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Re: F-W's Book- Amateur vs Prof and esoterica (Long)

In a message dated 97-08-24 21:41:06 EDT, Judy Molnar writes,

> I agree, and would like to add that those of you endeavoring to make
>  these web pages scientifically correct would do a great service if you
>  could make them "teacher friendly".  You don't have to dumb them down,
>  but if you had a brief glossary somewhere, or a link to explain something
>  so a 4th grade teacher can interpret it for his or her class, 

Absolutely!  But the one problem I do see,  is the fact that it would require
 much time and energy to make our sites and correspondances "teacher
friendly" in a strict sense,  for each and every grade, K-12!  As with most
things, there would have to be some lumping of grades and that's where
teachers and school administrators would come in. Regardless of how the
project is implemented, the overriding theme must emphasize scientific
correctness, critical thinking, and the scientific method. This can be taught
at all levels , regardless of age provided it is done competently. Mind you,
I am not  pushing for a K-12 paleontology course. Instead, a paleontology
"module" as part of a broader internet  science course would do nicely.

Let us not forget all those interested 'lay persons" , those no longer in
school. We must reach the general public as well but it would be impossible
to reach every segment of the internet population and a more generalized
version would have to be created to reach a statistically significant
proportion would do. 

But please, lets not follow NASA's lead ala their current 'Pop" nomenclature
of Martian rocks. I nearly puke every time I hear names like "scoobydo" and

or even
>  come up with dinosaur educational materials to get scientific concepts
>  across, you will also beat the media at their own game. 

See above. We have a multi mandate. 1) To educate, train  and to prepair our
kids to think and reason critically not just in science but in life. 2) To
encourage the same for the general public by encouraging their interest
without dunbing it down to the level of Barney the Dinosaur etc and 3) Most
importantly for the nascent SC program to even succeed, we must fight fir
with fire and beat the media. 

On point 3, in addition to the scientific aspect of the problem, there is the
admin part.  By that I mean contacting the media, their sponsors and
politicians (yuk!) to register your disapproval and to outline what actions
you are prepared to take for our kids and our country's future!

 Get the right
>  information to the teachers and they can get it to the kids.  So many
>  teachers take what they see in the movies as fact and one teacher can
>  influence 30 kids at a shot, so us museum educators really have to work
>  at undoing the damage.  

Actually those movies would be useful in the process but only after having
instructed the students in the SC way first. Many professionals do their best
to help but I fear there are not enough of them to do the job. Here maybe a
graduate student program may could be created whereby grad students, instead
of  being TA's at their universities, could instead ;liason with local
schools and such. perhaps undergrad, especially those going inot teaching
could earn credit as well. All materials would have to be "approved SC" and
some standardization would be required as well.

>  One school librarian ordering the wrong books also does a lot of damage. 
>  Those of you really serious about getting scientifically accurate books
>  into the hands of the kids, how about buying good dinosaur books and
>  donating them to your local town library or school library?  Little
>  things like this go a long way.  How about conducting a workshop for
>  local librarians on how to tell the good dino books from the bad?

Good idea(s). A phone call or two to the liason or a museum or a professional
could go a long way!  Donating materials could be too costly in most cases.
imagine donating 20-30 copies of  Glut's new Dino encyclopedia to each group
at every school!  That type of philanthropy requires publishers and those
with the funds. Of course, individual authors could make arrangments to
donate copies of their own works (provided they are SC) as for us poor
undergrads, grads and post docs, that would be nearly impossible!

>  Teachers and librarians are hungry for this correct information.  Let's
>  do our best to get it to them.  The Dinosaur Society has done a good head
>  start by providing a list of approved books.  But we also need to teach
>  folks how to recognize the good ones too.

Agreed. The infrastructure for this momentous project already exists, the
need is there too. All we need now is to get off our buts and do something
about it!

Thomas R. Lipka
Paleontological/Geological Studies