Resources for DCTSESI

Develop Critical Thinking Skills by Evaluating Sources of Information (DSTSESI)

Resources for DSTSESI: PBS Science and Nature Videos and my Blog

Randy Sweeney  (January, 2016)

I have been working with PBS science and nature programming for many years, both with the growth and development of my own children, and as a science teacher in LAUSD. Working with PBS in our home I’ve seen my children become a neuroscientist and economist, and my students at LAUSD began to think more critically about the larger world in which they exist. I adapted the Harvard developed “See Think Wonder” approach to my instruction and it is through this avenue that I incorporated the PBS videos into my instruction. Shortly after my retirement from teaching, I began the development of my blog, where I organized the PBS videos into subject areas categories, and provided links to other interesting resources. Currently the blog facilitates smart phone access to PBS Science and Nature programming. It includes titles, and in some cases descriptions of programs that no longer are available through the internet but could be purchased if there is a particularly interested in that subject.

The blog serves as a valuable resource in a science curriculum. Beyond that, it focuses on and extends my involvement with science education to include the Critical Analysis of the Source(s) of Information. In particular it serves to build an understanding of world in which we reside. This critical analysis, I define as Develop Critical Thinking Skills by Evaluating Sources of Information (DCTSESI). It is a sad reality that our National discourse regularly questions the validity of science, and many people seem to feel they can interpret scientific facts to serve their own personal interests. The Scientific Method is certainly still the most powerful tool in our modern society, as is Peer Review in evaluating the quality and reliability of information (Facts) gained through scientific investigation. The critical analysis of information on which we base the decisions we make on a daily basis is the most important issue we could address in education in our modern world. The Internet, where floods of “information” is available, much of which is of questionable quality and validity.  It can serve to confuse a young mind’s effort to sort out their life’s options and make decisions that will help them build a future based on factual reality. Science students will certainly be asked to describe and discuss the evidence that justifies their position in thought that they are taking as a result of an experience or presentation of a situation. It is this critical analysis of information and ideas that is the most important component of becoming educated, and should be at the center of any educational process. PBS Science and Nature videos can communicate important ideas based on a high quality factual reality. These videos can provide virtual experiences of the natural world and how it operates that can be used by anyone to build their knowledge base about science and nature.



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