Science Teachers - Dragon*Con

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kiless

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Jan 4, 2009, 12:36:59 PM1/4/09
to Critical Teaching
Hi again (sorry for the multiple posts - this'll be a short one) -
last Dragon*Con, I was part of a panel on Science Education.

Before I even went, I was pondering 'why me???' - not a science
teacher. Incorporated ideas, but seriously, not really what was going
to be the best for the topic. What they really, really needed was
someone with relevant secondary experience and knowledge of the US
system.

Are there any science teachers, preferably secondary, who might be
able to make it to Dragon*Con, early September? I can put you in touch
with someone who can pop you onto the panel?

badrescher

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Jan 4, 2009, 1:36:16 PM1/4/09
to Critical Teaching

I would love to, but September is in the middle of classes for me. I
am sure there are fewer academics for that reason.
Most K-12 schools start in August, too.

Considering that it's in the US and over a holiday weekend, I MAY be
able to attend. I am still a little stunned that a convention for
entertainment would offer so much on education. My husband and kids
would probably love it, but we will return from a 10-day vacation less
than a week before it and Atlanta is not next door.

-Barb

badrescher

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Jan 4, 2009, 1:44:03 PM1/4/09
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I forgot to add: I'll check into it. If it looks like I can work it
out, what else might I be able to do there (related to education,
skepticism, or anything else I can call "professional") that will help
me justify the trip?

Thanks!
-Barb

kil...@gmail.com

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Jan 4, 2009, 1:52:08 PM1/4/09
to critical...@googlegroups.com
Brilliant!

Here's the details of the 'Skeptic Track' from last year - the panel in question was: 7:00PM - 8:00PM Issues in Education (SKP015)

http://www.skeptrack.org/current_schedule_2008.html

Note - that is just the 'Skeptic' panels. There are also Science/Space panels, which you should consider being a part of?

Dragon*Con site is at www.dragoncon.org

badrescher

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Jan 4, 2009, 2:25:30 PM1/4/09
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Pretty much anything related to skepticism, scientific method, and
science education. I may even be able to contribute to discussions
about the relationship between Sci Fi & culture.

The Dragon*Con website wasn't very helpful in that regard unless I
missed something. The 2009 schedule does not appear to be fleshed
out.

I think the links to last year will be more helpful. Thanks!


On Jan 4, 10:52 am, "kil...@gmail.com" <kil...@gmail.com> wrote:

> Note - that is just the 'Skeptic' panels. There are also Science/Space
> panels, which you should consider being a part of?

> > -Barb

Matt Lowry

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Jan 5, 2009, 11:11:10 AM1/5/09
to Critical Teaching
I teach high school (secondary) & college physics, and this is
something I'd *definitely* be interested in doing - making it to
Dragon*Con shouldn't be too much trouble for me if I plan ahead.
Please tell whomever is organizing that panel to contact me. Or let
me know how to get in touch with them - my email is
lowr...@yahoo.com

Cheers - Matt

kiless

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Jan 6, 2009, 8:12:16 AM1/6/09
to Critical Teaching
Wonderful responses - thanks Barbara and Matt!

Please, if there are any others, do let me know. More than willing to
add people, because there's a better chance of good representation
with more people available.

I'd also like to urge anyone who is available at the time of
Dragon*Con to come along - check out last year's line-up and note that
it'll be even more 'skeptic-celeb' packed this year. Here again is the
2008 Skeptics line-up: http://www.skeptrack.org/current_schedule_2008.html

For example: Skeptics 101 - The Kick-Off celebration for the first
year of Skeptrack at Dragon*Con! Learn about what Skeptics are, and
the issues and main topics they specialize in. Panelists: James Randi,
Dr. Michael Shermer, DJ Grothe, Phil Plait, Ben Radford, Jeff Wagg and
Richard Saunders.

There is also Space and Science tracks - other examples of panels:

Science Based Medicine: Spotting the Quacks, Charlatans and Those
Elixer of Life Salesmen by John Cmar, M.D., Ginger Campbell, M.D. &
Dr. Jason Schneiderman Henry (Hilton).

Science, Technology and Critical Thinking: How to Build the Next
Generation of Scientists - by Dr. Jason Schneiderman & James P.
Kinney.

If you'd like to see video - here's the sequence I filmed:
http://tinyurl.com/dragonconplaylist




badrescher

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Jan 7, 2009, 12:52:39 AM1/7/09
to Critical Teaching
When I mentioned it to my husband tonight, I remembered that my campus
is restructuring the schedule starting in the fall, which means I will
probably not have a class on Fridays.

I don't think we can make it a family trip this year, but I do think I
can do it. The more I can do there, the better.

- Barb

badrescher

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Jan 16, 2009, 2:16:37 PM1/16/09
to Critical Teaching

K,

I've got a few questions for you about Dragon*Con:

1 - After re-reading your profile, I'm wondering why you would doubt
your contributions to a panel on science education. Although I agree
that there should be people from "the trenches", your background
suggests that you're very close to them and that you'd have a lot to
contribute! I also would like to get more information from you about
the philosophy & ethics material you mentioned in your profile. I
think that basic epistemology is the main ingredient missing in
secondary science education. It's even watered down beyond recognition
at the college level.

2 - I was not able to quickly find anything on last year's program
other than what is in your links. What do you think I might want to/be
able to participate in?

3 - After sorting through my list of conferences for this year, I've
decided to commit to Dragon*Con if I am welcome on at least one panel.
Given that hotels are already booked up, I'd like to get it settled as
soon as possible. Who should I contact about participating?

Thanks in advance,

Barb

Skepticality

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Jan 16, 2009, 5:27:15 PM1/16/09
to Critical Teaching
The Dragon*Con schedules aren't actually 'finalized' until 2 weeks
before the con. But most of us Track Directors put our tentative
schedules up on our websites. Our first meeting for 09' was just this
past Sunday. So, in the next few days I am going to be re-setting our
track website to reflect the planning for the 09' con. You can see and
check back on the Skeptic track at: http://www.skeptrack.org/

We take ideas and suggestions for Guests, Panel Topics, and Events on
our message board.

Probably, like last year, we will have some talks or panels about the
intersection of Sci-Fi and Skeptical Thought and Culture. Not to
mention the fact that some of the other tracks do similar panels and
talks.

Currently the best use of the Dragon*Con website is to go through the
list of 'Fan Tracks' each one of those is basically a whole convention
in itself. So, there is so much to do at the con that you can't
possibly see all the things you want to see and be a part of. Makes it
even more frustrating for us Directors, who spend 90% of our time in
our track rooms! :)

Any questions, I am fully willing to answer!

Derek Colanduno
Director - Skeptic Track: Dragon*Con

Matt Lowry

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Jan 17, 2009, 3:57:49 PM1/17/09
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How do we go about applying to participate in a track?

Cheers - Matt

badrescher

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Jan 17, 2009, 6:07:47 PM1/17/09
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Derek,

I didn't realize you were directing this. Thanks for the info/link. I
will watch it closely.

