Our research group has been talking with classrooms live from the from the field via Skype for the last 4 years. These Skype sessions have given k-12 students a chance to see a side of science that they might not otherwise see and have been a great way for us to share our work with an audience outside of other scientists.
However, we think that this avenue of communication is just beginning to be seen as a go to option for teachers looking to connect their classroom to the wide world of science. We would like to know how to do this so it has the biggest learning impact for students. What can/should be done in classrooms prior to a chat with a scientist? How can we get students to develop the best possible questions during the conversation? What kind of follow up conversations with students can take place? How can teachers incorporate this tool into their most important curricular goals?
I am thrilled to be hosting a group of five teachers tomorrow at the Jefferson Scholars Foundation and the University of Virginia to discuss collaboration between teachers, scientists and k-12 students. This type of online communication will be among the topics that we discuss. The six of us will be together for a full day to think about how teachers and scientists can work together to have the greatest possible impact on students. I am looking forward to seeing what we can create together. I'll be sure to post highlights of our day in the coming week.