June 17, 2024


The value of truth

The future of science education: Cultivating critical thinkers

25 min read

Bad science is a big problem for society, says guest Jonathan Osborne, an expert in science education, but we don’t have to surrender to it. Beating bad science requires young people to learn three skills, Osborne says. First is an ability to size up conflicts of interest. Second, to evaluate a source’s qualifications. And third, to more rigorously question those who go against consensus. The whole goal of science is consensus, Osborne tells host Russ Altman on this episode of Stanford Engineering’s The Future of Everything podcast.


[00:00:00] Jonathan Osborne: If you say to any of your non-scientific friends, what do you remember of value from your school science education? Now, I’d guarantee that most of them will mention some sort of funny flash, bang- bang experiment or whatever it is. But then you say to them, uh, but what idea do you remember that really changed how you think about the world?

And I think you’re gonna get a lot of them, hesitate Now. That to me, is a tragedy. And it’s a tragedy because science is one of the great [00:00:30] intellectual achievements of our contemporary societies.

[00:00:39] Russ Altman: This is Stanford Engineering’s The Future of Everything, and I’m your host, Russ Altman. If you enjoy The Future of Everything podcast, please subscribe or follow it on whatever app you listen to your podcasts on.

Today, Jonathan Osborne will tell us that misinformation is something we need to train young people to detect. Starting at a very young age, especially with science education. [00:01:00] There’s a lot of fake science out on the internet, and we need to teach young people how to tell the difference between what’s true and what’s false. It’s the future of science education.

Before we jump into this episode, a reminder to please rate and review it on your favorite podcast app. It’ll help us grow and it’ll help other listeners figure out what this is all about.

Science education is absolutely critical, and these days the internet is filled with bad science, and yet [00:01:30] science is wonderful. It’s like a miracle. It gives us insight into how life evolved, how the planet started, how the world works. So even in grammar school and in middle school, we need to give students tools to be suspicious about things that they hear and to figure out if what they’re listening to is from a reliable source, an expert, and something that they can take to the bank.

Jonathan Osborne is a professor of education at Stanford University and he studies science education. He’s worried about misinformation and he’ll [00:02:00] tell us that the situation is a pretty dire, and we need to act soon to make sure that we outfit the future generations with the tools they need to navigate truth and falsehoods in science.

Jonathan, you’re an expert in science education, but we’re also in the midst of an era of misinformation. The internet and other news sources, uh, especially in the area of science, can be very misleading. So what is the state of our [00:02:30] educational practices for young people in preparing them for this world?

[00:02:34] Jonathan Osborne: The short answer to that, which I will elaborate on is not good.

[00:02:39] Russ Altman: Please go on.

[00:02:40] Jonathan Osborne: And it’s not good really. I think for fun, two fundamental reasons really. One is there’s a kind of delusion out there, uh, by people involved in educating people about science that uh, by the time they get to the end of, uh, high school, they’ll have enough knowledge to evaluate the evidence for [00:03:00] themselves.

 Uh, and this means that they don’t need to rely on experts. Uh, and the internet reinforces that in that kind of way because you’ve got access to this unlimited information. You think, well, why do I need to go an expert? I can look it up for myself. And the answer is, you don’t understand what they’re talking about is one of the reasons. So that you need. To generate what I would call more epistemic humility in people, which is to recognize that our knowledge is bounded and there are [00:03:30] times when we have to call on experts. But what you notice with a lot of the misinformation sites is they understand this and they appeal to your ego in the sense of evaluate the evidence for yourself.

You know, you go on 9 -1 -11 truth the whole instance, and you’ll see up in the top left, okay, evaluate the facts for yourself. Well, the facts have actually been cherry picked and you don’t actually have the ability to evaluate the facts for yourself. So that’s one of the reasons I think really we’ve got it the wrong way around. We actually [00:04:00] have to start by saying, We have to prepare students to interact with scientific expertise. The question that invites is.

[00:04:08] Russ Altman: Yes, okay. So we are gonna get to how to do that, uh, in a moment. I just, I was hoping, in preparing for our interview that you were gonna tell me that because these young people are growing up in the era of the internet, they have received a special pre inoculation to misinformation and that therefore they’re in much better shape.

