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Randy W. Schekman - Nobel Lecture: Genetic and Biochemical Dissection of the Secretory Pathway

Randy W. Schekman - Nobel Lecture: Genetic and Biochemical Dissection of the Secretory Pathway | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

My favorite slide from the Phys/Med nobel lectures was Randy Schekman showing off his 9th grade science project. Remember this image when you are next asked to mentor a young person or volunteer your time at a science fair! Most won't become Nobel Laureates, but any of them might, with a little encouragement.

 

Mary Williams's insight:

See the lectures and even download the slides!

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Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education)
Hooks and hot topics for university teachers and students
Curated by Mary Williams
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Rice researchers redress retraction

Rice researchers redress retraction | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
Team that retracted its own papers finally finds elusive trigger of plant immune response.
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A poem about the evolution of photosynthesis by Ralph A. Lewin

A poem about the evolution of photosynthesis by Ralph A. Lewin | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
Mary Williams's insight:

You might like this cute poem by the algal biologist Ralph A. Lewin (1921 - 2008). The poem was quoted in one of Govindjee's History of Photosynthesis articles http://www.life.illinois.edu/govindjee/Part1/Part1_Govindjee_Gest.pdf

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Inspiring the Women of the Future event at John Innes Centre

Five-minute film on the recent event at JIC - if you look closely you'll spot some plants and plant researchers!


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CSIRO Science Image Library CC licensed

CSIRO Science Image Library CC licensed | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

I'm always on the lookout for good images licenced for reuse, and if you have students doing any kind of projects you probably are too. I just discovered this treasure - lots of images of crops, food and environment from Australia.

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Not sure what an agronomist is? UW-Madison students explain in a video

Not sure what an agronomist is? UW-Madison students explain in a video | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
More than 14,000 agronomy-related jobs are posted with an estimated growth rate of 6.5 percent, yet only 2,800 new agronomy students graduate annually to fill these positions. Gaspar said agronomists help farmers on a daily basis solve different challenges they face in their field by being at the forefront of connecting farmers with new technologies and production practices that are developed using high tech tools and instruments.
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Pre-prints: just do it? (by Stephen Curry)

Pre-prints: just do it? (by Stephen Curry) | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

There is momentum building behind the adoption of pre-print servers in the life sciences. Ron Vale, a professor of cellular and molecular pharmacology at UCSF and Lasker Award winner, has just added a further powerful impulse to this movement in the form, appropriately, of a pre-print posted to the BioarXiv just a few days ago.

Mary Williams's insight:

Note that The Plant Cell and Plant Physiology support the use of preprint servers like BioRxiv so go ahead and do it

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Society asks NIH to act now to lessen biomed scientist glut

Society asks NIH to act now to lessen biomed scientist glut | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
ASBMB identifies consensus recommendations in previous reports, plans meeting to craft steps forward
Mary Williams's insight:

Direct link to PNAS perspective, "Toward a sustainable biomedical research enterprise: Finding consensus and implementing recommendations"  http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2015/07/16/1509901112

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ICAR (Arabidopsis meeting) 2015 (with images, tweets) · PlantTeaching

5 - 9 July 2015, Paris
The full program is here
http://www.arabidopsisconference2015.org/events.php?IDManif=839&IDModule=71&IDRub=1330
Mary Williams's insight:

Follow the link for a curated set of Tweets from the recent conference on Arabidopsis research!


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STEM education: What's missing in graduate science education?

STEM education: What's missing in graduate science education? | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
Thought leaders across the globe answer one question: what is the biggest missing piece in how we educate scientists? Responses ranged from the practical to the philosophical.
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Active learning in plant biology lectures

Today Nature published a terrific article called "Why we are teaching science wrong, and how to make it right" which describes a variety of effective strategies for active learning, and which prompted a colleague from Brazil to ask for suggestions for how to implement these ideas in a plant biology classroom.


I regularly run a workshop on this topic, and here I've uploaded the slides I use. Because it is a workshop on active learning, a lot of the time is spent on activities, which I've tried to make clear in the slides.


Here are links to a few freely available and very useful resources that I provide to the workshop participants and are mentioned in the slides:


Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education by NSF and AAAS 
and the most recent update (opens PDF)  http://visionandchange.org/files/2015/07/VISchange2015_webFin.pdf


Searching for Better Approaches: Effective Evaluation of Teaching and Learning in STEM, a new AAU/Cottrell Scholars resource.


Scientific Teaching in Practice by Miller et al (and Jo Handelsman) also here (http://cst.yale.edu/s…/default/files/Miller_et_al_2008_0.pdf).


Talking to Learn: Why Biology Students Should Be Talking in Classrooms and How to Make It Happen by Kimberly D. Tanner


In the slide set, there is a link to an excellent video featuring Chandralekha Singh' that demonstrates active learning in a physics classroom.


Furthermore, each Teaching Tool in Plant Biology article has a Teaching Guide that includes lists of questions, both specific and open-ended, that can be used to prompt classroom discussions and projects.


Finally, later this year the Teaching Tools resources will be moved to a new site (Plantae.org) that will provide opportunities for students and instructors to share ideas and teaching strategies - look for annoucements soon.

