The scientific perspective on our Universe and
humanity's place within it is as important, valid and "humane"
as that obtained from great literature and philosophy.
Science must become part of our culture's mainstream,
not just the remote domain of a privileged few.
All students can understand and benefit from the insights of contemporary science, whether as future professional researchers, workers in high-technology careers, or as productive and informed citizens of an increasingly-complex technologically-advanced society.
Science education must involve the whole student,
engaging emotions and imagination as well as intellect. Teachers are more
effective, students feel more connected and competent, and learning is
enhanced when science education is direct, experiential and hands-on.
Systemic reform of science education must alter
traditional concepts of teaching and learning by empowering teachers as
facilitators rather than lecturers from authorized texts, enlisting students
as active participants in their own education, and providing interaction
with the scientific and professional community as collaborators and mentors.
PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE offers an ongoing series
of "electronic field trips to scientific frontiers" that excite,
inform and inspire students about the Universe around us.
PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE shares the latest factual
information and contexts within which to understand it, while developing
positive attitudes towards the scientific process, and demonstrating
and encouraging technical and research skills in accessing and
comprehending the vast amounts of information which telecommunications
and computers now make available. Simulations in class relate to and link
with the real-world research presented on camera and on-line .
Integrated multimedia resources introduce students
in schools and homes across America to the men and women who are working
on exciting research frontiers. Though "virtual", these encounters
with world-class scientists are made to feel personal. Students see creative
scientists who are life-long learners, young at heart, open to new information,
and whose challenging work is as rewarding as "play". These
researchers serve as role models for life choices, as well as professional
mentors in their specific disciplines. Their personal stories inspire
youngsters by showing that what they learn while young can be a "passport"
to a productive and rewarding career and life.
PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE empowers teachers and students
to begin an ongoing process of individualized discovery by providing practical,
flexible pathways, adaptable to the different levels of technology and
training to be found in any school, home or science center. "Teacher-friendly"
materials welcome first-time users, and more challenging online collaborations
engage those with the capacity to become involved. This pyramid of options
enables widespread participation, and minimizes the effects of inequality
of resources. New technologies are introduced through project-related
activities which deliver immediate, practical learning experiences, rather
than abstract training.
PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE is informed by the suggestions
of the national science reform panels, the national science standards,
and state guidelines and frameworks, and provides "replacement modules"
which can serve as readily-integrated "plug and play" units
in the existing curriculum.
As an ongoing series of Modules, PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE
will enable teachers to build on previous experiences, and implement succeeding
Modules with increasing effectiveness. Educators will "cache"
successful teaching strategies, and apply this positive feedback loop
to the new content of each new field trip.
Believing that science should be experienced as
both "content" and "process", PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE
will develop and implement assessment tools to measure student learning
outcomes. These will assess growth in positive attitudes and development
of skills, as well as increasing mastery of content.
PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE focuses on the continuing
enterprise of scientific research and exploration and not the achievements
of individual adventurers and expeditions. It collaborates with the nation's
leading science agencies (principally NASA and NSF) and university-based
researchers, and presents ongoing activities in which students may envisage
themselves playing a role in the future. Research itself is the adventure.
The core PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE team serves as
conductor for a large and evolving orchestra of individual research agencies
and scientists, teachers and students, schools, science centers and home-schoolers,
articulating and amplifying the grand theme of humanity's ever-increasing
understanding of the world and its processes of growth and change.
Last Update: 1/7/97