Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Decentralized thinking and understanding of evolution in K-12 evolution education (Petrosino , Lucero, and Mann, 2015)

The following is an upcoming research article on decentralized thinking and understanding in the area of evolution. This research article is published in the journal Evolution Education and Outreach and its official publication date will be December 2015 (although available online since February of this year). This is a peer reviewed article that has been examined and commented on by 3 anonymous reviewers as well as the editor of the journal and the editorial staff. Previous drafts of this manuscript were read by colleagues and graduate students and a version was presented at a national conference. -Dr. Petrosino 

Petrosino, A. J., Lucero, M. M., and Mann, M. J. (2015). Decentralized thinking and understanding of evolution in K-12 evolution education. Evolution Education and Outreach. Vol. 8 No. 2. 


Background- Previous work found four areas critical to understanding evolution: variation, selection, inheritance, and deep time.

Methods- An exploratory qualitative approach was taken with a variety of data sources from a larger data corpus. Data were analyzed for emphasis of either decentralized or centralized thinking. Data were analyzed and discussed exploring how a group of high school biology teachers from the same department taught evolutionary concepts.

Results- The paper presents evidence that demonstrates a common lack of thinking from this perspective or incorrectly thinking that evolutionary processes are “driven” by some centralized force.

Conclusions- We now identify a critical fifth component: decentralized mindset or thinking of evolution as a complex system. Possibilities of how this new area can affect learning about evolution are discussed and implications for assessment are also discussed.

Keywords- Decentralized Complex systems Evolution Cognition Teachers High school biology