Changing the Face of Science in the US, NSF comes to the rescue..New Tools, New Technologies

Old tools for science .. still come in handy but we have new ways of learning to share. 

From maps to GPS, GS, Visualization and modeling and 3 D, Virtualization and modeling are a big step away from the textbook and just the resources within the classroom.

 

 

 

This is my antisuperman post. It is the kryptonite that should paralyze the discussion that we in the schools do not really care about science , math, technology and engineering. There was an event on the mall that shared and showcased wonderful science. But I fear that the media may not have dug deep enough to stop the bad press, to give us the good news about changing and transforming education as the groups did  on the mall and in the weeks preceding the expo event. I know that the people at the NSF really care about us..in education.

Teachers  are empowered by projects and funding from the NSF. The press hardly covers the ideas and often pokes fun at the research. People came to our booth time and time again to see the three D movie, to bring friends, to explore the use of the IPads which showed and shared the models that visualized what the various Teragrid research projects do, and to look at the photos of the supercomputers Blue Waters, in particular.

There were a few people who wanted to test our knowledge but , we had a team, and a petting zoo for the Little FE, and lots of information, even beautiful posters on the Oil Spill, posters on what is a tornado, and coloring books and crayons on supercomputing. We shared the ideas of use of the Blue Waters Supercomputer.

I don’t have a movie about myself.I am an empowered teacher, from learning to use the resources of the Teragrid. I do have a group of students, parents and supporters who have believed in science , math, engineering and technology, and project based learning.Mentors of mine are many one being Grace Hopper. Don Mitchell, Vint Cerf,  Scott Lathrop, Shirley Malcom and George Lucas. Chris Dede, and Seymour Papert. Al Gore, Ron Brown. There are more. Frank Withrow was once the leader of the Department. of Education and Larry Cuban let me, as a teacher use new technologies long ago. Once I was on a truck that carried the new ideas around the country. It was called CyberEd. This exhbit on the mall was much more powerful. Our booth was so full we had to stand outside the booth most of the time.

I am a minority and a female I am not 25.  I probably won’t be able to sleep because of the excitement of being able to be a participant on the mall in the Expo. Why is this important?Think DC Schools, think minority students who may think, we cannot do this work.. and think of  the needs of the students and their lack of participation at high levels in ordinary technology use. Think Jesse Bemley and I linking with people from the areas or not, creating networks for collaboration, community and communication in outreach.  Jesse Bemley is a black computer scientist who mentors students . We have a mission to broaden engagement . We are excited about the fact that now we can teach hands on science, explore, examine, evaluate and get immersed in the joy of learning in innovative ways.We were more excited than kids going to Disneyland about our participation.
Think Convocation on the Gathering Storm and their findings.
Here is what Elizabeth Leake wrote about the event on her blog.
“, Robert Ping (TeraGrid EOT Assistant Director/Indiana University), with a team of five from TeraGrid and NCSA, have been planning this for eight months or more. One of our biggest fears—facilitating technology and paper hand-outs in the rain—was put to rest this week with a beautiful forecast. Since this is the first such Expo, we didn’t fully know what to expect.

The Expo was conceived in response to the Obama administration’s desire to stimulate more interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) careers by “exposing children and families to new technologies that are strengthening communities, building careers, and stimulating economic growth.” The President’s Council of Advisers in Science and Technology, with help from a U.S. Department of Energy grant and funding from dozens of corporate sponsors, engaged more than 1,500 organizations to sponsor tents. They all brought some really cool S.W.A.G. The event is free—making it affordable for families to attend. Since the National Mall shares borders with the National Gallery of Art and many museums of the Smithsonian Institution, there is a lot to do within walking distance, although the Expo alone would take days to cover.


This is the same National Mall where the Reverend Martin Luther King gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963. In times of unrest, the National Mall has been popular with protesters since it is a large, open public space located in the very heart of Washington. While this isn’t the first time masses of people gathered on the National Mall for the same reason, it was the first time so many came with a passion for science, engineering, and technology!

