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This talk indicates the central conceit of my research: that we can improve twenty-first-century STEM education through recovering student perspectives from the nineteenth century. In the US, many of the subjects, rationales, and pedagogical techniques in our current classrooms started to appear around the time of the Civil War, and studying the past can therefore tell us about the roots of our current problems of underrepresentation, standardization, and science engagement. Student perspectives are especially important, as they are today, because they provide diverse accounts of the pitfalls and promises of past classes. In this respect, my research looks to unlikely sources for new evidence: doodles, diaries, exhibits, plays, textbook burials, and unofficial ceremonies.


Arts and Humanities

Learning from the past: 19th century student perspectives on science education



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