And that actually it’s our [00:04:30] generation who grew up way more trustworthy, who is having trouble with the internet, but they are having less trouble. It sounds like that’s not your message today.

[00:04:38] Jonathan Osborne: That’s certainly not my message. Okay. It’s not the message, uh, it’s not particularly my research. But it’s the research of all my graduate students is research of my colleague Sam Weinberg.

It shows that actually they are really poor because they are deluded to thinking that they can work out the evidence for themselves in time and time again. When you show them a, you know, a [00:05:00] dodgy website from the

[00:05:01] Russ Altman: Yes.

[00:05:01] Jonathan Osborne: Harvard Institute about climate change or something else, they will stay on the page and try and evaluate the arguments on the page, which they don’t have the expertise to do.

What they should be doing is not saying, is this correct, which they can’t work out the answer to. They should be saying, is this credible? And they are not good at doing that. In fact, they’re probably worse than our generation because we’ve been around long enough to think, eh, this looks a bit dodgy.

[00:05:29] Russ Altman: Yes, [00:05:30] okay. So, okay, so what do we do about this? I mean, this is your area of expertise, science, education, especially in grammar and middle school, when you know the minds are being formed and the intellectual habits. So to speak will be created. Um, what do we need to do?

[00:05:46] Jonathan Osborne: Well, you really need to do three things, I would say, but one of them is pretty immediate from that point of view, which is that if you’re confronted by any scientific claim, there are really three things that you need to do.

[00:06:00] One is you need to ask, is the person or the institution putting this forward, do they have a conflict of interest? So if it’s an institute who funds it, for instance, in that sense, and, uh, if you open another tab and you put in the name of the institute, you can pretty rapidly find out who’s funding it.

For instance, say the Heartland Institute or CO2 science.org from that point of view, uh, you can do that. And so if there’s a counter of interest that raises a red flag, right? If there isn’t a [00:06:30] conflict of interest, then you’ve gotta say, well, okay, is the person making this claim a credible card carrying scientist in that discipline?

It’s no good having an evolutionary biologist making claims about cosmology or vice versa. Yeah. They don’t do that in that, uh, kind of way. And this is the kind of stuff that’s not taught to students. What makes somebody being a scientist doesn’t mean very much. It’s a scientist in the discipline. [00:07:00] Is it a credible institution? What are the credible institutions, uh, in that way?

And then the third question you’ve gotta ask is, the goal of science is the achievement of consensus. Right? And so if there is a consensus and somebody is going against that consensus, for instance, like Robert Kennedy Jr. on vaccines, they better be an expert and they better have pretty good evidence for what, uh, they’re questioning the consensus.

I mean, again, these kind of purveyors of misinformation, know [00:07:30] this. On climate change, you’ve got these fake consensuses, the Leipzig Declaration of non-experts. None of them are experts in climate change. Now, somebody might say, oh, that’s all bit dull. How are you gonna teach all that? You’re gonna teach.

[00:07:41] Russ Altman: That’s exactly what I was gonna ask, I was gonna say. It’s so fun to read the conspiracy theories about science and what you’ve just outlined sounds so reasonable and I can’t imagine getting a 12 year old to take the time to do that.

[00:07:55] Jonathan Osborne: No, you get them to do it by giving them a challenge or a problem. Okay. And saying, [00:08:00] okay. Should we believe this website? Okay. Okay. You group of three can look at it and see if you can think of arguments, believing it. You group of three can look at it and see if you can find out arguments or not, but, believing it. So you learn this by doing it in that kind of way. And then, you know, once you’ve engaged in it, I think the messages can be built on saying, well, why didn’t we believe in this? This person, yeah, he had a PhD, but what was the PhD in this way? It’s kind of a detective [00:08:30] story for them in that way.

[00:08:31] Russ Altman: When are young people cognitively able to kind of understand the challenge that you just outlined and start implementing it?

