The socio-ecological challenges of the 21st century are only increasing. Reimagining socio-ecological systems are, and will continue to be a central concern of societies that require new forms of understandings and decision making about relations between human worlds and the natural world. Given these contexts what forms of science education are needed? In this talk I present research that explore cultural variation in reasoning about the natural world and research from two learning environments that take up cultural heterogeneity in the development and implementation critical socio-ecological science education with Indigenous and non-Indigenous learners. Across this work I highlight how science education can be a sight of both social and ecological justice and change towards collective wellbeing.
Megan Bang (Ojibwe and Italian decent) is a Professor of the Learning Sciences and Psychology at Northwestern University and is currently serving as the Senior Vice President at the Spencer Foundation. Dr. Bang’s research focuses on understanding culture, learning, and development broadly with a specific focus on the complexities of navigating multiple meaning systems in creating and implementing more effective and just learning environments in science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics education across the life course. Dr. Bang is interested in understanding cultural variation in cognition and development with respect to understandings of and reasoning about socio-ecological systems. Megan approaches her work through rigorous mixed methods –utilizing experimental design in her foundational cognition and development studies, classroom-based intervention studies, to community based participatory design work in which she co-designs learning and teaching with communities, families, educators and youth as well as engages in the collaborative study of such environments. She conducts research in both schools and informal settings from early childhood through undergraduate contexts. She has taught in and conducted research in teacher education as well as leadership preparation programs. She currently serves on the Board of Science Education at the National Academy of Sciences, she is an executive editor for Cognition and Instruction and serves on the editorial boards of several other top journals.