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Week of January 21, 2008

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Science and Engineering Indicators 2008 Released

The National Science Board (NSB), the oversight board for the National Science Foundation, last week released the Science and Engineering Indicators 2008, the 18th in the series of biennial science indicators reports, that provides readers with information on science, engineering, and technology at all levels, including K-12; the scientific and engineering workforce; U.S. and international research and development; and public attitudes and understanding of science and engineering. State level information on selected indicators is also available.

The NSB concludes that “The United States remains the world leader in scientific and technological innovation, but its dominance is threatened by economic development elsewhere, particularly in Asia,” writes New York Times reporter Cornelia Dean. “Many Americans remain ignorant about much of science, the board said; for example, many are unable to answer correctly when asked if the Earth moves around the Sun (it does). But they are not noticeably more ignorant than people in other developed countries except on two subjects: evolution and the Big Bang. Although these ideas are organizing principles underlying modern biology and physics, many Americans do not accept them.”

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NSTA Seeks Feedback on New Aerospace Education Position Statement

A team of science educators, leaders from aerospace science organizations, and representatives from the NSTA Aerospace Programs Advisory Board, have worked over recent months to develop a position statement on aerospace education. According to the statement, aerospace education “is an important component of comprehensive preK–12 science education programs,” and provides “compelling, powerful, and inherent opportunities to strengthen and support the teaching and learning of science, mathematics, and technology for students.”

As always, members are encouraged to read the statement and submit comments to the panel before it is submitted to the NSTA Board for adoption. Please take a minute and tell us what you think of this new statement. To view and comment, go to NSTA’s online Discussion Board and click on Post Reply. (Note: You must register to use the NSTA Discussion Board before posting comments.) Comments must be received by Monday, February 4.

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The Story of Sputnik Comes to Life at NSTA’s National Conference in Boston

David Hoffman’s documentary film “Sputnik Mania” recounts the Soviet Union’s launch of the first satellite and what happened to America during the following year. The event’s profound impact on the American psyche and our future in space is told in riveting original news footage and has won this year’s IDA ABC News VideoSource Award for Best Use of News Footage in a Documentary.

Science teachers and educators who attend NSTA's National Conference in Boston, March 27-30, can view the film and revisit the important social and political issues of the day—how Americans react to crisis situations, the importance of presidential leadership, the issues surrounding the relationship of politics to science, and even the ethics of using animals in experimental situations such as space. Much of Hoffman’s footage, from recently declassified film, has never been seen before. Sputnik, the first artificial satellite put into space successfully, ignited the Space Race within the context of the Cold War. Hoffman’s film unfolds with great immediacy, drama, and impact. Don’t miss this great opportunity. Visit the NSTA Boston Conference pages to register.

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NSTA Offers Force and Motion and Energy Courses Online

Gain content knowledge and earn two graduate credits in professional development when you pass an NSTA online short course that combines asynchronous learning with five live web sessions. It couldn’t be any easier.

The short course Force and Motion, which begins on January 30 will meet on five consecutive Wednesdays, (Jan. 30, Feb. 6, 13, 20, and 27) and will be led by instructor Dr. Matt Bobrowsky. The short course Energy will begin on February 5, meeting on five consecutive Tuesdays, (Feb. 5, 12, 19, 26, and Mar. 4). It will be led by content expert Don Boonstra. Live web sessions are scheduled from 8:00 to 9:30 p.m. Eastern time for both courses.

Participants will meet online with content experts to ask questions and have discussions about the topic. You will also work on your own time with self-paced materials to boost your knowledge of the subject matter. Materials supplied include SciPack, SciGuide, Journal articles, and a book on the topic. Visit the NSTA Learning Center for details and fees required.

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“Test Drive” Resources in the National Science Digital Library

Project Tomorrow is seeking educators to participate in Project TestDrive, a national research study on the classroom effectiveness of the online K-12 science, technology, engineering, and math resources from the National Science Digital Library (NSDL).

Funded by the National Science Foundation, NSDL is a free, online library with links to 1 million resources from over 500 unique collections. Project TestDrive provides a unique opportunity to use innovative science, math, and technology resources from a trusted source. During this project you will have the opportunity to try out the resources free-of-charge and network with like-minded professionals as you

  • Engage your students in learning through innovative science, technology, engineering, and math resources;
  • Develop students’ critical thinking and problem-solving skills;
  • Share effective teaching practices with peers across the nation.

It's easy to participate. You will

  • Identify, implement, and evaluate 7-10 online resources from the National Science Digital Library;
  • Participate in Just-in-Time training on the online resources from the National Science Digital Library;
  • Secure Parent/Guardian Permission for your students to participate in the national research study;
  • Collaborate with other K-12 educators through threaded discussions, seminars, or conference calls.

For more information, visit Project TestDrive.

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And Don’t Forget…

Visit our member services web page to ensure that NSTA has your current contact information.

NSTA is offering more Web Seminars through the winter months. Visit the website for more information about these upcoming professional development opportunities.

Professional development courses in your future?
Online options give you a world of choice.
Take a look at these groups offering courses for science educators!


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