Continuing to Build Our Community through Moderation:
Introducing Our New AstroLrner@CAE Guest Moderator
Robinson, Westchester Community College & Brissenden, University of Arizona
By now I think it's probably not a surprise to our longer-joined members that we at the Center for Astronomy Education (CAE) care deeply about community building. What a treat to have colleagues to turn to for help or to have an informed conversation with! For the past year Jeff Sudol has been at the helm of these very vital communications we have with each other by being our first ever AstroLrner@CAE Guest Moderator. (If you are not currently a member of AstroLrner@CAE, check out the link to the left!). Under Jeff's moderation, AstroLrner@CAE experienced more postings in one year (614) than ever before, with a nearly record breaking number of posts (89) last December. The only month with a greater number was September 2002. Well, sadly it is time to wish Jeff a fond farewell, thank him profusely, and set him free… Thanks, Jeff!! We'll miss you--in moderation :-)
So, now let me introduce to you our next Guest Moderator, Paul Robinson, who comes to us from Westchester Community College in Valhalla, New York. Paul has been a member of the CAE community for several years now, and he has his own blog on astronomy education research. So, without further adieu, welcome Paul!! I'm sure I speak for our community when I say we look forward to where you guide us.
Following are a few words of introduction from Paul, himself. If you would be interested in being a Guest Moderator yourself in the futures let us know!
Greetings all. I am Paul Robinson from Westchester Community College in Valhalla, New York, and I am excited about being the new Guest Moderator for AstroLrner@CAE. I was introduced to the CAE family as a newly minted astronomy teacher in the summer of 2005, when I attended the summer meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) in Minneapolis, MN. It was then that I participated in my first CAE Teaching Excellence Workshop. I left the workshop convinced that learner-centered classrooms were the way to go in astronomy education. I immediately started using Lecture-Tutorials and Ranking Tasks in my courses. By incorporating active learning techniques into my classes at the onset, I quickly learned that creating a learner-centered class is a difficult task. Even more so than traditional lecturing, learner-centered classes require greater work and thought beforehand on the part of the teacher. The CAE workshops I have attended, and the discussions I have had with my astro ed colleagues have been of un-measurable value to my teaching. Apart from the basics of astronomy, I am deeply interested in conveying the process of science to students, and I am always looking for ways to help distinguish science from its pseudoscientific pretenders.
In the summer of 2006, I traveled to Kona, HI to attend a CAE Tier II Workshop. What a great experience! At last year's Cosmos in the Classroom 2007 conference, I finally got to meet many of you and share ideas. If there is anything just as rewarding and fun as teaching astronomy to my students, it is sharing that experience with colleagues who love it as much as I do. Such workshops and conferences do not happen often enough, and that is one reason we have AstroLrner@CAE. I am often amazed at the quick and thorough responses that everyone here gives to teachers in need of a lesson or demonstration idea. I also enjoy the topic threads in which we debate and offer advice on general teaching issues. As Guest Moderator, I plan to offer a monthly topic starter and participate as best I can with your discussions.