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1997 TEA Orientation Workshop
1997 TEA Orientation Workshop

National Science Foundation, Arlington, Virginia
26 to 29 June 1997

Ms. Carole Bennett (TEA 1996/1997), Sickles High School, Tampa, Florida
Ms. Carol Braun, Antarctic Support Associates, Englewood, Colorado
Dr. Scott Borg, NSF, Office of Polar Programs, Arlington, Virginia
Ms. Mary Bullock, NSF, Office of Legislative and Public Affairs, Arlington, Virginia (Saturday Visit)
Mr. Sam Carter, Rice University, Houston, Texas
Ms. Besse Dawson (TEA 1997/1998), Pearland High School, Pearland, Texas
Dr. Jane Dionne, NSF, Office of Polar Programs, Arlington, Virginia
Mr. Frederick Fotsch, Springfield, Missouri
Mr. David Friscic, NSF, Office of Polar Programs, Arlington, Virginia
Mr. Tom Geelan (TEA 1997/1998), Buffalo, New York
Ms. Kim Giesting (TEA 1997/1998), Connersville High School, Connersville, Indiana
Mr. Michael Hardy, Rice University, Houston, Texas
Mr. Paul Jones (TEA 1997/1998), Montezuma Community Schools, Montezuma, Iowa
Ms. Terry Lashley (TEArctic 1997/1998), Knoxville, Tennessee
Mr. John Nevins (TEArctic 1997/1998), Crandon High School, Crandon, Wisconsin
Dr. Dennis Peacock, NSF, Office of Polar Programs, Arlington, Virginia
Ms. Marjorie Porter (TEA 1994/1995), Woodstock Academy, Danielson, Connecticut
Ms. Barbara Schulz (TEA 1996/1997), Lakeside School, Issaquah, Washington
Dr. Carole Seyfrit, NSF, Office of Polar Programs, Arlington, Virginia
Ms. Sandy Shutey (TEA 1997/1998), Butte High School, Butte, Montana
Ms. Stephanie Shipp, Rice University, Houston, Texas
Mr. Thomas Spencer (TEA 1995/1996?), Chesapeake Center for Science and Technology, Chesapeake, Virginia
Dr. Wayne Sukow, NSF, Directorate for Education and Human Resources, Arlington, Virginia
Dr. Emma Walton, NSF, Directorate for Education and Human Resources, Arlington, Virginia (Saturday Visit)
Ms. Linda Wygoda (TEA 1996/1997), Sam Houston High School, Lake Charles, Louisiana
Dr. Clarice Yentsch, Education Development Center, Newton, Massachusetts

Workshop Objectives
  • Provide an avenue for Teachers Experiencing Antarctica and the Arctic (TEA) to communicate and collaborate before, during, and after the field experience
  • Initiate the TEA mentor program

  • Provide logistical information to the 1997/1998 TEA parcticipants

  • Increase the comfort level with electronic mail technology employed in the TEA experience

  • Identify avenues to expand the outreach of the TEA program

  • Summary of Activities
    The first day commenced with round-the-table introduction of workshop parcticipants. Discussion following focused primarily on the evolution of the TEA program.

    Dr. Carole Seyfrit, a social scientist with the Arctic division of the Office of Polar Programs, summarized the history of the TEArctic program. A single teacher worked in the Arctic during the 1996/1997 field season. A competition was held for parcticipation in the 1997/1998 field season, resulting in the selection of three TEArctic teachers and four students. This is the first year that the TEA orientation workshop included teachers who will be collaborating with Arctic researchers. It is the desire of Dr. Seyfrit and the Arctic program that the TEArctic program will continue to develop. Specific recommendations for development are listed in the recommendations of this report.

    Dr. Jane Dionne offered a historic perspective on the TEAntarctic program, beginning with the 1991 invitation to students to join Antarctic expeditions. With time, the program became more formalized, with teachers as the primary parcticipants. Dr. Dionne stressed that TEA is a dynamic program; input provided by parcticipants is critical to creating a potent product.

    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. The program is maturing, and offers a model for education/research partnerships for other NSF programs. TEA is unique; it is funded by three offices and has no program manager. Dr. Sukow is striving to expand the funding cycle from one year to three years to enable longer-term planning. An expanded cycle will directly benefit the Arctic and Antarctic teachers by permitting earlier acknowledgment of parcticipation, more efficient implementation, and definition of more specific, longer-term expectations. As the program continues to mature, evaluation becomes a critical component. Program parcticipants need to demonstrate impact in classroom and influence on teaching practices. The Government Performance and Results Act mandates accountability, and will result in changes in the responsibilities of TEA parcticipants. Future applicants to the TEA program will present a plan to infuse the research experience into the classroom and will formally mentor two teachers for a minimum of 100 hours.

