|Education Outreach Report|
One of the activities of the Volcanology Team is to lead the EOS Project's advance planning for education and outreach to the community. The EOS Science Executive Council (SEC) has formed a Panel to develop a strategy for this effort. Pete Mouginis-Mark is the Panel Chair, and he is assisted by Jonathan Gradie (also from our EOS IDS Volcanology Team). Together, they have written this interim report to the SEC. If you have ideas and/or comments, please feel free to contact either one of them.
University of Hawaii
July 14, 1994
I. Importance of Education to EOS
The Earth Observing System (EOS), as part of the Mission to Planet Earth (MTPE), will be
providing a wealth of information about our planet in both snapshot and synoptic form. This
information and the knowledge gained about the local, regional and global environmental issues
confronting our planet, must be shared with the widest spread of population if solutions to
pending problems are to be implemented. In other words, an informed populace will make the job of
monitoring global resources and environments much easier, more timely, and more effective.
The EOS Project bears a responsibility for educating students and the lay population, as well
as fellow scientists, for a number of reasons besides simply furthering our basic scientific
knowledge. The most important of these reasons are: (1) the people who provide the financial
support for the EOS science system will continue to provide enthusiastic support if they are aware
of, and understand, the goals and rationale for the whole EOS project as well as the individual
parts; and (2) the common knowledge gained about global issues can be transformed into useful and
timely public policy and individual action only when a significant portion of the population
understands the importance and impact on their daily lives.
The challenge for NASA and the Science Executive Council (SEC) is to find the most effective means for developing an Education and Outreach Panel within the resources (both financial and manpower) available. The objective of this Panel should be to address the general issue of how the EOS project should communicate EOS science activities and results to the general population. A key objective of this activity should be to educate specific target communities about the goals, activities and results of individual EOS experiments as well as for the EOS project as a whole. An element of this objective should be the demonstration that monitoring of time series trends from long duration synoptic observations is a requirement if we are to gain a perspective of global change phenomena.
II. Context with the SEC and EOS Project
In developing a plan for the Education and Outreach Panel, we have identified a certain level
of conflict between the perceived goals and the implementation of the effort. For instance, it may
be counter productive to include many members of the Payload Panel, or IDS team members, on the
Education Panel because this effort requires a different range of expertise and interests compared
to the ones that originally led to our selection for EOS. Educational outreach has to consider a
different set of issues and objectives when compared to the hardware and research-quality science
that characterizes the other Panels. There are no hard-cut decisions that the Educational Panel
can make that compare to the identification of the optimum time for a specific platform's
equatorial crossing, or the measurement strategy to be used for optimum analysis of atmospheric
chemistry. Because the "target audience" might include K-12 schools, 4-year colleges,
and applications-oriented state and Federal offices, we have therefore spent most of the time
attempting to contact and interact with science educators (many of whom have no involvement with
the EOS Project).
Rock Class (204K-size image and caption)
At some stage, the SEC and the Payload Panel will have to address the question of whether this Panel (or whatever it evolves into) is solely comprised of EOS-funded investigators or includes additional science educators who simply have a strong commitment to MTPE activities. The former approach may result in plans that have little chance of success if implemented in the "real world" of the classroom. If the later path is taken, then to a certain extent the EOS Project is back at square one, because most of the activities may develop independently from the Payload Panel. Our recommendation is to follow the second route, and get science educators from outside EOS involved so that we broaden our community base rather than start another introspective effort. We'll deal with Panel communications with the EOS Project at a future date.
Professional Meetings (232K-size image and caption)
III. Current Programs
A number of educational programs exist which provide a useful context for defining the role and scope of the any EOS science education and communication effort. These other programs, which exist at various stages of development, include NASA's Mission to Planet Earth Education Office, the Space Grant College Consortia, the JASON Project, and the proposed GLOBE project. All of these may prove to be useful vehicles for meeting various aspects of the educational objectives of the EOS program set forth by the Education and Outreach Panel.
- NASA's MTPE Education Program:
The mission, objectives, and current and planned activities of the MTPE Education Program parallel (but are not identical to) what we believe the Payload Panel is looking for. The MTPE Education Program is run by Bob Price and Nahid Khazenie, and so far we have been unable to contact them directly to learn the specifics of their plans. To date, however, we have talked to Jan Ruff (at Goddard's Educational Affairs Office) and Frank Owens (NASA HQs). Our understanding is that the MTPE Education Program, although comprehensive in scope, may not meet our objective of focusing primarily on the EOS science experiments and results because it is focused on short-term space observations.