I wish I could make suggestions this year, but I don't have a feel for
the conference (having never attended).

I am certainly looking forward to it, though! It looks like a blast.
I'm reminded of something Shermer said in a recent blog (although I am
sure it's been said before) about science fiction replacing religion
as a source of mythology for many. I am certainly in that category.

-Barb

Skepticality

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Jan 17, 2009, 7:17:52 PM1/17/09
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If you want to participate in a track, the best thing to do is to go
to the skeptrack.org website and into the Message Board system there.
Right now there isn't much form 2009. Since we are now taking the next
2 months to collect all the ideas for panels, talks, and events. Also,
you can just post that you want to participate on a panel, just write
what your specialty is and your experience so it is noted.

You don't need anything special for me to put you on a panel, as a
Director I can use anyone who is at the con on a panel, so you don't
NEED to be an actual 'guest' of the convention for panel discussions.
So, all you need to do is purchase a ticket, (they call them
'memberships' at Dragon*Con), and let me know that you are interested
in being on panel discussions. If it is within your expertise, or
knowledge area, I will be more than willing to let you be involved.
The only 'real' limitation that we directors are supposed to follow is
no more than 5-6 people on a panel, plus one moderator type person.

Also, be aware that every 2 months Dragon*Con adds about 10-20 dollars
to the membership ticket price until the 2 weeks before the con. So,
the sooner, the cheaper, as far as the cost of the tickets go.

Barb, ya, Shermer is BIG on Sci-Fi, he knows many of the people
involved in Star Trek, and comes to Dragon*Con to participate on
panels and give talks usually.

Maybe you might not know that, along with being the Skeptic director
for Dragon*Con, I am one of the hosts and producer of the Official
Podcast of Skeptic Magazine. So, technically, I work with/for Dr.
Shermer. :)

Derek C.

kil...@gmail.com

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Jan 17, 2009, 7:43:08 PM1/17/09
to critical...@googlegroups.com
Hello, sorry for the delay in replying!


> 1 - After re-reading your profile, I'm wondering why you would doubt
> your contributions to a panel on science education. Although I agree
> that there should be people from "the trenches", your background
> suggests that you're very close to them and that you'd have a lot to
> contribute! I also would like to get more information from you about
> the philosophy & ethics material you mentioned in your profile. I
> think that basic epistemology is the main ingredient missing in
> secondary science education. It's even watered down beyond recognition
> at the college level.

There are several reasons as to why I think there should be more / different contributors - and it isn't an problem with the organisers (Hi Derek!) who did their very best. I just thought that from my own experience with the feedback after - that my initial impression was true: primary/ secondary Science teachers are the best to talk on science education in the younger years. They're in the front-lines.

Jeff Medkeff's original presentation was to be:
"How To Make Things Better" - the crisis in science education, and what you can do about it. The talk covers five things that anyone can do to make science and critical thinking more widespread.

I was really, really looking forward to it; sadly he died before Dragon*Con and as a gesture towards what would have been his time slot, Derek filled it with the educators he knew would be attending, as best he could with the short time frame left.

Because the panel eventually featured: Dr Phil Plait (no secondary education background); Dr Karen Stollznow (same) and Lori Lipman Brown (same). I was the only one with secondary education background; Dr Plait has a Science background (of course) but since the topic was in memoriam to Jeff Medkeff, it wasn't hard for one to talk about him - yet to talk about the topic Medkeff wanted to originally... was a little difficult.

Prior to attending Dragon*Con - I voiced my regret that there wasn't a secondary science teacher there, You can see in this post how I talk about the Critical Teaching group:

Additionally, I'm not going to be surprised in the slightest if I come across as a fifth-wheel on the Dragon*Con panel on Education, in comparison to some of the names attending - I'm not a PhD nor have I published a book, for a start! I don't even have qualifications to teach science and have only done so in conjunction with Science teachers' guidance - 'who is that jet-lagged Australian on the end of the line?' But then I've always thought that my contributions have been more under the wire than most (erm, as one of my friends said - perhaps because I don't 'get my tits out for the skeptic lads' as much as the stereotype demands?  :) )… but it's a more directly-related project to be involved with. I certainly hope that there'll be more opportunities for those who have more relevant qualifications than I in the future, like those held by fellow members of the Critical Teaching group.

It must be difficult to get everything to everyone's satisfaction at these things and Derek (Hi Derek!) and the team did their very best - but the eventual result made me committed to getting science teacher representation for the future.

People in the audience asked questions about the difficulties teachers faced and although I could talk about the newly released (at the time) Twomey Report here in Western Australia - I could not talk about with first-hand experience about the 'No Child Left Behind' policy and what to do. I made some suggestions but felt as if there could and should be better representation by high-school Science teachers. Lori had some great ideas about advocacy and community support - we did talk about creationism getting into schools and what could be done.

Dr Plait seemed more keen to just talk about what he thought of Jeff Medkeff - and Karen later said to me that she didn't think she could contribute much at all as although she was an educator, it wasn't her field of expertise.

What feedback did I eventually get? I know I was nervous throughout as it was my very first time at doing anything like it:
  • I had one Atlanta Skeptic in the audience continually 'Twittering' on her phone throughout the presentation, calling me 'babbling' for trying to talk about secondary education (eh, she's not a nice skepchick anyway and I'll never associate with her for that rudeness! :p )
  • I had two people approach me after the panel who only wanted to tell me 'how much they valued teachers'. I was crushed - was that all people came away with? That they felt that 'skeptics liked teachers and that's all that mattered?'
  • Then there was a breakthrough. A day later at the convention - I was at the Skeptic table, selling books - a  secondary Science teacher from Atlanta approached me. She said she 'didn't want to be rude - but she thought there should have been a science teacher on the panel?'
I kind of knocked that lady over by hugging her... and I said that I was going to contact the Atlanta Science teaching group, contact this group and if she could go to Derek and give her details, she'd be more than welcome!!

 This was the only thing that I wanted - to have passionate, committed teachers (as she was an award-winner and had come specially to hear the panel) talk about the real issues they face and connect with other educators.

My own blog (which is a useful thing to have, as Matt has discovered!) is here:
www.podblack.com
The following entries might give you an idea about the P&E material used - you can search my blog for more:
Philosophy in WA
The Australian Journey Of Philosophy In Schools
Philosophy For Children - Qld, WA And Stephen Law
Networking, Educating And Getting The Word Out

But I must stress again - this ISN'T science teaching. And although yes, Philosophy is important, it's not as common as Science teaching.

> 2 - I was not able to quickly find anything on last year's program
> other than what is in your links. What do you think I might want to/be
> able to participate in?

As Derek pointed out - suggest! :D I suggested getting Science teachers onto the panel - we're getting that done now, I guess! There is also the Science and Space Track and Derek can probably tell us which people to talk to for that?


> 3 - After sorting through my list of conferences for this year, I've
> decided to commit to Dragon*Con if I am welcome on at least one panel.
> Given that hotels are already booked up, I'd like to get it settled as
> soon as possible. Who should I contact about participating?

