South-Central Section - 47th Annual Meeting (4-5 April 2013)
Paper No. 16-1
Presentation Time: 1:35 PM
HOT SCIENCE FOR COOL EDUCATORS AND STUDENTS
HENSGEN, Geoff, 5122325551, UT-Austin, Environmental Science Institute, 1 University Station, Mail Code C9000, Austin, TX 78712, email@example.com
Science literacy is essential to creating a public that grasps global environmental challenges and is willing to take action towards conservation and sustainability. Most people learn science in informal environments. Thus, communication between science experts and the public is critical to successfully navigate complex problems and motivate people to become innovators and proponents of sustainable communities. Hot Science – Cool Talks (HSCT) is an outreach series at The University of Texas at Austin that has provided over a decade of science outreach to more than 32,000 attendees to-date. This program has effectively engaged communities of learners and educators through both live events and online resources. Audience research, however, shows that there is a need to more effectively engage underserved populations and optimize outreach resources for both educators and the public. The challenges of building a more diverse science-literate public applies to both the HSCT Outreach Series and educators across the United States.
HSCT is undertaking steps to evolve its venues and products to reach underserved audiences. We present here an overview of its current offerings including live lectures, webcasts, teacher professional development workshops, and teaching curriculum. We also outline areas for potential future expansion and improvement, including an online Hot Science Learning Portal, and support for Spanish speaking audiences both from the general public and in classrooms. Key topics and issues within both formal and informal learning will be discussed as they apply to the geosciences, and recruiting the next generation of researchers through integrated outreach venues.