2005 Salt Lake City Annual Meeting (October 16–19, 2005)

Paper No. 12
Presentation Time: 11:25 AM


ROSS, Robert M.1, ALLMON, Warren D.2 and BUCKLER, Carlyn S.2, (1)Paleontological Research Institution, 1259 Trumansburg Road, Ithaca, NY 14850, (2)Paleontological Research Institution, 1259 Trumansburg Rd, Ithaca, NY 14850-1398, rmr16@cornell.edu

Informal (out-of-school) Earth system science education is inherently interdisciplinary. And, like many enterprises at an interface between more traditional disciplines, the field of informal Earth system education is in its infancy. The societal significance of Earth literacy in the 21st century—taken together with new developments in education, technology, and Earth system science—emphasizes the need for significant investment in producing, evaluating, and disseminating models of effective informal Earth system education. The timing is ideal, with potential tie-ins to several major national initiatives underway in formal Earth system science education. The issue is how to do all this most efficiently and effectively.

Ideally, progress in informal Earth system education would involve collaborations among researchers and practitioners in the broad variety of fields that encompass education and science. This may include, e.g., individuals in the fields of psychology and development, cognition and learning, graphic and industrial design, educational technology, and pedagogy associated with specific areas of Earth system science education. The NSF Informal Science Education program solicitation explicitly emphasizes "synergies generated by the competencies of carefully chosen partners.”

Effective approaches to informal Earth system science education, once developed and tested by organizations with the resources to build interdisciplinary teams, needs to be made more widely available for all to use. This dissemination may include broad distribution of deliverables themselves, or of descriptions of models, methods, evaluations, and research. Since current disciplinary boundaries tend to prevent gatherings of individuals of diverse expertise at professional meetings, efforts need to be made to invent means for greater cross-disciplinary communication. More active use of DLESE by the informal education community is one promising solution.