Biology has undergone a major data revolution with the exponential explosion of data information and the technological leaps in computing power that make these data widely available. Numerous reports have indicated that data-enriched undergraduate classrooms have significant benefits for improving students' understanding of science concepts, scientific reasoning, and the scientific process. Developing data skills allows students to participate as scientists, succeed in increasingly data-focused careers, and become well-informed citizens and consumers. With recent efforts to curate, archive and disseminate research data and the development of new tools that make data more accessible to the education community, it is now demonstrable that faculty can successfully bring data and authentic research into the classroom and achieve their learning objectives. The time is right to accelerate this effort and to contribute to the national dialogue on what it means and what it takes to implement data in the classroom. The professional societies leading this effort are well-positioned to expand and enhance awareness of available resources and foster collaborations and opportunities among their members and networks. The conference will elevate attention of the conference theme in undergraduate biology education.
The Ecological Society of America, Botanical Society of America, Society for the Study of Evolution and Society for Economic Botany, collectively known as the Life Discovery Partners, are organizing the 4th Life Discovery - Doing Science biology education conference (LDC) on the theme: Data: Discover, Investigate, Inform. The conference will facilitate discovery of multiple types of data including environmental, geospatial, specimens, genomic, visual, audio, and other numeric data. To investigate data, strategies and approaches to scaffold student experiences and explore innovative data visualizations will be highlighted in order to unfold the stories of life on earth at various temporal and spatial scales. The LDC will offer presentations and discussions around the type, quantity, and quality of data needed to inform decision-making and the data skills to be introduced at various stages of learning. This proposal will support travel and participation of faculty from community colleges, minority serving institutions, primarily undergraduate institutions, and high school teachers to ensure that they will be informed and have access to such data resources for teaching.
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