TED Conversations

Lourdes Cahuich

translator, Khan Academy Espa


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What do you think should be the strategy to make every human a citizen scientist?

With the grow of computer and Internet, more people have access to new tools that can be used to help science research and science outreach, both key aspects to improve every society on Earth.

What can we do to help empower people all over the world to become a citizen scientist?


Closing Statement from Lourdes Cahuich

Thank you very much to all of you for sharing your thoughts, proposals and opinions. I have been reading your comments and here are my thoughts:

Every child is born a scientist, we all began our lives with curiosity and an urge to experiment and learn about the world around us. Sciences is the best tool we have to learn about the Universe and, if we use it properly, it will be the way to guarantee our survival as a species thru space and time.

A citizen scientist is any person who, no matter his/her background, dedicates some of his/her resources (time, computers, eyes, hands, brains, etc) to help the developing and/or popularizing of science.

For the first time in the history of humankind we have the technological capabilities to have everyone around the world, engaged in the science making process. We should use this tool to teach the new generations what science is, and how to use it in the everyday life and not be afraid of making mistakes.

In short, I think we should:

* Change the way to educate our children, so they can keep with their natural curiosity when they grow up.

* Teach science in a friendly "part of our lives" way, for instance: To learn how to do our own research (to try at least) to verify the information we get from the media or the Internet, so we can develop our own conclusion about any topic, and therefore, we can teach by example the importance of "critical thinking"

Every one of us should use some part of our resources (in an innovative and creative way) to help popularizing science and critical thinking; even a few minutes of your day helping explain (or research) something to your family-friend-neighbors can make a huge difference in the long run.

Thank you again and greetings from Mexico.


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    Mar 10 2011: I think we are naturally curious and creative - you can see it in kids, they spend all their time investigating the world around them.

    Just let them do what they want. And instead of coercive rules ("you have to", "you should not"), encourage them to find their own preferences and values. This control-freakiness is found in parents, employers, teachers...

    Imagine the society where "mom believes in you doing the right thing, whatever you do". Boss is more like a curator, leads without power. And teacher is your mentor that's always there for you.
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      Mar 10 2011: Roman: I think you hit it right on. Lourdes - we tend to over-categorize thinking as scientific or not. All humans have natural curiosity. Science just adds a little refinement to the techniques. Anyone who follows their interest will stumble on science.
    • Mar 11 2011: Mr. Seberka are you serious? Have you ever given any real -world attention to your statements and their underlying assumptions? "Just let kids do what they want"free of any restrictions or "coercive" rules. The more I examine your statements the more suspicious I am becoming. I'll just leave it at that.
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        Mar 11 2011: "It is in our very nature to manipulate that which we would understand, therefore it is our collective responsibility to collaborate towards creating a culture and legacy which supports our ability to do so."

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