In the future, there will be a greater reliance on medicine for survival rather than genetic adaptations.

Curing disease

Infectious diseases are one of the major causes of human mortality and were responsible for over 25 per cent of all deaths in developed nations prior to the introduction of antibiotics in the 1940s. The application of vaccinations and antibiotics has reduced this figure to about 1 per cent. Unfortunately, not all humans share such access to modern medicine and preventable infectious disease remains the largest killer of people in developing nations, accounting for over 40 per cent of all deaths. In the developed world, over-use of antibiotics has led to most of the harmful bacteria becoming immune, so that many infectious diseases are once again becoming significant killers.

Living longer

The last century has seen a tripling of newborn life expectancy in developed nations. This means that nearly all children in those countries will survive childhood and live to the age that they can reproduce. This, rather than increased adult survival, is one of the major causes behind the increase in average life expectancy, and is linked to improvements in medicine and hygiene.

Reproducing later

UNESCO, WHO and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights call for “open  science”

An interesting consequence of improved medical technology is that humans can now reproduce, or prefer to reproduce, at a later age. This increases the chance of a mutation occurring in the sex cells and being passed on to offspring. The long-term effect is that more genetic mutations, and hence variation, will be introduced into the human gene pool.

Fixing our genes: the human genome project

This research project, overseen by the Human Genome Organisation, is locating and mapping every gene contained in human DNA. By knowing the position of each gene, it is possible to understand what they do and how genetic diseases arise. The impact of this will be felt in every area of biology and medicine throughout the next century, with huge implications for the prevention and diagnosis of disease. Scientists predict that some potential diseases will be cured at the molecular level before they arise in an individual.

Technological advances

Technology has helped us to become the first species capable of adapting the environment, to a certain degree, to suit ourselves. This has reduced the need to rely on genetic adaptations like our ancestors did in the past. We now have the ability to live in any climate and, assisted by transportation, have become a global species.

Technology has also had a negative impact on our species. It has been responsible for the deaths of millions- through war, environmental pollution and degradation and the introduction and spread of disease.

Technology and the end of isolation

In the past, our ancestors lived in small, isolated populations, where inbreeding was common and genetic mutations could spread easily. Over time this could lead to the evolution of a new species. We now live in a highly populated world where we have the ability to travel anywhere and potentially share our genes with anyone. The end of isolation has significantly reduced the chance of evolutionary change.

The impact of agriculture on human evolution

The role of agriculture was important in the development of civilisation and the ability to sustain large populations of people. It has also been responsible for the introduction of diseases, such as smallpox and measles, which developed from diseases plaguing domestic animals about 10,000 years ago. Although farmers eventually evolved genes resistant to these diseases, hunter-gatherers died in droves when they were first affected.

Genetic adaptations evolving from agricultural lifestyles

Many groups have developed specialised eating habits due to their lifestyle. One such habit that has been identified as a genetic trait is the ability to digest milk as an adult. All infant mammals rely on milk for sustenance but, as they grow older, the enzyme that digests lactose (a sugar found in milk) disappears. This means adult mammals cannot normally tolerate milk. However, as a result of an agricultural ancestry, some adults, like the Masai of Kenya, the Beduoin and most Europeans, are still able to digest milk. Others, such as Australian Aborigines and west and central Africans, find milk indigestible. This adaptation probably only evolved in the last 10,000 years as agriculture developed and animal milk was collected and consumed.

Will we become extinct?

The fossil record demonstrates that all organisms exist for a limited time span and then become extinct. This suggests that extinction would also be the expected outcome for our own species. Some of the extinction events in the past, such as meteorite or comet impacts, are beyond our control. Most other causes of extinction, including major climate change, can now be overcome by technology, if we are willing to act. Although technology may allow us to avoid the fates of all other species, if we are not careful how we use it, technology could also lead to the destruction of our planet.

Meteorite or comet impact

Major collisions like this are a statistical certainty in the Earth’s future, and would be catastrophic for most species. The ‘nuclear winter’ that could follow the impact would profoundly disturb global ecology, leading to mass extinction. Around 500 meteorites hit the Earth each year, with most landing in the oceans.

Spread of plagues and viruses

In the age of travel it is easy for disease to become pandemic (widespread) overnight. Crowded cities and poor hygiene are breeding grounds for many of these organisms. New strains of virus and bacteria can develop rapidly, with new types emerging that we are not aware of and that we may not be able to fight effectively.

The worst pandemic in modern times was the bubonic plague or Black Death (caused by the bacteria Yersinia pestis) which occurred in Europe between 1346 and 1353. Over one third of the population died from this disease. Other outbreaks occurred over the centuries but the plague is now eradicated from Europe, although it still exists in other regions of the world.

Destruction of the biosphere

We are the only species capable of destroying the biosphere. Many ecosystems have now been lost through pollution, land clearance,climate change and overpopulation. We cannot have such an affect on our planet without feeling the impact of our actions in the future.

How to Teach Kids Science and Why It’s Important

Young boy looking at flower through magnifier

Science has led to the discovery of everything from gravity to medicine. Science is based on curiosity—and when children aim to learn more about the world around them, it is science that often holds the clues they need for a better understanding.

Why Science Matters in Daily Life

Science, directly and indirectly, influences all aspects of everyday life. From the food we eat to the way we get around, science is everywhere. Once you begin to see all the opportunities to learn, the relationship between science and critical-thinking skills become apparent.

Beginning when children are very young, science helps shape their development. As they learn to ask questions, make predictions, observe, test, and then communicate their findings, they are developing critical science skills.

