The quasi-linear dynamics of a career in science education

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This is a talk that I gave for the University of Oregon Women in Science group on my career in science research, science journalism, museums, teacher education, and education research, culminating in my own consulting business.

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The quasi-linear dynamics of a career in science education

  1. 1. The Quasi-Linear Dynamics of a Career in Science Education Stephanie Chasteen stephanie@sciencegeekgirl.com http://blog.sciencegeekgirl.com
  2. 2. Who are you?What is the main thingthat interests you now (orthat you are employedin)? A.Science B.Writing & communication C.Education D.Business / Industry E. More than one / something else
  3. 3. What interests you?Introduce yourself to yourneighbor. Explain at leastone struggle you have /have had in choosing alife path.
  4. 4. Who am I now?
  5. 5. Who am I now?
  6. 6. Let’s try an activity Secret Bells or Head Harp More like this at http://exploratorium.edu/snacks
  7. 7. Who was I then?
  8. 8. Mentors: Dr. Dennis ChasteenWhat kind of a student Margaret Chasteen was I?
  9. 9. Mentors: Dr. Dennis Chasteen Mr. PerryHigh School Brendan Crill
  10. 10. College: What to study? Physics Social Psychology Physics Now what?
  11. 11. First, Peace Corps
  12. 12. Now what?BA in SocialPsychology ? Peace Corps
  13. 13. What we can learn from bacteria: where is the warm spot? sense temperature gradients or changes
  14. 14. Mentor: Dr. Sue CarterFiguring out how things work
  15. 15. How to keep my love for science...? Physics researchBA in SocialPsychology ? Peace Corps
  16. 16. Communicating ScienceWhat is science journalism? What techniques does the piece use to reach its audience? (David Kestenbaum and Marvin Marshak - NPR)
  17. 17. What is the purpose of that piece?A.To educate people about scienceB.To keep the listener informed about current researchC.To get the listener interested in scienceD.To give the journalist a jobE. More than one / something else
  18. 18. Mentors: Dr. Sue Carter Dr. Sarah RabkinCommunicating Science Dr. David Kestenbaum
  19. 19. Some principles of good writing Know your audience Build from the familiar (e.g., analogy) Tell a story No jargon Short simple sentences, active voice Walk the line between accuracy and understandability (you won’t be as precise as you want to be!)
  20. 20. How to reach the public with exciting science? Now what? Physics research BA in Social Psychology Peace Corps freelance writing NPR intern
  21. 21. Mentor: Dr. Paul Doherty Communicating Science...to Teachers & the Public
  22. 22. Mentor: Dr. Paul Doherty Communicating Science...to Teachers & the Public
  23. 23. Remember ourwarmup activity?
  24. 24. And another: Head Harp More like this at http://exploratorium.edu/snacks
  25. 25. Let’s try an activity
  26. 26. Teacher Institute Blue Sky Blue Sky Now you can explain why the Now you can the sky is blue and the sunset is sky is blue and is red red Iron science When sunlight travels through the When sunlight travels through the atmosphere, blue light scatters more atmosphere, blue light scatters more than the other colors, leaving a dominant than the other colors, leaving a dominant teacher yellow-orange hue to the transmitted yellow-orange hue to the transmitted light. The scattered light makes the sky light. The scattered light makes the sky blue; the transmitted light makes the blue; the transmitted light makes the sunset reddish orange. sunset reddish orange. A transparent plastic box, or a large A transparent plastic box, or a large beaker, jar, or aquarium beaker, jar, or aquarium A flashlight or projector (either a slide or filmstrip projector) A flashlight or projector (either a slide or filmstrip projector) Powdered milk Powdered milk Polarizing filter (such as the lens from an old pair of polarized sunglasses) Polarizing filter (such as the lens from an old pair of polarized sunglasses) Blank white card for image screen Blank white card for image screen Paper hole-punch Paper hole-punch Optional: Unexposed (black) 35 mm slide or photographic film, or an index card cut to slide size Optional: Unexposed (black) 35 mm slide or photographic film, or an index card cut to slide size (15 minutes or less) (15 minutes or less) Fill the container with water. Place the light source so that the beam shines