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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Tom makes History

This story, or at least my exposure to it, begins back in 2010 when a surprising young man was brought out to NZ by the Otago Institute and Genetics Otago, to do a short tour of schools and take part in the Science Fest that year.

I interviewed with Tom McFadden then, and was very impressed with his motivation and passion.  He returned to Dunedin in 2011 for the Masters in Science Communication program and only got better.  More organised, more in charge and more professional.  I have been quietly anticipating brilliant things.

This past (NZ) summer, Tom launched a kickstarter to crowd-fund a series of new videos (over and above the grants he was already holding), working with kids in telling the stories of famous figures in science history through rap, music and video, in the style of Battle Rap.  (did I just decouple rap from music?!).

The kids have composed the lyrics and recorded the audio, and now the videos are starting to roll out.  They have already received some pretty massive exposure and famous recommendations, but for my little corner of the internet - if you haven't seen them yet, I suggest you subscribe to the channel and visually-consume with delight.

A bit of an introduction from the man himself (I love the close out):

First battle up is Rosalind Franklin schooling Watson & Crick:

And from last Friday, my favourite (from the audio files), Pluto's story of woe and despair:

The kids in US 8th grade are Year 9/10 equivalent for those in NZ secondary education at the mo, or 13/14 years old, or 3rd/4th Form for those old school cats like me.  Tom is now on his way to being a biology teacher for the 8th grade at The Nueva School in 2014, and I'm really, really hoping he keeps producing & distributing innovative teaching materials while he's there.  Even the simple motivation for current teachers to step out of the box is a worthy outcome.

I'm very impressed with what he has achieved, and - I'll be watching. (dum dum duuuuuuum).

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