This issue of the journal opens with the first installment of a two part essay by Wm. David Burns, which is based on his welcoming address at the 2010 SENCER Summer Institute at Asheville campus of the University of North Carolina. [more] As many of you already know, David has been a longtime advocate of engaged science education through his roles as Executive Director of the National Center for Science and Civic Engagement at Harrisburg University; as Principal Investigator of the SENCER and GLISTEN projects; and as the publisher of this journal. In part one, David reflects on the conceptual foundations of the SENCER approach and its goal of creating a critical intersection between science education and practice and democratic education and practice. In part two, to be published in the next issue of SECEIJ, he will summarize some of the lessons learned from over a decade of experience with SENCER-inflected STEM education reform.
In the category of Teaching and Learning, Farahnaz Movahedzadeh (Harold Washington University) explains the pedagogical strategy of “blended learning” — which includes both classroom and online components — and shows how this method improved students’ attitudes towards science. The article is accompanied by an essay written by a student in the course, Eric Wozniak, who shares his first experience with a blended/hybrid course.
The issue contains three Project Reports that address diverse approaches to effective science teaching in the context of civic issues. Susan M. Mooney and Karen L. Anderson (Stonehill College) describe a collaboration between college students and community partners to design and implement innovative science instruction in resource-limited urban classrooms. Alan J. Friedman(a distinguished consultant for museum development and science education) and Ellen F. Mappen (National Center for Science and Civic Engagement) provide an introduction to the new SENCER-ISE project, which is establishing connections between formal and informal science educators with the goal of advancing STEM learning. Science and math educators who teach in traditional classroom environments can learn valuable lessons from the strategies of engagement that are used by the informal education community.
Many issues of civic importance are connected to the generation and consumption of energy. As a resource for educators, Pamela Brown (New York City College of Technology) and Heather Brown(University of Aberdeen) have written a Science Education and Public Policyarticle that examines the relationship between energy policy and technological innovation in the United States. They provide extensive data to show how the R&D investment in renewable energy sources is affected by the price of oil – lower oil prices correlate with fewer renewable energy patents – and how this pattern is repeated cyclically within the U.S. economy, which leads to a lack of long-term strategic planning for renewable energy development.
We wish to thank all the authors for sharing their work with the readers of this journal.
— Trace Jordan and Eliza Reilly, Co-Editors-in-Chief