through the container. Add Fill the container with water. Place the light source clearly see the beam shining through the liquid. Add powdered milk a pinch at a time; stir until you can so that the beam shines through the container. powdered milk a pinch at a time; stir until you can clearly see the beam shining through the liquid. (15 minutes or more) (15 minutes or more) Look at the beam from the side of the tank and then from the end of the tank. You can also let the light Look at the beam from thewhich of the tank and thenof the the end of the tank. the beam looks bluish- project onto a white card, side you hold at the end from tank. From the side, You can also let the light project from the end,card, which you hold at the end of the tank. From the side, the beam looks bluish- white; onto a white it looks yellow-orange. white; from the end, it looks yellow-orange. If you have added enough milk to the water, you will be able to If you have added enough change fromwater, you willyelloworange see the color of the beam milk to the blue-white to be able to see the color of the the beam. along the length of beam change from blue-white to yelloworange along the length of the beam. If you want to look at a narrower beam of light, use a paper If you want to look ataahole in the beam of light, use a paper a hole-punch to punch narrower unexposed black slide or in
  27. 27. The Exploratorium
  28. 28. What is the primary purpose of an interactive exhibit? A.To give hands-on experience with a phenomenon B.To motivate students to learn about science in school C.To give the exhibit designer a job D.To teach science content E. More than one / something else
  29. 29. What I did at the Exploratorium
  30. 30. I want to know more about education... Physics Exploratorium & research BA in Social teacher education Psychology Now what? Peace Corps freelance writing NPR intern
  31. 31. Mentors: Dr. Kathy Perkins Dr. Steve PollockAn informed education activist Dr. Carl Wieman
  32. 32. Education ResearchThe teaching of scienceAS a scienceStudying how people learnDesigning instructionalmaterialsTraditional lecture isn’t veryeffective!
  33. 33. Can we affect students’ beliefs? Attitude survey Shift (%) I think about the physics I experience in everyday life. Real world connect... -6 Spending a lot of time understanding where formulas come from is a waste of time. Personal interest........ -8 There is usually only one correct approach to solving a physics problem. Sense making/effort... -12 how do you think intro Conceptual................ -11 physics classes affect student attitudes? Math understanding... -10 A. More positive Confidence................ -17 B. More negative C. Stay sameStudents come out of introductory classes with more negative views of physics than they came in with!
  34. 34. Trad’l Model of Education
  35. 35. Common themes in Education & Communication Principles of learning1. Motivation is essential for learning2. People learn by actively constructing their own understanding.3. Working memory limited (cognitive load)4. People learn by building on what they know. Principles of communication 1. Know audience 2. Hook people in 3. Help people relate to the topic 4. Keep it simple 5. Tell stories
  36. 36. Now how to use all this? Physics Exploratorium & researchBA in Social teacher educationPsychology physics education research Peace Corps freelance writing NPR intern
  37. 37. Tying it all together: sciencegeekgirl enterprises
  38. 38. A non-specialized specialist Physics Exploratorium & researchBA in Social teacher educationPsychology physics education research Peace Corps freelance writing NPR intern
  39. 39. remember the bacteria?
  40. 40. I found a warm spot Physics Exploratorium & researchBA in Social teacher educationPsychology physics education research Peace Corps freelance writing NPR intern
  41. 41. What my mentors gave meFLEXIBILITY benefit of the doubt encouragement enthusiasm expertise feedback
  42. 42. What I’ve learned Don’t hesitate to try It doesn’t hurt to askGenerosity yields returns So does hard workPay attention & be curious Seek inspiration You are not a prisoner of your choices The world needs eclectic generalists too
  43. 43. Thank you!Please ask me questions!Please read my blog!Please contact me anytime!Please hire me! http://blog.sciencegeekgirl.com stephanie@sciencegeekgirl.com

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