Evaluation of NSF IMD Grant


Primary outreach efforts to other teachers were conducted by "P2K Advocates" and supported on-line by an extensive array of resources developed and offered by P2K. P2K Advocates provided a first tier for outreach and professional development by:

P2K Advocates were supported with the following resources from the project: Advocates submitted feedback forms to the Education Outreach Coordinator (Jan Wee) for each presentation and workshop, supplying P2K Staff with information on attendees, contact addresses, and data on the effectiveness of the presentation/workshop. Feedback forms received and collated over the past nine months indicated that: Many Advocates presented in-district sessions or provided outreach sessions for neighboring districts and regional science curriculum and reform groups. Others have presented at statewide or national conferences. Advocate Rhonda Toon of Barnesville, Georgia led a P2K workshop via the fiber optic distance learning network within her state for the GSAMS Education Leadership Georgia "Focus on Technology" Workshop, Georgia Technology Center, Macon, GA.

Other venues included:

Advocates also presented before pre-service educators: Illinois P2K Advocate, Tim McCollum, addressed a graduate level education class of Professors Michael Waugh and Jim Levin, at the University of Illinois at Champaign/Urbana. Tim and his students also presented at the Illinois State Capitol for the TECH 2000 - "Students For The Information Age" special event that showcased exemplary technology projects for an audience of state leaders including State Senators and Representatives, and the Governor of Illinois.

Results of P2K Advocate activities:
P2K Advocate Teachers made a considerable impact on those with whom they came in contact, as documented in this e-mail message:

From: "Jill Caldwell" jill@ixi.net, Sat Nov 23 13:06:48 1996
Subject: Space week at Kessler School in Helena, MT

With the help, support and motivation from Detlef Johl, PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE teacher, our school enjoyed its first (to be annual) Space Week which ended Friday, Nov. 22nd, with MARS Day. We chose this day because it was the anniversary of President Kennedy's death. Some of the activities we organized were: (1) Space Bingo in the library. Students completed Bingo squares by reading space books, naming planets, spelling space words, etc. (2) Exhibits of "What Might Life on MARS Look Like?" (3) Hands on experiments to test hypotheses about Oobleck (mixture of corn starch and water) and items concealed in black bags. (4) Charts to illustrate how physical weights would change in the Martian atmosphere. (5) A traveling planetarium from the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, MT. (6) A Museum Science Trunk which contained videos of space missions, videos from Challenger, space toys and thermal activities. (8) Guest speakers from the University who spoke on the Mars Pathfinder Mission using video and slides.

Our sixth grade participated in the Nov. 19th airing of the Passport program via e-mail. Our local PBS station agreed to carry the program when parents requested that it be broadcast for our schools. Kessler School is grateful for Mr. Johl's help and encouragement, and we are thankful that programs such as PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE exist to bring real science to our students in rural Montana.

Jill Caldwell

While such contacts might be considered "formal" outreach, being teacher-to-teacher workshops, many participants were involved in "informal" outreach: P2K Advocates were invited to share their leading-edge use of technology through media appearances on such programs as Knowledge TV's "Brave New World: The Future of Learning" and Nickelodeon News. Janet Cook, P2K Advocate and then a science educator at Colorado's "Finest Alternative High School," appeared in a segment of the "Brave New World" series which aired June 1, 1997 at 8-10pm on Knowledge TV. The segment features Janet and her students actively engaged in the LIVE FROM MARS Planet Explorer Toolkit activity. The program was devoted to highlighting success stories that featured new and different ways to integrate technology into the curriculum.

Lucy Marske from Sioux Center, Iowa, and her class were videotaped for a NickNews segment focusing on how students are following America's Mars Missions via the LIVE FROM MARS.

