We began with a brief review of the AAS conference, which was attended by Denise, Jennifer, Greg, and Christine. While none of the members who attended focused on pre-service issues at the January conference, many feel that AAS remains an opportunity to engage scientists in becoming aware of and involved in the preparation of future teachers. It was also reported that AAS is adjusting their education office and may be happy to receive suggestions from the astronomy education community.
ASTE conferenceby Stephanie and Debby. PSEWG seems to be “in the groove” for working with ASTE; plans are being set for NASA rooms for faculty institutes for 2010 and 2011, but work still needs to be done for 2009. There was controversy this year over the lack of workshops and the planning committees are trying hard to make room for more in the schedule; they would like to invite NASA to be a part of this. An organizer within ASTE’s professional development committee brought up the interest in NASA. LPI may help to host the 2011 conference in Houston and has sent information about possible venues to the SWASTE President to consider and put forth to the conference organizers.
Langley’s Pre-Service Conference. This conference (in its 13th year!) serves institutions with high minority populations, including historically Black colleges, Tribal colleges, and Hispanic colleges in the United States. It is attended by about 650 pre-service teachers and their faculty. Laurie has been coordinating the student poster competition for 6 years, which is geared toward middle school pre-service teachers. Laurie and Jennifer will hand out packets and collect information from the attendees, including information about our working group. Christine created a flyer that Laurie handed out regarding the upcoming Faculty Institutes.
NACCTEP. Last year, Matt Bobrowsky conducted a session to introduce conference attendees to NASA’s resources (see NACCTEP Workshop Report.) This year, Denise and Jennifer will conduct a session to introduce the upcoming faculty institutes and share information about the International Year of Astronomy.
NASA Science For Researchersl). We will send the PSEWG white paper to the committee. The new SARA Web site has a spot for comments and contributions, but it was suggested that we pass it along to Leslie Lowes and from her to the committee.
Don Michels reported on the pre-service science program TOPS! that he conducts with others at the Catholic University in Washington, D.C. The Catholic University of America, in collaboration with the Solar Physics Branch of the Naval Research Laboratory and the Goddard Space Flight Center, presents this physical science course for undergraduate, pre-service K-8 teachers. The course is team-taught by faculty from the University's Departments of Education and Physics and NRL solar physics research personnel. Basic physical science concepts are taught in the context of the Sun and Sun-Earth Connections, through direct observation, web-based solar data, and images and movies from ongoing space missions. The instructors use the Sun to introduce magnetic and gravitational force fields, Newton's Laws, and light and optics. Their goal is depth of understanding rather than breadth—they limit the curriculum to a few topics. Don would like to help duplicate this course or method at other universities.
We then discussed changes and additions to the Menu of Opportunities page on Advocating for and Assisting Pre-Service Educators: . There was some confusion at first as to the audience for this page; it was decided that the audience needs to be included in the title for each of the pages in the Menu of Opportunities. Bill Waller suggested that the strategies could include “developing STEM education within your institution” with UTeach and the TOPS program as models. Others promised to email their comments and suggestions.
Greg mentioned that the deadline for proposals for the combined ASP/AAS conference is March 1st; this might be a good opportunity for PSEWG outreach. Please send out a note to the working group if you plan to present something on pre-service and would like to collaborate with others on your project/workshop/poster.
Denise suggested that one strategy might be a poster presenting the Menu of Opportunities to attendees at ASP this June. Christine plans to follow-up on the suggestion.
We propose the following schedule for PSEWG teleconferences for the remaining months of 2008 on the first Thursday at 3pm Eastern Time:
April 3, 3pm EDT
May 8, 3pm EDT
June 5, 3pm EDT
July 3, 3pm EDT if desired by group
August 7, 3pm EDT if desired by group
September 4, 3pm EDT
October 2, 3pm EDT
November 6, 3pm EST
December 4, 3pm EST
If anyone cannot make these times due to a recurring schedule conflict, please contact Christine and we will consider changing the time.