PA – pre-TLT Symposium, part 2

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March 15, 2013 by Dr. G

I often tell my students that a trip to State College is filled with meeting after meeting after meeting, resulting in total exhaustion at the end of the day.  It is no different today!  But along with the exhaustion is some amazingly rewarding discussions and research accomplished with some amazing people.

The day started with a meeting with the Leadership Team of the National Science Foundation (NSF) grant on which I am a co-principal investigator.  The grant works to improve Earth and space science teaching and learning in middle school grades in Pennsylvania.  I usually patch into these meetings via phone, since these weekly meetings are held Friday mornings right after my classes.  It was nice to be here in person to connect with the group.  Today’s discussion focused on “teacher leadership,” and the different levels of leadership and engagement for teachers in and out of their classroom.

Next up – a meeting with undergraduate researcher Abbey Dufoe, my co-presenter for the Penn State Teaching and Learning with Technology Symposium (TLTSym) taking place on Saturday.  Abbey and I are presenting on using iBooks Author for the iPad.  I have no doubt we are going to “rock” this presentation!

After a lunch filled with fun conversation with Sue, the project manager for the NSF grant, I spent a few hours with Eric, the webmaster for the project and the organization PAESTA (Pennsylvania Earth Science Teachers Association).  PAESTA is a very young organization, officially begun by myself and Dr. Tanya Furman in 2011.  There is so much we want to build and develop for an online presence for PAESTA, and Eric is the “master of drupal technology” to get us there!  Currently, we are focusing on developing a new database of classroom exercises, available to members only.

Then, I attended a reception the Department of Geosciences was hosting in the College of Earth & Mineral Sciences Museum.  I was happy to run into Jodi, the head of advising for the Department of Geography (we discussed some of the students that I used to advise at Brandywine, and now she is advising them at University Park, such as the dynamic brother-sister duo of Jonathan and Sarah Sharp).  I also had the chance to finally meet someone I knew by name but had never met in person – Denice Wardrop, the director of Penn State’s Sustainability Institute.  We immediately began discussing some amazing educational opportunities that I could work with during my sabbatical next year – I’m excited to see where this will lead!

But my evening is not yet complete!  I need to charge up all of my iPads for tomorrow’s presentation, and – well, there’s that presentation I need to finish pulling photos together for.  Time to get back to work!

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