ED14A-01 INVITED 16:02h
Industry-Education Partnerships: Bridging the Gap Between the Workplace and the Classroom
Across the nation, business and industry are increasingly concerned about the quality of today's workforce and are issuing policy statements on both teacher preparation and teacher enhancement. Educational partnerships with industry are critical to the economic growth of the nation, particularly in rural areas where 31 percent of the nation's public schools are located. Through quality learning experiences that result from research/industry internships, teachers can better prepare for the 21st century workforce, become more aware of career opportunities, and emphasize the importance of preparation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. To provide a model for successful industry-education partnerships, Mississippi State University is building on projects funded by the National Science Foundation, other funding agencies, and private foundations involving research/industry experiences for teachers. Industry-Education Partnerships: A Model for the Teacher Professional Continuum (NSF ESI-0353441) is developing a learning community model that spans the education continuum, connecting education and industry while focusing on preparing students to enter a workplace based on a global economy and researching the factors that contribute to successful partnerships. Research/work experiences will be provided to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) participants covering the teacher continuum.
ED14A-02 INVITED 16:22h
Developing Authentic Research Experiences in the K-12 Classroom
The excitement of an authentic science experiment in one's own backyard piques interest, but teachers need resources and professional development experiences to capitalize upon this excitement and create opportunities for their students' learning. Three obstacles must be overcome for success in carrying out authentic research in the classroom. First, scientists and teachers must work together to identify relevant and developmentally appropriate research questions for the target audience. Second, teachers need professional development experiences that engage them in authentic research and that provide support for introducing a similar research experience in their own classroom. Third, the outcome of the research experience must have value to the scientist, teacher and student to motivate sustained participation by all. I have directed two projects that have opened the door for teachers to conduct authentic research with their students: monitoring earthquakes with educational seismometers and investigating local environmental problems with a GIS. Classroom seismometers permit students and the public to see first-hand Earth's dynamic response to both human and natural events in their hometown and around the country. From plotting earthquakes occurring throughout the school year to reveal plate tectonic relationships, or conducting seismic hazard analysis of the local region, to analyzing patterns of foreshocks and aftershocks of major earthquakes, students have been actively engaged and motivated in their learning. GIS opens the opportunity to investigate problems of land, water and other resource uses, but presents special problems in acquiring appropriate and useful data. I will discuss the lessons learned from working with teachers in educational seismology and GIS programs and how those lessons can be applied to developing research experiences for teachers and students.
The ERESE project: Bridging the gap between Digital Science Libraries and Education through Professional Development of Teachers and Database Development
The ERESE (Enduring Resources in Earth Science Education) project involves a close collaboration between teachers, librarians, educators, data archive managers and scientists in Earth sciences and information technology, to create a digital library environment for Earth science education. We report here on an ongoing (NSF-NSDL) project involving teachers' professional development in the pedagogy of plate tectonics in middle and high schools. This work included efforts in scientific database development in terms of contents and search tools, the development of an inquiry based learning approach, a two week professional development workshop attended by 15 teachers from across the nation, a classroom implementation of lesson plans developed by the teachers at the workshop and an evaluation/validation process for the success of their pedagogic approaches. This ERESE project offers a novel path for both science teaching and professional outreach for scientists, and includes four key components: (1) A true, long-term research partnership between educators and scientists, guiding each other with respect to the authenticity of the science taught and the educational soundness of a scientists' elaborations on science concepts. (2) Expansion of existing scientific databases through the use of metadata that tie scientific materials to a particular expert level and teaching goal. (3) The design of interfaces that make data accessible to the educational community. (4) The use of an inquiry based teaching approach that integrates the scientist-educator collaboration and the data base developments. Our pedagogic approach includes the development of a central hypotheses by the student in response to an initial general orientation and presentation of a well chosen central provocative phenomenon by the teacher. Then, the student develops a research plan that is devoted to address this hypothesis through the use of the materials provided by a scientific database allowing a students prove or disprove their hypothesis and to explore the limits of the (current) understanding of a particular science question. Our first experience with this ERESE project involved a steep learning curve, but the initial results are very promising, providing true professional development for educators as well as for the scientists, whereby the former learn about new ways of teaching science and the latter learn to communicate with teachers.
