Presenters describe struggles with sustaining science teacher professional development across remote sites and explore simulation training of science educators beyond one institution’s existing capacities.
For a description of the Crossroads session structure, please see the initial Crossroads session.
Barbara Crawford’s project, Fossil Finders: Using Fossils to Teach about Evolution, Inquiry, and Nature of Science, uses professional development that immerses teachers in authentic fieldwork during the summer. The evaluations of these experiences are very positive. However, by the time school begins, the initial excitement fades, and supports from the project staff cannot transcend the distances between the fossil fields and the teachers’ classrooms. Crawford is exploring whether blending face-to-face with virtual cyber-experiences might work. Ben Dotger has almost the opposite problem: he’s challenged to make his project, The Science and Mathematics Simulated Interaction Model (SIM), transferable. His simulations permit teachers and leaders in training to practice how they might interact with “standardized” parents, students, and education professionals. Dotger has created subject-area-specific simulations that work quite effectively in his local facility, raising questions about leveraging other sites to extend these efforts so more teachers can begin “knowing how” instead of simply “knowing about” effective interactions. Simulated clinical practices exist in 98% of medical schools. What is required to make this a more common feature of teacher education programs?