That’s the premise (and title) of a recent article in New York Magazine. The author goes on to explain:
One of the three most common responses when I tell somebody I’m a physicist is, “You must be really smart. I could never do that.” (The other responses are, “I hated that when I took it in high school/college,” and, “Can you explain string theory to me?” This goes a long way toward explaining why physicists have a reputation as lousy conversationalists.)
Sure- everyone likes hearing others call them smart. However, the perception that science is only for the smartest kids in the class may be keeping other students—who could be equally successful in science—from pursuing science, technology, engineering, math (STEM) fields. Students struggling with intro-level science or math courses– the so-called ‘gateway’ courses that are a prerequisite for many degrees, but also have shockingly high failure rates – are also getting the message that they aren’t smart enough for college.
Here at Smart Sparrow, we work with many scientists from various institution – and, of course, we think they are smart. But we also know that any student can enjoy and benefit from an education in science, and creating the courseware to facilitate this is one of the things we’ll be tackling through our Inspark Science Network.
Thus, drawing on the design principles of Habitable Worlds, the Inspark Science Network aims to transform and enable student success by redefining learning as the exploration of the unknown, not just the mastery of what is known. The Network will meet this mission by developing engaging, adaptive, transdisciplinary digital learning platforms to teach science effectively and at a scale.
Want to contribute to the future of online science education?
Jacqui Hayes, Science Program Manager