Monday, December 18, 2006

UNESCO source book for science teaching, 2006

Suggestions for Science Teachers in War Devastated Countries (1947) was one of UNESCO's first successes. By 1973, it had become the UNESCO Sourcebook for Science Teaching, selling 750,000 copies in 30 languages.

That in turn was followed by “The New UNESCO Sourcebook for Science Teaching,” printed in 1973 and reprinted until 1979, One can still find copies of the New Sourcebook for sale used on the Internet. The New Sourcebook was written by a team of American science educators. According to John Elfick, these books "revolutionized secondary school science teaching because they brought concepts normally left until tertiary education to secondary schools through simple experiments."

Elfick worked in UNESCO from 1990 to 1999, both in the Science Education section in Paris and in UNESCO Beijing. He describes himself has having become "obsessed with the idea of revising the UNESCO Sourcebook" and did so in Beijing in the Chinese language, assisted by the science staff at Capital Normal University. When he returned to the School of Education, University of Queensland, Australia, he started putting the English version on the internet. Click here to see that version.

It has since received almost 150,000 hits, over 40% from North America. Now UNESCO has given John Elfick a contact to produce the book version, and you can see his progress on the website.

Thanks to Bob Maybury for alerting us to the history of this important effort.

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