This past week I traveled to Kiel, Germany, to begin work on my Fulbright-related research. This work focuses on data from the 2015 administration of the The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), in which 28 million 15-year-old (secondary) students in 72 countries completed the PISA. In 2015, the focus of the PISA was science, with approximately half of the assessment devoted to science items. We are exploring observed relationships between student achievement as related to scientific literacy outcomes and reported instructional practices of high school science teachers. A special thanks to Knut Nuemann for hosting me at the IPN Leibniz Institute for Science and Mathematics Education at the University of Kiel and to and Anja Schiepe-Tiska, from the Centre for International Student Assessment (ZIB) at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), for traveling to Kiel for a few days to work with us. I very much look forward to the ongoing collaboration on this important work.
Many thanks to the National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT) Geoscience Education Research (GER) Division for showcasing our research and development work in the October, 2018 Geoscience Education Research Spotlight. Through funding from NSF and USDA-NIFA, we are fortunate to be able to implement a number of geoscience-focused education research and development projects in a variety of educational settings, including K-12 and undergraduate classrooms, as well as professional development for K-12 science teachers and postsecondary faculty. It is wonderful to have had the opportunity to build a connection with the NAGT GER community in recent years. I look forward to continuing to contribute to this community, as well as the positive impact this connection will have on our own project work.
An article describing our NSF-funded SCIL 109 Water in Society course, part of the WELL project, and its first implementation appears in the September/October 2018 issue of the Journal of College Science Teaching. In the article, we describe core tenets of the course design, present some findings from research conducted during the first year of the course, and share some ongoing questions and challenges associated with the course. This was a great team effort and it’s fantastic to see this manuscript in print. We look forward to building on this work with subsequent publications focused on students’ model-based reasoning about socio-hydrologic issues conducted in the context of the course.
Forbes, C.T., Brozovic, N., Franz, T., Lally, D., & Petitt, D. (2018). Water in Society: An interdisciplinary course to support undergraduate students’ water literacy. Journal of College Science Teaching, 48(1), 36-42.
I am delighted and honored to have been named a 2018-2019 Fulbright Scholar. Through the generous support of a Core Fulbright U.S. Scholar Grant, I will travel to Germany in the upcoming 2 years to collaborate with researchers at the IPN Leibniz Institute for Science and Mathematics Education at the University of Kiel and the Centre for International Student Assessment (ZIB) at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), Germany, to conduct analyses on data from the 2015 administration of the The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). As an integrated research/teaching project, I will not only have the opportunity to conduct PISA-focused research, but also engage in graduate and undergraduate teaching at one or both institutions. This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience, both professional and personal, and I am grateful for the support of the Fulbright Program and the German-American Fulbright Commission. A special thanks to Knut Nuemann and Anja Schiepe-Tiska, as well as colleagues and administrators at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, for paving the way for me to pursue this work.
This past year, the E2FEW project has benefited tremendously from contributions of undergraduate research assistants supported through UNL’s Undergraduate Creative Activities and Research Experience (UCARE) program. Over the course of the past 12 months, the UCARE program has funded 4 undergraduate students to collect and analyze data, as well as disseminate project activities and research findings, in collaboration with the E2FEW project team. We are very thankful for the hard work of Holly White, Brooke Mott, Lexy Polivanov, and Saleh Husseini to videorecord CASNR classes, score student work, run stats, and develop posters for sharing our project work with the UNL community. We look forward to Holly and Brooke continuing their work this year as part of the E2FEW project team and Forbes group!
This summer, the Forbes team attended and presented at the 2018 Earth Educators’ Rendezvous on the campus of the University of Kansas in Lawrence, KS. As part of the conference, I had the unique opportunity to co-plan and co-facilitate a 3-day workshop – Advancing Transdisciplinary Dialogue in Geoscience Education Research – with my colleague Caitlin Callahan. The objective of the workshop was to advance research around grand challenges associated with teaching about the Earth in the context of societal issues. Attended by nearly 40 participants, the workshop was highly engaging for all involved. Many thanks to our participants and invited speakers: Laura Zangori, Anne Egger, Steve Semken, and Donna Charlevoix.
The Rendezvous also afforded the opportunity to present work from the WELL project and NC-FEW.
Forbes, C.T., Scherer, H., Li, C., Millenbah, K., Sintov, N., & Wang, H-H. (2018, July). Building a National Collaborative for Food, Energy, and Water Education (NC-FEW): Insights from a national conference. Poster presented at the Earth Educators Rendezvous (EER), Lawrence, KS.
