December 23, 2015 by Dr. G
Well, the final day of the 2015 AGU Fall Meeting has ended. It has been a full week of science, networking, and more. This tweet pretty much sums up how myself and others feel:
After packing up everything in my hotel room (I’m booked on a red-eye flight home to Philadelphia that leaves at 10PM), I headed over to explore some more of the geoscience education posters, learning about some fascinating projects and pedagogical practices with technology and bringing science and art together.
In the afternoon was (finally!) my last presentation in a session on Best Practices in Meaningful and Authentic Science Outreach to Formal and Informal Audiences. My presentation was titled You Asked, We Answered! A Podcasting Series by Scientists for K-12 Teachers Through the Pennsylvania Earth Science Teachers Association (PAESTA) (this is a statewide organization I helped co-found and am part of the Executive Committee). My talk was to encourage scientists to get involved with K-12 teachers in helping them learn science content where they feel they need a quick tutorial. I’m hoping there is much follow-through after this talk, as our Pennsylvania teachers could really benefit from just a few minutes of a scientist’s time! I’ve uploaded my PowerPoint in Penn State’s ScholarSphere to further share the information and mission of this podcasting series, as well as opportunities to participate.
I wrapped up my AGU experience by attending the session titled Make It More Simple: The Up-Goer Five Giving-It-a-Try (aka Challenge). This was the perfect session to wrap up an exhausting and exciting week! The “challenge” was for scientists to give 10-minute talks about their research – but they could only use the ten hundred most used words in the English language (can’t say 1,000 words, because “thousand” isn’t one of the most common words!). The website Up-Goer Five Text Editor allows people to enter their text (in this case, scientific abstract) and then see which words are not part of the ten hundred list. This is more of a “challenge” than you might think (especially since “challenge” is also not one of the ten hundred words!). “Earth” and “planet” are not part of the list, so speakers were discussing “home world” instead. “University” became “house of learning”, and “seismometer” was represented as “shaking feeling things”. And you can probably guess what “very cold land at the bottom of the world” represents! The President-Elect of AGU was the first speaker, and did an excellent job explaining biogeochemical cycling as “The Building Blocks of Life Move from Ground to Tree to Animal and Back to Ground“. But he and the audience agreed that this may be an extreme way to communicate science, but we must think about simplifying how we share our science with non-science audiences to broaden our reach.
Unfortunately, I had to leave the session before the end to get back to my hotel to grab a shuttle to the airport – and then headed home!