DOWNLOAD PDF of FULL PROJECT DESCRIPTION - February 2011
THE VISION FOR E. O. WILSON'S LIFE ON EARTH
The Life on Earth project represents a revolutionary strategy to deliver life science education. By substituting a vivid, interactive, and highly adaptable online format for today's outmoded, inflexible, and expensive standard textbook, we will ignite interest in biology at a time when stimulating an understanding of what we know and don’t yet know about life on Earth has never been more important. The Life on Earth project is aligned with the widely praised Universal Design for Learning guidelines; students will be provided multiple representations of knowledge, multiple means for expressing their mastery via prepared assessment materials administered through a homework server, and multiple modes of engagement and motivation. The goal of Life on Earth is to become the central resource for every biology teacher and student in middle school, high school, advanced placement, and introductory college courses in America and globally.
Under the direction of E. O. Wilson, science writers Morgan Ryan and Karen Hopkin will prepare each topic in consultation with teams of distinguished content experts. The pedagogical structure of the project is being devised in collaboration with high-school instructor Jay Vavra, recipient of the 2008 Genzyme-Invitrogen Educator of the Year Award and the National Education Association Christa McAuliffe Award. Gaël McGill, Director of Molecular Visualization at Harvard Medical School and CEO of Digizyme, Inc., will serve as art director and creative lead for all digital development, leading a team of digital content specialists as well as authoring many digital units covering central topics in biology. Internationally renowned 3D visualization specialist and 2010 McArthur fellow Drew Berry and his team of animators will prepare a series of high-production digital movies that will serve as thematic pillars for the project overall.
All materials will be published in SCORM-compliant formats for friction-free deployment within proprietary
content-management systems. A central feature of Life on Earth will be the ability to create customized
textbooks. We will invite state and district administrative bodies to create accounts with Life on Earth and
create customized textbooks for their constituent schools, singly or in collaboration with other states and
districts. Materials assembled in this way will be available to all users.
Life on Earth will serve as the prototype for parallel endeavors in all academic disciplines—chemistry, physics,
economics, psychology, sociology, anthropology, and so on. The software infrastructure is designed for ready
duplication and deployment in new disciplines.
THE CURRENT TEXTBOOK MARKET
Textbooks cost the K–12 education community—in the USA alone—more than $5 billion annually. This
cost can be drastically reduced using the Life on Earth system of development and delivery. Printed
textbooks currently sell for $60 to $150 for a new copy, offer only text and pictures, consume huge amounts
of paper and related resources, are out of date before publication, and get further out of date during the
several-year life of an edition. Life on Earth will soon reach students with instructional materials of far higher
quality, at far lower cost. If we reach our fund-raising goals and succeed in releasing our materials as "endowed content," Life on Earth will be free to students everywhere in the world.
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3D/Interactive module on DNA & chromosome structure
3D visualization of chromosome separation during anaphase
3D/digital model of a Pheidole ant