CA – 2013 AGU Fall Meeting, post-meeting

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December 29, 2013 by Dr. G

Yes, the meeting came to an end, with everyone rushing back home to finish up their grading, giving final exams, and attempting to plow through all of the emails in our Inboxes that we weren’t able to keep in top of during the week. Believe me, the exhaustion hits early in the conference, as evidenced by tweets such as this one I saw on Tuesday, the second day of the conference (note that Moscone was the name on the three buildings the conference was held in):

And although the meeting ended on Friday, December 13, I’ve noticed that there are still blog posts going online and tweets coming through with the conference hashtag #AGU13, so I’m not the only one late to complete my final meeting wrap-up!

So what are my overarching takeaways from AGU 2013?  Here are my top 5.

1) I need to spend even more time going through the conference program.  I found on the AGU 2013 Fall Meeting website that there were over 24,000 people in attendance at this conference, nearly 15,000 posters presented, 7,000 oral presentations given, and numerous workshops, town hall meetings, and other social and scientific sessions.  I really appreciated and utilized the meeting app that AGU developed so I could scan through the program and create my own meeting schedule – but I missed some talks by people I didn’t know were going to even be at the conference.  It is a difficult time of year to prepare for the conference, but since it only happens once a year, I’ve got to squeeze in that time to figure out how to prepare to do even more during that week in San Francisco.

2) I need to pay more attention to discoveries being made by NASA.  I typically look to the USGS and NOAA for my geology news, but there is some really amazing work being done by NASA that I can apply in my courses.  And my experience at the NASA Social really opened my eyes to how exciting and “cool” space science can be for my students.  NASA had so many press releases at AGU, especially the latest and greatest news from Mars.  I look forward to spending some more time going through NASA’s websites and data sets to expand my teaching toolkit.

3) I need to share more results from my pedagogical research.  I can’t present everything I do at one conference, and I’ve been hesitant to present my research on teaching and learning at the AGU conference, as it has such a strong science presence.  But there were 67 education-focused sessions at AGU this year, so pedagogical work is certainly welcomed!  And after I saw an oral presentation where a presenter said that undergraduate students are not capable of recording podcasts in a one semester course – I want to make sure my fellow conference goers know that students actually are quite capable of doing a podcast in one semester – even more than one podcast! (h/t to my WaterBytes students)  I have been able to create some amazing learning experiences for my students, and the results of my teaching techniques combined with student learning needs to be shared.

4) I need to pay even more attention to science communication.  I was very fortunate to attend the ScienceOnline Climate and ScienceOnline Oceans conferences this year, and even attended a talk given by Joe Palca from NPR.  From those events, in addition to the AGU sessions focused on science communication, I feel that I am really improving my own understanding and effectiveness at science communication with different audiences.  And spending much time with a former student of mine at AGU that is now in a graduate program for science journalism has helped me even more understand how she needs to report stories, and how best I can provide information to journalists.  Students, as I tell you – faculty are always learning, too!  And I am really looking forward to continuing to be a student and furthering my own education in science communication.

5) I need to be more active in the online geoscience/marine science communities.  As I learn more about science communication, I need to put this in to practice.  This will not only help with my professional development, but I believe it will also help me keep in touch with my science friends and colleagues that are scattered across the USA (and the world!) between conferences.  I know this will also help me keep up-to-date on what is happening in the research world, improving my own content knowledge for dissemination to students.

I definitely want to go back through my notes several times in the upcoming year, especially as I prepare to teach some courses I haven’t taught for a number of years when I return from sabbatical in Fall 2014 to include new science and new teaching approaches.  I still need some decompression time before I get saturated by AGU 2014 next December.

But then, it is never too early to start planning (and to get excited) for next year!

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