A friend and I were privileged to be in attendance at NYU’s inaugural Sci Ed Innovators Day. There were very interesting speakers as well as a poster presentation session by New York City middle and high schoolers. The entire day was in the honor of Jhumki Basu, an NYU professor who passed away a year ago and whose life mission was to improve science education in NYC.
Before I share some of what I learned, I just have to share two moments that were absolutely hysterical (or at least I thought so!):
NYU’s president kept mentioning the world-wide campus they are developing and kept mentioning Agra. My friend asked where Agra is and all I could guess is it must be near Agrabah, where Aladdin lives. Just then, the president said, “It’s hard to do Organic Chemistry in Agra.” Haha, I didn’t realize Aladdin was so into O. Chem!
Later in the day, a presenter from Cisco was commenting on how technology has transformed education: “…you had to be a monk or an Aristocat to have knowledge.” Yup, he said Aristocat. I didn’t realize Disney movies and science education had so much in common :)
Joking aside, it was a conference rich in information. Members of the Ashoka social entrepreneurs company presented their ChangeMakers website: a website full of social issues that can be solved by organization (sort of like a grant project for competitive people).
NYU’s Steinhart School of Education is revamping their program to focus on training teachers through “serious play” – using exploration to learn and not just traditional paper, pen, lecture, test, etc. Along with their partnership with the Jhumki Basu Foundation, Steinhart is developing Sci-Ed.net (still under construction) as a resource for science teachers in under-served areas.
Astronaut Lee Morin was the keynote speaker and I learned so much:
- When in orbit, a shuttle moved at 5 mi/sec…yes, that’s 5 MILES PER SECOND!
- The aurora borealis looks even more amazing from space.
- NASA employs artists to render images of new technology and missions that are still being developed. Therefore, artists must be scientifically literate.
- Lee Morin was part of the “grandfather’s walk” – the first ever space walk of only grandfathers :)
- Lee Morin is funny: “Is a bulldozer on the moon still called an earth mover?”
- NASA is developing technology to make regolith (the dust covering the moon) into a glass that could be used to build space colonies – this is extremely important because a major issue of space colonization is the fact that a shuttle needs an incredible amount of fuel to get to space and, therefore, can only carry a small mass in its payload bay.
- NASA has TONS of resources for teachers.
friend, Lee Morin (astronaut), and myself
Other fun little bits from the day include an amazing video of the future of magazines:
I’ve never been a proponent of electronic textbooks, but if they are made to be interactive like this, I might be convinced to change my mind!
Lastly, we were introduced to the Apple Store Kid. I have no words, you’ve just got to watch for yourself:
Can you believe this kid just went into the Apple Store, recorded this, and posted it to YouTube? So cool :)
If you’re in the NYC area, keep your eyes open for future Sci Ed Innovators events!