    Ms. Stephanie Shipp presented a possible three-year time line for TEA parcticipation for discussion. This time line is intended as a guide to foster TEA ownership of the program, maximize integration into non-TEA classrooms, and create a lasting product to share with the community.

    Ms. Carole Bennett and Ms. Barbara Schulz presented an overview of their field experiences during the 1997/1998 field season. Questions and dialog centered around balancing field experience with teaching responsibilities and possible arrangements for substitutes. Each district appears to have a unique model for substitute coverage. Other queries to TEAs and NSF and ASA representatives focused on field logistics, appropriate field conduct, and medical and dental paperwork. TEA's should conduct themselves as ambassadors to their country and to the TEA program. Following instructions and being constantly aware of safety issues are imperative.

    During the afternoon session, Dr. Dennis Peacock discussed the importance of NSF initiatives to integrate research and education; TEA is an example of such an initiative. The Office of Polar Programs provides critical funding and logistical support for the TEA experience. Dr. Peacock reviewed the evolving political role of the United States in the Antarctic, the costs and complexities of logistical support for field parties, and scientific opportunities unique to the polar environment.

    Friday afternoon closed with a discussion with Dr. Donel Manahan, University of Southern California. Dr. Manahan will work with a TEA representative during the upcoming field season.

    Key considerations from the viewpoint of the PI:
  • often the window for polar research is narrow; efficiency counts.

  • excited, motivated people are critical to a successful field season.

  • communication is critical; the TEA and the PI must understand the role of the TEA in the field party from the onset of the relationship.

  • the TEA should work with the PI to define a specific investigation within the larger project. This serves the dual purpose of advancing the overall science and ensuring that the research team will be interested in the TEA's investigation.

  • the TEA should request the original proposal, papers, and critical references from the PI.

  • the TEA should arrive for the pre-season meeting prepared to discuss the project and define a role; 2 weeks is a short time!

  • the TEA should become familiar with field techniques while visiting the PI.

  • constant respectful conduct to everyone is critical in the field. Be aware that tension often is high and actively work to keep the situation positive. Always say "please" and "thank you." If a negative situation develops, count to ten before you respond.

  • think safety! Do not imperil a field program because you did not carefully plan and consider ramifications.

  • follow instructions.

  • there is a pecking-order in field groups. Recognize it. Learn whom to approach in diverse situations.

  • Antarctica (and the Arctic) is a very bad place to be if you are not busy. Stay involved. Take the opportunity to learn about the different aspects of the projects. Get to know other members of the research team. Maintain the same schedule as the research team.

  • this first trip is especially special. Savor it!

  • Dr. Clarice Yentsch closed the first day with a discussion of the evolution of integrated research and education over the last three decades. At present there is a strong focus on researcher/educator collaboration in the process of science education. The importance of increasing public awareness of scientific issues has been acknowledged, both to permit informed decisions by the public and to further scientific investigations. Formal and informal avenues exist for collaboration between scientists and educators. The working relationship of NSF's Office of Polar Programs and the Directorate for Education and Human Resources mirrors the integration of science and education. OPP and EHR have designed many templates of successful, multidisciplinary collaboration; TEA is one such template.

    Day two commenced with a short safely video and discussion led by Ms. Carol Braun of the Antarctic Support Associates. The key message delivered was that TEAs need to pay attention to instructions and constantly be alert to safety issues.

    Mr. Mike Hardy and Mr. Sam Carter demonstrated mail software available while the TEAs are in the field. Also displayed was the recently-initiated TEA bulletin board, a suggestion of Mr. Steven Stevenoski (TEA 1994/1995). Ms. Barbara Schulz led a discussion of suggested contents of TEA daily journals-from-the-ice.

    During the afternoon the 1997/1998 parcticipants worked with the software and designed biographies for the TEA Web Site. TEAs from earlier years met to discuss the development of activities and to design a template for Web-based activities. The template will be available on the web. In the upcoming months TEAs parcticipants will collaborate to build activities on the TEA bulletin board. An activities workshop will be held in the summer of 1998 at a location to be determined. Parcticipation in the activity workshop will be limited to TEAs who have chosen to parcticipate in the development of activities during the fall/ spring (1997/1998).

    Discussion of future outreach efforts focused on continuing representation at educational and research conferences, "advertising" in journals such as NSTA Reports, contacting local media about teacher parcticipation in TEA, and coordinating with the NSF public relations office. A primary focus will be development of Web-posted activities. Suggestions also focused on establishing a network within the school district of elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers who will work to integrate the TEA field experience into their classrooms during the TEA field season.

