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Avida-ED wins ISAL Award

Avida-ED was the 2017 winner of the International Society for Artificial Life (ISAL) Education and Outreach Award.  The award was announced at the Artificial Life conference, which was held September 4-8 in Lyon, France. Congratulations to everyone who has worked on the Avida-ED project over the years!
Avida-ED 2.0

2018 Active LENS Workshops

Anouncement and applications for the 2018 Active LENS Workshops will be posted in January 2018

News and Events

• Robert T. Pennock & Mike Wiser. “Avida-ED: a web-based, GUI implementation of the Avida software platform, for educational use.” Workshop at European Conference on Artificial Life. Lyon, France. (9/7/17)

• Louise Mead, Cory Kohn, Jim Smith, Mike Wiser. “Avida-ED: An artificial life platform for teaching evolutionary principles and how to “do” science.” BioQUEST 2017: Making Meaning thru Modeling. East Lansing, MI (July 25, 2017)

• Mike Wiser, Kohn C, Mead LS, Smith JJ, and Pennock RT. “Undergraduate Student Conceptions About Randomness and Mutation.” Poster at SABER. July 21-23, 2017.

• Mike Wiser. Undergraduate Student Conceptions About Randomness and Mutation” Poster at Evolution 2017. June 23-28.

• Louise Mead. “Avida-ED Implementation at MSU: Past, Present, and Future.” HHMI Gateway Summit. Michigan State University (May 16th, 2017).

• Demo of Avida-ED running at the BEACON Booth at National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT) meeting in November 2016.

• James J. Smith. “Using Evo-ED cases and Avida-ED digital evolution as integrative, active-learning approaches to evolution education”, Invited seminar, University of Guelph, CBS Office of Educational Scholarship and Practice, November 15, 2016.

• James J. Smith. Professional development session on Avida-ED for four high school teachers at the American School in Barcelona in October 2016.

• Louise Mead and Cory Kohn “Adventures in Avida-ED.” Workshop at the Kellogg Biological Station GK12 Teacher Workshop (August 8th, 2016)

• Mike Wiser, Kohn C, Mead LS, Smith JJ, and Pennock RT. “Comparing Human and Machine Learning Assessment of Student Reasoning about Natural Selection.” Talk at SABER 2017. July 21-23

• June 21-23, 2017: The third national Avida-ED Active LENS Workshop for faculty was held at the BEACON Center for the Study of Evolution in Action at the University of Washington in Seattle.

• July 27-29, 2017: The fourth national Avida-ED Active LENS Workshop for faculty was held at the Michigan State University campus.
Active Lens 2017 June workshop participants

The following representative comments are taken from interviews with instructors
in a national study of classroom use of Avida-ED.

– “I want students to be engaged in something that is their own. [Avida-ED gives them] the opportunity to go in and interact with the process. … We can play out fairly complex relationships in a short amount of time. … The flexibility allows the students to have a much richer experience than some of the other kinds of labs that you see people doing.” – Small University Professor- “We have run real-time evolution experiments with microbes, however, there is no other system that allows students to focus on the most important aspects of experimental science (hypothesis generation, experiment design/implementation/re-design/analysis, etc.) than Avida-ED.  Avida-ED allows the students to concentrate on the “thinking” parts of experimental science as opposed to the “doing” parts.” – Research University Professor

– “Avida-ED is the only tool out there students can use to explore the dynamics of evolution. It allows them to see an active model of evolution and understand what a mechanism is.” – HBCU Professor

– “I liked the idea of [Avida-ED] being more open ended, so I could say I want you to define a question and see if you can explore it in this environment. That was different from a lot of the other computer-based [educational software] that were geared to teaching a particular fact about the model or microevolution or whatever.” – Research University Professor, upper division course

– “For me it was having the students work with something hands-on rather than giving them a case study that we were telling them about. They could do something with it.” – Lab Instructor in Residential College

– “Avida-ED makes me think that people are capable of understanding [evolution]. I have rejected what most people say, that most people aren’t going to get this, the general population can’t get this, it’s too hard. And [I say], no, the general population isn’t getting this because we’re not giving them experiences like Avida-ED.” – High School AP Biology Teacher

Avida-ED picture in Science World Globe Avida-ED Excellence Award in Interdisciplinary Scholarship 2012
Avida-ED is discussed in the 10 Feb. 2006 issue of Science. Avida-ED has been used in biology classes in universities and colleges such as Arizona State, Cornell, Grinnel, Harvard, North Carolina A&T, Univ. of Texas, Univ. of Washington, Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison and many more. Avida-ED won the 2012 Excellence Award in Interdisciplinary Scholarship given by the MSU Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society.
Page updated 2017/12/01
© Robert T. Pennock