Monday, November 23, 2009

Science Fare

The MacArthur foundation has been trumpeting the White House's announcement of the Lab Day initiative today and its involvement with new plans for science education and digital learning, so I checked out the streaming video of the event at a website that prominently also encourages citizens to join the commercial social network site Facebook and plugs the hipper new government URL, which might get more play in the limited character world of texting and status updates.

I had mostly turned in to hear the brief mention of digital learning initiatives, which gave little play to work being done with computer programming or social networking by MacArthur and other philanthropic organization: "The MacArthur Foundation and industry leaders like Sony are launching a nationwide challenge to design compelling, freely available science-related video games." But I was struck by the introduction of reality TV show stars from Mythbusters by the president and the links between pedagogy, DIY, and reality television that I have also been exploring in a new project.

As a transcript of Obama's remarks indicated, students will "have the chance to build and create, and maybe destroy just a little bit..." and be "the makers of things, not just the consumers of things." Obama also expressed his enthusiasm for the White House's plans to host an "annual science fair" and continue holding events like their recent "astronomy night." The entire spectacle ended with a robot demo from two high school students.

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