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1996 TEA Orientation Workshop
1996 TEA Orientation Workshop

National Science Foundation, Arlington, Virginia
27-29 September, 1996

Mr. Peter Amati, Holliston High School, Massachusetts, TEA 1992
Ms. Carole Bennett, Gaither High School, Florida, TEA 1996
Mr. Michael Hardy, Rice University, Texas, GLACIER
Dr. William Philips, Dover High School, Delaware, TEA 1996
Mr. Ryan Price, Rice University, Texas, GLACIER
Ms. Barbara Schultz, Lakeside School, Washington, TEA 1996
Ms. Stephanie Shipp, Rice University, Texas, GLACIER
Mr. Steven Stevenoski, Lincoln High School, TEA Parcticipant Coordinator
Dr. Wayne Sukow, Directorate for Education and Human Resources
Mr. Dominic Tedeschi, Norwich Free Academy, Connecticut, TEA 1996
Ms. Linda Wygoda, Sam Houston High School, Louisiana, TEA 1996
Dr. Clarice Yentsch, Education Development Center, Massachusetts, GLACIER

Visits by Office of Polar Programs representatives included Dr. Dennis Peacock, Dr. Jane Dionne, Dr. Scott Borg, and Mr. David Friscic. Dr. Emma Walton from the Directorate for Education and Human Resources graciously parcticipated Saturday, 28 September.

Workshop Objectives
  • Organize a Teachers Experiencing Antarctica (TEA) network to ensure continued communication during and after the close of the field season
  • Identify avenues to strengthen the TEA program
  • Plan future TEA educational outreach initiatives
  • Provide logistical information to the TEA parcticipants
  • Introduce and exchange Antarctic classroom resources

  • Summary of Activities
    The first morning of the workshop focused primarily on gaining a historic prospective about TEA and the GLACIER program. Dr. Wayne Sukow provided insight into the role of the Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR) in the TEA program, and expectations by the EHR. Dr. Dennis Peacock, Dr. Jane Dionne, and Dr. Scott Borg offered the views of the Office of Polar Programs (OPP).

    During the afternoon, parcticipants were given logistical information and had the opportunity to discuss individual questions and concerns about their parcticipation in the field. Group discussions focused on what TEA parcticipants could provide to classrooms while in the field and how TEA potentially works in the classroom during the field season.

    The second day opened with break-out groups becoming familiar with the GLACIER webpages and the electronic mail system. An evaluation period was held during late morning, as was a brief fieldtrip to the Office of Polar Programs. Parcticipants spent the afternoon writing biographies and working with the webpages. Discussion of the fieldwork and logistics continued through the day. At the close of Saturday, the group revisited the questions of how to promote the TEA program and what educational outreach activities should be the focus of TEA effort.

    Progress was made toward each objective of the workshop. A TEA network was established through the exchange of mailing addresses and the establishment of a central Internet TEA website attached to the GLACIER webpage. The website will be the location of TEA information, parcticipant biographies, project descriptions, and daily field journals. Questions from the public will be forwarded through the website to the TEA parcticipants, and answers will be returned and posted on the webpage.

    Areas identified for strengthening the TEA program include continuation of the TEA network, future TEA workshops, establishment of a TEA mentor program for future TEAšs, and advertising the TEA program and web materials (arcticles in education and research journals, presentations at regional and national education and research conferences).

    Future educational outreach focused on getting TEA into more classrooms by broadening the appeal of TEA and advertising the program. Broadening awareness of the TEA program will be attempted through arcticles in education and research journals, and through presentations at education and research conferences. Proposed outreach initiatives involve:
  • Supplemental classroom materials that will be disseminated through education and research conferences and through the website. It was felt that the daily TEA journals, questions and answers, data, photo gallery, and activities on the Internet offer an exciting component that teachers will want to incorporate into their classrooms (science and humanities). Suggestions for the use of the materials and data in a classroom setting will accompany the resources.

  • Internet Antarctic resource guide for teachers with contact information for the materials. Included in the recommended resources will be selected OPP brochures.

  • Student experimentation program, tied to the GLACIER curriculum, through which students studying Antarctica propose research experiments. Selected experiments can be conducted by the TEA parcticipants while in the field. Selection will depend on soundness of experiment and logistics involved in accomplishment.

  • TEA- and Principal Investigator- (PI) hosted chat sessions with classrooms. MORE!!!!!!!!!!!
  • A TEA presentation is being arranged for the April National Science Teachers Association conference in New Orleans, Louisiana. The workshop will strive to increase interest in and excitement about infusing Antarctic science into the classroom, and to showcase the TEA partnership between research and education. The workshop will include presentations about the TEA program, hands-on classroom activities, computer demonstrations to illustrate the TEA/GLACIER website, and video and photographic coverage of TEA parcticipants in action.

    Parcticipant Response
    Parcticipant response to the TEA experience was positive. Complete evaluations are recorded below. Recurring concerns expressed in the evaluation focus on the need for earlier announcement of awards (based on the funding status of the program, this may not be possible), earlier and enhanced connection with PIšs, and better communication concerning TEA parcticipants and workshops. MORE???

    Parcticipant response to the TEA workshop also was positive. Concerns focused on more communication, and a more positive discussion researcher interaction. The parcticipants all expressed a desire to have similar workshops in the future and that the preparation offered through the workshop was needed for their upcoming field experience. A follow-up evaluation will be requested of the parcticipants after they return from the field. At that time, they will have had the opportunity to compare their experiences against the information that was provided.

    Based on the input of the TEA parcticipants, several recommendations are put forward. The majority of these focus on more, and earlier, communication, and appear to be attainable.

    If possible, earlier acknowledgment of the award to the TEA parcticipant and the PI.

    With the acknowledgment of the award, include a letter to the TEA parcticipant with contact addresses and telephone numbers of the PI, present TEA parcticipants, and a TEA mentor as well as the location of the TEA/GLACIER webpage. Include also information on what needs to be done (arrangement of a meeting with the PI, medical forms, travel arrangements, etc.), and the prescribed order of events. The TEA orientation workshop should be scheduled for mid-summer. A draft of this letter will be written by the TEA 96 workshop parcticipants.

    With the acknowledgment of the award, include a letter to the PI with contact addresses and telephone numbers of the TEA parcticipant and the TEA mentor. Incorporate recommendations for contacting the TEA parcticipant, and suggestions for maximizing the interaction with the TEA parcticipant (summer training). Guidelines for handling teacher travel expenses, stipends, and expense reimbursements should be proposed, with a recommendation that the PI discusses these matters completely with the TEA parcticipant. A draft of this letter will be written by the TEA 96 workshop parcticipants.

    A letter of award announcement and the significance of the award should be sent to the school and the school district. The positive attributes of the award and the necessity of school support for the TEA should be made clear. A tentative calendar of teacher commitments (orientation, field season, follow-up presentations) should accompany the letter. This may ease some of the difficulty encountered by some teachers when attempting to secure release time.

    Establish an ASA contact for the TEA program to assist in the arrangement of travel and provide specific information about communication, computer, and laboratory facilities available.

    A follow-up communication by a representative of OPP or EHR to the TEA and to the PI to ensure that contact has been established and that progress is being made in a positive fashion. The communication might be made a month after acknowledgment of the award. This could lessen the feeling of isolation and would further the message that EHR and OPP are serious that a successful and productive experience is accomplished by all parcticipants.

    The workshop was a positive experience for all involved. It is hoped that the process can be repeated with the 1997 TEA parcticipants!

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