Variants in Biology Education: What can we learn from pandemics?
Over the last two years, teaching and learning has grappled with the demands of change in response to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic within a highly politicized landscape for which science is on the defense and misinformation is rampant. Never before have so many questions arisen about the implications for mainstream organismal biology education, and never before has the speed and scale of innovation been put into practice. The “pandemic” symbolizes change, resistance, immunity, adaptation, and opportunity at so many different levels – literally, in our personal lives, in education, and in mass culture. It compels us to consider the workforce needs of the future where pandemics are now ubiquitous among all living organisms: people, plants, and animals (domestic and wild).
How have pandemics influenced education and has teaching and learning evolved and/or adapted to meet this challenge?
How do we prepare our students for a fast-evolving scientific phenomenon and perhaps an even faster “viral” spread of divergent sources of information that resist the scientific base for evolution and science in general?
Where are the jobs and careers in our field headed over the next 5-10 years, considering reliance on government sources of funding? How are educators preparing our students in an evolving job market?
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