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The evolution of the shoot apical meristem from a gene expression perspective

The evolution of the shoot apical meristem from a gene expression perspective | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

"A long-standing question in plant evolution is whether the complex meristems of angiosperms were derived from the simple meristems of these early-diverging lineages, or were simple meristems derived from more complex meristems.’

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Video Talks from UK PlantSciences 2015 meeting

Video Talks from UK PlantSciences 2015 meeting | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Thanks to our pals at J Exp Bot for sponsoring the video capture of talks from the recent UK Plant Science Federation meeting - there are lots of good ones here!

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A roadmap for research on crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) to enhance sustainable food and bioenergy production in a hotter, drier world

A roadmap for research on crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) to enhance sustainable food and bioenergy production in a hotter, drier world | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

"Crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) is a specialized mode of photosynthesis that features nocturnal CO2 uptake, facilitates increased water-use efficiency (WUE), and enables CAM plants to inhabit water-limited environments such as semi-arid deserts or seasonally dry forests. Human population growth and global climate change now present challenges for agricultural production systems to increase food, feed, forage, fiber, and fuel production. One approach to meet these challenges is to increase reliance on CAM crops, such as Agave and Opuntia, for biomass production on semi-arid, abandoned, marginal, or degraded agricultural lands. Major research efforts are now underway to assess the productivity of CAM crop species and to harness the WUE of CAM by engineering this pathway into existing food, feed, and bioenergy crops."

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Plant Biology 2015 - more than great science

Plant Biology 2015 - more than great science | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

If you're lucky enough to be heading out to Minneapolis for the Plant Biology conference that starts this weekend, you’re probably looking forward to hearing great talks and sharing your own work. However, there are lots of other events taking place at this conference that you should be aware of and participate in.

First, be sure to stop by the ASPB booths in the exhibitor area. There are special zones with information about Membership, Policy, Publishing, and Education, and you can meet the staff who work behind-the scenes at the society’s headquarters and journal offices. Be sure to stop by the Publications booth during the opening reception to celebrate the publication of the Second edition of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of Plants. If you use social media (or want to), this is also a chance to meet up with other fans at our “Twitter Meet Up”, and you can learn more about Plantae, the new digital ecosystem for plant science.

 

There are also many opportunities for you to get advice about moving your career forward – see http://blog.aspb.org/2015/05/11/advance-your-career-at-plant-biology-2015/. As examples, you can set up a personal appointment to have your CV reviewed by an expert, you can attend a  lunchtime career chat, you can attend a panel discussion on work-live balance, you can meet with the Editors-in-Chief of Plant Cell and Plant Physiology to get tips on publishing in these journals, and you can attend a Careers Workshop. See the program or ask the ASPB stand or the Careers Center for more information. Some of the events require pre-registration, so be sure to ask space is still available.

 

Finally, note that there is a Town Hall meeting on Wednesday from 5:30 – 6:30 pm, in which you can meet the journal editors and ASPB’s elected and professional leaders, as well as learn more about how the society is financed and  how the income is used to support plant science and plant scientists. If you have ideas, questions or concerns, this is a great place to voice them!

I hope I see you in Minneapolis – if not, start planning to join us in Austin, Texas in July 2016!

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Quest for climate-proof farms

Quest for climate-proof farms | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
Climate change is a major threat to food production, so researchers are working with farmers to make agriculture more resilient.
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Andres Zurita's curator insight, July 24, 9:40 AM

Good strategy is to promote resilient crops.

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Researchers Find That Frequent Tests Can Boost Learning

Researchers Find That Frequent Tests Can Boost Learning | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
Too often school assessments heighten anxiety and hinder learning. New research shows how to reverse the trend
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Lucy and Ethel wrap chocolates! - YouTube

I'm working on the Teaching Guide for the forthcoming Teachng Tool on Photosynthetic Light Reactions. This is one of my favorite ways to get students to think about how plants deal with excess light energy. The video is really fun (if the link breaks, search for "Lucy and Ethel and the chocolate factory"), but it can also help students visualize the rapid changes in energy flow through the photosystems. I'd have students watch the video and then in groups discuss, "What reactions of photosynthesis can be described by this analogy? What action best represents photochemistry? What symbolizes photoinhibition? In a chloroplast, how is the effectiveness of the electron-transport chain signalled? How would the information that energy flow is too fast be transmitted to the light harvesting system, and how does it respond?". An alternative view is that Lucy and Ethel represent ATP synthases and the chocolates protons. How would the build-up of protons in the thylakoid lumen be transduced to the light-harvesting complexes? What would happen if the signal "Speed it up" were sent?

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F1000Research Article: Digital teaching tools and global learning communities (v2).

F1000Research Article: Digital teaching tools and global learning communities (v2). | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

We've revised our F1000Research article "Digital teaching tools and global learning communities" http://f1000research.com/articles/4-59/v2


One of the reviewers asked us to put Teaching Tools in Plant Biology into the context of other educational resources. Here's our response,

"Although core concepts and inquiry-based activities are based on good pedagogical principles and can inspire students to want to learn more about plant science, they rarely prepare students for the rigor and complexity of contemporary plant science research.

