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Thinking Like a Scientist: Teaching and Learning with Current Science Issues

All web seminar participants use online tools that allow them to mark-up presenter's slides or share desktop applications in addition to engaging in chat with others online and answering poll questions This Web Seminar, developed in collaboration with the National Science Digital Library and American Institute of Biological Sciences, took place on Tuesday, January 12, 2010 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern time. Oksana Hlodan , Editor in Chief for Actionbioscience of the American Institute of Biological Sciences provided an introduction into the use of current issues in teaching by highlighting materials from, including articles, teaching activities, related materials and content correlations to the national science standards.

Ms. Hloden pointed out that the use of current issues is a great way to incorporate methods of inquiry and investigation into your teaching. Guest educator, Dr. Brian Shmaefsky, a professor at Lone Star College in Kingwood, Texas, also emphasized the importance of finding issues that have relevance to your students and to address prior misunderstandings and misconceptions related to issues. Shmaefsky points out that previous learning can inhibit future comprehension, and as a consequence, should be a part of how a teacher elicits discussion on a given issue. Hloden then followed up with some specific examples of issues that students would find interesting such as water rights and management in the Klamath Basin in Oregon.

Since many of us get our information on the Internet, Hloden also pointed out materials to help guide students into assessing the quality of online materials more objectively.

Ninety-eight (98) participants were present at the live Web Seminar in addition to the presenters, the NSDL moderator, and the NSTA staff. Educators represented the states of Arizona, California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin. Three participants joined from countries outside the United States: Canada and Northern Mariana Islands.

Seminar participants received one of the NSTA SciGuides. A certificate of attendance was deposited into participants My PD Record and Certificates area in the NSTA Learning Center for completing the evaluation form at the end of the program.

Here are some comments provided by the participants at the end of the Web Seminar:

  • “I love to use current issues in class discussions.”

  • “Issues will keep the classroom material relevant to an increasingly bored audience!”

  • “Wonderful resources and ideas.”

  • “Provided useful websites. I liked the worksheet that helps students evaluate websites.”

Thanks to the participants and the presenters for the learning opportunity, the interactions, and a job well done!

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