Saturday, July 7, 2012

Week 3 - A Climate Change Enthusiast is Born

I can't believe it's been 3 weeks... time is flying, but at the same time I feel like I've been here longer.  It's probably because it's like living in a dream world where I'm surrounded by other science geeks, environment geeks, animals, volcanism, teaching and learning, kids, awesome elderly folks, amazing research and incredibly intelligent and talented people constantly.  Time seems to stand still as I cram my brain with cool new stuff!  I can hardly contain the geeking out that is welling up inside me!

I'm going to explain more about my climate change project.  The way in which the exhibit will relay the info is unique.  It will take input from the visitor and then give them personalized information that they are more likely to understand and be open to.  It follows the "Global Warming's Six Americas" study done by Yale in which the researchers wanted to find out what "camps" people fall into in relation to their views on climate change.  They found there were 6 distinct groups from alarmed to dismissive.  So this exhibit we will design is going to take input from the visitor and then give personalized information to them based on which of the 6 categories they fall into.  The wonderful Free Choice Learning folks will then use this to study how this type of personalization affects learning.

I'm excited about this because I think it's a wonderful way to approach the subject.  Climate change has become so political and polarized, so you really can't make a "one size fits all" message about it.  I think this type of exhibit will be much more effective at meeting each individual where they are.  In education we call it the "Zone of Proximal Development" - teaching something that is neither too basic nor too advanced for the student.

Here's a video that gives a quick overview of the Six Americas study if you want to know what the 6 groups are.

Education is power.  It moves us to action.  It causes us to share with others.  It opens our minds to new possibilities and ideas.  Could there be any greater work on this earth than to learn?  And blessed are the ones who find themselves in the position to walk along this journey of learning with those who are new to the path (this is sometimes known as "teaching").
My greatest joy is to see a person have an "aha" moment because something they are trying to figure out finally clicks.  Or to see a child get excited about something new.  (And almost everything is new to a child, which is why they are so fun to learn with.)  If only we all kept that childlike wonderment and curiosity about the world throughout our lives.

This week has been about the power of my education in climate change.  I'm more motivated to act and share with others.  Anyone who has read my earlier posts this week could see that.  Heck, I even emailed my mayor back home to encourage him to become more involved for our city!

I will end with a complete tangent: the Newport 4th of July fireworks were awesome!  Here's a sampling of photos:

And in typical Bio Geo Nerd fashion, everything cool should have some science connected to it... So, go to this site to learn how fireworks work! :)

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