Like I can imagine. You know, you talked about credentials. I’m thinking about my five-year-old grandson. Credentials are not a thing in his life yet, but they will become a thing, you know, at some point. So how do we developmentally do appropriate things at the various stages of schooling?

[00:08:54] Jonathan Osborne: Yeah, that’s a good question. Uh, I’m gonna have to be honest and say, uh, at the moment, it’s all kind of [00:09:00] based on a hunch of what we can do. All I know is that we produced this report last year about science education, misinformation, and one of the, um, significant contributors to it was a guy from Finland who’s been working on developing a Finnish curriculum in media literacy, and they start in elementary school.

I mean, obviously about grade three and four. That gives them simple kind of exercises, trying to check whether this is factually correct, and then they keep building on this and building in more complex issues as they go up. [00:09:30] So, uh, I, and I think to be quite honest, the answer is, well, what you’re really asking for is a kind of developmental learning progression.

What are the basic competencies? What are the higher order competencies? And I don’t think we’ve really mapped that out yet from that point of view. Um, uh, but I think the kinds of things you’re asking about, Uh, we are asking about our conflict of interest. I would’ve thought you can easily do that in middle school in that way, uh, because they’re [00:10:00] starting to get a sense of, well, is this funded by the tobacco industry? Is this funded by the oil industry? Who’s paying for this?

[00:10:07] Russ Altman: So, okay. So this is very good. And I know that this touches many of the other things that you’ve looked at. One of the things you’ve published a lot about is student attitudes towards science and towards learning science that has to be intimately involved with this because they have to care and they have to have some sort of model of science.

So, separate from the issue of misinformation, how are we doing at [00:10:30] giving, especially students who are not gonna be scientists, the fundamentals to be a citizen in 2023? And by the way, I should say, let’s take a moment to say the reason this podcast exists is because I perceived in 2016 that maybe I could make a small contribution in increasing the understanding of science and technology, uh, and engineering by bringing it, uh, and letting people tell their stories so that people could see that these scientists are people motivated [00:11:00] by passion, uh, and also motivated by the search for truth. So I’m very interested in your thoughts about where we are and how well we’ve prepared people to even engage with these issues.

[00:11:10] Jonathan Osborne: Again, uh, I think the history of science education, uh, really ever since it’s sort of formal inception is not very good. Uh, the simple reason for that is if you look at the rationales people give for science education, ever since they insisted that everybody must learn science is they say, oh, well, it’ll enable you to be a critical consumer of science, of scientific information.[00:11:30]

It’ll introduce you to the beauty, awe and wonder of science. Uh, and the intellectual and creative achievement that it is. The answer is it doesn’t. And why doesn’t it do that? Because it’s the final goal which they sort of add on at the end, which is the preparation of the next generation of scientists, which predominates. And the form of education you’ve got for that, as you yourself probably know, and I’ve been through it, is you have to go take the long slog through the dark kitchen before you get to the hall of awe and wonder. [00:12:00] And most people lose interest long before then. And another way I think of testing this is you say to any of your non-scientific friends, what do you remember of value from your school science education? Now, I’d guarantee that most of them will mention some sort of funny flash, bang- bang experiment or whatever it is.

But then you say something, uh, but what idea do you remember that really changed how you think about the world? And I think you’re gonna get a lot of them hesitate in that sense. [00:12:30] Now that to me, is a tragedy. And it’s a tragedy because science is one of the great intellectual achievements of our contemporary societies, and that has not been explained to them in that kind of way.

And it’s not explained to them because it starts with doing all this kind of detailed stuff. About forces, interactions, cells, and their function. Now, I’m not gonna say you don’t need to know some of that. I’m going to say that we are doing it from the wrong end of the telescope. What I want is the big [00:13:00] idea first of all. Look, you know, you live on a ,you’re one of, I don’t know. I think it’s 8 billion people, one of 8 billion people living on a tiny planet circulating a sun, which is actually a star, which is part of millions and billions of stars, which is part of millions and billions of galaxies. How do you think we know that, that’s crazy from that point of view?

[00:13:21] Russ Altman: Yes.