Eileen Bendixsen, Hazlet, NJ, and P2K's current Online Moderator, was twice included in WNET/13's award-winning "Internet in Action", discussing P2K projects, providing examples, and linking to the website. The support received by P2K from PBS stations during the IMD grant period has continued to the present: here are comments from 2 statewide educational networks, and the station serving Los Angeles, the second largest school district in the nation: please note both their comments on the quality of P2K materials, video and activities, and how well the P2K / LIVE FROM events support local standards and guidelines:

'During this past school year, the ECB has broadcast 2 of the Passport to Knowledge series, Passport to the Rainforest and Passport to the Solar System, for our teachers and students and this upcoming year the ECB has added Passport to Weather and Climate to our schedule. We have always received very positive feedback about these series which includes comments such as "...up to date and informative," "...changes throughout keep students' interest such as real people interviews," "...relevant to the curriculum, current research and methods of scientific inquiry." P2K's high quality Teacher's Guides, hands-on activities combined with the unique online opportunities that are available make these series a valuable part of our in-school broadcast schedule.'
--Linda Hanson, Wisconsin Educational Communications Board

"As you know, over the past few years KLCS has been a staunch supporter of the Passport to Knowledge (P2K) Electronic Field Trips. Your programs are of the highest quality with attention to the mathematics/science curriculum, outstanding teacher materials, and unique opportunities for students to engage in experiential real-time learning. Students' ability to communicate directly with scientists and mathematicians, online and on-the-air, has added another dimension.

Our main audience, the Los Angeles Unified School District students and teachers, have offered us positive feedback through our personal face-to-face workshops and in our yearly District-wide survey. The P2K content aligns directly with our Superintendent's curricular goals and the California State Learning Standards in science and mathematics. In addition, it meets the KLCS goal to provide focused quality content in a multidimensional, integrated technology format."
--Victor Lamkay, Director of Classroom Instructional Programming, KLCS, Los Angeles
(licensed to the Los Angeles School Board.)

"During the past several years, we have aired the PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE/LIVE FROM . . . programs via satellite to teachers and students throughout Kentucky. We have always been impressed with the high quality of P2K's electronic field trips as well as the scope and quality of related resources including Teacher's Guides, hands-on activities, and online materials and activities. Moreover, Kentucky educators have told us that they appreciate the programs' emphasis on real-world applications of scientific concepts as well as their alignment with state and national science standards."
--Kathy Quinn, Director of Education, Kentucky Educational Television

Science Museums, Planetariums and Challenger Centers
Several of P2K's projects lent themselves to out of school participation, reaching students during vacations or after school hours. We have previously reported collaborations with such leading science museums as the American Museum of Natural History, New York (LIVE FROM MARS), and the National Air and Space Museum (LIVE FROM THE STRATOSPHERE) but many more museums and science centers were actively involved. P2K provided outreach information to ASTC, the Association of Science and Technology Centers, encouraging members to downlink the summer 1997 LIVE FROM MARS programming, and to create local events. COSI, Columbus, enlisted the local CBS affiliate to provide up- and downlink services, and that commercial TV station secured a larger TV audience for a science event than usual for its Sunday afternoon timeslot, usually devoted to sports! The Denver Museum of Natural History reported record crowds for a sunny summer day, and was delighted with its participation.

During LIVE FROM THE STRATOSPHERE it was necessary to undertake an evening flight, to facilitate infrared astronomy: that, of course, meant schools were out of session. In New Jersey, 500 students participated in LFS by "camping-in" at the Liberty Science Center, with numerous teacher/chaperones and parent-volunteers in attendance. Many other schools held special evening and overnight events, hosting parents as well as students, and providing pizza as well as interaction with the Kuiper Airborne Observatory scientists. What Rhonda Toon in Georgia observed down here on Earth was an engaging, interdisciplinary, immersive experience in which science content and abstract concepts came to life. Using activities suggested in the LIVE FROM THE STRATOSPHERE Teacher's Guide she and her colleagues invited parents to see what children had been up to in school all semester and brought in local astronomers to help students observe from the Earth's surface what the KAO was seeing high up above.

