Mars "Virtual" Teacher Training Conference

The Sights & Impressions of those in Attendance

Summary: July 19th Friday ---- Passport to Knowledge AM Session by Renee Crawley, Teacher Advocate from Tucson, AZ

Hello from Passport to Knowledge in Washington D.C. This morning Geoffrey Haines-Stiles started the morning from NASA Headquarters. Over 100 teachers from almost every state was represented.

Geoffrey talked about the PTK Teacher's Kits and showed the heat sensitive paper, however,he decided he was dead because his hand was too cold to cause a change in the paper. Geoffrey talked about the pyramid of components. Live video programs, E-Mail, Hands on Student Activities, Networked Collaborations, Online Investigations and Publication.

What is planned for this year? Live from Mars and Live from Antarctica 2. November of 1996 "The Mission Begins". NASA hopes to have a Prime Time Special on July 4th and 5th. In the future we will be doing Live from the Rainforest, Live from the Ocean Deep and Live from the North Pole, Live from Pompeii, Live from the Heart of the Storm, Live from Sofia (LFS-2), Live from he Fastest Planes on Earth, Live from the International Space Station, Live from theBeginning of time. Lots of wonderful ideas are coming along.

Geoffrey discussed how several states have used materials from the Teacher's Kit's to form their assessments. We want to have at least 2 teachers in each state to work with Passport to Knowledge. Part of the purpose of this workshop is to help get more educator's involved.

Geoffrey tried the 3D glasses and said he felt they took us back the 1960's at Haight Ashbury. We want to connect students to real science. "Only human beings can teach the connections between things" Clifford Stoll, 1995 Maybe we should have a 4th R Reality, and the 5th R Relationships.

Broadcasting is the casting of seeds in Agriculture. Passport to Knowledge is castings seeds. Maybe some student of yours will be with the first group to go to Mars. Wouldn't that be incredible? To know that you as a teacher cast those seeds to get someone interested in Science.

Marilyn Wall a fourth grade elementary teacher, talked about integrating all of her subjects. Her curriculum became Passport to Knowledge. "My children are becoming global citizens". "Through the PTK, my children were able to talk about cyberspace and talk with their parents about stars. My children were able to go on line."Her children made their paper towel telescopes and they went out to the playground to learn how to count the stars. One of the other teachers asked why Marilyn Wall's class was on the playground. It wasn't their time to play. One of her students turned around and said, "Excuse me, we're learning how to count stars for NASA".

Tim McCollum is a middle school teacher. He talked about new technology and how it turns your classroom into global learners. Two years ago I started with PTK Live from Antarctica. Through a grant, my school had a satellite dish. We watched and did...we built the triangular outhouse to see why it needed to be that shape. We participated in LFS. What a surprise when I announced we would meet for class at midnight. Real science can be real fun! The great planet debate caused a lot of activity. Live from the Hubble allowed my students to see their own questions on line and allowed them to receive answers also. My goal is for my students to create virtual environments for others to explore. Out theme for next year is "Exploring New Horizons".

Rob Theriaque is a High School teacher from New Hampshire. He talked about their spring project which is to simulate a space shuttle mission. In the Great Planet Debate we decided Neptune should be observed. Our views were presented online. My kids realized they were in trouble because the Elementary kids wanted Pluto badly. Not only did they not want to "Lose" the debate but they wanted Neptune! They came up with the idea to split the observation time, which was the final decision. "IT was a hot topic." Our theme next year is Mars.

Bonnie Bracey showed a passport. "It takes you all over the world. NASA takes us all over the universe." . I became a Young Astronaut Teacher. I learned about stars. It put stars in my eyes that children can see. Think of the content available to all of you online. I share and show with teachers who don't even have e-mail. Yesterday we did a project with 7 different sites. One of the little girls said "You can't be an astronaut and a mother." "Oh, but I am. You just have to be dedicated, plan, and do it." The little girl stayed after to find out more because she now knows there are dreams, and they can come true. You need to have a book called KICKSTART. "Children who love learning will do wonderful things."

Malcom Phelps from NASA Education spoke next on "What is NASA's role in Education?" "As good as this program is, it's only 1 of the things we're doing in education." NASA's strategic plan for Educational Excellence - We involve the educational community in our endeavors to inspire America's students, create learning opportunities and enlighten inquisitive minds. We have workshops across the country. We have curriculum materials in Resource Centers in every state.

We are involved in Educational Technology. There are four pillars of educational technology.

  1. Modern computers and learning devises will be accessible to every student.
  2. Classrooms will be connected to each other and to the outside world.
  3. Educational software will be an integral part of the curriculum, and as engaging as the best video game.
  4. Teachers will be ready to use and teach technology. We need to be involved in the 21st Century Teachers to mentor other teachers to use technology.
We have to think of creative ways to get the immediate information to your class. Less books and more online real information up to date.

