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Abstract Detail

Teaching Section

Schussler, Elisabeth E. [1].

Fifteen years of plant blindness: Is our vision improving?

Fifteen years ago Wandersee and Schussler introduced the term “plant blindness” to the biological community to explain the pervasive tendency of humans to pay more attention to animals than to plants.  Although many embraced the use of this term and the ideas articulated in support of it, the ultimate test of its utility is whether it spurred research that informed our understanding of this phenomena and how to counteract it in our students and the public.  Several studies over the last fifteen years have confirmed that plant blindness exists both in student ability to identify plants and in educational documents such as school science textbooks.  Much of this has hinted at the stubborn pervasiveness of this condition in many countries, which is ultimately rooted in how the brain perceives the biological world.  However, other studies have shown that this visual processing can be altered by helping students learn to focus their visual attention on plants, resulting in better learning and interest in plants.  Much of this visual re-direction, however, has occurred as a result of informal versus formal educational programs, begging the question of whether formal programs are less effective or whether K-12 curriculum is less able to incorporate these types of programs.  As we consider the next fifteen years of research on plant blindness, this session will discuss where we should focus our efforts to help students notice and learn about plants, and whether hindsight will ever truly be 20/20 when it comes to plant blindness.

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1 - University Of Tennessee, Department Of Ecology And Evolutionary Biology, 569 Dabney Hall, Knoxville, TN, 37996, USA

botany education.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Session: 19
Location: Cottonwoods North/Boise Centre
Date: Tuesday, July 29th, 2014
Time: 8:30 AM
Number: 19003
Abstract ID:512
Candidate for Awards:None

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