GSA Annual Meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA - 2018

Paper No. 76-5
Presentation Time: 9:10 AM


BENBOW, Ann E., Archaeological Institute of America, 44 Beacon Street, 2nd floor, Boston, MA 02108 and MABLY, Colin, Educational Visions, 10369 Andrea Lane, La Plata, MD 20646

Communicating critical scientific information to the K-12 audience and the general public has always been challenging. Any language used must be accessible to the non-scientist, while still accurate and timely. Images need to be appropriate, engaging, and illustrative, rather than decorative.

For the K -12 audience, the problem has always been to provide curricula that reflect current scientific thinking, when much of those curricula are hard copy and have been used in classrooms for years. The advent of online curricula has helped a great deal with this problem – information can be easily updated and linked to reliable sources for more in-depth explanations. The difficulty with using online instructional material, then, is the ready availability of both vetted and non-vetted information. How does one judge which fall in the former of those categories? The role of the classroom teacher here becomes vitally important, as he/she is the guide to reliable scientific information. Teacher professional development programs in science can help instructors to make the best choices.

For the general public, without a teacher guide, finding accurate and current scientific information can be a daunting task. Whom does one trust? Does one rely upon government sources, universities, scientific societies, or what? What role do the news media and social media play in raising the public’s “need to know” about scientific topics of urgency? This session will explore these questions and provide examples of how scientific information can be effectively communicated to both the K-12 audience and the general public in the modern era.