Lally, D., Forbes, C.T., McNeal, K., & Soltis, N. (2018, July). National Survey of Geoscience Teaching Practices 2016: Current trends in geoscience instruction of scientific modeling and systems thinking. Presentation at the Earth Educators Rendezvous (EER), Lawrence, KS.
Petitt, D., Lally, D., Forbes, C.T., Brozovic, N., & Franz, T. (2018, July). Water in society: undergraduate learning and reasoning about socio-hydrological issues. Paper presented at the Earth Educators Rendezvous (EER), Lawrence, KS.
It was wonderful to engage with the geoscience education community and spend time on the KU campus. As always, Rock Chalk, Jayhawk!
For the past year, I have been fortunate to be involved in an NSF-funded endeavor to identify and articulate grand challenges driving geoscience education research in the years to come. The resulting product is a community framework for geoscience education research, which is freely-accessible to anyone with interests in this domain. I served on a working group for one of the 10 strands focused on teaching about the Earth in the context of societal issues, a summary of which can be found in published form here.
Teasdale, R., Scherer, H., Holder, L., Boger, R., & Forbes, C.T. (2018). Research on teaching about Earth in the context of societal problems. In K. St. John (Ed.), Community Framework for Geoscience Education Research (pgs. 49-60). National Association of Geoscience Teachers. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.25885/ger_framework/5.
Many thanks to Kristen St. John and the other PIs for leading this effort!
It was a big summer of transition in the Forbes team, with team members moving on to next steps and new team members coming on board. Congrats to newly-minted Ph.D. Tina Vo who will begin a tenure-track position at UNLV as an Assistant Professor of Science Education in August. Dante Cisterna, UnICORN project postdoc, is also starting a new position at ETS in July. Destini Petitt completed her M.S. in the School of Natural Resources and will begin doctoral studies in the Dept. of Geography and Earth Sciences at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. Ashley (McKenzie) Sutter (formerly Peterson), will leave us for a second time to return to her position with USDA. And, finally, Florian Böschl, doctoral student at the University of Leipzig in Germany, will return home after a summer in Lincoln. We wish them all the best!
Joining the team are two new SNR doctoral students, Amie Sommers and Kim Carroll-Steward, undergraduate research assistant Brooke Mott, and incoming postdoctoral researcher Ranu Roy, who recently completed her Ph.D. at Indiana University. They join a fantastic continuing group of team members, including SNR doctoral student Diane Lally, postdoc Devarati Bhattacharya, and undergraduate research assistants Holly White, Isabella Catalano, and Nancy Theodor.
In June, the WELS2 project team held our second 1-week workshop for more than 45 Nebraska middle- and high school science teachers from over a dozen school districts at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Innovation Campus. Building on the previous summer workshop, teachers learned groundwater quality sampling techniques, used a computer-based, data-driven water balance model to explore regional water challenges, toured the Nebraska Water Sciences Laboratory, and developed curricular resources to use these tools in their own classrooms. Teachers also had the opportunity to participate in the workshop as part of a UNL graduate course – SCIL 800 Experiential Learning in Food, Energy, & Water II. A special thanks goes out to colleagues Trenton Franz, Dan Snow, and Dana Divine for working with teachers to utilize extraordinary UNL resources and tools, as well as to Tina Vo and Kate Gibson for helping plan and coordinate the workshop. We greatly appreciate funding from the USDA-NIFA PD-STEP program and Improving Teacher Quality (ITQ) grant program through the Nebraska Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education, both of which have made this program possible.
Congrats to Ashley (McKenzie) Sutter for publication of her thesis work in the International Journal of Science Education. Utilizing value belief norm (VBN) theory and construal level theory (CLT), the study explores how undergraduate students reason and make decisions about prairie dog conversation issues. The research, which was conducted in the SCIL 101 course (Science and Decision-Making for a Complex World), is grounded in the use of structured-decision making as a teaching and learning strategy in large enrollment, undergraduate STEM courses. Findings from the study illustrate the interrelationships between students’ values, problemmatization of the issue, and science-informed decision-making.
Sutter, A.M., Dauer, J.M., & Forbes, C.T. (2018). Construal level and value-belief norm theories: Implications for undergraduate decision-making on a prairie dog socio-scientific issue. In International Journal of Science Education, 40(9), 1058-1075.