The James Randi Educational Foundation is pleased to announce the formation of a new education advisory panel. The JREF's mission includes educating the public and the media with reliable information about the paranormal, the supernatural, and the pseudoscientific, while promoting critical thinking as a tool for making reasoned and reliable decisions about such unproven claims. The JREF is committed to expanding the impact of its educational programs through innovation and a focus on effectiveness and accessibility. We think this new educational advisory panel, which will focus primarily on the JREF's K-12 educational initiatives, will be a valuable tool to help us better achieve our mission.
The panel will be made up of individuals with broad experience in areas at the intersection of skepticism, critical thinking, and education. Its primary function will be to provide the foundation’s president and director of educational programs with informed opinions and recommendations related to the JREF’s efforts in the educational arena, focusing on resources for teachers to advance critical thinking in their classroom. This will be done through occasional review of JREF educational resources in development, and by recommending possible future projects relating to educational resources for the classroom and beyond.
Current educational programs and those in development include educational workshops on skepticism offered in collaboration with regional skeptics groups, grants for teachers needing support for critical thinking projects, and JREF in the Classroom, which will make a make a suite of instructional materials available to educators in schools, museums, and other institutions. In addition, the JREF is developing educational materials utilizing digital technologies like online video streaming, smartphone apps, and eBooks for the iPad and Kindle.
The newly appointed panel members have all demonstrated a long commitment to both skepticism and public education and will bring their expertise to the panel. The JREF thanks them all for agreeing to serve in this important volunteer role. The education advisory panels are:
Chip is a Research Associate and Senior Lecturer at the University of Maryland where he created the course "Science & Pseudoscience" in which ESP, astrology and other extraordinary claims provide a context for understanding the way the scientific method is supposed to work. Prior to joining the university, he was a mathematical statistician at the National Institutes of Health. He is a founder of the National Capital Area Skeptics and has been active as a public speaker, author, and media contact within the skeptical community for many years. He has had a long and important relationship with the JREF and has the role of reviewing protocols for the Million Dollar Challenge.
A teacher with over ten years experience in the discipline, Kylie has lectured on teaching critical thinking, feminism, new media and anomalistic beliefs worldwide. She regularly writes editorial for numerous publications, including the The Australian Skeptic, UK Skeptic, Skeptical Briefs, Skeptical Inquirer, Creative and Critical Thinking and Science Teaching journals. She is a reporter for the Skeptic Zone podcast and host of Token Skeptic podcast and currently teaches Religious Education and Philosophy.
Barbara teaches quantitative research methods and cognitive psychology at California State University, Northridge. Her research interests include perception, attention, learning, and reasoning. At ICBS Everywhere, Barbara evaluates claims and research, discusses education, and promotes science and skepticism. She is involved in several grassroots organizations and founded Woo Fighters with the primary goal of motivating students of all ages to become critical thinking activists.
Matt is a high school physics teacher and part-time physics & astronomy college professor with a strong interest in promoting science education & critical thinking among his students and the population in general. He has lectured widely on skepticism and education and maintains a blog The Skeptical Teacher.
Daniel is an author and illustrator of science and critical thinking books, especially for young readers. His latest illustrated book is Evolution: How We and All Living Things Came to Be. His next book will be an academic treatment of cryptozoology for Columbia University Press.
As an illustrator, Daniel specializes in computer generated and mixed media cover art for books and magazines relating to science, skepticism, and humanism. In addition to his many Junior Skeptic and Skeptic magazine covers, he has done covers for Yes mag, Free Inquiry, and Princeton’s Common Sense.
Michael Blanford is Director of Educational Programs for the James Randi Educational Foundation.