The board of directors are educators, scientists and media-friendly conservationists. Feel free to read a bit about the view of media in education by our three board members.
Dick T. Co
To say the world is changing at a “break-necking pace” (Dr. Seuss, anyone?) is an understatement. How we educators learned yesterday is simply not the same way as how students are learning today. Latest studies are showing that youth today, particularly minority youth, are consuming digital media content at once unfathomable amounts: an average of 9 – 13 hours a day. No typos there! If you believe that science is at the very core of solving all of our societal challenges today like we do at Untamed Science, then realizing that science education needs to evolve with the digital age is a no-brainer.
I view the pursuit of science as a passionate and personal choice that one makes—just like how one falls in love with BMX racing or performing or collecting baseball cards or horseback riding or… you get the idea. Somewhere along the way, someone or something inspired us to take up our hobbies and interests, and once we did, we simply couldn’t stop thinking and talking about it. Science is no different for many of us. The inspiration could come from a family member, a neighbor, a friend, a teacher, a famous athlete, or an actress. A tiny spark can change one’s life forever.
I personally was inspired to pursue chemistry because of my father, who is also a Ph.D. chemist— I called that glass of transparent liquid “H2O” before I called it “water.” Discovering the many ways the molecular world worked has always been fascinating and fulfilling to me. My journey in chemistry has taken me from studying water molecules to detecting trace species in the atmosphere to discovering new materials for solar energy conversion today – all with lasers! I find it as my duty as a chemistry professor to communicate what we do in the lab to people from all walks of life in substantive and accessible ways.
Using a unique blend of science adventure videos spiced with humor, music, and discovery, Untamed Science is providing inspiration to students world-wide to take active roles in the sciences— at their own pace and in their own space. Science education need not be confined to the classroom or to textbooks alone, and science videos should not only consist of talking-head professors professing. The world needs inspired young engineers and scientists to tackle our most important challenges in energy, food supply, public health, and environmental preservation.
Untamed Science believes that the way to create this new generation of problem solvers is to speak the students’ language at the age when they are exploring their world and to provide them with role models that they can relate to. We strive to instill a sense of community across all facets of the scientific process—from the creation of scientific knowledge to the dissemination and consumption of it. It is our goal to communicate the power and wonder of science to youth audiences in revolutionary ways and inspire them to delve deeper into exploring how the world works.
Communicating scientific information effectively, to the masses, is the SINGLE most important element for the success and survival of the human race. It’s that simple.
Science affects our lives in every single way imaginable. From the food we eat, the products we purchase, the fuel that powers our vehicles, and the technology that supports our high-tech lifestyle…nearly everything we see and do is a product of science.
As science professionals, it is our responsibility to communicate what we do in a way that makes it understandable, enjoyable, and accessible to every single person out there. Not just scientists, not just academics, but every single human being that lives on this planet. Planet Earth is a dynamic system of complex organisms, all co-habitating in the same space. Our planet is rich in renewable resources, but they are only renewable if they are managed sustainably. With upwards of 7 billion people on the planet, there are only so many resources to go around. Harvesting natural resources is a delicate balance between extracting nature’s raw materials to make the things we want and need and leaving behind enough to sustain natural production.
Every single one of us has an impact on this planet, and our ecological influence is transcribed to the Earth through our consumer behaviors, consumption habits, and our carbon footprint. The more we know about how our behaviors affect the environment, the more we can tailor our habits to be environmentally-friendly. When it comes to most things, people like to make informed decisions, particularly when it directly relates to the way they live their lives, and especially when it affects their wallets. The more we know about our environment and the world around us, the more calculated decisions we can make. We can shape consumer markets by our consumption behaviors. We can invent new technologies that operate cleaner, safer, and more efficiently. We can change the way the world view science. Science communication is the impetus for that change. Tangible, entertaining, creative learning that teaches people and helps the planet.
At Untamed Science, youth-oriented science education is our heartthrob, but our real mission is science communication. Communication is a two-way channel of giving and receiving information. We know that kids take what they learn in the classroom back to their homes and share it with their community; that’s why we open the channel of communication for feedback from our viewers. We invite people to join our mission, become Ecogeeks, and share their adventures and experiences.
