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The College of Exploration and "Systems" Literacy

The College of Exploration has been a key part of three major efforts to bring together educators and scientists in an online dialogue to identify, describe, and prioritize the essential principles or "big ideas" that make up Ocean Literacy, Earth Science Literacy and Ocean subjects in Geography Literacy. Recently there are similar efforts for Climate Literacy and Atmospheric Literacy.

This work began in 2000 with a partnership with the National Geographic Society(NGS). The Ocean scope and sequence for for geography literacy was produced after an online workshop in 2002.

Then with support from the NGS and NOAA the Ocean Literacy document was produced after an online workshop in 2004. The Ocean Literacy work continues with a scope and sequence review and is supported by the National Science Foundation and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Centers for Ocean Science Education Excellence (COSEE) and the National Marine Educators Association (NMEA), and many others.

The National Science Foundation is supporting the work of the Earth Science Initiative to create an Earth Science literacy definition, big ideas, and supporting concepts. The climate literacy effort has been largely supported by NOAA, as has the atmospheric science literacy efforts which has received support from the National Science Foundation and is UCAR.

The next step in the Ocean, Earth Science, Climate, and Atmospheric literacy efforts is to bring them together under the heading of of "Earth Systems". It is anticipated that this work will begin sometime in late 2009, and may be coordinated by the National Academies.

Members of College of Exploration have a particular interest in the field of "systems", "cybernetics", and the new field of complexity and chaos science. We feel that it would be helpful to develop a consensus on what are the big ideas and supporting concepts of the combined fields of systems, cybernetics, complexity and chaos. This document and process will inform and contribute to the development of the earth systems literacy document, big ideas, supporting concepts and related documents.

Accordingly, the College of Exploration proposes to initiate a process of dialogue with educators and scientists interested in these fields to come up with a systems Literacy definition, big ideas, and supporting concepts, in the same pattern as the Ocean, Earth Science, Climate, Atmospheric and other related literacy efforts

In a world that is increasingly becoming more interconnected, interdependent, more populated, and ever more complex, we think that this effort will offer much to education, science, society in general

We are in very early stages of planning this as yet unfunded effort. We invite your participation and look forward to a stimulating and healthy dialogue sometime in 2009 online at the College of Exploration online campus.

Peter Tuddenham
28 October 2008

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 systems literacy diagram

A diagram by Scott Carley, College of Exploration