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June 10, 2008

Blogging ECAR Summer Symposium II

B. Robert Franza is the Executive Scientific Director of the Seattle Science Foundation. Franza is a quantitative systems biologist with extensive experience managing successful collaborative and entrepreneurial start up companies. Franza was recognized by Science Watch as among the top three most referenced molecular biologists in the world. A University of Washington bio-engineer, Bob Franza addressed the ECAR Summer Symposium with the provocation that basic life science education needs to be re-invented.

Franza chose to make the case that the 3-D virtual web is an infinitely creative pedagogical learning space that allows co-creation of learning materials by students and faculty members. Immersive spaces like Second Life also make it possible for hundreds of retired science educators around the world to engage as mentors. Bob also made the case that the economics of the inherited educational institutional framwork for learning is non-sustainable in both dollar and cents terms (in terms of the waste of overbuild) and in terms of ecological sustainability. When asked about limits to this approach, Franza pushed back and suggested that its a matter of will to re-invent and make relevant the education of the next generation of life scientists.

The Seattle Science Foundation itself is an immersive convening collaboration space for physicians, scientists, technologists, engineers, and educators, fostering in a world class training facility, to improve healthcare through professional education. As we think about modeling, event-based collaborative research and learning spaces, the Seattle Science Foundation is an intriguing model of active researchers and educators engaged in important and pressing activities.

Lev Gonick
Case Western Reserve University
June 10, 2008

Posted by lsg8 at June 10, 2008 01:18 PM and tagged

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