Paper No. 9
Presentation Time: 10:30 AM
A LECTURE SERIES CONNECTING UNIVERSITY RESEARCHERS AND K-12 SCIENCE TEACHERS
A new outreach program at the University of Texas at Austin is focused on a monthly earth, environmental and natural science lecture series. The lectures are given by UT-Austin faculty members and visiting scientists and are open to the general public. The series, however, targets K-12 science teachers. To maximize the transfer of scientific knowledge to their classrooms, we produce CD-ROMs that contain all of the lecture materials and additional resources. Each teacher receives a CD-ROM for the lecture(s) that they attend. In addition to the formal lectures, there are exhibits and receptions before and after each lecture, allowing for one-on-one interactions between faculty, graduate students, K-12 teachers and students, and the general public. In coordination with UT-Austins NSF GK-12 program, day-long field and classroom workshops follow up in depth on some lecture topics. We have also implemented webcasting of the lectures, via streaming video and audio, allowing viewers anywhere to view the lecture and send in questions in real time. The webcast is then archived and available to anyone with an internet connection. The response to the lectures to date has been excellent, with large audiences, over 1000 subscribers to our monthly electronic newsletter, and the offering of professional development credit by area school districts. We have expanded the original lecture series focus, which was on geological sciences, by including other departments at UT-Austin that are associated with the environmental and natural sciences, and by introducing new interactive venues for scientists and teachers. The Web format and archived lectures allow us to track which lectures and topics are downloaded or accessed more frequently, and to continue to make relevant improvements to the lecture format. The outcomes of the lecture series for K-12 education includes 1) increased engagement of K-12 teachers and students in science; 2) enhanced content for K-12 science teachers, including studies of local geologic and ecologic phenomena; 3) increased interaction between university researchers, the K-12 community and the public; and 4) dissemination of cutting edge science long before it will appear in K-12 textbooks or be available to the general public. More information about the lecture series can be found at www.geo.utexas.edu/esi.