At the end of the day, people protect what they hold close to their hearts. At Untamed Science, our goal is to penetrate the hearts and minds of young people, to expose them to the awe and wonder of the natural world, and to promote a healthy respect and admiration for the planet we live on with hopes that they will do their part to protect and preserve it for future generations.
On a Personal Note
As a young person, I never had any real exposure to science, nature, or the outdoors. My love for nature and the environment was fueled by an innate curiosity of the natural world. I have been fortunate enough to have had the resources and experiences that have led me just where I want to be in my conservation career, but I know that not everyone is so blessed. Communicating science is about reaching the masses, sharing our message with people who might not otherwise be exposed to our line of work. Untamed Science has pioneered the new-age science education movement. Using video, the most powerful media tool out there, to bring science to youth in an exciting, adventurous, interactive way. Untamed Science teaches youth to ‘never stop exploring their world’. This mantra encompasses the revolutionary way Untamed Science is bringing the message of science to America. Sparking curiosity, provoking exploration and critical thinking, and most importantly, motivating America’s youth to explore for themselves, and share their findings with each other and the community at large. By engaging students in a hands-on approach to learning science, we are preparing and encouraging the next generation of the Earth’s stewards.
Untamed Science is revolutionizing science education; science is not some boring text book subject that students are forced to learn in a classroom. It’s an exciting, interactive, thought-provoking way to view the world around us. As technology advances, we must leave behind the primitive teaching tools of yesteryear and embrace the plethora of media outlets out there to engage students. Science is all about how and why things change…evolution. At Untamed Science we are the revolution to evolution, taking science education to a whole new level. Support our mission, become an Ecogeek, and help us spread the word that science is way cool!
Untamed Science is about making connections. Connecting students to science and connecting educators to valuable communication tools. It’s also about disconnecting students from any negative preconceptions they may have about science like, “Science is hard,” or, “I’m not a science person.” These ideas stand like road blocks that prevent learners from connecting to new material because they’ve given themselves permission to disengage. Reaching these students is a huge challenge for educators, and Untamed Science helps them to meet that challenge by finding alternative routes to student interest and engagement. The Untamed Science team knows that the most important ingredient to effective science communication is a teacher’s interest and passion for the material. And that the best way to make an impression on a student is to trigger some sort of emotional response to the material being taught. This can be done by tying the subject to an issue in their daily lives, by describing a controversy or conflict over a particular hypothesis, or by integrating humor or personal stories related to the concepts being presented. Repeatedly making these connections while maintaining the integrity of the material is challenging and truly a form of art, so it’s fortunate that Untamed Science has composed a team of Rembrandts.
Through videos, online materials, and content distributed through textbook publishers, Untamed Science is helping to reach a new generation of scientists and reverse the trend of declining math and science scores that we have seen in the U.S. relative to other countries. In such times of global change and economic uncertainty, the significance of this mission cannot be overstated. The problems of science education in our country must be attacked not only with new enthusiasm but with new tools, and Untamed Science possesses vast reserves of both. I am therefore hopeful that with the help of Untamed Science and similar groups, we can return science to a prominent place in our culture and thereby foster growth in our economy while preserving the integrity of our environment and natural resources. This will only happen if science becomes part of the vernacular in all walks of life, not only among professional scientists.
It is ironic that in this digital age when information is more readily available than at any time in human history, there is an increase in anti-science and even anti-knowledge sentiment in U.S. popular and political culture. While everyone has access to online information, everyone also has the ability to publish their own opinions, regardless of substance, and it has never been easier for people to control their own information input and limit themselves to sources that reinforce their existing biases. The need to question, to test hypotheses and beliefs, to seek truth, to be scientists, has thus never been greater.
In that regard science should not be simply a field of study but a way of life. The best doctors, lawyers, businessmen, journalists, politicians, artists, and athletes all use scientific approaches in many aspects of their work. Unfortunately we are too often allowing students to slip through the cracks without a proper science education. We need to engage those students and make sure they understand the role that science can play in
their lives, even if they have no intention of growing up to work in a laboratory. We need to find alternative ways to reach them and show them that science is interesting, relevant, and can even be fun! We need to make connections, and that is what Untamed Science is all about.