Game changer – E-Learning Provocateur


As a blogger, I have been battling.

Traditionally it has been a satisfying pastime for me – equally personally and career wise – but it has also been complicated. It is time consuming, it calls for significant doses of vulnerability, and on occasion the response from my fellow “professionals” has been downright unprofessional.

Mix that with some non-public matters and a dwindling readership, I have been questioning if it is really worth it any much more.

Prior to publishing I never know previously this yr, an illustration tweeted by Severe Darji convinced me to give it an additional crack and I felt passionately more than enough about reworking standard electronic training into blended finding out activities to follow it up with a probable last hurrah.

Which prompted me to wonder: What do I sense passionate about?

A fuzzy heart shape labelled Over-Thinking leads to a clearly defined heart shap labelled Writing.

Soon after ruminating above the problem for a incredibly very long time, I have concluded that my passion is mother nature and its conservation.

I analyzed environmental biology at uni and bought my initial whole-time job in h2o management, ahead of the trajectory of my profession thrusted me deep into the corporate realm. Which isn’t automatically a negative matter, it’s just distinct.

Right after further more pondering, I also recognised that I’m fascinated by cryptozoology. Not so much of the Bigfoot variety – even though I do come across that entertaining and at times enlightening, particularly when the investigators make use of reducing-edge technology but instead much more together the lines of no matter whether the Tasmanian Tiger (Thylacinus cynocephalus) however exists on the Apple Isle or in pockets on the mainland, or no matter if significant cats (Panthera spp.) roam the Australian countryside.

Possessing carried out a reasonable share of it myself, I can convey to you that biological surveying is a tough enterprise. Classic strategies of pinpointing the a variety of species that inhabit a presented place – eg observation, monitoring, scat assessment, cage trapping, motion-sensing photography – are a little bit strike and overlook, to be frank. To get a sense of the magnitude of the job, consider trekking by means of the Amazon forest… you know jaguars dwell there, but you pretty much undoubtedly will not see just one.

In that gentle, getting a cryptid is hard – normally they wouldn’t be cryptids. Even when movie evidence is forthcoming, it is infuriatingly inconclusive.

Which sales opportunities me to another interest: Environmental DNA. Abbreviated to eDNA, this expression refers to the investigation of moment traces of organic matter in samples of soil, drinking water and even air to establish the wildlife which is present in the vicinity.

I think about eDNA a match changer, not only for cryptozoology but also for mainstream ecology. A case in place is the College of Otago’s research for the Loch Ness Monster. Although this foray failed to find the fabled plesiosaur, it did showcase a novel approach to organic surveying that located evidence of a whopping 3,000 species in the drinking water. Not only aquatic animals these as salmon, pike and eel, but also terrestrial animals these kinds of as rabbit, badger and vole (presumably since of rain washing detritus into the lake from the bordering catchment).

I’m so enamoured by eDNA that I urge the scientific group to give it a right go in advance of we “resurrect” the Tasmanian Tiger by means of Jurassic Park-model genetic engineering.

A tweet by Ryan Tracey stating: Before we resurrect the Tasmanian Tiger, can we please give eDNA a proper go? It can be done with air samples now.

I’d also be delighted to see it utilized in the hunt for large cats down underneath, if not to establish they exist, then to prove that they really don’t.

Obtaining reported that, I realise eDNA is no magic bullet. For starters, it’s a snapshot: for illustration, the College of Otago’s study unsuccessful to detect animals these types of as seals and otters which are acknowledged to visit the loch. Then of study course you have the politics of science to contend with: fuelled by anecdotes these types of as the just one about the leopard scat sampled from a local zoo getting discovered as “dog” by a wary lab.

Even with its constraints, having said that, I contend that eDNA will revolutionise our study of biodiversity.

DNA strands.

Lest I stray too much off topic, I’ll conclude by reaffirming what we presently know about Studying & Advancement: we also gain from the progression of technology.

Amid the rise of digital actuality, artificial intelligence and the metaverse, what do you consider to be our game changer?

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