Bringing Polar Research to the Classroom
Teachers Experiencing Antarctica and the Arctic (TEAA) was a professional development opportunity for teachers funded through the National Science Foundation. A TEAA teacher worked closely with scientists, participated in cutting-edge research, and was immersed in the process of science. The TEAA teacher experience enhances professional development and enabled teachers to increase content knowledge, enhance teaching skills, transfer the research experience to the classroom, assume leadership roles, and collaborate with a network of researchers and education colleagues. A primary goal of the TEAA program was to establish a growing, collaborative Polar Learning Community of teachers, students, administrators, researchers, and the broader community to build on the research experience. One example of how this collaboration was through work with researchers at the University of Texas Institute for Geophysics. In 1995 and 2004, two geophysical research cruises in Antarctica included the same TEAA. During the 2004 cruise, bathymetric data were collected that found some unique seafloor features of an unknown origin. Of particular interest was a cluster of 5 km in diameter, circular structures that may be glacial remnants. Given the uniqueness of these features, an opportunity has been created for students to actively investigate and research the data, and to describe these features. The data will be made available to high schools and middle schools in digital form that the students can use. The bathymetric charts of the seafloor show location, length and depths of the features. The goal of this collaboration is to develop an inquiry based science activity that uses real data as a focus for students to develop their own hypotheses for the origin of these unique formations. Students in Wisconsin will make field trips to actual glacial drumlins and compare their field measurements to those collected during the cruise. Teachers, students, and scientists will work together to explain the origin of the Antarctic features using their local data as a basis for comparison. Students and teachers will be encouraged to share their conclusions with one another and with the scientists. This is intended to be a long-term project initiated in the fall of 2004 and will be provided to the educational community prior to the start of the International Polar Year (2007).
Educator Exploration of Authentic Environmental Issues of the Coastal Margin Through Information Technology
Teachers immersed in authentic science inquiry in professional development programs, with the goal of transferring the nature of scientific research to the classroom, face two enormous problems: (1) issues surrounding the required knowledgebase, skills set, and habits of mind of the teachers that control, to a large degree, the ability of teachers to immerse themselves in authentic scientific research in the available time, and (2) the difficulties in transferring this experience to the classroom. Most professional development programs utilize one of two design models, the first limits the authenticity of the scientific experience while placing more emphasis on pedagogical issues, and second where teachers are immersed in scientific research, often through mentoring programs with scientists, but with less explicit attention to problems of transfer to the classroom. The ITS Center for Teaching and Learning (its.tamu.edu), a five-year NSF-funded collaborative program that engages scientists, educational researchers, and educators in the use of information technology to improve science teaching and learning at all levels, has developed a model that supports teachers' learning about authentic scientific research, pedagogical training in inquiry-based learning, and educational research in their own classrooms on the impacts of using information technology to promote authentic science experiences for their students. This connection is achieved through scaffolding by information technology that supports the modeling, visualization and exploration of complex data sets to explore authentic scientific questions that can be integrated within the 7-16 curriculum. Our professional development model constitutes a Learning Research Cycle, which is characterized as a seamless continuum of inquiry activities and prolonged engagement in a learning community of educators, scientists, and mathematicians centered on the development of teachers' pedagogical content knowledge as it relates to the use of information technology in doing, learning, and teaching science. This talk will explore the design changes of the geoscience team of the ITS as it moved from Phase I (the planned program designed in-house) to Phase II (the experimental program being tested in-house) over two, two-year cohorts. We have assessed the impact of our Learning Research Cycle model on ITS participants using both a mixed model assessment of learning products, surveys, interviews, and teacher inquiry projects. Assessment results indicate that teachers involved in the second cohort improved their understanding of geoscience and inquiry-based learning, while improving their ability to establish authentic inquiry in their classrooms through the use of information technology and to assess student learning.
