SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — What is “science”?
What is a science textbook?
What is an introductory textbook on “the universe”?
The best thing to do when you’ve heard all these questions is to try and answer them, a panel of experts from around the world agreed.
“There is no single answer,” said Dr. Christopher Lee, a professor of molecular and cellular biology at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston.
“You can only answer some questions and you can only try to understand all the answers.
But there is a way.”
Lee said a better way is to combine the scientific and humanities.
Science textbooks are a big part of the education system, and in recent years, the textbooks have grown increasingly focused on a single topic, from astronomy to cosmology, Lee said.
“That’s not how science should be taught in high school or college,” Lee said in an interview.
To that end, Lee and other experts on “The Data Science Generation” met in San Francisco last week to develop a list of “the best ways” to teach science.
Among the questions asked of the panel were: How much information should be included in the classroom?
How much of the content is relevant to students?
How should textbooks be structured to support the scientific content?
What are the best sources of science information in the public domain?
Lee and his colleagues spent several weeks writing their recommendations to a national association of high schools and colleges that advises public schools on how to teach “the science generation.”
The group said it hopes to have the recommendations implemented by the end of the year.
Lee said he and his peers hope to get a list published within the next year.
For now, he said, the goal is to develop some recommendations for teachers that will guide the teaching of “data science” in schools.
The panel said “The data science generation” is an acronym for the “data literacy generation.”
Its members include the National Science Teachers Association, the National Association of Science Teachers and the National Center for Education Statistics.
Aspiring “data scientists” often take courses that focus on “data, data science and more data science,” Lee and his co-authors wrote in their report.
More than 300,000 students are expected to take the course in 2018, according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
Scientists in the field often say that the biggest obstacle to reaching a broad audience is not having a wide range of scientific knowledge but rather having a range of students with different levels of knowledge, Lee, co-author and dean of the Institute for Data Science and Analytics at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City, said in a news release.
It’s a challenge for the data science movement because they’re not really teaching the basics of data science but they’re doing it in a way that is very different from the way people learn math and science,” he said.”
The more you have people in your classroom that are not well-versed in the basics, the less likely they are to get the kind of students who are ready to be scientists,” Lee added.
Researchers are exploring how best to provide the best teaching for the growing “data-literacy generation.”
Some have been working with universities and the federal government to create courses that include “data and data science literacy.”
Others are creating classes to train high school students.
There are currently two programs that teach data literacy in schools in the United States, according the National Institutes of Health, the Center for Information Technology Education at the Johns Hopkins University and the Center on Data Science Education at New York University.
A third, called the “sociological” approach, is in the works, Lee’s group said.