A great deal of research has been conducted on the science literacy and teaching practices of K-12 classroom teachers. Much less is known about scientists' involvement in public education. In January 2008, ASLO and the Centers for Ocean Science Education Excellence Networked Ocean World (COSEE NOW) conducted a survey of the ASLO membership to gather data on the education involvement, practices and needs of ASLO members to improve the exchange of data and teaching practices between scientists and educators. We learned a great deal from the survey and had a positive response rate (31%) for the study. Here is a sampling of what we learned:
A majority (69.3%) of the membership is involved in education and public outreach with approximately 48.3% being required to be involved in EPO as part of their research grant requirements. We asked ASLO members what kinds of education and public outreach (EPO) they were involved in as part of their professional work. We learned ALSO members are contributing to a wide range of education efforts including contributing content and/or data to public websites (41.8%), consulting on projects/programs for K-12 teachers or students (26.8%), and public presentations to policy makers at community meetings (40%). These questions allowed respondents to check all that apply, thus totals exceed 100%.
Respondents shared their top reasons for getting involved in EPO was to "increase public understanding of science" (80%), increasing the publics appreciation of science (59.3%), and focusing on environmental issues (59.4%). The greatest barriers to getting involved in public education were lack of time (76.6%) and financial resources (51.5%).
We asked members to comment on what kinds of resources or training could ASLO offer that would assist members with EPO. Top responses included an Education listserv focused on funding for education/outreach (36.1%), orientation to inquiry and hands-on science (35.7%), and understanding the effectiveness of models/demonstrations (34%).
For full report details please visit http://coseenow.net/resources/ on the COSEE NOW website.