[00:13:21] Jonathan Osborne: Or, you know, the obvious idea, explanation for day and night is that the sun moves. I mean, after all, you get up in the morning. [00:13:30] Okay. And it’s in the east and it goes to the west. I got a crazy idea to tell you now I’m sorry. Okay, we’re on spinning Earth. And how do I know that? Or even what about all these people who think the earth is flat?

Okay, why should we believe that the earth, uh, then I think you sort of start to engage people. And I’m not saying everybody from that point there, some of a lot of it’s about applications. Some people really wanna know about the applications of science. How does, how does your TV work? How does your computer work? Uh, and there’s that kind of story to be explained as well. And [00:14:00] that’s fine. But if you, as I say, you know, if you concentrate on the bricks of the edifice and you never show what the edifice is about. They’re not surprisingly, a lot of people think, well, what’s this? There was a science, uh, um, a science educator in the, um, 1952 wrote a paper about this and you said, well, most people end up with a miscellaneous facts.

I mean, some of those facts are useful undoubtedly if you go to the doctor. It does help to know some facts about the structural function of the human body. But I do [00:14:30] think we really ought to say, what are the big ideas, uh, that people should carry away from their science education so that when you ask my question, what do you remember that changed your thinking about the material world people and how do we know that’s true to people?

[00:14:44] Russ Altman: Yeah.

[00:14:45] Jonathan Osborne: You put that question to people, they would give you some decent answer and a don’t.

[00:14:50] Russ Altman: So that is ever you’ve made a compelling case for that. Um, and let’s just go down to the nuts and bolts because as a professor of education, I think you’ll know this. Who do we have to [00:15:00] convince to change things like, because I don’t think many of us know who holds the keys to the curricular practices at all different stages.

I know as a faculty member, I have some say in how my discipline is taught at Stanford University, but really before that, at the grammar school is this boards of education, is this textbook writers? Who do we have to appeal to to make these changes?

[00:15:21] Jonathan Osborne: You’re asking the really important question, I think. And, um, I’m, uh, reflecting on a career of trying to make these kinds [00:15:30] of changes for the past 25 years and what I’ve seen time and time again is when you make the convincing argument. We had a report in 1998 called Beyond 2000 Science Education For the Future. We needed a different form of science education in the UK.

We managed to convince a lot of people. We managed to convince the people, the equivalent of the Board of Education, who set the curriculum. There was a curriculum written and it was all put into place. But there’s resistance. Okay? [00:16:00] There’s resistance from what I might call institutional conservatism. And then there’s a change of government and with an emphasis simply on knowledge and not knowing of these other features of how science works in that sense, um, or ideas about science.

So it got killed and actually there’s a similar thing going on at in California with Algebra II, which is in 20, if you read about this, but in 2019, It was agreed that this course on data science done by my colleague Jo Boaler, would be an alternative [00:16:30] to Algebra II.

But it’s currently being killed by the complaints from various people. And the California Board of Education is about to say, well, it’s not rigorous enough, so that’s gonna get killed. So I’ve kind of reluctantly come to the conclusion that people like me or people like you or, uh, trying to to write curriculum and change, it is unlikely to happen.

The problem we’ve got at the moment is a system where, there are not enough gaps or opportunities for teachers to pursue their [00:17:00] interests and their student interests. So I think actually, uh, the best thing that we can do at the moment is say that if you impose this curriculum, which is supposed to be for science, uh, for all, and then you insist that 99% of the time is devoted to that minority, this is wrong.

You have to cut that back significantly. So the current standards, for instance, there’s 200 performance expectations they’re not all the same level. Cut it to a hundred, give that teacher [00:17:30] freedom, respect their autonomy, respect them as a professional, give them agency to do some of the things which they think matter to their kids here and now and into that space obviously, people like me, people like you can say, have you thought about doing this? Have you thought about doing this? Have you thought about, uh, doing this? And I think I got more chance of changing the education because after all, and you probably know this well, my motivation from science I think was just came from an [00:18:00] early age. I was just fascinated by things and I kept going through the long dart classical electrodynamics being the one that really nearly kills it all, but, Interest is what carries you a long way. And interest is generated by the teacher and the teacher has to have enthusiasm. And they have enthusiasm if they’ve got agency in that sense.