The REVEL Project: an Oceanographic Research Immersion Professional Development Program
The REVEL Project (Research and Education: Volcanoes, Exploration and Life) is an NSF-funded, professional development program for middle and high school science teachers that are motivated to use deep-sea research and seafloor exploration as tools to implement inquiry-based science in their classrooms, schools, and districts, and to share their experiences with their communities. Initiated in 1996 as a regional program for Northwest science educators, REVEL evolved into a multi-institutional program inviting teachers to practice doing research on sea-going research expeditions. Today the project offers teachers throughout the U. S. an opportunity to participate and contribute to international, multidisciplinary, deep-sea research in the Northeast Pacific ocean to study the relationship between geological processes such as earthquakes and volcanism, fluid circulation and life on our planet. In addition, the program supports teachers to implement research-based, data-oriented activities in their classrooms, and prepares them to use curriculum that will enhance student learning through the research process. Evaluation for year 2003-2004 of the program reveals that the program is designed as a successful research immersion opportunity during which teachers learn content, process, culture and ethos of authentic research. Qualitative results indicate that teachers who have participated in the program assimilate the scientific process over several years and share their expertise in ways most beneficial for their communities for years to come.
Teacher Professional Development to Foster Authentic Student Research Experiences
This presentation reports on a new teacher workshop design that encourages teachers to initiate and support long-term student-directed research projects in the classroom setting. Teachers were recruited and engaged in an intensive marine ecology learning experience at Shoals Marine Laboratory, Appledore Island, Maine. Part of the weeklong summer workshop was spent in field work, part in laboratory work, and part in learning experimental design and basic statistical analysis of experimental results. Teachers were presented with strategies to adapt their workshop learnings to formulate plans for initiating and managing authentic student research projects in their classrooms. The authors will report on the different considerations and constraints facing the teachers in their home school settings and teachers' progress in implementing their plans. Suggestions for replicating the workshop will be offered.
Design of a Teacher-Student Research Program Using the Spitzer Space Telescope
Under the sponsorship of the NASA Spitzer Science Center, we have designed a program for teacher and student research using observing time on the Spitzer Space Telescope. The participating teachers attended a fall, 2004 workshop to become familiar with the Spitzer Science Center Archives, observation planning process, and telescope and instrument capabilities in order to plan observations. They also received fundamental training in infrared astronomy and infrared observational techniques, before they began planning their observing program. This program has as its goals the fundamental NASA goals of inspiring and motivating students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics as well as to engage the public in shaping and sharing the experience of exploration and discovery. Our educational plan addresses the OSS/NASA objectives of improving student proficiency in science and improving science instruction by providing a unique opportunity to a group of teachers and students to observe with the Spitzer Space Telescope and work with infrared archival data. This program allows a team of 12 teachers and their students to utilize up to 3 hours of Director's discretionary observing time on the Spitzer Space Telescope for educational observations. With the goal of leveraging on a well-established teacher professional development, the program serves teachers in the NSF-sponsored Teacher Leaders in Research Based Science Education (TLRRBSE), an ongoing Public Affairs and Educational Outreach Department program at the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) in Tucson. The program touches the formal education community through a national audience of well-trained and supported middle and high school teachers. There are currently 68 teachers (and their students) participating in TLRBSE with an additional 57 teachers in the still-supported precursor RBSE program. The Spitzer educational research program also reaches an additional national audience of students through an informal education program based at the University of Arizona's Astronomy Camp, directed by Dr. Don McCarthy, who has been active in both the RBSE and TLRBSE programs. The TLRBSE Project is funded by the National Science Foundation under ESI 0101982, funded through the AURA/NSF Cooperative Agreement AST-9613615. NOAO is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA), Inc. under cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation. JPL manages the Spitzer Space Telescope mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Science operations are conducted at the Spitzer Science Center at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. JPL is a division of Caltech.