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Countdown to the DML Competition Winners' Showcase: Day 25 Experiment more, copy less

"Innovation in science produced approximately half of our economic growth over the last 50 years, and is expected to grow at twice the rate of our economy between now and 2018, according to the National Science Foundation and Anthony Carnevale of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce."

That quote is from Kristin Conklin's article, Innovation as a Way of Life.

Conklin then sums up the innovation supply-demand problem: "The number of STEM bachelors degrees is actually growing at a slower pace than other degrees like business, social sciences, and visual and performing arts. Additionally, the United States ranks 27th among developed nations in the proportion of college students receiving undergraduate degrees in science or engineering."

Why?

Maybe because of the K-12 science buzz kill. Roger Schank, renown psychologist and computer scientist, writes about the disconnected way we learn about science in school, "We learn about experimentation in school. What we learn is that scientists conduct experiments and if we copy exactly what they did in our high school labs we will get the results they got."

And so, continues Schank, "Since most of us have learned the word 'experiment' in the context of a boring ninth grade science class, most people have long since learned to discount science and experimentation as being relevant to their lives."

Relevance is one of the engines that drives digital media and learning projects like Out the Window, Youth AppLab, Mobile Action Lab, to name only a few. Using digital media to make things that pertain to their lives, youth develop the kind of experimentation and critical thinking that define scientific inquiry. Make science meaningful, relevant, and show some diversity among what it means to be a scientist -- not just the kinds of careers and work possible, but the people too, and the degrees they get.

Not to take anything away from Kristin Conklin's observations of slow-paced growth among STEM degrees, but innovation can (and does) come from business, social sciences, and visual and performing arts disciplines too. The innovators from all three DML Competition years have included artists, photographers, journalists, teachers, musicians and other seemingly non-STEM areas.

 


Countdown to the 2010 DML Competition Showcase features Where Are They Now? updates on the 2008, 2009, and 2010 winners. The 2010 DML Competition winners will showcase their projects at the Designing Learning Futures DML Conference on March 4, 2011 in Long Beach, California.

 

Visit our DML Countdown page to view more updates from featured projects.

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