Early Career Scientists and Geoscience Education Researchers Explore Collaborations

Nicole Ladue (right), a geoscience education researcher from Northern Illinois University and co-PI of the ENGAGE workshop, facilitating a gallery walk activity.

In mid-January, the IRIS Education and Public Outreach Program co-facilitated a two-day workshop with Northern Illinois University aimed at early career geoscientists and discipline-based geoscience education researchers (DBERs). The ENGAGE workshop sought to catalyze relationships between the two communities to address the foundational research needed on how people learn geoscience content and develop into expert geoscientists. Funded by the National Science Foundation, the workshop was constructed around a combination of plenary talks, thought experiments, panelist presentations, and small group discussions, and also included time for networking and collaboration.

Both communities brought important expertise to the workshop. Physical scientists provided an understanding of the skills, knowledge, and attitudes necessary to conduct cutting-edge research, as well as content-specific instructional challenges. They also have access to geoscience classrooms that include majors and non-majors. Meanwhile, DBERs brought knowledge of methodologies and underpinning social science constructs needed to study the these challenges. A workshop report is anticipated in the coming months, but additional information, including a list of workshop conveners, can be found on the workshop website.