We’ve now been publishing “Teaching Tools in Plant Biology” for five years, and it’s clear that this feature of The Plant Cell is being used across the world; the articles are regularly accessed from sites in more than 100 countries (the figure shows 2014 country distribution). We recently ran a survey to find out how the Teaching Tools are being used. We asked about language issues, access to textbooks, what type of course the materials are used in, and which components of the Teaching Tools were found to be the most useful. We received nearly 300 completed surveys from individuals in 50 different countries. You can read more about the survey and its outcomes in a new article just published in F1000Research.
The survey revealed several things, including an interest in augmenting Teaching Tools with an interactive, open learning community. We discuss this objective in the F1000Research article, including how we’re using social media to increase dialogue. Additionally, we have initiated a competition to identify contributors for the Teaching Tools series, with pre-proposal deadlines in April, August and December of this year. We are also getting ready to set up pages for each Teaching Tool topic on the forthcoming plant science community network, where individuals will be able to share resources they find helpful for teaching.
Although there are regional differences in how plant science is taught, educators are unified in wanting to share with and learn from other educators, and we look forward to the ongoing development of a global learning community for plant science education.