I have already told Derek about you and Matt (as you might have guessed!) and he's clearly joined this group; hotels in the vicinity that might still have room include those around the four main hotels - have a look at those on the train line too as the station stops right outside the hotels and would just mean a short trip in the morning?

This year, there's not only myself and this group keen to get more education-minded topics on - there's also Richard Saunders and Dr Rachael Dunlop and there were people at the end-of-con feedback session who asked for 'more parent / kid / teaching panels'. This is a move towards that. :)

K.

kil...@gmail.com

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Jan 17, 2009, 7:46:00 PM1/17/09
to critical...@googlegroups.com
Matt - have already put your name and Barb's to Derek - he said "We take ideas and suggestions for Guests, Panel Topics, and Events on our message board."

I'll hop on over and start the topic now!! :D

K.

badrescher

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Jan 17, 2009, 9:30:45 PM1/17/09
to Critical Teaching


On Jan 17, 4:17 pm, Skepticality <dcoland...@gmail.com> wrote:

> Maybe you might not know that, along with being the Skeptic director
> for Dragon*Con, I am one of the hosts and producer of the Official
> Podcast of Skeptic Magazine. So, technically, I work with/for Dr.
> Shermer. :)

Oh, I knew that! ;P**

I just didn't realize you were "with us".

I just never thought much about a connection between sci fi &
skepticism until Kylie talked about going to Dragon*Con last year.
What Shermer wrote kind of tied it together for me.

-Barb

badrescher

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Jan 17, 2009, 9:52:50 PM1/17/09
to Critical Teaching


On Jan 17, 4:43 pm, "kil...@gmail.com" <kil...@gmail.com> wrote:

> But I must stress again - this ISN'T science teaching. And although yes,
> Philosophy is important, it's not as common as Science teaching.

Well, K, I think you've touched on the root of the problem in science
literacy - philosophy.

What is most missing in science teaching IMO is the philosophy, the
epistemology, of science.

Most adults think that science is just a bunch of facts and most
college students simply try to memorize facts. That might get them
through high school, since you need the foundation of what is known
before you can conduct research on what is not known, but at the level
I teach the facts get very fuzzy. Students resist thinking for
themselves; they really just want to be told what affects what (which
is questionable in much of my field, or I'd be out of a job).

Without an understanding of the philosophy of science, people do not
understand what is wrong with statements like "Evolution is just a
theory" and "Both theories should be considered". And it's not limited
to religion, either. "The Secret" and "What the Bleep Do We Know?" are
very popular, at least in the U.S.

I really think that the missing factor here is reason (logic,
basically), which must be understood if one is to understand the
scientific method.

Okay, rant over. I really need to get back to work!

I've joined the skeptrack forum and I'll keep in the loop there.
Thanks!!

-Barb

Michael McRae

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Jan 17, 2009, 11:08:57 PM1/17/09
to critical...@googlegroups.com
Ah, I knew there was a reason I liked you, Barb. ;)

I support your rant 100%, and think this is a concern we need to face.

My job, at its core, is to get kids to enjoy science. I seek out interesting stories, activities etc. and put them into a format that teachers and parents can use and kids can appreciate. Yet behind it all, I'm forced to question really what I mean by 'science'. Sadly, the fundamental drive is for me to get kids to appreciate science for its career options. I can do this without promoting science as a way of thinking. This is the same tact governments employ when they support science communication initiatives - get more people into technology and science industry.

Science philosophy is a lot harder to sell. A clear connection can be made between 'teach kids to like chemistry' and 'get more chemical engineers'. It's far more difficult to get people to back 'teach kids an epistemology that is based on scientific thinking'. 

The very fact that it is possible for a student to do exceedingly well in science in most countries without having a scientific epistemology or be able to think critically is evidence enough to show that a science education is not synonymous with thinking scientifically.

I think the solution lies in making people aware that science can be 'unpacked' into several distinct meanings covering trivia (or encyclopaedic science), practice (essentially being a technician) and epistemology (thinking scientifically), where each plays an important part in education.

M.

cste...@yahoo.com

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Jan 18, 2009, 11:50:22 AM1/18/09
to Critical Teaching


On Jan 17, 8:52 pm, badrescher <badresc...@gmail.com> wrote:

> Without an understanding of the philosophy of science, people do not
> understand what is wrong with statements like "Evolution is just a
> theory" and "Both theories should be considered".

Ah yes, the topic that many concerned citizens such as myself have had
their time taken up with lately. The current working version of the TX
science curricula is looking pretty good, but I worry that the far
right religious block on the State Board of Education will try to undo
that at the last minute like they did to the English curricula last
year if they can. If there are any Texans out there, I have info on
how you can help TX keep good science education in the science
classroom if you can take the time to help.

I'm glad that Matt and Barb are interested in speaking at Dragon Con.
I agree with your thoughts for improving science teaching. There are a
couple of nuts and bolts issues that are out of a teacher's control
that I wish would get more press and possibly more study. The learning
environment needs to be structured such that it is actually conducive
to learning. Many districts have gone to staggered start times for
budget reasons. Many have high school students starting much earlier
than studies have shown that they are really capable of learning. How
do you teach students, much less enthuse them if their brains are
still at least half asleep? The other issue that our district is
grappling with currently is the schedule of the school day itself. A
change was made several years ago that was beneficial to most fine
arts classes but had a detrimental impact on students learning math,
science and foreign language. It would be great if these topics could
get some attention too.

cstein

Skepticality

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Jan 18, 2009, 12:26:29 PM1/18/09
to Critical Teaching
Yes,

Not only that, there is a small drive from the Dragon*Con steering
people this year to have the Directors, (like me), include one or two
panels or events geared to kids/parents. This shouldn't be much of a
problem for the Skeptrack this year, especially with the addition of
Daniel Loxton, the writer and producer of Jr. Skeptic who is coming
this year. But, having some 'real' teachers there to discuss some of
the real issues with teaching kids these days would have a great
impact to this years panel dedicated to Jeff Medkeff.

As for Hotels, currently the best bets are the Atlanta Downtown Hilton
and the Sheraton, and possibly the Red Roof Inn on Courtland Street.
We were told that the Hyatt and Marriott are sold out now, and
possibly the Days Inn.