"They (the students) were talking to kids in other countries, we had a Spanish child in our classroom who was speaking Spanish on the Ham radio, and then, of course, there was the language of math ...All of my kids came in with their models. In this [LIVE FROM THE STRATOSPHERE] Guide, it explained to us how to use a paper towel tube to make a scale model. I gave out paper towel tubes to all the kids. But you probably have a kid like my Christopher! He found a carpet tube, and he came in with this Kuiper model. I had one table set up for this station, and that table held his model! ...I was amazed when I walked back to the table where the Kuiper models were and heard my students ...trying to determine the scale and the differences between the scale, between the paper towel tubes and the carpet roll...

But the thing to me that I found most interesting is, one of the questions says, 'Can you name a scientist?' At the beginning I got George Washington Carver, maybe one or two others; at the end, many of them put the people aboard the Kuiper, which was one of the projects, or the people from Antarctica. But the most telling thing to me was that many turned the paper over, and on the back they listed the names of their classmates. To me, that really said a lot about what the program meant to them, as far as who scientists are: they can be scientists."

As reported in Journals, P2K wrote articles for Satlink Magazine, the premier source of information for educators using satellite TV. In addition, P2K presented a workshop at the 1996 NSTA National Convention, in St. Louis. At the suggestion of P2K, teacher Rhonda Toon wrote an article for Business Week (quoted from above) which led to her being contacted by Microsoft and being flown out to Seattle to speak up for the educational uses of the Internet during the launch of Internet Explorer 4.0. Her school district, in return, received some $100,000 worth of software! Rhonda was also contacted by then FCC Commissioner Reed Hundt to provide input during the formulation of what was to become the "E-rate" program.

LIVE FROM THE STRATOSPHERE, LIVE FROM THE HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE, and LIVE FROM MARS have all been reviewed for educational quality and included in the Eisenhower National Clearing house database. More recently, AAAS has included several Modules, including LIVE FROM THE RAINFOREST, in its SciLinks system. NCREL singled out LIVE FROM ANTARCTICA 2 and LIVE FROM MARS for inclusion in its "Captured Wisdom" videotape and CD-ROM, focusing on how Susan Cowles used the EFTs in adult literacy classes. (For more, see Contributions.)

Lastly, the combination of the broadcast video over public TV and on-line components made the LIVE FROM programs unusual in that parents also became aware of P2K, both because of its inherent interest, and because of its effects upon their youngsters. Dave Grott reported:

"Parents loved it because they became engaged with their children." He received notes from parents who said they "froze their butts looking at the eclipse or some other event that P2K led them to... they also wrote how fun it was to do these activities with their children. They found their kids asking them to help look something up, or find something for a project. Sometimes they asked to do the project or experiment at home again themselves."

Along with parents, principals and school administrators wanted to know what was generating such unusual excitement: Bill Farmer, a library media specialist in Michigan, reported to EDC's interviewers, "At first Bill's administration thought it was 'just another one of Bill's weird ideas.' He had to convince them that the project directly related to the media curriculum. They were a bit reluctant at first. By the last broadcast, however, all of his students' classroom teachers insisted on being there. The administration came to agree that the project was a good thing."

Reported Brian Grigsby from Redding, CA, a high school science teacher, "Everyone was excited. My administration thinks that is great the kids are learning more and trends are being set. Other teachers are pretty supportive. I think that is helping increase quality of teaching. People are seeing what I am doing and although they are intimidated, I think that there is sufficient pressure that they will be involving their kids in the future." He continued, "The parents are so excited. My kids have taken the video home to show it to parents. That is a very important indicator for me. When I know that the kids are going home and showing it to their parents I know that we are having success. The parents are excited because their kids are so knowledgeable not just about the science content, but about something that is all over the news and that is clearly an important event."

Rosemary Thiebaut, 7th grade Science, Wyoming, noted the difference between traditional instruction, and what happened during the LIVE FROM Modules: "Parents are telling me what was going on in my class. Students were telling their parents about all this stuff! The parents were sharing stories about what I was doing. That really speaks to the quality of the materials-it never happened before."

Activities Findings Outreach Contributions