At our advisor’s suggestion, our lab group attended the COSEE Broader Impacts workshop yesterday. I’m glad I went – it was really interesting. Reviewers at NSF or NOAA or Sea Grant consider a couple of main things when examining a proposal. Well, obviously the intellectual merit of the proposal is of the utmost importance, but it’s not also important to demonstrate the broader impacts of the proposed research as well. There were a variety of different sessions in the workshop covering topics like teaching and outreach, communicating with policy-makers, the use of visual data, social media tools, and diversity in science and research. (and more!)
I’m really interested in teaching and outreach (although I have almost no experience in either, if we’re being honest…). Philip Bell, from the UW College of Education, and also Directory of the Institute for Science and Math Education, gave an interesting talk – a lot about policy and standards stuff that I was unfamiliar with, but he also highlighted the vast amount of literature available on science education that is available for free on the National Academies Press website. Very cool! I can’t wait to download some onto my iPad. He passed several of the books around the room during his talk, and I thought there were a lot of interesting things that I’d want to delve into more deeply. There are consensus studies that compile the results of hundreds of studies, and also practitioner’s guides.
Here’s a one of the practitioners guides that got passed around:
I’m curious about what kids are learning, how science is taught at K-12 levels. Apparently new studies show that young children (even kindergarten age) have far more advanced reasoning skills than what was previously thought.
One other talk that I found to be really interesting and useful was the one given by Rick Keil that was specifically about Broader Impacts, and on recognizing broader impacts that your lab group is already doing. It was surprising to see it like that, there were several things that I hadn’t considered before. Here is Rick’s overview on the COSEE website.