    Based on discussion during the orientation meeting and comments by the TEA parcticipants (following), several recommendations are outlined below.

    TEAs and PIs
    Parcticipation by a PI was extremely well received. Insights provided were invaluable and potential field challenges were discussed in a positive light. One or two PIs, (previous and "new" ?) should be included in future orientation workshops and perhaps other TEA meetings (e.g., NSTA, activities sessions). It should also be kept in mind that education in the TEA model should be a two-way street; researchers can gain insights into possible ways to increase science literacy in their own realm.

    TEAs and PIs should receive copies of all correspondence (TEA and PI expectations, letters to school districts, etc.) to each other alleviate miscommunication and to help clearly define the TEA/PI relationship. Apparently rare miscommunications concerning stipends, coverage of medical costs, etc., still occur.

    It was unclear to some TEAs that they would get their medical forms through their PI and that the forms may arrive as late as the fall before departure. In the future, initial correspondence with the TEA should spell-out how the forms are distributed, when they may be expected, and who to contact. The PI should be made aware of the time constraints on the TEA for undergoing medical and dental exams; summer scheduling is easiest on the TEA and provides the knowledge that a candidate is prepared for fieldwork prior to arrival at the PI's institution.

    Earlier communications with TEAs noted that many were disappointed by the lack of continued contact following the field season. Plans for future collaboration should be discussed between the TEA and the PI. The implementation of two institution site visits and a visit by the PI to the school may serve to continue collaboration. The subject should be monitored at future TEA meetings.

    The needs of the TEArctic parcticipants must be addressed. Specifically, orientation meetings should occur well before the Arctic parcticipants journey into the field. Joint Arctic and Antarctic orientations have the advantage of providing opportunities for collaboration. Thus, orientation meetings must be in early summer, and a spring meeting should be considered, even though it means the teachers miss two days of class time. It also is recommended that an Arctic researcher oversee the content of the TEArctic orientation; little Arctic logistical information can be provided by the present Antarctic representatives. TEArctic Mentors will be available for new TEArctic parcticipants in the future; this model of information-sharing is highly regarded by TEA parcticipants. The TEArctic and TEAntarctic programs should plan to attend conferences and host activities sessions as a single entity.

    TEAs in the Field
    This was the first year that an ASA representative parcticipated. The representative answered questions and provided information about safety, do's and don'ts of station life, and potential personal interactions. Personnel from ASA should be included in future orientations to ensure that ASA is aware of the TEA program and who is involved and to ensure that TEA parcticipants are provided with current, correct information.

    Electronic mail failures occurred in the field during the 1996/1997 field season. ASA personnel have been contacted about the difficulties encountered and have suggested that the TEAs use a UNIX platform, rather than the standard e-mail program. They graciously have agreed to provide support to TEAs in the field. The emplacement of a new mail receiving and posting program at Rice University will smooth communications as well. Both efforts should result in the prompt delivery of mail to and from the ice.

    TEAs Expectations
    Many of the parcticipants indicated that they were willing to meet program expectations and expand their commitment to TEA but the expectations are not clearly defined. A draft document of TEA responsibilities and a TEA time line exist. These require modification based on the GPRA. Detailed expectations should be included in the application. TEAs should sign an agreement outlining the responsibilities when they are accepted into the program.

    TEA and the School District
    Concern was voiced about school districts not being aware of TEA responsibilities, or the responsibilities of the district to the TEAs. Perhaps more emphasis on these issues during the TEA application process and revisitation in subsequent communications with the school districts will alleviate the tension. Inclusion of TEA publicity arcticles and a TEA brochure with the award letter to the district may smooth the path as well.

    TEA Evaluation
    The emphasis on evaluation will increase in the future. Ideas for evaluation included:

  • initiating a TEA page separate from the GLACIER page (SSS: anticipate a fall implementation)

  • monitoring the TEA Web Site for number of unique visitors and number of pages visited

  • providing an evaluation form for the TEA Web Pages

  • TEAs maintaining a log of presentations, workshops, etc.

  • Evaluation Comments of the TEA Orientation Workshop
    Comment Cards Logged by C. Yentsch 07/07/97

    New TEA
    very helpful meeting - good information and answering of many questions

    suggestion: mentors who went to same area to help with specifics (we are following this where possible)

    It's a little overwhelming, but this workshop helped a lot. What a great idea!

    New TEA
    Stop: nothing

    Start: compile TEA "recommended lists" for each type of AA travel sites
    (dry valleys, R/V Palmer, McMurdo, Chile)

    to bring old and new together
    time to work on Internet etc.

