Malcolm and I discuss #organellewars starting at 6 minutes and 15 seconds in this clip.[audio http://www.brookes.ac.uk/lifesci/runions/DrMolecule/20121023 – Star Trek tech and organellewars.mp3]
I don’t need write very much more about #organellewars because my colleague Dr. Anne Osterrieder has explained it on her blog at theplantcell.com. Anne describes this innovative approach to teaching as ‘The organelle presidential campaign 2012‘.
Briefly, high-school science teacher Brad Graba, who teaches AP Biology at William Fremd High School in Palatine, IL., has conceived a biology learning project that involves social media in an innovative way. His instructions to his students (#organellewars – Cell Organelle Campaign) are straightforward. Each group is to assume the identity of a cellular organelle (nucleus, mitochondrian, chloroplast, whathaveyou…), and to wage a campaign about that organelle. The campaign is intended to teach about that organelle and here’s the fun part. Among tasks that the students are expected to carry out is a mudslinging smear campaign against the other organelles! This aspect of the project has been largely carried out on twitter and I am absolutely amazed by the sheer volume of tweets that this has generated (See some of these storified).
Not only has the twitter-based discussion and mudslinging fest been popular with the Grade 10 students, but scientists worldwide have jumped into the fray. Go onto twitter and search #organellewars for just a small fraction of the tweets that make up this campaign.
Whether the kids realize it or not, to smear another organelle, you’ve got to know what you’re talking about. In other words, they are learning about cells and organelles and having a lot of fun while doing so.
What’s my favorite organelle today… let me see, perhaps the pre-vacuolar compartment or the early endosome…
What’s yours? I’ll write later to let you know the final outcome of the campaign.