- NASA's Space Grant College Consortia:
The Space Grant College Consortia, headed by Julius Dasch at NASA Headquarters (Code FEU), represent a useful vehicle for EOS science education at all grade levels. Undergraduate and graduate fellowships, teacher workshops, curriculum development and many other space-related activities are already conducted by the different consortia around the country. Through a presentation that we made at the April Space Grant Directors' Meeting in St. Louis, and through subsequent follow-up discussions, I have identified nine out of the fifty-two consortia that have a strong focus on terrestrial projects that are directly related to the probable goals of any EOS education and communication program. These consortia, and the relevant individual, are as follows:
- 1) Alaska
- Joe Hawkins: Focus --- Environmental monitoring (forest fires, oil pollution, sea ice) using radar and AVHRR data.
- 2) Colorado
- Elaine Hansen: Focus -- Upper atmosphere studies using sounding rockets, UARS experiments.
- 3) Hawaii
- Peter Mouginis-Mark: Focus -- Geology, Teachers' Workshops, Earth observations from space.
- 4) Maine
- David Bartlett: Focus -- Ozone measurements at schools to assess acid rain damage to ecosystems. This work benefits a lot from the work of Barry Rock, who was at New Hampshire and is running the science activities of the GLOBE Program (see below).
- 5) Maryland
- Anne Anikis - Classroom activities on climate and the hydrologic cycle, use of HRPT data to monitor long-term trends, development of educational curricula with NSF funding and support from Hughes Applied Information Systems, Inc.
- 6) North Dakota
- Chuck Wood: Focus -- Development of instructional modules using data collected from HRPT ground stations.
- 7) Oklahoma
- Susan Postawko: Focus -- Collection and interpretation of rainfall data by schools distributed around the Pacific. Preparation for TRMM mission.
In addition to the above Space Grant Consortia, we have had feedback from Pennsylvania and Virginia, stating that they are interested in developing programs related to MTPE. They want to help as this project evolves. A key milestone for the Space Grant Consortia is the Western Regional Meeting, to be held in Alaska in early September. We plan to run a workshop at this meeting, trying to develop a strategy for EOS-related educational activities.
- THE JASON PROJECT:
Next March, the JASON Project will be working on the Big Island of Hawaii. Each year, this project takes interactive T.V. into the field to allow ~60,000 school kids to see real scientists working in the field. Previous projects have been run in Belize and the Galapagos Islands.
We are working with Monica Hindmarch and Timothy Armour from the JASON Project to help define a series of Earth observation educational modules that will promote EOS activities using the Big Island of Hawaii as a backdrop. This will include ecology, oceanography, and meteorology, as well as the inevitable volcanology.
GLOBE, spearheaded by Alexander MacDonald, Director of NOAA/FSL, in consultation with Vice President Gore, seeks to build on a vision expressed by the Vice President by establishing a cooperative plan for educating the world's citizens about the global environments. This cooperative plan includes: (1) establishing a comprehensive program for researching by monitoring changes. This would involve all nations and people, especially students; and (2) launching a massive effort to disseminate information (particularly electronically) about local, regional, and strategic threats to the environment.
An important aspect of GLOBE is the active participation of students in the collection and analysis of data that are important for understanding regional and global environmental problems. This understanding will be used as a means for developing awareness of the environment and an individuals impact on a local, regional and global scale. The objectives and goals of GLOBE are comprehensive and, in many respects, includes many of those anticipated for any EOS science education and communication activities. However, the scope of GLOBE is much larger and comprehensive than may be envisioned for the EOS Education and Outreach Panel.
A few other members of the SEC (e.g., Berrien Moore) or NASA (e.g., Jim Lawless from Ames) are becoming involved in GLOBE for high-level planning. A meeting is being held in Boulder this week (July 13th - 15th) to plan much of the educational work, and a science meeting is scheduled for the week of September 12th. We have sent one of our colleagues (Susan Postawko) to this week's meeting, and will try to attend the September one ourselves.
