Within Crossroads sessions, PIs share a vexation about their NSF projects, identify a venture to address the challenges, and then attend to collaborative problem-solving discussions. In this inaugural Crossroads session, participants examine challenges of coordinating across states within a collaborative project and discuss sharing project activities with a wide array of constituencies.
A Crossroads session is grounded in the notion that conferences should offer opportunities to explore project challenges and examine viable responses. Presenters highlight an issue they are facing, offer strategies that might serve as solutions, and then open the discussion to others for their input. The session proceeds as an Incubator consisting of four stages:
(1) STATEMENT: 10 minutes as presenter describes the Vexation and Venture;
(2) CLARIFY: 5 minutes of Q&A so audience is clear about the situation;
(3) INCUBATE: 15 minutes of whole-group discussion while presenter silently listens;
(4) REJOIN: 5 minutes of response by the presenter.
Todd Campbell’s project, Cyber-enabled Learning: Digital Natives in Integrated Scientific Inquiry Classrooms (Collaborative Research: Campbell), is wrestling with coordinating activities across locations. With PIs in Utah and New York, despite being a cyber-enabled professional development initiative, the distances are prompting some issues. But geography is only part of the difficulty. The disparate educational standards at the two sites create difficulties for professional development programming as well as disrupting the vision of appropriate pedagogical approaches. During the second half of this session, Julie Luft expresses frustration and disappointment that her research on teacher induction is not taking root in the way she had planned. Science educators appear reluctant to shift their thoughts and actions about new teachers. Administrators feel constrained about providing science-specific mentors for new science teachers. Given impressive results from this project—Persistent, Enthusiastic, Relentless: Study of Induction Science Teachers—and considerable investments of time, expertise, and money, it is unfortunate that the influences on practice are almost imperceptible. Significant, valuable results from science teacher induction are not making their way into actual implementation.
See additional Crossroads sessions: Thursday at 1:45 and Friday at 10:30.