    New TEA
    I have learned a GREAT deal during the workshop - very enjoyable

    mentor/TEA parcticipant pre-program interactions, communication are CRITICAL to the success of the program -- should be stressed.

    more specific Arctic information would be better for Arctic parcticipants

    ask new parcticipants to bring bios -- this was not a good use of our time
    networking was great!

    computer "ops" and assistance were great!

    "bi-polar" opportunities may need to be explored

    all speakers were appreciated - information gained was on target

    New TEA
    I found the meeting to be interesting and informative. I have a list of new ideas already and I hope to have enough time to look into all the ideas.

    My excitement level is up another notch!

    I do wish that I had more time to look into my ideas and for those of us going North an earlier meeting might help.

    Many people have computers e.g. lap tops and information on things to bring along to the meeting would probably give parcticipants to Internet with the system that TEA will use.

    I am very pleased with what I have picked up here!

    New TEA
    Old TEAs were great. Really helpful in planning for this fall.

    Sam and Mike were fine and courteous. I'll need lots of help here.

    Enjoyed Don's early history of Antarctica.

    Saturday afternoon from 2-3:30 a little slow.

    I felt comfortable and was not afraid to ask questions.

    I am a virgin/rookie!

    Start: more clearly defined time line prior to workshop (i.e. letters to school administrators by .... medical forms sent ...., returned by .....etc.)

    Stop: I found all areas helpful/informative

    Continue: to provide opportunities like this for teachers with outreach programs/activities

    I think that the computer orientation went much, much better than last year.

    Link to past TEAs was excellent, the shared experience can be nothing but helpful.

    Having a PI here was GREAT.

    I enjoy meeting with "like-minded" teachers. It is productive to bounce ideas off each other and "brain storm." I leave a little more motivated than when I arrived.

    Too much time was spent on information related to the neophytes (newbies). (SSS: orienting the new TEAs was the primary purpose of the meeting, however)

    Stop: vague expectations, i.e. number of activities

    clearly define how long one is expected to "produce" outreach materials -- just
    let us know -- is there a start and stop?
    define how we let you know we've met your expectations

    collaboration with Rice and Stephanie
    workshops where all are present and share
    Web page support to "web boys"

    Stop: bogging discussions down in "tech talk" -- losing some of the audience

    Start: to include more PIs of parcticipants in the process or future parcticipants
    mentor PIs!?!

    development of long range (2-3 year) plan for TEA meetings,
    activities, goals, etc.
    positive tone of meetings was VERY much appreciated

    (+) PI chat

    (+) socializing at NSF program manager's home. THANKS!

    (-) uneveness for Antarctic and Arctic -- have Arctic PI like Stephanie is for AA

    (-) have bios prepared prior to this meeting

    Continue: suggestions from former TEAs on hand and at sea

    Continue: the POSITIVE views (the last orientation and NSTA were so negative!)

    Consider: a more forgiving view for the TEAs who have seemed to fall in disfavor

    Continue: giving support

    Continue: with the mentor program

    Past TEA
    Define "clearly" how expectations will be met.

    Have presentation materials that were requested "well ahead of time" on-site and

    Schedule meetings as far in advance as possible.

    Distribute timed schedule and Room # before first meeting (SSS: Sorry - Info should have been there).

    Use the training talents of past TEA parcticipants and compensate them.

    "Lean-on" unresponsive school systems.

    Have a computer lab accessible to do computer training.

    Build on the positive aspects of each TEA parcticipants experience.

    Continue to meet and move ahead.

    Use telecommunications to collaborate asynchronously and produce valuable materials.

    Compensate for the time spent producing materials. (This is a WISE use of funds!)

    materials discussed on what to expect and take
    meeting other people going or having gone
    spelling out what is expected of us
    learning computer use and expectations
    talk by PI

    sessions are a little long -- sometimes material was over-talked. Could shorten what is discussed by limiting time of parcticipants.

    Past TEA parcticipant
    The link between new parcticipants, their PIs and mentors is very important. The more that the TEA parcticipant KNOWS prior to departure, the better able they will be to communicate with students and teachers during and after their experience.

    Also, it is EXTREMELY valuable to have more input from TEAs during the meetings.

    Less input from the "generalists" (ASA and NSF people who do not say anything specific and who cannot "get to the point."

    You have not sought input from some TEA parcticipants who have done a GREAT deal for this program ....it would be a shame if ASA politics keeps GREAT teachers from contributing to TEA. Where's Dom T.??

    Good things.... I loved DON MANAHAN! a PI who seems to really appreciate good science teachers and good resources!

    I feel confident the TEAs learned the essentials. I'm glad that I got to attend and feel that I know the TEAs better.

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