(1) we could develop tools that allow us to actually communicate with animals directly (ideal, but a long way off) or (2) we could try to speak on their behalf.
We are, it seems, way behind in learning how to talk to the animals.
Now, the teacher part of my brain kind of likes this project. It did require students to be creative and it was a fun project. But then another part of my brain kicks in: why? Why do this? Are we really going to be communicating with animals in this manner? Does this help solve some problem we currently have with animals? Uh....
See, this is one of those cases where a "scientist" is projecting human traits on an animal. We (humans) communicate in a specific way and so should animals. We humans are just too stupid to have figured out the animals' ways of communicating...yet. It also suggests that animals have something to say...to us, each other, other species, etc.
Then, there is the hubris of "speaking on their behalf". Don't get me wrong: I love my animals. I've always had dogs, and have come to recently love cats. I take care of them and enjoy their company. But I don't speak on their behalf, other than to tell the vet, "I think his left hip is bothering him." I don't tell the neighbor, "My dog doesn't like your dog" or tell the meter-reader, "My dog likes you better when you bring treats". I might *imagine* I know what my pets are thinking, and I might make up fun tales for them to tell, and occasionally speak in silly voices on their behalf, but let's not confuse that with REALLY speaking for the animals. As far as I know, my dogs only think a couple of things: "I am hungry", "I want to go out/in", and "Scratch my back right above my tail".
There are such bigger problems in our world. I like the idea of stimulating young minds to think in new and different ways, but let's coach them to tackle real issues and real dilemmas. My dog doesn't need a Facebook page.