Let me know if anyone needs help. :)

On Jan 17, 7:43 pm, "kil...@gmail.com" <kil...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Jeff Medkeff' <http://podblack.com/?p=811>s original presentation was to be:
>
> *"How To Make Things Better" - the crisis in science education, and what you
> can do about it. The talk covers five things that anyone can do to make
> science and critical thinking more widespread. *
>
> I was really, really looking forward to it; sadly he died before Dragon*Con
> and as a gesture towards what would have been his time slot, Derek filled it
> with the educators he knew would be attending, as best he could with the
> short time frame left.
>
> Because the panel eventually featured: Dr Phil Plait (no secondary education
> background); Dr Karen Stollznow (same) and Lori Lipman Brown (same). I was
> the only one with secondary education background; Dr Plait has a Science
> background (of course) but since the topic was in memoriam to Jeff Medkeff,
> it wasn't hard for one to talk about him - yet to talk about the topic
> Medkeff wanted to originally... was a little difficult.
>
> Prior to attending Dragon*Con - I voiced my regret that there wasn't a
> secondary science teacher there, You can see in this post how I talk about
> the Critical Teaching group: <http://podblack.com/?p=862>
>
> *Additionally, I'm not going to be surprised in the slightest if I come
> across as a fifth-wheel on the Dragon*Con panel on
> Education<http://www.skeptrack.org/event-SKP015.html>,
> in comparison to some of the names attending - I'm not a PhD nor have I
> published a book, for a start! I don't even have qualifications to teach
> science and have only done so in conjunction with Science teachers' guidance
> - 'who is that jet-lagged Australian on the end of the line?' But then I've
> always thought that my contributions have been more under the wire than most
> (erm, as one of my friends said - perhaps because I don't 'get my tits out
> for the skeptic lads' as much as the stereotype
> demands<http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2008/08/15/nerd-girls/>?
>  :) )… but it's a more directly-related project to be involved with. I
> certainly hope that there'll be more opportunities for those who have more
> relevant qualifications than I in the future, like those held by fellow
> members of the Critical Teaching group.*
>
> It must be difficult to get everything to everyone's satisfaction at these
> things and Derek (Hi Derek!) and the team did their very best - but the
> eventual result *made me committed to getting science teacher representation
> for the future.*
>
> People in the audience asked questions about the difficulties teachers faced
> and although I could talk about the newly released (at the time) Twomey
> Report here in Western
> Australia<http://www.educationworkforce.wa.gov.au/docs/Education%20Taskforce%20...>-
> I could not talk about with first-hand experience about the 'No Child
> Left
> Behind' policy and what to do. I made some suggestions but felt as if there
> could and should be better representation by high-school Science teachers.
> Lori had some great ideas about advocacy and community support - we did talk
> about creationism getting into schools and what could be done.
>
> Dr Plait seemed more keen to just talk about what he thought of Jeff Medkeff
> - and Karen later said to me that she didn't think she could contribute much
> at all as although she was an educator, it wasn't her field of expertise.
>
> What feedback did I eventually get? I know I was nervous throughout as it
> was my very first time at doing anything like it:
>
>    - I had one Atlanta Skeptic in the audience continually 'Twittering' on
>    her phone throughout the presentation, calling me 'babbling' for trying to
>    talk about secondary education (eh, she's not a nice skepchick anyway and
>    I'll never associate with her for that rudeness! :p )
>    - I had two people approach me after the panel who only wanted to tell me
>    'how much they valued teachers'. I was crushed - was that all people came
>    away with? That they felt that 'skeptics liked teachers and that's all that
>    mattered?'
>    - Then there was a breakthrough. A day later at the convention - I was at
>    the Skeptic table, selling books - a  secondary Science teacher from Atlanta
>    approached me. She said she 'didn't want to be rude - but she thought there
>    should have been a science teacher on the panel?'
>
> I kind of knocked that lady over by hugging her... and I said that I was
> going to contact the Atlanta Science teaching group, contact this group and
> if she could go to Derek and give her details, she'd be more than welcome!!
>
>  This was the only thing that I wanted - to have passionate, committed
> teachers (as she was an award-winner and had come specially to hear the
> panel) talk about the real issues they face and connect with other
> educators.
>
> My own blog (which is a useful thing to have, as Matt has discovered!) is
> here:www.podblack.com
> The following entries might give you an idea about the P&E material used -
> you can search my blog for more:
> Philosophy in WA <http://podblack.com/?p=228>
> The Australian Journey Of Philosophy In Schools <http://podblack.com/?p=476>
>  <http://podblack.com/?p=915>Philosophy For Children - Qld, WA And Stephen
> Law <http://podblack.com/?p=915>
> Networking, Educating And Getting The Word Out <http://podblack.com/?p=398>

badrescher

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Jan 18, 2009, 12:31:27 PM1/18/09
to Critical Teaching
Mike,

I have a section in my methods text that you might be interested in.
It answers the "what is science?" question by breaking it into three
definitions: a community (of scientist), a set of "facts", and a
method for acquiring knowledge. Obviously, I focus on the last, but I
discuss the roles of the other two at various points in the text, too,
since they are also part of the process.

Cathy,

Time and timing has gotten a lot of attention in CA recently, but not
the kind of attention you'd like, unfortunately. They are considering
restructuring to save money. CA has BIG money problems and budget cuts
are HUGE. Our legislature hasn't balanced a budget in decades and we
can't borrow any more. If we ran our business like they run the state,
we'd be laughed into bankruptcy. And education is one of the biggest
losers when things go sour.

- Barb

Matt Lowry

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Jan 18, 2009, 8:04:35 PM1/18/09
to Critical Teaching
Howdy all,

I'll look into the science teaching track over at the Dragon*Con
website - thanks for the tip! I'll also look into getting a ticket
for the Con right now.

One last question: besides interacting here and discussing things over
at the DC message boards, is there anything else specific that I need
to do regarding the panel?

Cheers - Matt

cste...@yahoo.com

unread,
Jan 18, 2009, 9:21:56 PM1/18/09
to Critical Teaching


On Jan 18, 11:31 am, badrescher <badresc...@gmail.com> wrote:

> Time and timing has gotten a lot of attention in CA recently, but not
> the kind of attention you'd like, unfortunately. They are considering
> restructuring to save money. CA has BIG money problems and budget cuts
> are HUGE. Our legislature hasn't balanced a budget in decades and we
> can't borrow any more. If we ran our business like they run the state,
> we'd be laughed into bankruptcy. And education is one of the biggest
> losers when things go sour.
>
I recently spoke with someone that just moved from CA because of his
concern over the education that his young children would receive. The
time and timing we are currently stuck with in AISD were the result of
budget shortages too. According to the interim superintendent, the
studies were not out yet about the negative effects on teens of
starting school much before 9 am when they basically flipped a coin
and started that group first at 7:30 am. Balancing budgets is a
challenge with all of the competing needs and issues. However, if
school districts implement cost cutting measures that undermine
students' education, aren't they going against what should be their
mandate? I'd hate for these people to make detrimental decisions
without knowing they are detrimental because they were ignorant of the
studies. If somehow the decision came down to being able to offer free
lunches to those deserving of them or to be able to attend math
everyday instead of every other, I'd say feed the kids, as long as
everyone knew that we were making a difficult decision that would have
negative impact on math education in the district. To me it is like a
physician going against the "first do no harm" coda. I wish I knew how
some other countries pay less per student and beat us on comparable
tests. Somehow IMO our tax dollars must not be being used efficiently.

cstein

Matt Lowry

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Jan 19, 2009, 1:24:26 AM1/19/09
to Critical Teaching
Howdy all,

I just registered for Dragon*Con. Now I'm looking for a room, but
before I do that I'd like to get some info on when the science teacher
Skeptrack panel discussion will be. Would I be correct in assuming
that there would likely be little going on during the first day,
Friday the 4th, or am I off on this? It's feasible that I could take
that Friday off from school, but I need to know in advance.

