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Recently in the Research Category

The National Academies Press has released the new Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas. The publication outlines a set of expectations for students in K-12 that will ultimately inform a new series of standards for K-12 science education, and updates to school curricula and resources.

You can access the new publication online and in pdf at http://goo.gl/qLONs.

University of Minnesota Extension Environmental Science Education programming and staff focus primarily on informal science education. However, we recognize that the boundaries of what encompasses 'informal' vs. 'formal' or 'incidental' education are fuzzy, confusing at times. Can a classroom teacher use 'informal' methods? Is an after-school program more 'informal' or 'formal'? Is the presenter, who lectures youth at a nature-center program, facilitating 'formal' or 'informal' education?

Perhaps each of these situations blends all three types of education. In the current issue of Adult Education Quarterly, author Kaela Jubas describes education as an holistic process. The article Everyday Scholars: Framing Informal Learning in Terms of Academic Disciplines and Skills describes how the learning involved in an everyday activity like shopping can involve each of five themes inherent to education. See http://goo.gl/KPXqz for the abstract.

Jubas' article may be interesting for those of you who, like our ESE team, often find your education programs positioned at the intersections of different types of education.

carls009.jpgEnvironmental Science Education Educator, Stephan Carlson, along with colleagues, Joe Heimlich and Martin Storksdieck, have published a research article in the current issue of the International Electronic Journal of Environmental Education. The article, titled Validating an Environmental Education Field Day Observation Tool describes one step of the process used to develop our Field Days Observation Tool. The article describes how Carlson and his colleagues assessed the alignment between student perceptions of the field days they attended, and how observers noted characteristics of these events. Results suggest that our observation tool captures both the perspectives of trained observers and students participating in these events. Click to read the abstract and access a PDF of the full text for this article.

Minnesota Public Radio recently highlighted research on Golden Winged Warblers that is being conducted by John Loegering, Extension Wildlife Specialist with the Environmental Science Education team. You can learn more and listen to the story at http://z.umn.edu/jloegeringresearch.

Loegering is a member of the Golden Winged Warbler Working Group, a global effort to study and conserve the small songbird. John also shares his wildlife expertise and research through the Minnesota Master Naturalist, Master Gardener, and other Extension programs.

A new NSF-Funded internet site - www.research2practice.info - encompasses summaries of current, notable research studies from ten research journals. You can browse, search, and sort through the summaries, and link to full articles. The site lists current 'hot topics'. You can save interesting summaries to your virtual 'bookshelf'. You can sign up for digest updates of new content and/or tweets announcing new releases.

Check out a new video by Sheril Kirshenbaum - well-respected scientist, blogger, and author of Unscientific America. In this video, Kirshenbaum notes that: "Just 18 percent of Americans know a scientist personally."

Many of our Environmental Science Education programs aim to improve American experience and personal connection with science. The Driven to Discover: Enabling Youth Inquiry through Citizen Science involves youth with professional scientists, who support their inquiry projects. Youth participants interact closely with natural resources professionals during Field Day programs. One of the goals of the Minnesota Master Naturalist program is to connect volunteers into their larger communities of science and stewardship. Fostering these connections is a critical step toward achieving the "engaged scientific public" for which Kirshenbaum calls.

Environmental Science Education Educator, Stephan Carlson, along with colleagues, Joe Heimlich and Martin Storksdieck, have published a research article in the current issue of the journal Environmental Education Research. The article, titled Building face, construct, and content validity through use of a modified Delphi: adapting grounded theory to build an environmental field days observation tool describes one step of the process used to create our Evaluation Tool for Assessing Environmental Field Days. Click to read the abstract for this article at the Informaworld website.