What’s Going On in VGP Education and Outreach?
The VGP Education and Outreach Committee (E&O) is one of three such Section committees in all of AGU. We hope to provide AGU Members with materials and contacts needed to broaden the impact of your science, and the greater community with information needed to learn about volcanology and geochemistry!
VGP membership is particularly well positioned to discuss two tools promoted by the educational community, Big Ideas and Misconceptions, in the context of volcanology and geochemistry. Big Ideas is a tool advanced by the ESLI committee (AGU is one of the initiating groups) for focusing on what are the big ideas that earth science needs to communicate broadly (www.earthscienceliteracy.org). VGP member Bill Rose has experimented with discussion of Big Ideas in classes of earth science teachers and found they are powerful tools because they establish a motivational and intellectual focus that teachers understand and can immediately buy into. Big Ideas have been formulated in other science areas besides earth science and big ideas can be developed for volcanology as well. These big ideas help to lead students and faculty alike to higher level learning. Misconceptions are another useful learning tool because broad based misconceptions are numerous in science and they represent obstacles to advanced understanding. There have been major studies of STEM education that focus on misconceptions (for example, MOSART).
Participate in the area of quantitative literacy and benefit from the experience of others. See for example the SERC site and resources devoted to improving QL at the undergraduate level, for example, by using methods developed in quantitative thinking by George Polya and implemented in the Spreadsheets Across The Curriculum resources available on SERC. There is even a set of modules developed for physical volcanology for use in advanced undergraduate and graduate courses. You can find articles on QL in the Journal of Geoscience Education and in the relatively new open-access journal Numeracy. These resources can help you teach quantitative concepts in your undergraduate and graduate courses. They also provide a platform for reaching the math education community, and for exposing students at the K-12 level to the mysteries of the solid earth and volcanism, viewed through the lens of quantitative thinking. We want you to participate in VGP E&O.
Do you know of more resources? Let us know! Contact Karen Harpp.