The scientific perspective on our Universe
and humanity's place within it is as important, valid and "humane"
as that obtained from great literature and philosophy.
Science must become part of our culture's
mainstream, not just the remote domain of a privileged few.
All students can understand and benefit from the insights of contemporary science, whether as future professional researchers, workers in high-technology careers, or as productive and informed citizens of an increasingly-complex technologically-advanced society.
Science education must involve the whole
student, engaging emotions and imagination as well as intellect.
Teachers are more effective, students feel more connected and
competent, and learning is enhanced when science education is
direct, experiential and hands-on.
Systemic reform of science education must
alter traditional concepts of teaching and learning by empowering
teachers as facilitators rather than lecturers from authorized
texts, enlisting students as active participants in their own
education, and providing interaction with the scientific and professional
community as collaborators and mentors.
PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE offers an ongoing
series of "electronic field trips to scientific frontiers"
that excite, inform and inspire students about the Universe around
PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE shares the latest
factual information and contexts within which to understand
it, while developing positive attitudes towards the scientific
process, and demonstrating and encouraging technical and research
skills in accessing and comprehending the vast amounts
of information which telecommunications and computers now make
available. Simulations in class relate to and link with the real-world
research presented on camera and on-line .
Integrated multimedia resources introduce
students in schools and homes across America to the men and women
who are working on exciting research frontiers. Though "virtual",
these encounters with world-class scientists are made to feel
personal. Students see creative scientists who are life-long learners,
young at heart, open to new information, and whose challenging
work is as rewarding as "play". These researchers serve
as role models for life choices, as well as professional mentors
in their specific disciplines. Their personal stories inspire
youngsters by showing that what they learn while young can be
a "passport" to a productive and rewarding career and
PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE empowers teachers
and students to begin an ongoing process of individualized discovery
by providing practical, flexible pathways, adaptable to the different
levels of technology and training to be found in any school, home
or science center. "Teacher-friendly" materials welcome
first-time users, and more challenging online collaborations engage
those with the capacity to become involved. This pyramid of options
enables widespread participation, and minimizes the effects of
inequality of resources. New technologies are introduced through
project-related activities which deliver immediate, practical
learning experiences, rather than abstract training.
PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE is informed by the
suggestions of the national science reform panels, the national
science standards, and state guidelines and frameworks, and provides
"replacement modules" which can serve as readily-integrated
"plug and play" units in the existing curriculum.
As an ongoing series of Modules, PASSPORT
TO KNOWLEDGE will enable teachers to build on previous experiences,
and implement succeeding Modules with increasing effectiveness.
Educators will "cache" successful teaching strategies,
and apply this positive feedback loop to the new content of each
new field trip.
Believing that science should be experienced
as both "content" and "process", PASSPORT
TO KNOWLEDGE will develop and implement assessment tools to measure
student learning outcomes. These will assess growth in positive
attitudes and development of skills, as well as increasing mastery
PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE focuses on the continuing
enterprise of scientific research and exploration and not the
achievements of individual adventurers and expeditions. It collaborates
with the nation's leading science agencies (principally NASA and
NSF) and university-based researchers, and presents ongoing activities
in which students may envisage themselves playing a role in the
future. Research itself is the adventure.
The core PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE team serves
as conductor for a large and evolving orchestra of individual
research agencies and scientists, teachers and students, schools,
science centers and home-schoolers, articulating and amplifying
the grand theme of humanity's ever-increasing understanding of
the world and its processes of growth and change.