Academic journal article Journal of Geoscience Education

2007 NAGT James H. Shea Award

Academic journal article Journal of Geoscience Education

2007 NAGT James H. Shea Award

Article excerpt

I am both honored and humbled to be here today and to accept this award from my community of peers and mentors, when I first learned that I was to receive this award, I was curious about the careers and contributions of previous recipients. The list of past Shea awardees is impressive: outstanding authors of popular nonfiction, science writers with thousands of pages behind them, scientists with dual careers in geology and journalism. What does it mean for a geocognition researcher to be placed along side such people?

Looking out at the audience and at the table beside me, I see some of the best minds in geoscience education: teachers, innovators, researchers, and scholars. We are driven by a desire to change how people perceive and understand the world around us. My goal is to facilitate that change, to encourage deep and meaningful conversations about the nature of learning in the geological sciences, the lessons we can take from cognitive science and psychology, education and psychometrics, from such disparate fields as linguistics and even business.

My colleague Steve Anderson recently told me that "ideas come from conversations". I certainly have benefited from conversations with many of you conversations about the nature and purpose of geoscience education, conversations to answer old questions and ask new ones, conversations about brand new data, unconventional models and new theories unearthed from other disciplines. In the end, everything I have written has stemmed from these conversations, so in many ways what I write is a much yours as it is mine.

The first conversation I had about science education produced a single question; one that unbeknownst to me laid the foundations for my career. Heather MacDonald first introduced me to geoscience education as a scholarly field. Luckily for me, she was a good sport; I doubt that many people would have weathered a precocious 19 year old quite as well as she did! …

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