So that’s my current take on it, but I haven’t got any proof of that, but that’s just my reflections of now.

[00:18:28] Russ Altman: This is The Future of Everything with Russ [00:18:30] Altman more with Jonathan Osborne next.

Welcome back to The Future of Everything. I’m Russ Altman and I’m speaking with Professor Jonathan Osborne from Stanford University.

In the last segment, Jonathan told us some of the concerns he has about misinformation, about science and some of the tools that he believes we need to give young people, even grammar school and middle school [00:19:00] students, to make sure that they can learn to vet the information they’re presented with.

In this segment, he’ll tell us that there are different forms of scientific argumentation, and they don’t all get the same attention from the press and from teachers. He’s gonna argue that we need to give teachers more freedom to introduce scientific arguments of a wide variety and ways to check that they’re all sound.

So, Jonathan, in your work, you discuss argumentation and teaching scientific argumentation. [00:19:30] You made a little bit of a reference to maybe we should set up teams of middle schoolers who figure out if a website is good or bad, or reliable or not reliable. But more generally, tell me what is this idea of scientific argumentation and where do we want to get students in terms of their ability to understand or even implement argumentation?

[00:19:48] Jonathan Osborne: Yeah, I mean, I think basically, okay, argument is core to science. Uh, I mean, that’s what you and I are doing. Okay. If we write any kind of paper, we’re not an evidence-based argument on the whole. Or a theoretically [00:20:00] based argument based on scholarship to convince people that some of the claims we’re making are true.

And the trouble with a lot of the teaching of science is that, uh, students are introduced to a lot of entities and what you might call an ontological zoo of rather strange entities, irons, atoms, molecules and stuff they can’t see. Uh, and they have to really accept it on faith because they’re taught it by their teacher. So in some senses, often, always from a lot of students acquires the aura of a religion in that sense. Now it’s not a religion, [00:20:30] it’s an evidence-based argument and you can illustrate that with all kinds of arguments, any kind of age from that, uh, that point of view. So for instance, one of the ones we were talking about is how do we know that the earth is a sphere rather than flat?

After it looks flat, why should we believe that it’s as severe? What’s the evidence that convinces us of that? I had a wonderful one in my own education, for instance, which is that we spent, I think this is again in middle school, we spent about three weeks growing [00:21:00] copper sulfate crystals that was great fun. We had a big competition. Who’s got the biggest one? Okay.

And then the teacher said to us at the end, he said, oh, well what do you nice about these copper sulfate crystals?

And we looked at, said, well, they’re all blue. Okay.

I said, no, I mean, you know something else? What is that? He said.

Oh, well. Well, yeah. They’re all the same shape.

Yeah, they’re all the same shape.

Yeah, but they’re different sizes.

How could that be? He said, okay.

And we said, oh, scratching.

And he said, have you ever been to the green grasses?

And we [00:21:30] thought, yeah, what’s this gotta do with that? Okay.

You notice the stacks of oranges? Yes. Okay.

You see? Okay.

Have you noticed it doesn’t matter if it’s a big stack or a small stack. Okay. They’ve all got the same lines and shapes. Okay. But they’re made out all particles, which we call oranges. It’s just like that with your cup of sulfate. It’s made out of particles in the same kind of way. And it was a wonderful, elegant argument for particle theory of matter in that sense, which has stuck in my brain ever since because I tend to react to good arguments and think that’s good in that. Now I’m just [00:22:00] asking for more examples of that. I mean, for instance, what’s the evidence that we believe in the theory, what led, and there are stories to be told about that and kids like stories. Because stories are the things that you and I use to communicate all the time. We use them as evidence in that way, and we don’t tell enough stories about science. Now, part of that actually is the problem that actually a lot of us don’t know the stories about science. ’cause we were never told the stories about [00:22:30] science.

So how do we get out of that kind of, uh, cycle? But if you want Yeah.

[00:22:35] Russ Altman: It’s funny that you say that about, um, people, uh, because I’m very aware, one of the early scientific mentors I had said, one, you know, science is a great career but one of the things you have to become comfortable with is that your discoveries may be remembered long after you are forgotten.