Imagine researchers involving K-12 and the community. It was awesome.
We as teachers, as parents as researchers need to take back the media talk about schools. We can take forth the message of the Convocation on the Gathering Storm in a positive way.
One of the pleasures of teaching in Arlington, was to meet the parents who worked for the National Science Foundation , as they responsibly helped in the schools. Tonight, I cannot sleep because my heart is full of joy. I have spent two days on the mall, in the  Teragrid Booth It was a great pleaure to meet students, parents, administrators, grandparents, the people who came to the expo to learn about science, math, engineering and technology. We explored 3 D visualizations and used Ipad Technologies, we shared visualizations that showed the work of the institutions involved in the Teragrid.  We talked about cloud computing, parallel computing and little FE. We talked with students and would be students. The group inspired a LOT of people. We could show teachers in K 12 who were working in their classrooms using Teragrid resources. We could  say computational science with joy and bring others to LOVE it.

It is not a secret that students of today live in a multimedia world where they use video as their primary form of engagement and communication. Teachers and administrators are looking for ways to present information to students that will not only spark their interest, but also encourage them to explore a subject more thoroughly. Meaningful exploration usually means deeper understanding, which translates into higher student achievement, whether measured via standardized tests or an increased graduation rate. We did all this in our booth.  We had the new technologies.
The advent of affordable 3D technology promises to bring into reality the dream of fully engaged students. Our booth was full, almost all day long.
Children and parents and their friends came back to look , to share and to use the new technologies. People were fascinated with the IPad and the visualizations.

HISTORY
I will start from Grace Hopper, go to cooking, and simple involvement in technology to the Teragrid and Blue Waters. You will see why I am so excited and feeling empowered.


Grace Hopper? Think gender…
Here is who she is. Note how early she was a star in the history of technology.  



She was a special person in technology before the term digital native was invented.
 

Grace Hopper

 

 

 

grace hopper
     

    • Category: American scientists
    • Date of birth: December 9, 1906
    • Date of death: January 1, 1992
    • Profession: Mathematician, Programmer, Scientist, …
    • Served in: United States Navy
    • Nationality: American
  •  

 

I have had some  Grace Hopper  moments, I met her when she  visited schools in Arlington. I remember looking at her thinking. She must be very , very smart, because she is old and she is still in the Navy. At first I missed the point about the Nanosecond.I kept thinking, if she is a programmer than I can do this programming thing too.
So in a high school, a career high school in Arlington County Virginia, Tom Smolenski allowed me to have an activity day that was country wide in which we matched up students with new and unusual ideas which were about teaching and learning. We learned about computers, calligraphy, and many other things. We were doing project based learning over a period of time to cement an interest in mathematics, games, cooking, many things.

You think, cooking, what has that got to do with science?Ok, I am starting with the ordinary. Our booth was not ordinary. But we need to remember that since NCLB lots of people have not even had ordinary science. There were hundreds and hundreds of people just enjoying hands on science, and being involved. We had much more than this.. but let me share an ordinary pleasure first. I have lots of pictures from the mall. But it is late and I am tired. I will post pictures tomorrow.

COOKING
That may mean that you have never seen the naked egg. or visited the pages of the Exploratorium. This is a web site that rivals the Cooking Channel because you get to learn the science of cooking and you can keep the knowledge as a plus.


Accidental Scientist: Science of Cooking
looks at the science behind food and cooking. Learn about what happens when you eat sugar, bake bread, cook an egg, or pickle foods. Find out how muscle turns to meat, what makes meat tender, and what gives meat its flavor. Take tours of breads and spices of the world. Explore your sense of taste and smell. (Exploratorium, National Science Foundation)

http://www.exploratorium.edu/cooking/index.html

Science of Eggs
Science of Pickles
Science of Candy
Science of Bread
Science of Seasoning
Science of Meat

Discover how a pinch of curiosity can improve your cooking! Explore recipes, activities, and Webcasts that will enhance your understanding of the science behind food and cooking.

Science of Cooking




WE  Were Doing Extraordinary Science, Teragrid and Blue Waters



 

The special booth that I was a part of was of course leading edge science In our booth we were Blue Waters/ Teragrid.
Here is what you would see.

