What D’Arcy Thompson Said

Early in the 1940’s, biology was a science being revolutionized by the discovery of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). English biologist D’Arcy Thompson commented, “We have come to the edge of a world of which we have no experience, and where all of our preconceptions must be recast” (cited in Gould 1998, 404). In many ways, Thompson’s metaphor applies to educators who are seeking to reinvent learner tasks. The tasks we design for learners and the role of the educator in supporting students in those tasks are ones with which we have little experience and where our preconceptions must be recast.


Gould, Stephen Jay. 1998. Leonardo’s Mountain of Clams and the Diet of Worms: Essays on Natural History. New York: Harmony Books.