January 21, 2017
After celebrating goof-ups in research on 26 Dec 2016 and a followup
one week workshop, CUBE is organizing its Winter Meet on Sunday 22 Jan
2017, in Auditorium from 10:00 am to 06:00 pm.
There will be approximately 75 colleges students from Mumbai and few
from Delhi, Kerala, Baroda, Guwahati.
The idea is to share their continuous work on model organisms which
they have been working on in their own labs. Students in groups
working collaboratively from different colleges will be making
The model organisms are: Snails, Drosophila (fruitfly), Hydra,
Earthworm, Moina/Daphnia (water flea), Pagalapos (Rotifers,
C.elegans), Mosquito, Cardamine (weed/plant).
Each and atleast two model organisms have a reserach question based on
regeneration, epigenetics, diversity, etc.
An added session is on DNA extraction by the jugaad way, i.e. not
using any sophisticated materials but still performing the experiment
using daily available materials. This session will have movies created
by students themselves while doing the DNA extraction.
All are welcome!
December 13, 2014
I was participating at the Summer School on “Methodology of Task Design: How to Construct Exercises for Learning” at the Technische University, Dresden, Germany, Sept 2014. It was my first time participating at a summer school. It was really a good experience, as it was more of discussion on the research area. As the summer school is specifically on an area, it is useful to participate as most of the participants are from a common area of research, unlike a conference. I presented poster on “A Proposal to Extend Concept Mapping to Concept Lattices for Representing Biology“.
Although it was a summer school, it was quite cold in Dresden. As part of social event, we visited the Bastei, night tour of city of Dresden. After the summer school, I visited Berlin, Prague (Czech Republic).
March 7, 2013
I have been reflecting on the NCF 2005 — Teaching of Science Focus Group Position Paper. I am reading it for conducting a session for the DIET teacher educators in Bihar. I particularly would like to reflect on the ‘Janabai’ point. Below is the verbatim text from the document (p. 12), some critical questions that I raise, and some discussion around it.
What Biology do students know?
“These students don’t understand science … they come from a deprived background!” We frequently hear such opinions expressed about children from rural or tribal backgrounds. Yet consider what these children know from everyday experience: Janabai lives in a small hamlet in the Sahyadri hills. She helps her parents in their seasonal work of rice and tuar farming. She sometimes accompanies her brother in taking the goats to graze in the bush. She has helped bring up her younger sister. Nowadays she walks 8 km every day to attend the nearest secondary school. Janabai maintains intimate links with her natural environment. She has used different plants as sources of food, medicines, fuel wood, dyes and building materials; she has observed parts of different plants used for household purpose, in religious rituals and in celebrating festivals. She recognizes minute differences between trees, and notices seasonal changes based on shape, size, distribution of leaves and flowers, smells and textures. She can identify about a hundred different types of plants around her, many times more than her biology teacher can – the same teacher who believes Janabai is a poor student. Can we help Janabai translate her rich understanding into formal concepts of biology? Can we convince her that school biology is not about some abstract world coded in long texts and difficult language: it is about the farm she works on, the animals she knows and takes care of, the woods that she walks through every day? Only then will Janabai truly learn science. (NCF 2005 — Teaching of Science, p. 12).
When reading it critically, I framed the following questions:
- From whose perspective is this narrative written? — As this is a policy document, we are aware that this is from a teacher’s or the school education’s perspective.
- What is the nature of knowledge that Janabai has, Is it knowledge or information? –Janabai knows quite a lot of the flora and fauna around here, as she has dwelled in the natural context. But at this stage, I think, that this is mere information. At the point, when she makes association with seasonal changes, etc. then she is constructing knowledge.
- Why is Janabai’s knowledge different from formal or school knowledge? — If Janabai can recognize the plant by size, shape, etc. (attribution, variable properties of object), I think, Janabai already has scientific knowledge.
- What are the different classification systems followed by Janabai and teacher?
- Why is the need for shifting Janabai towards school knowledge, and why not the other way? —
- What are the different associated knowledge or information that Janabai has?
- Does this association appear in school knowledge?
- What is the age of Janabai? — The context is middle school. But if we consider that she is just entering to school, then she may be a teenager, much older than her peers in school
- The text “She recognizes minute differences between trees, and notices seasonal changes based on shape, size, distribution of leaves and flowers, smells and textures” — This is scientific knowledge that Janabai has?
- What is this formal concepts of biology?
- Why is the need for Janabai to learn to understand this formal knowledge?
- If the school knowledge talks about Janabai’s context “it is about the farm she works on, the animals she knows and takes care of, the woods that she walks through every day”, then why is the impression that Janabai is lacking formal knowledge?
January 28, 2013
While concept maps have been quite extensively used to represent static descriptions, it has not been used for its full potential for representing changes or processes. We propose a template and a limited set of linking phrases for representing change, with partial amendments in the concept mapping technique and the CmapTools. Usually, a process is represented in a object-centric manner specifying the object’s role init. In this proposal, we suggest a process-centric strategy with certain heuristics for representing processes. Considering the view that a process is a name to a change of state of an object involving time, sequence, causes, we make necessary proposals to the vocabulary and the form of representing a process.We end with a discussion on implications of this proposal to science education and concept mapping in general.