 

*Showing a 3D Stereo Video about NSF, LEAD and the TeraGrid

*Promoting Bluewaters – one of the most powerful supercomputers in the world

*Demonstrating LittleFe, a complete 6 node Beowulf style portable computational cluster

*Viewing 2D visualizations and photographs from TG users on IPAD technology

*Giving away coloring books about Supercomputing (and crayons)

*Giving away large posters depicting exciting scientific visualizations

*Stamping student paperwork with NSF stamps

*Handing out TeraGrid Science and EOT Highlight Magazines

Today and yesterday on the mall were special initiatives.



Blue Waters
Taking full advantage of the opportunities that follow from fielding a petascale computing system requires a long-term coordinated effort to educate and train the next generation of scientists and engineers. This effort must excite, recruit, educate, and retain students as well as educational professionals. Partners in the Great Lakes Consortium for Petascale Computation are critical to the Blue Waters education initiatives.
Learn more about undergraduate and graduate education athttp://www.greatlakesconsortium.org/education/.


Broadband, Super-Computing, and Finding the Superman Within

This is from Frank Odasz.
Growing up, it was fun to imagine being a superman, strong and smart and able to do amazing things and help people in need. Who wouldn’t want to be a superhero, and be admired and respected and able to make a positive difference in a struggling world.  To not be helpless – in the face of all the bad things happening today.


Well, good news.

We are genuinely the first people in history to have super powers at our fingertips.  If we have broadband, we can fly into space, or to the bottom of the oceans, perform calculations and searches at speeds counted in billons per second. With a single click we can instantly self-publish our insights and resources to the nearly 2 billion online.

Without any money at all, we can start a global micromultinational business, we can start a global cause, we can launch a virtual nation, and much more.

Einstein said “We’re limited only by our imaginations.”
Many of us don’t believe we could ever be superpersons. But, there is a super secret here; to unlock your true full potential you must connect with your inner champion; the Superman within. What you won’t do for yourself, you might do for others. Many of us must first give to others in order to discover our true human potential.
Self-actualization for all – is now possible;
The 21st Century imperative is: Everyone both learner and teacher, both consumer and producer, all the time.
You have the choice to step up, even with just baby steps for starters, or to step back from your true full potential. That you actually have this choice alone, is powerful!
The love of learning is the key to learning how to innovate, to create value in a knowledge economy, and as important is knowing how to cultivate one’s curiosity; seeking out new knowledge and having fun making discovery a part of one’s lifestyle.
Was it Spiderman who says ” With Power comes Responsibility?”
If you are unemployed, under educated, depressed, and down and out, there is a lot you can do both for yourself and for those yet worse off than you. Anyone can become a citizen professor, able to teach anything to anyone, anywhere, anytime.

Now I can go to sleep. I think. I might giggle about having to enter the marathon to access the mall. I had no other way of getting to my booth.
It was funny , me in a backpack easing sideways.

Bonnie Bracey Sutton
PowerofUSFoundation
Digital Equity and Social Justice Chair, SITE.org

Teacher Community Angst.. What is a Bad Teacher?

 

Who is a bad teacher? Who decides?

When Innovation and STEM were considered unusual...

 

In some of the press, recently teachers have been attacked in many different ways. The initial assault was months ago with a pose of Michelle Rhee on the cover of a national magazine. The story gained national attention and the story started a whole new perspective , a look at what is called a BAD teacher.  Since that time there have been a raft of stories with test scores as the reason that teachers were being tagged as being unfit. There was even a teacher suicide that was hardly reported. The suicide was based on the LA TImes ” revelation or assumption ” that the teacher was unfit,

What is a Bad Teacher?

I am not sure what most people consider a bad teacher but the press began to collect evidence , or build the case for bad teachers and the articles continued, without a stop until the movie, “Waiting for Superman” . By that time the stories were at a fever pitch. The Los Angeles Times created even more furor by publishing information on teachers that had to do with testing and the assumption that a teacher was a bad teacher if the students had low test scores.

I think I would have been considered a bad teacher in some of the schools in which I taught though I taught , gave, contributed and worked overtime to make a difference. I taught in Washington DC. I am a long time teacher and have lived through the fashion of educational change of decades. I have lived through unit methods, team teaching, new math, a Nation at Risk, New Standards. I probably have missed a few of the educational dictates.

