About the Dragonfly Pages
About Us: Christopher Wolfe is On-line editor, the Director of DragonflyNet, and the person directly responsible for putting together these pages. Dragonfly Science Editor Hays Cummins edits these pages for scientific accuracy, and editor Jamie Bercaw copy edits these pages. Many Miami students in the School of Interdisciplinary Studies (Western College Program) worked on drafts of the interactive exercises, especially Shannon Plummer and Jaime Miracle.
Some of the early art work was produced by Allen & Associates, and Jenny Greeson provided valuable assistance with graphics and photographs. The editorial board of Dragonfly consists of Miami professors Hays Cummins, Carolyn Haynes, Chris Myers, and Christopher Wolfe. Lynne Born Myers is an editor and project coordinator; Jamie Bercaw is an editor and communications coordinator. Chris Myers is the director of Project Dragonfly (PDF). For more information about Dragonfly please contact:
Our Philosophy: Dragonfly links children and scientists in an open community of investigation. Our principle objectives are to involve children in the creative process of science, to help children see how science relates to their lives, to engage minority and at-risk children in science, and to help teachers and parents guide active, experiential learning more confidently. PDF offers the following ground-breaking new tools for education:
What We Stand For
In the traditional view of science education, scientists practice science, children mostly learn facts. Society does not offer many avenues for scientists and children to share ideas, so children learn second-hand the results of what the scientists discover (but not the process of how discoveries are made), or children are provided demonstration activities with known outcomes. Existing science texts rarely include the voices of real scientists and real children, so the process and intrigue of investigation are lost.
PDF offers an alternative vision of science as a community of investigators, and we invite children, scientists, teachers, and parents to join. We believe that inquiry in elementary education will thrive on first-hand accounts and interactions between young learners and scientists writing of their own investigations.
Questions naturally transcend the boundaries of disciplines, so our focus leads to a philosophy of integration. Combining science and language arts is especially fitting because both are active, imaginative, and developmental processes effected in the real world. PDF provides innovative support for both these ways of knowing. PDF's vision of science and language supports different learning styles and welcomes the experiences and emotions of children for a more complete understanding of the world and ourselves.
A Voice for Children. Children ask great questions, yet until their investigations are given credibility children will not perceive themselves as part of the community of science. PDF helps children see themselves as fellow investigators. By interacting with adults who treat their questions as serious works-in-progress, children can become empowered problem-posers and problem-solvers.
A Voice for Scientists. Scientists writing of their own work can communicate the habits of thought used in research directly. Scientists wrestle with alternative explanations and different methods to address a research problem. They don't always come up with the "right" answers. Scientists experience uncertainty, which is vital to science as a creative pursuit. By hearing directly from scientists, children will experience science as an imaginative process, and they will learn that scientists share with children an amazement about the world and our place in it.
A Voice for Teachers and for Parents. Teachers and parents are partners in PDF. They serve as editors, advisors, and evaluators. Most of the material children submit to Dragonfly will be inspired and guided by a devoted teacher or parent. PDF celebrates these interactions and provides a forum for teachers and parents in the Dragonfly companions.
Nature. Science is often portrayed as neutral to nature, or worse, as a system devoted to controlling and exploiting nature. These portrayals diminish science and alienate children. Dragonfly is a journal of science for nature, rather than just a journal of science and nature. We believe science is born in the human passion for discovery and that education should inspire what Rachel Carson has simply but profoundly called "a sense of wonder."
Note on Images. Because we believe in the importance of the visual dimension of learning, and because we believe that the World Wide Web is a visual medium, we make extensive use of pictures in the JPEG and GIF formats. Unfortunately, these pictures add to the time it takes to "load up" our pages. Once the home page has been loaded, the rest of the Dragonfly Web Pages should load much faster. We also make some use of sounds on the Dragonfly pages using the .WAV format.