Summit on Science, Entertainment and Education


I'll be blogging live notes from the Summit on Science, Entertainment and Education (web, twitter, hashtag) taking place today. Hosted by The Science & Entertainment Exchange of the National Academy of Sciences, the event explores how film, television programming, video games, and other entertainment media can enhance science education in America.

Speakers today include Chuck Vest, president of the National Academy of Engineering; Karen Cator, director, Office of Educational Technology, U.S. Dept. of Education; Tony DeRose, senior scientist at Pixar; games designer Will Wright, film director Jerry Zucker (Airplane, Ghost), science reporter Miles O'Brien (PBS NewsHour, Frontline); Neil deGrasse Tyson, scientist and host of NOVA ScienceNOW, and others.

Dozens of teachers, students, and curriculum developers will join in these discussions to explore how movies, television programs, and video and computer games could be used in the classroom. The summit will include breakout sessions and a group exercise to encourage interaction and brainstorming among participants.

Judy Muller ( Emmy Award-winning news correspondent, ABC News), is emceeing. The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, which is sponsoring the conference, is offering a $225,000 grant to fund pilot projects that emerge from ideas discussed here today.

Here's some background reading.

[Image, top contributed to the Boing Boing Flickr Pool by woodley wonderworks. And Image, bottom: photo contributed to the BB pool by BB reader Bryan Jones.]



  1. This sounds like a wonderful event. :) I would absolutely love to see more TV spots (kind of like Schoolhouse Rock) that showed kids how to do simple experiments with common household or classroom supplies. (The craft projects on NickJr. are fantastic. Something like that with more of a science focus would be great for the little ones. Then you could scale up for older kids.) Broadcasting them on TV would be useful and so would putting them online. Each online lesson/experiment could have really cool graphs and charts for students to fill in their data (and, in a perfect world, the computer would automatically correct the student to make grading easier.) You could make it so that completing one exercise unlocks subsequent exercises. That way students are getting all the concepts while being able to work at their own pace or at the pace of their small group. Have lots of quizzes built in and reward the player for getting each answer correct by letting them collect points or prizes or whatever. Make it competitive. Make it fun.

    Do not make each teacher design their own games. Saw that in the background info and almost fainted. Provide the teachers with awesome stuff they can plug and play. The teacher then works as a facilitator to help the students work through the excellent material while evaluating their work.

    One extremely valuable learning tool in the classroom is a publication like Science News from Scholastic. National Geographic Kids makes a nice one, too. These are little glossy magazines that have all sorts of interesting science articles with reading comprehension quizzes built in and with games and puzzles for kids to play. These are a godsend in the classroom and at home. It would be wonderful to see the same material in an online format with lots more quizzes and games (and prizes!) built in.

    Sorry to go off like this, but I’m just crazy about educational media! Hope a lot of great things come out of the summit. Thanks for bringing it to us. :)

  2. The classroom science mag from Scholastic is called “Science World.” (Not Science Times as I said above.) It looks like there is a magazine for younger kids, too, called “Super Science.” (Will definitely need to check that one out.) Anyway, I went to the website looking for these magazines and while I was there I found some very nice ready-to-go science games. Just did one on classifying animals based on whether or not they have backbones. That was cool. There is a lot more there, too, which we will get busy exploring. Hard not to be enthusiastic about such high quality, user-friendly, academically rich content for teachers, parents and young, aspiring scientists.

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