There is a huge knowledge gap between “Plants are the primary food and oxygen producers on Earth”

and

"Flavodiiron protein Flv2/Flv4-related photoprotective mechanism dissipates excitation pressure of PSII in cooperation with phycobilisomes in cyanobacteria”,

and it is this gap between engagement and expertise that Teaching Tools in Plant Biology is designed to bridge, by making the primary literature accessible."

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Act on climate change now, top British institutions tell governments

Act on climate change now, top British institutions tell governments | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
Joint letter by 24 scientific, medical and engineering bodies say mitigation will also bring economic and health benefits
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How to get thoughtful responses to exam questions?

How to get thoughtful responses to exam questions? | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Someone asked for advice about how to get more thoughtful answers to exam questions, and in the ensuing discussion one person suggested "Ask thoughtful questions". This is great advice, but it's harder than it sounds. I'll be collecting and sharing some examples to inspire you to ask thoughtful questions of your students.


A key to success in asking such a question is to prepare the students in advance - you have to show them other, similar questions, hypothesis and experiments that they can use as models in their responses to a different but similar question.


To help them develop the ability to ponder this question, I prepared students  by discussing three classic experimentsover several different class periods.  The first was Darwin's study of light perception in coleoptiles to elicit their bending response to unidirectional light. Darwin asked where the light was perceived by masking different parts of the plant. (So that's one question a student could ask about resveratrol - which part of the plant perceives the light).

Another experiment we studied was the induction of flowering by daylength. Here I introduced not only the question of where light was perceived, but also the wavelength of light that elicits the response, the duration of the light signal needed, and the time required between message elicitation and its reception in the shoot meristem (all reasonable questions to ask about resveratrol production).

Finally, we looked at systemic acquired resistance to pathogens and pests, again examining experiments to investigate where the stimulus is perceived, the nature of the signal, how it travels to distal tissues etc.


Ideally, before an exam you'll work through a similar problem with students, by asking them to propose hypotheses and experiments and giving feedback on their responses. This can be done as homework assignments or during class time, which works particularly well because students can hear what other students propose andso learn from their peers' ideas and thoughts.

Mary Williams's insight:

Do you have a thoughtful  plant biology question you've used for assessment that you're willing to share? Drop me a line if you do!

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Genetic determinants of the network of primary metabolism and their relationships to plant performance in a maize recombinant inbred line population

Genetic determinants of the network of primary metabolism and their relationships to plant performance in a maize recombinant inbred line population | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

“Taking advantage of a valuable genetic resource (recombinant inbred lines), we revealed the genetic basis that underlies variation of primary metabolism in multiple tissues. This information could be of direct use in designing breeding strategies for the improvement of high value matabolites”.

Mary Williams's insight:

A pretty powerful approach, combining genetics and metabolomics.

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Developmental mechanisms, between Genetics and Physics - the Node

Developmental mechanisms, between Genetics and Physics - the Node | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

"In recent years there has been increasing recognition of approaches to understanding development that are drawn from physical science, including a “renewed appreciation of the fact that to understand morphogenesis in three dimensions, it is necessary to combine molecular insights (genes and morphogens) with knowledge of physical processes (transport, deformation and flow) generated by growing tissues.”"


Read about a workshop that explored the intersection between genetics and physics, and the thoughtful reading list generated http://genericgenetic.umn.edu/content/workshop-readings - really useful if you're teaching developmental biology (the focus of the papers is on animal development but the big ideas are the same in plant development).

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Why we are teaching science wrong, and how to make it right

Why we are teaching science wrong, and how to make it right | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
Active problem-solving confers a deeper understanding of science than does a standard lecture. But some university lecturers are reluctant to change tack.
Mary Williams's insight:

This is excellent - share it with your reluctant colleagues and administrators. The fact that it's in Nature journal should get their attention...

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"Seven digital deadly sins"

"Seven digital deadly sins" | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

A friend asked me to help him "find that article about social media from the Guardian last year". Hmmmm.
Not sure this is what he was looking for, but it's interesting and could be a good starting point for discussions about how social media changes (rules?) our 21st century lives. From 2014, the Guardian.
http://digital-deadly-sins.theguardian.com/

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What kind of plant are you?

What kind of plant are you? | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

It seems everytime I pick up my computer another of my friends has shared a "What kind of X are you" quiz, which got me thinking about how those games are designed and whether there is a place for them in education. I think it could work; for example, if you gave students nine plants (or better yet, asked them to select nine), and then asked them to come up with a profile of each based on biology, but anthropomorphized. For example, I imagine a lichen or lithops would answer the question "What do you like to do on a Saturday night" very differently than a plumeria or dandelion. A tree fern's favorite movie might be Jurassic Park, whereas Japanese Knotweed might like Invasion of the Body Snatchers....

What do you think, can pop culture provide an effective hook for plant ponderings?

As usual thanks to Tom Donald for the excellent photos

https://www.flickr.com/photos/clearwood/

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