If someone who has already been to Dragon*Con would let me know that'd
be great. I'd like to be able to wrap up my plans as soon as
possible, before all the good hotel rooms get booked.

Thanks in advance!

Cheers - Matt

kil...@gmail.com

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Jan 19, 2009, 3:34:40 AM1/19/09
to critical...@googlegroups.com
Hi, the times were mentioned by Derek earlier?


If you want to participate in a track, the best thing to do is to go
to the skeptrack.org website and into the Message Board system there.
Right now there isn't much form 2009. Since we are now taking the next
2 months to collect all the ideas for panels, talks, and events. Also,
you can just post that you want to participate on a panel, just write
what your specialty is and your experience so it is noted.

You don't need anything special for me to put you on a panel, as a
Director I can use anyone who is at the con on a panel, so you don't
NEED to be an actual 'guest' of the convention for panel discussions.
So, all you need to do is purchase a ticket, (they call them
'memberships' at Dragon*Con), and let me know that you are interested
in being on panel discussions. If it is within your expertise, or
knowledge area, I will be more than willing to let you be involved.
The only 'real' limitation that we directors are supposed to follow is
no more than 5-6 people on a panel, plus one moderator type person.


So, I guess it's a matter of going to the message board - which you've done!! :)

Everyone - it's at:
http://www.skeptrack.org/vboard/showthread.php?t=58

What would be good is for people to say that it should be on a weekend date, to help us all out? As everything is in flux up to very close to the date!

K.

kiless

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Feb 7, 2009, 9:44:50 AM2/7/09
to Critical Teaching
I'm going to be low-profile for the rest of the month - but thought I
should mention:

It was proposed at the SkeptiCamp held this weekend in Atlanta (yes,
where D*C will be!) that someone lecture on:

"Encouraging Skepticism in the Education of Educators"

As far as I can see, no one did... but it does indicate some interest
in education at least? Which then got me wondering - hang on, what'd
they end up saying anyway??

I know that 'teacher education' sounds like its easier to get into
than it actually is, and unpacks a whole range of issues such as 'who
has actually looked at what the curriculum offers already in this
regard' all the way to 'how much power do skeptics have over
curriculum and teacher training anyway in comparison to the
government / universities/ schools, etc.'...

I guess I'm just mindful of something Mike and I faced at Wagga Wagga,
where a group of very vocal skeptics announced that they were going to
lobby the government to get critical thinking into schools - and
didn't even think about WHERE the teachers would come from, what
'teaching critical thinking' would actually entail (was there a
syllabus they had, already done in a state, like it is in Western
Australia, for example?), how the education system varied from state
to state, the soon-to-be introduced National Curriculum (which
potentially could overturn anything they did get together)...

So, I'm kind of very hesitant of just more damned hyperbole and
rhetoric and feel-good about 'Skeptics Is Teh Way For Teachers!'
rather than something firm that could be useful as a take-away
project, perhaps. I've noticed already this group is more about
practicalities anyway, which is brilliant!

For all I know, mind, the person who proposed that as a topic for
SkeptiCamp might have had a lovely little syllabus from the X School
System that could be checked out. I don't know if I should bring the
WA Syllabus on Philosophy and Ethics along - might just be pie-in-sky
for more places. :( For a start, we have skepticism on the compulsory
syllabus - but we're having difficulty here replacing good teachers
when they retire / move abroad and leave a class in a school wanting
for a P&E teacher. We only started at the beginning of last year!

If possible, maybe over the next month or two we should firmly sort
out two to three topics to 'pitch' to Derek that could be on the
schedule for the D*C weekend (being VERY mindful that people have jobs
and can't commit to a Friday/Monday).

Maybe it might be wise if there are other topics that spring to mind
(such as 'how on earth do skeptics get to contribute to teacher
training when they're not members of a Education faculty at tertiary
level - and teacher training in what, exactly? Science in Primary
school? Science in High School? How about Science Literacy across the
curriculum? Getting Philosophy into high schools?') - that they be
mentioned at the end and people encouraged to join this group to
discuss them further, rather than have them derail a set schedule?

Things that really get people passionate - could always be on the
cards for a 2010... ;)

badrescher

unread,
Feb 7, 2009, 12:37:29 PM2/7/09
to Critical Teaching
K -

It sounds like discussions on this topic have gotten messy & off-
track.

I started to discuss the issue in a reply, but realized it's enough
for a blog entry and you guys don't want to read all of that! If you
do, pop over to my site and read it there later today...


Although I am suggesting that teachers who want to teach critical
thinking must first learn it, I'm not suggesting that we get into how
or why skeptics should teach teachers. I don't think that skeptics
should. I think that those who decide curricula and standards should
consult with cognitive psychologists (including educational
psychologists). They currently do not, for the most part, but that is
an entirely different issue.

Besides, I don't think that people disagree about the importance of
critical thinking.

I think that, while everybody thinks they are rational, very, very few
actually are. By extension, few actually understand this thing that
they believe is so important. Attending a TAM or 2 and yacking on a
forum do not make one qualified to tell others how to teach.

I guess what I am saying is that I am not proposing we suggest
activism in any political sense. I think what I think is most missing
from these meetings (TAM in particular) is more discussion of HOW we
think rather than WHAT we think (vs. what THEY think).

At last year's TAM, the nuggets for me (some are things that I teach
and some are things that I did not know before) were bits like:

- Wiseman's change blindness video and discussion of how slight of
hand works
- Tyson's slides on the effects of religious dogmatism on intellectual
progress
- Someone (I'm drawing a blank at the moment, but it was a woman with
a rather pessimistic message; was she an editor?) mentioned the
disconnect between desire to be a critical thinker/skeptic and having
the skills.

I think that skeptic organization should be showing their members that
they need to step back from tenacious beliefs and start examining
where those beliefs come from or we're going to end up just another
group who thinks they have "the absolute truth".

I need to stop here because I just saw a report on Fox News about
using twigs to find water. Yeesh.

-Barb

kil...@gmail.com

unread,
Feb 7, 2009, 4:03:42 PM2/7/09
to critical...@googlegroups.com
Although I am suggesting that teachers who want to teach critical
thinking must first learn it, I'm not suggesting that we get into how
or why skeptics should teach teachers. I don't think that skeptics
should. I think that those who decide curricula and standards should
consult with cognitive psychologists (including educational
psychologists). They currently do not, for the most part, but that is
an entirely different issue.... By extension, few actually understand this thing that

they believe is so important. Attending a TAM or 2 and yacking on a
forum do not make one qualified to tell others how to teach.

Exactly my point, thanks! :) Phew.

I just remembered a point raised in response to the 'but we have forum/sites/TAM!' argument by Mike:

"In the end, what evidence do we have that we're educating people outside of the skeptical community to be good thinkers? It's easy to suggest that those who already possess such an epistemology have their conclusions reinforced at events such as TAM, or point out some anecdotes, yet we wouldn't accept this from others.