And so, uh, and there is truth to that because the discoveries are kind of the goal. On the other hand, as you just pointed out, the stories are very [00:23:00] important in order to keep people engaged and thinking about. That this is a human endeavor. It’s not, we’re not robots, we’re not chat GPT and that we we’re deciding what questions to ask and then we’re trying to answer them and we’re doing the best that we can.

And it’s an imperfect, you know, approximation. But, so I’m really struck by the, your statement about stories because I agree with you. And yet we were told as young scientists that it’s not about your story, it’s about the knowledge that you create and that might have been wrong.

[00:23:29] Jonathan Osborne: [00:23:30] Yeah, that might be wrong, but also it’s a story about how that knowledge was created in the first place.

[00:23:34] Russ Altman: Right.

[00:23:35] Jonathan Osborne: In that case. Uh, and it’s often of quite a complicated story in that way. I mean, just take if something simple. Okay. I mean, well maybe they’re not so simple, but vaccines, what’s the story behind vaccine?

Okay. How did people first have this crazy idea of putting a disease into somebody in order to prevent them being infected? It just sounds wrong in that [00:24:00] kind of, uh, kind of way. So where did they get that idea from and what was the path that led them to it? It wasn’t something that was instantaneous. It wasn’t one lone genius working on their own. It was a succession of work done by different people. Certain names have stand out in that process. Uh, obviously general Pasteur, but there, there is a story.

[00:24:25] Russ Altman: As you look at scientific argumentation, is it different across [00:24:30] fields? Do physicists and biologists make similar arguments or have you seen differences? Are those differences important?

[00:24:36] Jonathan Osborne: Basically, three forms of argument that are made in science, so okay. One is the hypothetical and reductive argument, which is predominates a lot in physics, particularly when mathematics is involved or increasingly there’s quite a lot of that in biology. Uh, as well with some of the models that people are developing and making predictions on the back of models.

Uh, um, but the second form of argument, which we often forget about is the [00:25:00] abductive argument, which is the inference to best possible explanation. That’s the form of argument that I just illustrated for you with the story about argument from atoms. This is an inference of the best possible, best possible form of explanation. It’s a form of argument that Darwin used with the finches, it’s the formal argument that Wegener used for continental drift in that kind of way. And it’s quite common, we are confronted with complexity and we have to look at it and think, well possibly this is happening. This is the best fit with the evidence.

And then there’s [00:25:30] obviously the inductive argument that you make. For instance, that all metal oxides are bases, is the obvious kind of one all mammals are warm blooded. Uh, those our inductive generalizations, which we have to make because we’ve gotta make the world simpler than it appears in that way. So they do vary across the, I mean, I don’t, I couldn’t go through all the arguments using all the sciences. But I would say I think there’s [00:26:00] more use of, uh, inference in biology than there is in physics or the physical sciences.

[00:26:06] Russ Altman: Yes. And it, I, that makes sense. And I like that because what as you were describing, these three different modes of reasoning, they’re all present in all fields, but I think some of them are used more in one field than the other.

The physicists have their mathematics and they like the deductive mathematical approaches. The biologists are overwhelmed with observations, don’t have much theory. And so they wind up doing, you know, [00:26:30] um, inference from observations with, without too much of a deductive theory. So, yeah, this actually makes sense.

So do you think that this needs to be made, uh, explicit or is it best for students to learn this a little bit more in a subtle way by example? I’m not sure you would want to give those three. You would maybe in high school or college, but for the middle schoolers in the grammar school is you probably want them to experience those logics before you name them., But I’m asking.

[00:26:58] Jonathan Osborne: Oh, no, no. I think you definitely wanna [00:27:00] experience them for, uh, name them, but I just think, I mean, the problem with the description of science, you know, the standard introduction to the scientific methods, it just tells you about the hypothetically and deductive method. And so it makes, it really, it’s an insult to science because it makes it seem like it’s some kind of algorithm.

You just turn the wheels and you get this. Yeah. Okay. There’s no creativity or intelligence that goes into it, or imagination that goes into it.

