Sonntag, 29. Juli 2007

It's All Genetics

Paul Sagawa of Harvard Krokodiloes fame stars as Gregor Mendel in this "melodic-mnemonics science education through music video" from the early 1990s in which we tried to literally "bring the textbook to life". Sagawa also plays the saxophone throughout the track. Dr. Sherry Kerr cameos as Charles Darwin's pious wife -- Darwin was played by a substitute teacher at Jefferson High -- while biology teachers Todd Ullah and colleague play Watson and Crick. T.H. Culhane plays Alfred Russel Wallace while his beloved Harvard Professor E.O. Wilson is represented by photographs. The idea was to take images from the standard biology textbook and, using early blue screen technology available at the Beverly Hills Community Access Television station, superimpose the teachers playing the historical characters over the images from the book to tell the story of how evolution, genetics and sociobiology have transformed our view of the world. The audio was recorded on a little Tascam 4 track cassette recorder. Nobody involved in the production was a professional; we did our best to demonstrate what a small group of inspired inner city school teachers and their students could do to enliven the lesson and "bring biology to life".*

* Talk about redundancy! "Enliven" "bring to life" and "biology" -- but perhaps we need to "kick a dead horse" to get people to realize that science is the most lively subject and that it is a crime if students are turned off to science because of poorly designed and delivered materials. If we live in an age of recidivism and superstition in which people are turning away from science and enlightenment and toward the dark ages of demagoguery, blame the school systems and their atrocious choices of teachers, pedagogical methods, slavish devotion to "standards" and "exams" and their use of horrible books and materials.

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