The 25th Biennial Conference of the Asian Association for Biology Education
( 13th – 16th October 2014 / Malaysia )
THEME: Biology Education and Research in a Changing Planet
Nature’s ecosystems as we know it are changing. The biological and geological future of the Earth can be extrapolated based upon influences such as the chemistry at the Earth’s surface, the rate of cooling of the planet’s interior, the gravitational interactions with other objects in the Solar System, and a steady increase in the Sun’s luminosity.What does this mean for biology education and for biology educators in particular? How can we prepare to teach a new biology? What is the new biology?
“In the 18th and 19th century, science was curiosity-driven; now we are in an era of science-driven by need – the need to created by massive global change that is forcing us to move away from the small-scale, highly controlled experimental data approach. We are forced to use any data we can get to understand this very complex, multi-scaled, global phenomenon. (Sagarin & Pauchard, 2012)
In 1992, Miller stated that Biological Education is the Scientific Future. This can only be if teachers and scientists work together to best present our growing discipline to young people.
The Endangered Planet. How can ‘Biology Education’ help?
Humans depend on other species for survival. At the same time, we have the greatest power to cause or to prevent extinctions. Can homo sapiens equipped with biological knowledge be able to help tackle some of the biggest challenges facing our planet? If so how?
Biology education in an X,Y,Z world
Generation X came after the Baby Boomers, and typically covers people born between the mid 1960’s and the early 1980’s. Generation Y covers people born between the 1980’s and the year 2000. Generation Z is the generation of children born after the Year 2000. Generation Z are predicted to be highly connected, living in an age of high-tech communication gadgets and technology driven lifestyles. Teachers of biology may need to take a closer look at what the generational differences can mean in the context of organising the classroom in order to enhance the teaching and learning experience for students in their classroom.
Assessment beyond examinations
Teaching biological facts in the classroom may be for examinations. But should we not go beyond this? With debates on climate change, disease and stem cells constantly in the newspapers, never has the ability of the layperson to assess biological issues been so important. A solid education in biology is a necessity. Students must connect with biology firsthand.
Creating the Next Generation of Biology Teachers
Do not then train youths to learning by force and harshness, but direct them to it by what amuses their minds so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each.
Undergraduate science and science education must be synergistic.
Till now we may have narrow form of apprenticeship in teacher training where current practices are simply reproduced.“The new biology educator professionalism envisions that biology educators themselves become practical theorists. Therefore if the teaching profession is to develop and improve…it is of utmost importance that professional biology teacher educators within universities and colleges are well placed to work with on the ground practitioners to help them form a bridge between their own practical experience and other forms of professional knowledge.· Improving the preparation of biology teachers can strengthen the entire curriculum of a biology department (Sundberg, 2014, American Institute of Biological Sciences)
Seeing the living world in a new light ~ Technology in Biology Education
Biology is the window to the living world, which reflects the essence of life. In the first decade of the 21st century, the sequencing of the human genome was completed. In this second decade, more people will become techno-savvy in a fully wired world. Smartphones, the Internet, and more to come. Stem cell and genetic engineering breakthroughs emerge almost daily. Soon we might see a nano-scale motor entering the cell for scientific inquiry. How can all these be translated from the biological scientist to the biology teacher?
Research in Biology
Biological knowledge is constantly growing through research, especially in the universities.
Share with us what you are doing and what you have learnt. It can be field studies or in the laboratories.
All findings are important enough to be disseminated. What is new can be used by biology educators to enhance their teaching and learning.
Our Objectives are:
To enhance sustainability values through biology education and research in the Asian Region
To build networks that support collaboration in relation to Education for Sustainable Development between schools, institutions of higher learning, NGO’s, government agencies and the public
To disseminate knowledge from collaborative outcomes through publications of proceedings, books and articles
The starting point for research conducted at the Living Lab is the natural environment. The Living Lab engages in joint research with national and international scientists within a range of sustainability-related areas.We view sustainability in a holistic fashion, considering environment, humanity and economy as the three primary variables to be taken into account as we work toward a more sustainable future for Malaysia and the world.
Living Lab projects are applied to solving real-world problems, and research results are analyzed in order to see how our findings can help usher in changes in the relationship between the human community, human economic activities and the natural environment.
What types of research may be carried out through the Living Lab?
Any environment-related project which has been designed in accordance with the requirements listed below can be proposed as a Living Lab Project
All projects should be applicable toward the sustainability, the enhancement and/or the restoration of one or more aspects of the natural environment. Where possible, the researcher should try to contribute to the creation of sustainable economic opportunities, capacity building and/or other benefits for the local community.
Below are some sample areas in which you may wish to conduct research through the Living Lab:
* Herpetology-reptiles & amphibians
* Biochemistry- chemical composition of living beings
We provide hands on experiences in the sustainability sciences for children of all ages. They begin with in-the-field empirical observation.
The Centre for Dialogue & Transformation
offers services in the following areas:
* Sustainable economic development research and application
* Training and development for sustainable small-scale businesses
* Community education, peace education, literacy education
* Conflict transformation; mediation, dialogue sessions; local, national and international
* Community psychosocial healing and reconstruction, healing individual and collective
trauma, de-normativizing violence
* Education, teacher training in student-centered instructional methods,
integrated curricular design, place-based curriculum development
* Policy formation, policy implementation and policy evaluation studies