Why Roger Malina loves Science

colleagues

I am advisor to a new group called Informed By Nature

http://www.informedbynature.org/

The  Development Director, Jonathan Bell, gave a seminar at the Arts and Technology STEAM summer camp for 9-12 graders held at the Universty of Texas at Dallas this week. The ATEC STEAM camp is an innovative venue for high school students to learn about Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) through introduction to video game creation, robotics, and other aspects of technology and computing that combine creativity with technical savvy. In keeping with the STEAM theme and this year’s focus on social networking, Jonathan spoke about his background in historic preservation, professional collaboration, and IBN’s use of social media to develop a social network around science learning.


I was asked by Informed by Nature why I loved Science. Funny, its not a question I ask myself- I was raised and trained as a scientist but grew

up in a home where art and science were all part of being in the world. These days I like the ‘ways of knowing’  way of talking about being in

the world. In any case here is what I answered. The discussion about adding coding to the three R’s of Reading, Writing and Arithmetic comes

from Paul Fishwick who just joined us at the ATEC program at UT Dallas and he is convincing  us that Coding can also be seen as a way of knowing- a procedural

way of knowing- in the same way that rituals can serve as a way of knowing and interacting with the world – so active intervention through coding can create a relationship

to the world that informs being in the world.

 

Thirty years ago when artists began using computers, many of us argued that artists needed to know how to program- not just users of the technology but

subverters and re directors. Now that we live in such a digitally mediated world, this need to know how to shape the future of digital technology is

now a broader social and political issue. During my life I have done some gardening and this active interaction with plants and foods informs my

understanding of the natural world, as was my chidhood experience in wood shops and machines shops informed by relationship to the built world.

My reply to the question of why I love Science segued in rapidly to a discussion not only of being able to understand the world but to intervene in it.

Here is the beginning of the Interview, the rest is at http://www.informedbynature.org/ourblog/ourblogdetail/id/46/

 

Why do you love science? OR What about science/nature inspires you?

I like to understand what is going on around me and I rely on different ways of knowing. Science gives me a way to understand the world independent of my own background, likes and dislikes- this understanding is ‘knower’ independent and means the same to people in India or Russia or France.
The arts on the other hand allow me to make sense of the world in ways that embraces the full complexity and variability of human perception and cognition.

 

What can be done to improve science literacy in the US and around the world?

 

On basic idea is that for better or worse we are all now born digital. From a very early age we need to not only know how to read, write and do arithmetic but also how to code. When eight year olds are writing new phone apps we understand that procedural knowledge is here to stay and we need to add a “C” to the three “R’s of primary education.

 

The rest of the Interview is at:

http://www.informedbynature.org/ourblog/ourblogdetail/id/46/
Roger Malina

 

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