[00:27:20] Russ Altman: Right.

[00:27:21] Jonathan Osborne: Actually, It’s, if you look at all I have this thesis that basically most of what you’re teaching in science is a set of crazy ideas [00:27:30] from that point of view.

The idea that the air, has maps the idea that you look like your parents, because every cell in your body carries a chemically coded blueprint about how to reproduce you. Who would ever have conceived these ideas?

[00:27:42] Russ Altman: It’s crazy. Okay.

[00:27:46] Jonathan Osborne: And so once you see yourself as a teacher of crazy ideas, you start to be.

Hey, I’ve gotta convince people to believe in basically what they’re gonna say is, well would not believe that. Uh, and then you’ve gotta make, use evidence to convince [00:28:00] them of that, and then you start to see the richness of the story.

[00:28:04] Russ Altman: So that’s very good. And in our last minute, I just wanted to get to this issue of, uh, timing.

[00:28:09] Jonathan Osborne: Yeah.

[00:28:09] Russ Altman: Uh, and in your comments and in your writings you’ve talked about, we should have a sense of urgency. The rate at which teaching standards are updated, may not be ideal at a time when the world is moving very quickly. So talk to me about this sense of the timescale at which science education should evolve.

[00:28:27] Jonathan Osborne: Basically, the problem with the most [00:28:30] current set of standards, I would say, uh, internationally in the moment are the US ones a framework which are the framework for K to 12 science education. Uh, I was on that group, we wrote that in 2011. Uh, looking back now, I think we made all kinds of mistakes.

Uh, this is inevitable and, uh, the, what’s really happened is the context has changed enormously because all of a sudden you have the rise of Web 2.0, the rise of misinformation and we have no capacity to adjust for that because the next set of standards will not be written for 10 years.

[00:28:58] Russ Altman: Oh.

[00:28:59] Jonathan Osborne: This, I think, is what I’m [00:29:00] gonna argue.

Actually you have to create any set standards. You create, you have to create with space for people to add, adapt them and make them. And that’s terribly important for the teachers because they’re only going to really teach you with passion if there’s a sense of ownership and they only have a sense of ownership if they have a sense of agency.

So you have to give, leave space in standards for that because you cannot predict what’s gonna happen in the next 10, 20 years that might need addressing. And that’s the problem we’ve got at the moment.

[00:29:28] Russ Altman: Are there, uh, bright ideas about how to [00:29:30] give the teachers that freedom? I’m sure the teachers are in favor of it. A subset of the parents may be in favor of it.

[00:29:37] Jonathan Osborne: Yeah.

[00:29:37] Russ Altman: Uh, I don’t know about the poli, the politicians.

[00:29:41] Jonathan Osborne: Well, I think it’s the bright idea is less is more. Okay. The, if you, okay. Just., You look internationally. Okay. And there’s clear evidence that the coun, some of the countries that have less time do a better job.

[00:29:56] Russ Altman: Mm-hmm.

[00:29:56] Jonathan Osborne: In that sense, uh, because they have a [00:30:00] clear set, clearer sense of which goals they want to achieve rather than sort them spreading it across where we’ve gotta do all of these, okay. These are the ones that really matter. And so it’s our responsibility as science educators, as scientists to say this is what really matters. The rest of it’s up to you if you particularly interested in it.

[00:30:19] Russ Altman: Thanks to Jonathan Osborne. That was the future of science education. You have been listening to The Future of Everything with Russ Altman.

If you enjoyed the podcast, please consider subscribing or following it. So [00:30:30] you’ll receive news of the new episodes and you’ll never be surprised by the future of anything. Maybe tell your friends about the podcast too, and definitely rate and review it. We have more than 200 episodes in the back catalog, and you might go check out some of those, which are still evergreen and good. You can connect with me on Twitter @RBAltman and follow Stanford Engineering @StanfordENG.

You can also now follow me on Threads @Russ R U S S, B as in [00:31:00] boy, Altman @RussBAltman, all one word.

Copyright © All rights reserved. | Newsphere by AF themes.