VISTA's 2014 Science Education Faculty Academy (SEFA) recently wrapped up and the event was a big hit with the faculty members who attended!
Science education faculty members are the educators who teach elementary and/or secondary science teaching methods courses. VISTA’s SEFA professional development program focuses specifically on them. The program is an investment in community building and in the educators who will teach the next generation of science teachers.
In most of Virginia’s universities, the science education faculty consists of a single person, which makes networking with other faculty across institutions crucial to remaining current in the field. At the five-day SEFA academy, participants focused on learning about new science education research, sharing effective teaching strategies, building state infrastructure, and networking to build a community of practice.
The intent is that this community of practice will endure and spur improvements in science education for years.
Participants also enjoyed conducting science experiments. The experiment pictured above led to lots of discourse throughout the lab, as attendees worked with radiometers to determine what caused them to spin and what factors changed the rate of the spin.
A radiometer is a device for measuring the radiant flux (power) of electromagnetic radiation. The radiometers participants worked with detected infrared radiation. Participants used different colors and light intensity to make the radiometers spin faster or slower before discussing their findings with one another.
At the end of the Academy, participants shared their experiences. "I've learned so much and I'm so happy to be sharing this experience with other faculty like myself!" gushed one attendee.