These are the most obvious conclusions to be drawn from a meeting of educators and interested UCAR and NCAR scientists and staff at the Mesa Laboratory in January. The group met to discuss how to work together to make the best educational use of resources at UCAR, NCAR, and other institutions. The meeting consisted almost entirely of breakout groups, all of which generated quantities of intriguing ideas. Suggestions ranged from the practical, such as creating a survey of existing educational materials, to the visionary, e.g., creating a virtual field trip by strapping a camera on NCAR storm chaser Morris Weisman.
Some of the conclusions participants reached are listed below.
The science and education communities need to know each other better. The participating scientists could envision uses for their work at every level from grade school to grad school, but they didn't know what materials educators need. The participating educators often couldn't envision how to use data and other resources that are already available on the Web.
All stakeholders should be involved from the start of a project. Scientific organizations sometimes waste their limited outreach funding by duplicating existing resources because they didn't start by talking with educators. Some organizations base their educational materials on hot research at their lab, whether or not that research fits into any state's curriculum.
NCAR is a remarkable resource for data and visualization. Educators agreed that this would be a fruitful area for new partnerships. The Digital Library for Earth System Education (DLESE) will make NCAR's resources more easily available.
UCAR and NCAR need to reward scientists for their educational activities. The rewards may not be financial, but there must be a climate of support for education.
Several educators left the meeting with concrete plans to include DLESE and NCAR personnel in upcoming proposals. UCAR attendees found individuals who can provide educational components to their projects or improve their plans for providing access to potentially useful material. As one participant said, the most valuable aspect of the workshop was "having such a diverse group of highly energized and productive people come together to share ideas and hopefully go away with specific plans."
Edited by Carol Rasmussen,
Prepared for the Web by Jacque Marshall
Last revised: Thu Jun 21 18:56:13 MDT 2001