Wednesday, August 9, 2017: 1:30 PM-5:00 PM
Portland Blrm 253, Oregon Convention Center
Alan R. Berkowitz, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies
Kim Bjorgo-Thorne, West Virginia Wesleyan College
Emily S. J. Rauschert, Cleveland State University
Wicked problems are difficult to address due to contradictory knowledge, lack of knowledge, changing requirements and contexts, diversity and number of people involved, and the interaction of these factors. Ecology education faces wicked problems given the sparse and disparate information available about ecology learning and cognition, the expanding diversity of learners and stakeholders we work with, and the changing nature of our discipline. This symposium is designed to synthesize across subfields within ecology, and between ecology and education, to address wicked problems in building student and public understanding of the topics identified in the overall meeting theme. These topics are, in themselves, cross-cutting “big ideas” that demand new approaches to teaching. We bring together scientists specializing in biodiversity, material cycling, ecosystem services and climate change, together with education researchers and practitioners with expertise in teaching and learning to identify challenges and opportunities to address these wicked problems in ecology education. The big ideas will be addressed both as distinct topics and as they are linked to each other. Scientists who want to be part of the solution of these wicked problems, be they researchers, managers, or teachers, will find inspiration and insights from this symposium.
The symposium starts with an introduction to the idea of wicked problems in ecology education, placing the session in the context of important frameworks for synthesis from biology education (Vision and Change), science education (the Next Generation Science Standards) and ecological literacy (the ESA 2007 Vice Presidents’ Survey and the nascent ESA 4 Dimensional Ecology Education (4DEE) Framework). Each of the four topics of the ESA meeting theme – biodiversity, material cycling, ecosystem services, and climate change - will then be explored in papers co-authored by a scientist/educator team. Each team will identify important learning goals from current science, key challenges and insights about learning from education scholarship, and promising avenues for effective teaching. Each team will address synthesis with the other topics in the symposium, responding to the challenge of “linking” identified in the meeting theme. A final presentation will synthesize across the four topical presentations, mapping out challenges and opportunities for linkages across topics, and between ecological and education research and teaching practice.