Who are we, what are we doing here, and why are we doing it?
If you know it, you can repeat it on a school exam.
But if you understand it, you can recognize when you need to use it:
It's becoming a BETTER MAGICIAN
...And you can use it.
to your advantage.
What are we doing?

We want to introduce our website visitors to several topics in science education which while hot topics among the researchers and teachers involved with them are virtually unknown elsewhere.  They are very important topics because they deal with the difference between knowing and understanding science and math concepts.

A very strange phenomenon has stirred many science teachers into something of a frustated and futile frenzy over the past few decades.  Richard Feynman revealed the problem to the general public in the 70's: "All of the textbooks were written by somone who didn't know what the hell he was talking about...UNIVERSALLY LOUSY!"  That was ALL of the science textbooks submitted for use in K-12 California schools.  In 2003, the situation was still pretty much the same, at least in middle school physics, as reported in the May, 2003 issue of Physics Today But everybody who has ever studied conceptual science, in K-12 or in college, has encountered the problem themselves.  "It's a hard subject."  "It isn't useful for anything."  "It's ivory towered and out of touch with the real  world."

But that's not our point; just the background.  Here's what we really want everybody to sit up and take notice of:  When you--probably after a bit of hard work--"see" some conceptal piece of what you've been studying, you know that it isn't really obscure, or particuarly difficult, or out of touch with the real world.  It is, in fact, perfectly obvious.  You just weren't looking in the right way, in the right direction, in the way you needed to "see" it.

You have then become one of the few who can use the concept you've learned.  And you know something in a way that you had never before realized that you could know it.  What's more, you will wonder why you hadn't thought to look in that way, and why so many others are obviously not looking that way now either.
Who are we?

We--webmasters Phil (PhD) & Keturah (MS)--have had considerable experience with science, in both research and teaching, in both academia and industry.  But more important we have sought out experts in many other disciplines when we have encountered some very odd phenomena in our teaching and testing. 

In psychology, cognitive, developmental, educational, and psychometrics branches have contributed to our viewpoints.  In education, science teaching and evaluation have been important--Phil worked on a commission that assembled many thousands of potential educational objectives to guide teachers and evaluators.  And that involved evaluating both submitted objectives and textbooks.

Keturah has worked in educational roles with Children's Museum, Portland Parks, and Tryon Creek State Park--and ran many day care centers in conjunction with the YMCA.

Both of us have worked with Oregonians for Rationality in providing experiences that guide people of all ages toward better understanding of science, math and logic.  We have, for five years, taken many of these to Da Vinci Days in Corvallis, OR and to many other gatherings of teachers and learners.  We have also judged in the annual Odyssey of the Mind contests (now "Destination Imagination").

We have developed the Knowledge for Use project over a period of many decades -- bringing it to the Web in 1999.  Explorepdx was introduced to the Web in 2001.

These are ongoing projects, and we invite participation from interested teachers and learners.  There is much work to be done, and the challenges are profoundly deep and profoundly important.  The understanding of science today is abysmal.

Stick with it...go slowly...think deeply...look in many places on our sites and the other sites we link to.
We present many different perspectives of all we present.
Look again, and again, and again, and ... then...