Kids should learn science because:

  • Science helps children develop key life skills, including an ability to communicate, remain organized and focused, and even form their own opinions based on observation. Science also helps children develop their senses and overall awareness.
  • Children are hands-on learners, and the world around them provides so many natural opportunities. That is why you should never underestimate the power of learning through play. Interacting with their environment will support their intellectual development.
  • Children are primed for learning, and what they learn while they’re young can impact their interests later in life. Studies have shown that students begin to develop an interest in  science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) during the elementary years. Having an interest and knowledge in these subject areas provides future career opportunities.

Parents Want to Help Their Children Learn Science

A recent study, conducted by the Education Development Center and SRI International, found that while 9 out of 10 parents help their young children complete learning activities daily, only around half say that these activities are science-based.

Although parents are eager to teach their children science-related topics, many admit that they lack the tools and confidence to do so. Unfortunately, this is a missed opportunity—and for the most part, the concept of “science” is being overthought.

Science can be simple, and it can be fun. Whether you head out into the backyard to observe a colony of ants or watch a storm roll in, these everyday scenarios are learning opportunities parents can take advantage of.

Tips to Help Children Learn Science

  • Explore, explore, explore! Science is everywhere, which is why a visit to the park or an afternoon in the yard provide so many opportunities to learn. Always encourage your child to question their surroundings, and then discuss. If there is something you’re unsure of, research and learn the answer together. You don’t need to know all the answers—in fact, as a parent, it is beneficial when YOU ask questions and model curiosity as well.
  • Remember, science is cumulative. This means that children will build knowledge from what they already know. Start celebrating science in your home as early as possible, discuss science-based topics daily, and make it fun! Whether that means you head out for a special family constellation night or bake a cake, these are everyday opportunities that allow you to discuss science.
  • Always consider your child’s individual personality, interests, and social habits. This will allow you to come up with engaging activities that make them feel excited yet comfortable. Also, be mindful of what your child wants to do, as this will heighten their ability to learn.
  • Invest in a few pieces of equipment if your child is interested in learning more. An inexpensive microscope, for instance, could turn a trip to your local pond into an afternoon of wonder and learning. There are so many fun toys that will also get kids involved, including ant farms, astronomy kits, and kitchen science experiments, so have fun with science!

In addition to exploring and communicating as a family, it is important to invest in your child’s willingness to learn. There are many programs available that are fun and interactive, helping them build a solid foundation in science.

From life sciences to environmental sciencephysical science to earth science, when children express interests in these subjects, encourage them and learn with them. After all, author, Mahtab Narsimhan, said it best, “A good education is the greatest gift you can give yourself or anyone else.”

Science in Everyday Life and Its Importance

Life Sciences - InFlow Technology

You can see the use of science in each and every aspect of our life. Science is an essential element in daily life. We can’t escape from the importance of science and its uses in our daily life. Basic knowledge of science is mandatory for everyone as it makes life easier and open our mind in many ways. As science is completely based on facts and experiments so, it doesn’t change with time, basics always remain same.

You can get explanation of everything through science from magic performed by magician to vehicles running by using hydrogen gas. Every new technology relied on science. Science and technology complement each other. Science deals with natural phenomenon on the basis of facts and gives rise to new technology which makes our life easier. Science always promotes curiosity and asking questions. Once Einstein said – 

Importance of Science in Our Daily Life 

Science in everyday life - Choose science

Science is very essential in our daily life. We use science in day to day life. We wake up and use paste and brush which both are given by science. We use science in cooking, eating, clothing etc. Baking involves basic knowledge of science and baking machines such as oven, microwave are endowments of science. Can you imagine your life without electricity? If no, then u must know that electricity is also given by science. Examples of use of science in everyday life are as follows – 

  • We use cars, bike or bicycles to go from one place to another, these all are inventions of science. 
  • We use soaps, these are also given by science. 
  • We use LPG gas, stove etc. for cooking, these all given by science. 
  • Even the house in which we live is a product of science. 
  • The iron which we use to iron our cloths is an invention of science even the cloths we wear are given by science.

Uses of Science in Different Fields 

Uses of science in different fields are as follows – 

  • In agriculture – In the field of agriculture, science has made its mark by contributing so much. In present days machines are available even for sowing the seeds on fields. Tractor, thresher, drip irrigation system, sprinkler irrigation system etc. all are given by science. All fertilizers are also given by chemical science.                       
  • In medicine – The medical field is based entirely on usage of science. All the drugs are given by medicinal chemistry. Tools used in the medical field are also given by science. Machines such as stretchers, ECG machine, MRI machines even injections are invented by science.       
  • In transportation – All the vehicles are invention of science. Science has made the world a small place. You can reach from Kashmir to Kanyakumari in just few hours. Cycle, scooter, cars, aircrafts etc. all are inventions of science. We can transport goods easily and faster by the use of machines given by science. 
  • In communication – Science has made the world very small. You can talk to anyone anywhere in fraction of seconds. Telephones, mobile phones etc. all are the inventions of science. All these medium of communications are available at very low cost as well. So, all are in the reach of common man. Science has made is very easy and cheap to talk to someone using a mobile phone. 
  • In construction – Science is the base of all buildings constructed by us. Construction of buildings is completed based on the technology given by science. Machines used in the construction work such as motor graders, buildozers, backhoe loaders etc. given by science. 
  • In photography – Science has given many machines for photography. Now a days it’s very easy to click a picture. Camera has been inserted even in your small mobiles phones. Apart from these, science has given many machines which are useful in each and every aspect of our life such as computers. 

Thus, science has vast use in all fields of human life. It is of great importance to make our life easier it gives answer of all curiosities of us related to life. It gives wings to our imagination by its facts and theories. Contact us for more information.

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