New Ideas in Teaching and Learning

Think  benchmarks, Hands On Science, New Math , Independent reading vs Textbook reading, the pendulum changed with the dictate of political pressure.

Sometimes I moved to new schools, and sometimes I stayed and tried to wait until the new educational mandate came. I never feared for my job but once or twice, but I have been harassed, bullied, and transferred to another school. Sometimes it was personality, sometimes it was that I worked too hard without involving other teachers , and was successful. Sometimes it was that I was dazzling parents and community members, school children with the expertise that I gained from learning partners, NASA, National Geographic, NSTA, Earthwatch, NCTM, AAGE, .. How I loved attending the workshops, using the resources, the various outreach that happened by working with learning partners. I was so pleased to be an AAAS demonstration teacher.

My mother and father were teachers and when I got upset, they calmed me and advised me. I admit that being a teacher who helped to integrate schools across the spectrum was hard. I never experienced difficulty from other teachers until I started to use technology. Playing , with computing I was told was a problem. I was taking away valuable time from teaching. Doing field trips often and going to learning places, what a waste of time. Other complaints doing enrichment using resources from NASA. Inside my head, as I was winning awards nationally and getting in difficulty with administrators because I was becoming a teacher ” star” I was probably considered to be a bad teacher.

I am of color, I am a minority, I came from schools that were marginal in their preparation of me and others as a teacher. I graduated without difficulty and with honors.  When I had taught for three years, I escaped the profession by going to Europe to teach. The first three years of my teaching were hard years. I wanted to make a difference in the lives of my students.

There are secrets in teaching that bothered me. I was trying to teach everything, some other teachers mocked me as I taught science, and social studies, .. eventually I was told , teach reading , math and spelling .. the rest is extra and if you have time fill it in. Well, I never did that .. I had been trained as a gifted and talented teacher and loved teaching science and new math. That made me a BAD teacher. I wanted to teach the kids that were not identifies as Gifted and Talented.. I worried about tracking.

There were students who had all kinds of problems, homeless students, poor students, students who had parents going through divorce, a couple of girls who were suffering from sexual  relationships against their will and even more difficult problems. Once a child who was being sexually compromised as an adoptee, shared her angst with me. Interestingly enough my pursuit of her concerns made me a bad teacher.

I was able to survive because I wrote grants, got national attention and learned to involve community.

So what is a bad teacher…I know what I wanted to do with that broom that Ms. Rhee used in her pose. I admit that I was hurt, angry and saddened that a person who had the power to change teaching and learning could so openly blame tie ills of society on teachers .

Teaching is hard work. Being a good teacher or one of the best is even harder work. The press has been unmerciful and mean. It is time to stop trashing teachers and look at the problems of society that affect our children. Most of the time I have loved working with students. The current media position on teachers even for teachers in the District of Columbia, does not consider the reality of the job, parental involvement or not, and or problems of the community.

Teachers and students work together in some schools that are pointed toward the future.  The power of us is to make change and to demonstrate the possibilities.

MetLife Survey of the American Teacher

The MetLife Survey of the American Teacher: Collaborating for Student Success examines the views of teachers, principals and students about respective roles and responsibilities, current practice and priorities for the future, addressing the issues of effective teaching and leadership, student achievement and teaching as a career (2009).ED509650

The Survey report was originally released in three parts, which have been combined into the document posted above:

  • Part 1: Effective Teaching and Leadership examines views about responsibility and accountability; what collaboration looks like in schools, and if and to what degree it is currently practiced.
  • Part 2: Student Achievement examines views on student goals, teacher expectations, and what educators believe would increase student achievement.
  • Part 3: Teaching as a Career examines collaboration in the context of teacher professional growth, experience level and career paths.

Home-to-School Connections Guide: Tips, Tech Tools, and Strategies for Improving Family-to-School Communication

Edutopia shares with youtheir  latest classroom resource guide highlighting new solutions for connecting home and school in order to improve student learning and success.

Whether you’re a teacher, parent, or district administrator, this new guide provides  relevant and valuable tools and resources for how best to strengthen the bonds between schools, families, and communities.

http://www.edutopia.org/home-to-school-connections-guide