Mark Siegel talked with us about PTK It isn't just receiving information, but interactive activities.

Dave Eggebrecht talked about how his class asked Live from Antarctica to move their camera and pan the scenes. The next program, they announced that the camera had been left out, and had frozen and so they wouldn't be panning the scene today! His class emailed weather information which was put into the larger picture. He did let us know that his class had rounded off the latitude and longitude and on the NASA map it shows the school in the middle of Lake Michigan. They decided the decimal points were important! The weather maps made were very similar to the National Weather Service. They were all amazed at how close the two maps were.

Dave Grott, New York, the dark side of online - the students were trying to figure out how many miles they had traveled with PTK. They wanted to know how much IRS allowed, and wanted to send a bill to NASA. Dave thought that was great they could buy more equipment, the students said "No, we want to buy junk food, so we never have to eat school lunch again." The up side was everyday the class asked what questions Mark Seigel had for them. They wanted to answer the daily questions correctly so Mark wouldn't come to their school and be upset with them. Dave had the 6th graders teach the 5th graders first semester, and then switched it for second semester. Great experience.

Ruth Wahl from New York stated she's only had online for 1 year. She is a novice. She has one computer in her room. They have gone online and use journals a lot. The students were receiving e mail to them. She would Xerox journals from the scientists and have to summarize for the rest of the class. These scientists became famous, important people. The students realized that scientists were real people with family situations and the students realized they could also be scientists. Her class wrote that the wind directions were being made in the wrong way. They wrote to NASA to let them know and it was corrected the next day.

Geoff said we need to talk about attitude and not just facts. Why is live video more difficult?

Ginny Dexter had trouble with PBS buying in to showing Live from the Stratosphere. We planned an evening where we were going to have an astronomer come out with the parents and students. The video connection from NASA was really fuzzy. She called PBS and they asked why would they show something just for her class. She decided to disseminate the material throughout the county and sent out the flyers with her name and address and phone number for contact and PBS decided to show the program. Her class went to AMES Research Center to seethe Kuiper. They were amazed at the size of the Kuiper! So they saw the information, participated in the activities, and then took a field trip to AMES.

It is very reasonable to think this is a project funded by NASA, but NSA and PBS are also helping.

C.J. Rodke of Pennsylvania talked about how you can be an active person in change, or areactive person, but change is coming. Live television is like jumping off a cliff, you can't change it once it starts. Once it starts you can't stop it so relish it!

Sharon Spence of Kansas talked about how her District wanted the programing live, but they had no Internet capabilities at that time. They decided to invite teachers and students to the Tech Center where they could downlink with NASA. Teacher's manuals were sent out in advance so lessons could be done. Each school sent representatives to the Tech Center. They taped the program and sent a copy to each school. One of their questions was asked, but they were so excited they cheered so much they didn't hear their question! She also talked about copying her email and sending it to all the other teachers. Good idea to get your whole school involved!

Charlotte Stevens of Georgia started in her school 2 BD years ago without any Internet. In fact the county didn't have Internet. If you show the program live you can email questions, however, many times they are too long for your class time. The excitement is valuable! However, you can show tapes and fast forward through areas that aren't interesting. Information is good, but the excitement is of value. Keep the students involved. The school had a Star Party with 4 teachers with activities.

Pat Haddon talked about the Teacher's Guides for Live from... The guides are organized with Behavioral Objectives, List of Materials, sidebars, Science Standards, Online Help, Student and Teacher Evaluations, Interdisciplinary Connections. The Hands-on activities are really science. They simulate what real scientists are doing in real time. The activities tie everything together before, during, and after the broadcasts. Teacher's Guides are written for Middle School, however they can be adapted up or down. Her school was at Liberty Center over night. 80 Teachers and 500 kids!

Jacques Chaput from New York talked about curriculum that you don't integrate is like living on junk food only. It tastes good, but doesn't have value. There are 3 "C"'s that are important. The online communication with students and scientists is very valuable. Kids talking with other kids 3D communication Confidence is the second C. Creativity is encouraged! Another C. Encourages teachers to be creative!

Rhonda Toon from Georgia does a looping with her children. She said we all need to be flexible. Her children got so involved they missed lunch one day and a cafeteria person came to get them. They also missed 2 recesses due to involvement in lessons from the Live From series. During the live program there were many different languages, sign, Spanish, English, Morse Code, and math. The children are learning to follow their dreams. This program helps all of us follow our dreams.

Jo Lynne Roberts of Washington State talked about how she uses bites and pieces of the program. One of the best was building the outhouses. The Principal walked in to find her class blowing over their outhouses.

Rob Matlock of California said the Live from live programs are really exciting. The activities are important. Don't think of it as one more thing to do, much of it takes place of "book" things. They are much more excited about learning with this.

By Renee Crawley, Tucson, Arizona

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