To say people learned some things at TAM, therefore it's educational, is like an event being referred to as concerned with fitness because you get to walk around. It's not false, but seeing as this is a skeptic group concerned with educating people in how to think critically, I would have hoped it was founded with a little more research and understanding in pedagogy."
 

- Someone (I'm drawing a blank at the moment, but it was a woman with
a rather pessimistic message; was she an editor?) mentioned the
disconnect between desire to be a critical thinker/skeptic and having
the skills.

Sharon Begley?


I think that skeptic organization should be showing their members that
they need to step back from tenacious beliefs and start examining
where those beliefs come from or we're going to end up just another
group who thinks they have "the absolute truth".

I'll send Dr Bridgstock a note about this group, in the meantime! Thanks so much - I'm certain we'll do fine. :)

badrescher

unread,
Feb 8, 2009, 12:11:36 AM2/8/09
to Critical Teaching


On Feb 7, 1:03 pm, "kil...@gmail.com" <kil...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> To say people learned some things at TAM, therefore it's educational, is
> like an event being referred to as concerned with fitness because you get to
> walk around.

That's so quotable. I'm going to have T-shirts made. Maybe that's how
we can find each other. Remind me in a couple of months. I'm kinda
serious about this... ;)

An analogy: I study how people reason, and most of the studies that I
read measure performance by the accuracy of answers, then describe the
findings as Condition A results in better reasoning than Condition B.
This is a serious problem. You can get from 40 to 10 in many ways -
subtract 30, divide by 4, etc. Arriving at a rational answer is weak
evidence that one reasoned well.

> Sharon Begley?

YES! Thank you! That was driving me crazy, but I didn't have time to
look it up.

-Barb

kil...@gmail.com

unread,
Feb 8, 2009, 12:19:57 AM2/8/09
to critical...@googlegroups.com

That's so quotable. I'm going to have T-shirts made. Maybe that's how
we can find each other. Remind me in a couple of months. I'm kinda
serious about this...  ;)

I noticed that last year that there were very cute metal badges about and I ended up with about thirty on my laynard - I should ask Derek about where they got them done! Some for the podcast I'm a member of and some for the teachers! Could have the url of the group on them. :)



badrescher

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Feb 8, 2009, 12:27:52 AM2/8/09
to Critical Teaching
On Feb 7, 9:19 pm, "kil...@gmail.com" <kil...@gmail.com> wrote:

> I noticed that last year that there were very cute metal badges about and I
> ended up with about thirty on my laynard - I should ask Derek about where
> they got them done! Some for the podcast I'm a member of and some for the
> teachers! Could have the url of the group on them. :)
>

There are companies all over the internet that do this. I just came
across them tonight while looking for lapel pins that actually stay on
(If I lose another $10 skeptic tie tack I'll scream).

I think that's an even better idea! I'll price it.

-Barb

kil...@gmail.com

unread,
Feb 8, 2009, 12:31:53 AM2/8/09
to critical...@googlegroups.com
Funnily enough, they're expensive in Australia! :( So any help from over there would be great. :) I don't know if contacting Derek might be of use - maybe they'll get a discount for the lot if they're bunched in with some Skepticality ones?

badrescher

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Feb 8, 2009, 6:47:04 PM2/8/09
to Critical Teaching
On Feb 7, 9:19 pm, "kil...@gmail.com" <kil...@gmail.com> wrote:
> I noticed that last year that there were very cute metal badges about and I
> ended up with about thirty on my laynard - I should ask Derek about where
> they got them done! Some for the podcast I'm a member of and some for the
> teachers! Could have the url of the group on them. :)

I skimmed a bunch of websites for "promotional stuff" and here's the
skinny:

- If we are talking about just for us (CTEGs attending TAM), lapel
pins are probably not an option. The prices range from $.75 to $2.50
per piece with the size of the order the major factor with 100 as a
minimum. To get the cost under $1.50, we'd need to order at least 500.

- Buttons are a lot cheaper, but they're cheap-looking, too!

- There are TONS of things that can be custom printed, but most of the
inexpensive SWAG is silly.

- Depending on how many of us attend, I would be willing to donate a T-
shirt, tote bag, or some other useful item for all of the CTEG members
as long as all promise to give it ample exposure.

- If we decide to do a promotional item to distribute to all, we'd
have to come up with a little bit of cash, but printed lanyards (that
could be given to JREF for distribution with name tags) can be had for
as low as $.50 per piece. I found some neck wallet-styled badge
holders for around $1 each, too.

One option might be to choose an item with a large enough print area
(such as a tote bag or mouse pad) to include all of the podcasts,
websites, and blogs that would like to chip in (limited to the non-
profits, of course). If enough are interested, the cost to each would
be minimal and CTEG could get a free-ride for organizing it
(especially given that it only exists as a gathering place).




Skepticality

unread,
Feb 10, 2009, 9:06:38 AM2/10/09
to Critical Teaching
Ya, those little metal tie-tack things are quite cool, but they are
also a bit on the expensive side, compared to some of the other
freebie type things, such as buttons, etc... it is why you don't see
them often, and probably why they have so much of an impact.

I should ping some of the folks I know who do promotional type things
and see if anyone out there makes them for anything close to 'cheap'.

kil...@gmail.com

unread,
Feb 10, 2009, 9:34:02 AM2/10/09
to critical...@googlegroups.com
Derek, thanks! Who made the ones that I have with 'Skeptical' and the 'Skeptic Track' on them? Could we go through who supplied them for you guys?

Mind, Barb's suggestion of a bag is nice... people could pop flyers and other stuff that they pick up around the con in them... maybe if we teamed up with another group, we could go halfsies in promoting a site? Like have something one side and Critical Teaching the other?

Skepticality

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Feb 17, 2009, 9:01:51 AM2/17/09
to Critical Teaching
I need to ask Swoopy who does those little buttons. They are VERY
reasonable in price, and we but them is a pretty large number. The
place we get our very high quality, two sided, glossy, color flier/
postcard things is at:

http://www.overnightprints.com/

They do an AMAZING job, and do more than just the post cards, and are
also very cheap for the level of professional quality.

Derek C.

On Feb 10, 9:34 am, "kil...@gmail.com" <kil...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Derek, thanks! Who made the ones that I have with 'Skeptical' and the
> 'Skeptic Track' on them? Could we go through who supplied them for you guys?
>
> Mind, Barb's suggestion of a bag is nice... people could pop flyers and
> other stuff that they pick up around the con in them... maybe if we teamed
> up with another group, we could go halfsies in promoting a site? Like have
> something one side and Critical Teaching the other?
>

Matt Lowry

unread,
Feb 19, 2009, 10:10:09 PM2/19/09
to Critical Teaching
These sound like good ideas. Personally, I am willing to chip in some
$$$ in order to get some T-shirts made for DC. I think that would be
a great way to advertise the SkepTrack and also help us ID one another
at DC.

