Learning in Unique Contexts

2015 Southeastern Meeting

Join us in Columbus, GA on October 17-17, 2015

The upcoming annual meeting of SASTE will be held at Columbus State University’s Oxbow Meadow Environmental Learning Center (Oxbow) in Columbus, Georgia on October 17, 2015. Our theme this year will be “Learning in Unique Contexts”.

The theme is simply meant to acknowledge that while our organization exists to support the development of highly qualified science teachers and educators, more so now than ever before, our conception of learning in general, and the learning of science in particular, needs to be broad, inclusive, and not confined to our traditional classroom. We seek to value learning in all of its forms and this meeting and conference hopes to highlight the diverse ways that we develop scientific understanding in students, existing educators and those seeking to join the profession.

This year’s conference is particularly interested in welcoming education students to present papers on completed research, conceptual ideas for research, position papers or simply an idea that can be vetted and discussed within a collegial and supportive setting. We also would like to reach out to existing teachers at all levels to share practical knowledge on the teaching and learning of science in K-12 settings. Unlike other topics, science has an exponential knowledge growth making it harder and harder to determine what is important for students to know. This is exacerbated by the constraints of the educational bureaucracy and any way to address both is valuable information for all. Of course, this is also a wonderful opportunity to find out what our colleagues at the university level are working on, interested in, or concerned about.

In order to plan for the event we are encouraging those interesting in presenting and those who may not but wish to attend to register early. The call for papers on the SASTE website is currently live at http://www.saste.net/call.html. The link for online registration can be found at http://www.saste.net/

There are multiple Topics/Strands that are envisioned, including:

  1. Impact of science learning in unique contexts in the Southeast
    2. Collaborative practices that transform science teaching & learning
    3. Infusing digital technologies in science inquiry & pedagogy
    4. Innovation in science teacher education
    5. Teacher candidate preparation best practices research
    6. Effective professional development for inservice teacher education

This should not be considered an exhaustive list as the main goal is sharing ideas and passions.

I would like to encourage all members to broadly promote this upcoming annual meeting. In order to attract substantial participation, although the meeting with fall on a Saturday, we are proposing both pre and post activities. Please join us for some fellowship and light libations/hors d’oeuvres at Oxbow Meadows ELC between 6 and 9 pm on Friday night. Staff at Oxbow will provide a 45 minute program that highlights some of our resident and guest fauna, starting at 7 p.m.

The main part of the meeting will be held on Saturday the 17th, so if you only have a limited amount of time (and who doesn’t?), plan to attend and support learning in our community. This will also include our annual business meeting where the prior year’s activities and the upcoming items will be discussed and voted on as necessary.

We have added a third day, Sunday, to this year’s conference that will highlight activities in and around “Uptown” Columbus. One of Oxbow’s partners, Outside World Outfitters, will lead an approximate 8 mile flat water paddle from just below the Hooch rapids to the property adjacent to Oxbow. This is an approximate 4 hour leisurely trip that will be capped with a box lunch once we return back to the main building at the Center. The cost of this trip (lunch included) is $42/person in a double kayak and $52/person in a single kayak. These kayaks are the “sit on top” variety that are easy to access (and egress). We need a minimum of 8 participants for the outfitter to schedule and I will need to have a solid head count by September 30th (please email dentzau_michael@columbusstate.edu).

If this is too tame for your liking, think about booking a rafting trip on the Hooch through Whitewater Express. USA Today picked this “retrofitted” section of the Chattahoochee as one of the Top 12 man-made Adventures in the World! Come join in the excitement and experience some of the biggest rapids east of the Colorado, right here on the whitewater section of the Chattahoochee.

And for those of you that want an aerial version of excitement, you can take flight on the Blue Heron Adventure. Crossing the Hooch, experience the only dual-zip line that connects two states reaching speeds up to 40 mph. The fun doesn’t end there! The Blue Heron Aerial Course, a treetop experience will meet you in Phenix City, Alabama with a total of 10 obstacles. The adventure continues as you cruise in the motorized Canyon Raft back to Georgia.

Check out the following web site to make reservations and check prices for both the rafting and zip line- http://www.whitewaterexpress.com/individuals/ .

Finally, if some history is more to your liking, Oxbow Meadows ELC sits across from the National Infantry Museum. Admission is free; however donations are greatly appreciated (and let us face it, essential in today’s economy).

I am looking forward to seeing you at SASTE in October! Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or comments.

Michael W. Dentzau, PhD

Executive Director/Assistant Professor

Oxbow Meadows Environmental Learning Center

Columbus State University/Columbus Water Works