I spent the last couple of days at a small conference on cumulative culture organized by Claudio Tennie and his two PhD students Elisa Bandini and Eva Reindl. The theme was “When and How does Cumulative Culture Emerge”. It was an excellent meeting – large enough to have a diversity of views, small enough to have interesting conversations with almost all participants.
Edward Slingerland (Project Director) presented an overview of the strategy and future directions of the project. Brenton Sullivan (Managing Editor) discussed how the project relates to other humanities databases and religious studies in general. Frederick Tappenden (Regional Editor) discussed how our terminology, in particular, “religious group”, has evolved through feedback from historians and religious scholars. Jessica McCutcheon (Managing Editor) remotely updated the audience on recruitment and changes in usability.
As Technical Director of the project, I discussed the technical design and updated the audience on the development of the project, including some exciting new features (e.g. the ability to challenge answers).
We discussed the obstacles, pedagogical techniques, and methods of assessment in teaching evolution. The next step is find ways to convey these best practices to the broader research and teaching community. Possible products include a suggested curriculum and white paper outlining best practices.