What ideas do we have so far for the T-shirts? I say go with black
for the color, btw - black goes with everything, plus it's cool :)

Cheers - Matt

badrescher

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Feb 20, 2009, 9:31:00 PM2/20/09
to Critical Teaching
How many of us will be at DC? How many at TAM?

Matt Lowry

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Feb 20, 2009, 11:09:30 PM2/20/09
to Critical Teaching
I'll be at both.

badrescher

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Feb 20, 2009, 11:30:58 PM2/20/09
to Critical Teaching
Also, I'll get some cards printed and get them distributed at the
academic conferences that I attend this year. It's mostly college-
level, but some of the grad students that attend will go on to work in
primary & secondary education.

-Barb

On Feb 19, 7:10 pm, Matt Lowry <lowryc...@yahoo.com> wrote:

kil...@gmail.com

unread,
Feb 20, 2009, 11:35:12 PM2/20/09
to critical...@googlegroups.com
Oooh, that's a lovely offer! :) Should we have a logo? A font or something?

cste...@yahoo.com

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Feb 22, 2009, 11:02:20 PM2/22/09
to Critical Teaching
Please check out the CTEG logo pdf that I will place in our files
after I post this and let me know if this could be something that is
going in the right direction before I spend any more time on it. The
"G" needs some work but I didn't want to keep at it if no one likes
it.

cstein

On Feb 20, 10:35 pm, "kil...@gmail.com" <kil...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Oooh, that's a lovely offer! :) Should we have a logo? A font or something?
>

Michael McRae

unread,
Feb 23, 2009, 3:11:06 AM2/23/09
to critical...@googlegroups.com
Cathy, that's quite a nice job you've done there. Simple, stylish....very impressive. :)

Put me down for a vote of 'yes, we keep'. :)

M.

kil...@gmail.com

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Feb 23, 2009, 3:12:40 AM2/23/09
to critical...@googlegroups.com
YES! Love it! :)

badrescher

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Feb 23, 2009, 6:06:36 PM2/23/09
to Critical Teaching
Very cool! The only suggestion I have is to maybe make it a little
bolder (less thin), but not much. And I agree that the G isn't
perfect, but it's pretty darn close! It looks pretty scalable, too.

Nice work!

-Barb

Matt Lowry

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Feb 23, 2009, 8:37:32 PM2/23/09
to Critical Teaching
I like the logo, Cathy. I also agree with Barb's suggestion that it
be bolded so the text doesn't look so thin.

Cheers - Matt

cste...@yahoo.com

unread,
Feb 23, 2009, 9:55:36 PM2/23/09
to Critical Teaching
Thanks for everyone's positive feedback. I'm glad you liked my "rough
draft". I had thought of the bolding issue today too, however I really
appreciate everyone's ideas in case I didn't. The new CTEG logo pdf
file has the fatter lines.

I finally tweaked the G in the rounded form until I liked it. Then I
decided to try something a little more squared off on the right side.
I actually like the squared off version a little better. However, I'd
like to see what you guys think. (I know, I tend to get a little nit
picky, but I'd appreciate your input.) (For what it is worth, without
knowing which way I was leaning both my husband and son picked the
squared off one as their preference too.) Also, I have a couple of
examples with rounded rectangles around them. My thought is that the
rectangles would be appropriate for some uses, but not necessarily
all, so they would be optional.

All potentially "final" versions are in the file, CTEG logo.pdf. After
there is a consensus, I will upload the final version so that you can
use it. Do you want jpg, eps, pdf or what?

cstein

badrescher

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Feb 24, 2009, 12:57:36 AM2/24/09
to Critical Teaching
My hubby (who is an art director) likes the squared off G without the
box best.

As for format, I like to start with something that's as clean as
possible, which usually means either a bitmap or a lossless jpg, but
just about any graphics format works for me. I find that saving it as
a jpg of any significant compression creates noise or unwanted
feathering of the edges.

To be certain that anyone can plug it into a document, though, jpg or
gif are best. Not everyone can open a pdf for editing or to copy &
paste.

Very nice job!

- Barb

podblackdotcom

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Feb 24, 2009, 4:00:43 PM2/24/09
to Critical Teaching
I'm sending in track ideas to Derek now for the CT group - here's what
I've got:

1) Science Teaching And Children - What's Happening?

2) How Do We Learn To Be Critical Thinkers?

3) Classroom Quandries When Teaching Science and Skepticism

4) Mystery Investigators Children's Show and Skepticism Fun and Magic

Will add some descriptions to them - any last adjustments /
suggestions?

Mike....@csiro.au

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Feb 24, 2009, 6:34:08 PM2/24/09
to critical...@googlegroups.com

I think as broad categories, they work well. Of course, it'll depend on what each of them contain, however this works well for a 'what's the current situation?', 'how do we develop the key skills?', 'the challenges' and 'some ideas that are currently addressing the situation'.

I'd probably change the first title to 'Science Teaching and Thinking Skills - current contexts' or something, to indicate it's about the epistemology and the current curriculum demands placed by various modern boards, states and curriculum panels.

M.


Mike McRae
Science by Email, CSIRO Education
PO Box 225, Dickson ACT 2602
Phone: 02 6276 6291 Mobile: 0423 596 774
Email: mike....@csiro.au | Web: www.csiro.au/education

badrescher

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Feb 25, 2009, 12:55:26 AM2/25/09
to Critical Teaching
I thought you were going to suggest one about "how we're fooled", but
is that included in #4?

kil...@gmail.com

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Feb 25, 2009, 3:37:57 AM2/25/09
to critical...@googlegroups.com
Barb: Yes, I thought 'how we're fooled' might be number four... or should that be a separate one?

Mike: Ergh, it's a bit 'wobbly'... could number 1 be a bit snappier? I guess I was worried that it'd go down the path of people thinking it's going to be only about tertiary education alone... which was why I popped in the 'children' reference. Whilst there's a lot of tertiary educators who attended last year (Dr Stollznow, Dr Plait), I was orignally approached in regards to the overlap of primary/secondary and how it didn't get as much profiling as it could have...

BTW - PZ Myers says he's 97% certain he's coming! So, have asked him formally to consider joining our panels (er, when we've got them in stone)! He's be good for number 3, I thought, being like Dr Martin Bridgstock with creationists in the tertiary classes he runs. Which can then be counter-balanced with what it's like with the younger years?

What Derek Colanduno needs is a title and a short blurb. How are these?

1) Science Teaching For Children and Thinking Skills - Current Contexts: Science teachers active in the system speak out about issues they face in their profession, with advice and feedback for the skeptically-minded community.

2) How Do We Learn To Be Critical Thinkers? : Where do beliefs come from? Is there really an 'absolute truth'? Get the facts and the real-world application news from teachers, educators and proactive stakeholders who are taking part in making a difference.

3) Classroom Quandries When Teaching Science and Skepticism: Is it as easy as merely getting an Ouija board out? From creationism to psychic children, we discuss the pitfalls and the hurdles!

