Brett Moulding, co-chair of the organizing committee, began the summary and wrap-up by thanking all of the workshop participants. Moulding explained that he and Phil Christensen, the other co-chair, would provide a personal recap of each workshop session and discuss several points that were made within each session.
The first session focused on the vision for science education. Moulding explained that whenever members of the education community say “Framework,” they mean the Framework for K-12 Science Education.1 Moulding added that all states will align to the Framework according to their own cycles.
Christensen then explained that they would present five slides that did not exactly follow the five sessions, because their goal was to provide a higher-level review of the workshop. He emphasized that their summary was not meant to summarize the sessions or the workshop; instead, it was a summary of Christensen’s and Moulding’s thoughts and observations.
Christensen noted that there was a lot of discussion about curriculum development, and an overarching theme was that the NASA Science Mission Directorate could benefit by organizing curriculum materials around the Framework. He also emphasized the importance of moving away from basic content elements (e.g., activities, lessons) into broader pieces of curriculum that will aid accessibility for teachers. Christensen stated that as communicators, they [the workshop community] could work with their education partners to help organize material that will facilitate greater conceptual learning. He also made the point that the science community has focused on mission-specific or instrument-specific materials for a long time. He suggested moving away from mission-specific materials to standards-based, crosscutting concepts and disciplinary core ideas so that, for example, people working with the Hubble Space Telescope can incorporate data from Cassini at Saturn or a Mars mission. By helping to develop materials that teachers can use in a three-dimensional world and encouraging students to think more about science and engineering practices, space and Earth scientists can contribute to the next generation of curriculum.
Moulding then stated that over the course of the workshop, participants talked about the ability of partnerships to address the issue of scalability, and he proposed that the audience think about projects in terms of a system that happens to be one of the crosscutting concepts. Thus, the idea of scalability relates to the interface between the teacher and the student. Those in the audience are the “support staff” for the interface where teaching and learning happens between a teacher and a student. He told the audience members to recognize that effective partner-
1 National Research Council, A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas, The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C., 2012.
ships take time to fully develop, and they must be built on equitable and mutual needs. He urged entering into the partnership relationship with an open mind and thinking about how the partnership will benefit local children as well as local education goals. Moulding emphasized that key elements of an effective partnership are the education professionals—the boundary-spanners. The translators from science to education have an essential role that is very much needed. He also noted that existing partnerships must inform each other of changes in education or in science. He stated that just because a partnership today is effective does not mean that it will be effective in the future.
Christensen mentioned the workshop discussion about changes in funding, as well as the new cooperative agreement notice. He encouraged his colleagues to embrace the changes coming to science education. He stated that NASA could play a key role in professional development for teachers. However, this professional development needs to meet the standards established for science education within the Framework. Christensen added that it would be beneficial for those on the science side to learn more about the Framework. He also emphasized the ongoing and iterative nature of professional development, and noted that things will continue to evolve. He stated that the audience members should be informed by student learning, be a part of local organizations, and allow for teacher autonomy. Furthermore, the community must constantly remember that teachers are individuals with their own styles.
Moulding referred to the National Association of Research and Science Teaching white paper on professional development standards.2 He said that the Council of State Science Supervisors is revising standards to align to the Framework.
On the subject of research and evaluation, Moulding explained that guidelines are changing the evaluation expectations for educational programs. He emphasized that evaluation is most powerful when it is program specific and also aligned to evaluation standards. Moulding said that historically, evaluation is underfunded. Moulding stated that evaluation is not research; thus, the models used in professional development have to be based on current educational research. The community is hungry for professional development, instructional material, and classroom instructional strategies research that are effective at improving student learning. Moulding concluded by stating that when data and results are shared, the entire community of scientists and educators benefit.
Marc Allen of NASA headquarters then spoke briefly and encouraged audience members to send their questions or comments regarding the cooperative agreement notice to the official [NASA] e-mail address. Michael Moloney, director of the National Research Council’s Space Studies Board, concluded by thanking the workshop organizing committee for helping the staff put together the agenda. (See Figure 8.1.)
2 E.R. Banilower, J. Gess-Newsome, D. Tippins, “Supporting the Implementation of NGSS through Research: Professional Development,” National Association for Research in Science Teaching, Reston, Va., http://www.narst.org/NGSSpapers/Professional_Development_%20June2014.pdf.
FIGURE 8.1 The 2-day workshop held in the auditorium of the National Academy of Sciences building featured extensive discussion and participation by a broad range of experts in the science education field. SOURCE: Harrison Dreves, NRC.