The 2010 edition of the Canadian Space Agency’s (CSA) annual educator conference was attended by 140 educators representing every region of the country, making this the most highly attended conference in its eight year history.
This unique professional development learning opportunity began with an icebreaking session during which delegates introduced themselves as their favorite celestial body. Following an array of interesting introductions, delegates then took a voyage back through the history of Canada in space, providing them with baseline perspective that would set the tone for the three days that they would spend fully immersed in hands-on workshops and keynote sessions designed to provide them with the tools, skills and confidence to bring space into their classrooms.
Among the many presentations, Dr. Jaymie Matthews from the University of British Columbia treated educators to anecdotes about some of the most interesting scientists and their findings that can’t be found in modern textbooks. Canada’s first long duration astronaut – Dr. Robert Thirsk – shared not only tales of his personal journey in space but also how instilling the right skills, knowledge and attitude in today’s youth can open the doors to opportunity for this next space generation.
Finally, a highlight of the conference for many attendees came at the end of the first day, when educators were asked to write and perform rap songs based on what they had learned during their sessions. They were judged by our very own Canadian Space Idol scientists and engineers, Benoit Palmieri, Kumudu Jinadasa, Marla Smithwick, Louise Beauchamp and Aabid Patel. In addition to being a fun way to wrap up and for the educators to discover some hidden new talents, many of the delegates commented that being asked to think about and perform the raps allowed them to better consolidate the vast amounts of information consumed during the day.
As the conference came to a close an educator from Atlantic Canada shared the following, “This was a highlight of my professional development! I will be spreading the word to other teachers in my province - they MUST attend!”
Information regarding the 2011 CSA Educator Conference will be available via the CSA website in early 2011.