IV. Where Do We Go From Here?
The SEC Education and Outreach Panel currently does not have a membership! To try to define a
set of objectives, we have talked to many people involved in NASA MTPE Educational Programs, the
NASA Space Grant College consortia, and the evolving GLOBE program. The collective expertise and
interests of these groups would seem to be far too important to ignore, and the EOS Project could
benefit from the available resources and manpower if we identify key collaborative efforts. Alas,
there are very few members of the Payload Panel (Pete Mouginis-Mark, Byron Tapley, and Berrien
Moore) who participate in these other activities.
We recommend that the next steps for the EOS Education and Outreach Panel should include:
- Decide if the Panel is to be internal to the EOS Project, or has a mandate to go outside the Code Y community to bring additional educators into the effort. It is clear that the people who serve on this Panel will bring perspectives and objectives which could be very different from those of the EOS Project, so expect new ideas and perspectives!
- Continue to coordinate efforts with the Space Grant College consortia and the GLOBE program so that their efforts have a component of long time-series observations of global change. The short-term goal is the September meeting of the western Space Grant Consortia that will meet in Alaska September 8th and 9th. The GLOBE Science Panel (convened by Jim Lawless from Ames and Berrien Moore) will meet the following week in Colorado.
- Prepare a position document that would be circulated to the Payload Panel, soliciting input and participation. This should be done by the end of this year.
In addition to the three main steps described above, some specific related issues could also be considered:
- The focus of the EOS Education Panel should be primarily on high school and college level student, as well as college level instructors and researchers in all fields. The EOS scientists themselves are composed of college level educators (professors) and researchers and interact daily with students of this level of sophistication.
- Use the Space Grant College Consortia as the major vehicle for actually disseminating educational and instructional material to the student population. The Space Grant College Consortia are already in-place and are experienced in developing and creating educational material for instructors of the K-12 level as well as the community college and 4-year college level. Furthermore, the Space Grant Consortia can provide a buffer between the EOS scientist and EOS Education and Outreach Program, the comprehensive GLOBE program, and the MTPE Educational Program.
- If our emphasis is to be on time-series data analysis and synoptic observations of global issues, then the interaction between EOS and the educational institutions should focus primarily on the reduction, analyze and understanding of data already obtained by EOS instruments and teams, rather than the execution of long period data collection experiments. It is our belief that the time period for college instruction during a course, 3 to 4 months per course, is too short for useful data collection activities on processes that require years of data collection.
- It is critical that any work that activities of the EOS Educational Panel compliment the work of the EOS science teams rather than become a major focus of activity. Science team members were selected for their expertise in research rather than educational expertise, and we should be aware that many of our colleagues are concerned that education for the broad community can be a major sink of one's time and energy.
Postscript added September 15th, 1994.
Jonathan Gradie attended the Western Regional Conference of the Space Grant Colleges, which was
held at Fairbanks, Alaska, September 8th/9th. Many ideas for EOS education were discussed at this
workshop, and some very productive ideas were raised by Mike Wiskerchen (California SG) who talked
about KidSat - an effort initiated by JPL to help K - 12 students understand remote sensing, and
Terry Armstrom (Univ. Idaho) who stressed the need to make our efforts adhere to the National
Standards in education that are now being used.
A key aspect of trying to get the Space Grant Consortia interested in EOS education is that the
Consortia have to see that they have a stake in the EOS program. The only way to get the
information across is to have a coherent and organized curriculum that is developed by
Postscript added September 25th, 1994.
We have also had other comments outside of the Western Regional Conference. One of the most
interesting is that most of our planning has focused on schools, universities and the general
public. Lacking is any coherent plan for educating businesses and State legislators. These are two
very important groups who could have a long-term interest in a vigorous EOS Program provided it is
shown to benefit the local community as well as the Nation. At some stage, whatever evolves from
the EOS Education Panel should included outreach to these two groups.
The final stage of this scoping of the EOS Education Plan takes place at the October 19th - 21st Investigators' Working Group meeting in Baltimore. Formal ideas and recommendations on how to move forward with the implementation will be presented to the SEC at that time.
Outreach to National Park Service and US Geological Survey (389K-size images and captions)
People interested in the education side of the EOS Project are encouraged to contact Pete Mouginis-Mark (pmm#kahana.pgd.hawaii.edu) or Jonathan Gradie (JGradie#Terrasys.com) (change # to @ to break SPAMblock).