PHILADELPHIA, PA, August 29, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- People are used to seeing zombies in the movies, but the recent use of these characters in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education has caught the attention of professionals at the Canadian Center of Science and Education
. The organization supports efforts in scientific research and education throughout the world. According to a recent article
in Wired, Texas Instruments has developed a program that allows teachers to use zombies to teach science and math concepts in ways that students can more easily understand. The students are also more engaged because they are intrigued by these characters.
The program is accessible on TI graphing calculators, computers, and iPads. Zombies commonly feature problems that are applicable to scientific concepts. For example, the program uses them to teach about everything from brain damage to the spread of disease. The article notes, "Students, inundated by walkers from World War Z to The Walking Dead, already understand the basics of zombie behavior, which provides a gruesome yet entertaining mnemonic device for understanding much more complex ideas." Mayim Bialik, recognized for her roles on Blossom and The Big Bang Theory is the ambassador for the new program. Outside of her career as an actress, she holds a PhD in neuroscience.
About the program Bialik explains, "This presents the opportunity for modeling, for teaching about disease progression, for teaching about the problem-solving that would be involved if you were to, for example, work for the Centers for Disease Control and had to analyze this." When looking at the actions of zombies, teachers can explain what it is that causes these behaviors. For example, loss of coordination is caused by damage to part of the forebrain, and difficulty walking often indicates damage to the cerebellum. Problems with the frontal lobes can lead to issues with problem-solving and impulse control. These are all things that the program demonstrates though software using zombies as prime examples.
The program, "STEM Behind Hollywood" was developed by TI in collaboration with experts from the National Academy of Science's nonprofit Science and Entertainment Exchange. The article explains that these experts ensure that television and movie productions are scientifically accurate. Steven Scholzman is a Harvard Medical School professor and one of the experts that works for the organization and helped to develop the program. He points out that zombies have "real and fairly easily-diagnosed medical issues" and are relatively new to pop culture, making them more intriguing. Studies of the program in use with students have shown that they were able to quickly grasp concepts in neuroscience.
"This new development in technology shows the advances that are being made to improve STEM education," says a representative for the Canadian Center of Science and Education. "This has the ability to make students more excited about learning and make the concepts something that they can better relate to. It could inspire them to want to learn more about neuroscience and medicine." The Canadian Center of Science and Education provides funding for a variety of programs that have the potential to make a positive impact.
The Canadian Center of Science and Education
is a private for-profit organization that supports and promotes research and education. They provide scholarships and financial assistance for researchers, students, and educational institutions. In addition they publish a variety of peer-reviewed scholarly journals in many different fields that are available for free download online. They place a strong value on scientific integrity and excellence, as well as respect and equity in the workplace.