4) How Are We Fooled? Skepticism Fun and Magic: Practical tips and plans for getting questioning going, that's great for kids but fun for all ages! [FREE NUN BUN IF YOU DRESS LIKE JAMES RANDI]

ADDITIONAL - Mystery Investgators Show (possibly before it?)


Now I'm a little worried that 2) and 4) are a bit too similar? I did try to make them more about:

Younger years = 2)  (for those parents/ stakeholders who are wondering what they can do for non-tertiary education)
and
All years = 4).

Advice? Maybe a different topic or join two together? I guess 4) could be clearly labelled as 'we want this to be a workshop, NOT a panel'...

PLEASE feel free to tinker / adjust!


Matt Lowry

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Feb 25, 2009, 8:45:21 PM2/25/09
to Critical Teaching
Could you give some more clarification of #4? I also recall that some
had discussed demonstrations or lesson sharing, but I'm not sure under
which of these track suggestions it'd be most appropriate.

Cheers - Matt

kil...@gmail.com

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Feb 25, 2009, 8:56:18 PM2/25/09
to critical...@googlegroups.com
I guess lesson sharing / demonstrations would be #4?  I was also told that there has to be a set number of 'guests' on many of the panels, because it's acutally in their contracts that they have to appear on x number of events.

I also just remembered - if we DON'T get enough space on the skeptic track for a particular proposed panel/workshop - we should also be contacting the Science/Space track now and ask them for an opportunity? This might also allow Derek and the Skeptrack team a little more wiggle room to put in other shows, and we'll help out the Science/Space track with content too?

I've seen a 'draft' of the schedule so far and quickly put in these topics (we can change/alter, etc them in terms of the phrasing and direction) - simply so we're 'booked' rather than being late to the party.

Has Science/Space been contacted? I'll dig out their email later, as Derek suggested and say what we're up to, otherwise. :)

k.

kil...@gmail.com

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Feb 25, 2009, 8:57:54 PM2/25/09
to critical...@googlegroups.com
... and on the point of there having to be a 'set number of guests', I hope this doesn't mean people will be telling the likes of James Randi when they're next to them on a panel :  'well, no, you can't actually do that in a classroom - usually, there isn't space in the office to hide the elephant and parents think you're being a little *weird* if you turn up in a straightjacket...'

cste...@yahoo.com

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Feb 25, 2009, 9:00:58 PM2/25/09
to Critical Teaching
I have uploaded the logo sans rounded rectangle as an eps and as a jpg
to our files for you to use. I have the original work with the
rectangle if that is ever needed. Also, if you need the logo in some
other format in the future, let me know and I will try to provide it.

Also, if there are no objections, I would like to use the logo in my
portfolio for Eclectic Design Choices.

Thanks,
cstein

badrescher

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Feb 25, 2009, 9:22:42 PM2/25/09
to Critical Teaching


On Feb 25, 12:37 am, "kil...@gmail.com" <kil...@gmail.com> wrote:

> What Derek Colanduno needs is a title and a short blurb. How are these?
>
> 1) *Science Teaching For Children and Thinking Skills - Current Contexts*:
> Science teachers active in the system speak out about issues they face in
> their profession, with advice and feedback for the skeptically-minded
> community.

Title needs a little work, but the description is good. Maybe
something like "Teaching Science and Thinking Skills in Today's
Schools"?
Or not...


> 2) *How Do We Learn To Be Critical Thinkers? *: Where do beliefs come from?
> Is there really an 'absolute truth'? Get the facts and the real-world
> application news from teachers, educators and proactive stakeholders who are
> taking part in making a difference.

LOVE this.
It emphasizes teachers without excluding others. I also love that I
can really contribute.

> 3) *Classroom Quandries When Teaching Science and Skepticism*: Is it as easy
> as merely getting an Ouija board out? From creationism to psychic children,
> we discuss the pitfalls and the hurdles!

Very interesting topic the way you've described it. I will have to
think about what I would want to say, but I DEFINITELY have something
to say!

> 4) *How Are We Fooled? Skepticism Fun and Magic*: Practical tips and plans
> for getting questioning going, that's great for kids but fun for all ages!

Of course this one is great, too. I don't think it's too close to #2.
I have a lot of things to choose from for both, but I don't think I'd
approach #2 the same way as #4. I would include the word "illusion" in
the title, though. Maybe instead of magic? Maybe something like "How
Are We Fooled? Illusion, Illogic, and Slight of Hand"?

> [FREE NUN BUN IF YOU DRESS LIKE JAMES RANDI]

My absolute favorite! I'm terribly unphotogenic, so a lot of my
avatars are the nun bun. I figure it's more interesting to look at.

> Advice? Maybe a different topic or join two together? I guess 4) could be
> clearly labelled as 'we want this to be a workshop, NOT a panel'...

#2 has workshop potential, too.

-Barb

kil...@gmail.com

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Feb 25, 2009, 9:44:27 PM2/25/09
to critical...@googlegroups.com
Title needs a little work, but the description is good. Maybe
something like "Teaching Science and Thinking Skills in Today's
Schools"?
Or not...

That sounds snappier. I'll send that in. :) Snappy is good - and there's always the worry that with everything going on, people might go 'meh, not attending that'. So drawing in a crowd and making it sound relevant and interesting is important.

NOTICE - I discovered that there was already a panel suggested called:

*Skeptics With Class: Join Some Leading Skeptics who also teach for a living. Learn about the challenges and solutions they have learned in their travels in the classroom.*

and I have written in asking if we could either/or have our number 3 ('Classroom Quandries') replace it or have Barb, Matt and myself join it? It's essentially the same thing - although 'Skeptics With Class' is worded much more positively, which is a draw, I guess!.
 

> 4) *How Are We Fooled? Skepticism Fun and Magic*: Practical tips and plans
> for getting questioning going, that's great for kids but fun for all ages!

Of course this one is great, too. I don't think it's too close to #2.
I have a lot of things to choose from for both, but I don't think I'd
approach #2 the same way as #4. I would include the word "illusion" in
the title, though. Maybe instead of magic? Maybe something like "How
Are We Fooled? Illusion, Illogic, and Slight of Hand"?

 Will suggest that too - at the moment, I'm wondering if a workshop elaborating more might be useful for the Science track... are there other scientists who will be doing a 'showcase' there who might like more numbers added? A kind of cross-over, as it were...

cste...@yahoo.com

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Feb 25, 2009, 10:14:56 PM2/25/09
to Critical Teaching
kiless

Once you feel relatively certain about who is speaking, when, please
post so that I can put the info on the calendar.

Thanks
cstein


> NOTICE - I discovered that there was already a panel suggested called:
>
> *Skeptics With Class: Join Some Leading Skeptics who also teach for a
> living. Learn about the challenges and solutions they have learned in their
> travels in the classroom.*
>
> and I have written in asking if we could either/or have our number 3
> ('Classroom Quandries') replace it or have Barb, Matt and myself join it?

kil...@gmail.com

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Feb 25, 2009, 10:37:27 PM2/25/09