NASA’s Planetary Science E/PO Forum: Reflections on Five Years of Effort to Support an E/PO Community

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Stephanie Staples Shipp1, Susan Shebby2, Sanlyn Buxner3, Don Boonstra4, Emily A Cobabe-Ammann5, Whitney H Cobb6, Heather Dalton1, Jennifer Grier3, Sheri L Klug Boonstra7, Keliann LaConte1, John Ristvey5, Christine B Shupla1, Sandra Weeks8, Alice S Wessen1 and Rachel Zimmerman-Brachman1, (1)Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston, TX, United States, (2)Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning, Denver, CO, United States, (3)Planetary Science Institute Tucson, Tucson, AZ, United States, (4)Self Employed, Chandler, AZ, United States, (5)UCAR Community Programs, Boulder, CO, United States, (6)McREL, Denver, CO, United States, (7)Mars Space Flight Facility, ASU School of Earth and Space Exploration, Tempe, AZ, United States, (8)McREL International, Denver, CO, United States
Over the past decade, NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD) has funded four education and public outreach (E/PO) forums, aligned with each of its science divisions, including Astrophysics, Earth Science, Heliophysics, and Planetary Science. Together, these forums help organize individual division E/PO programs into a coordinated, effective, efficient, nationwide effort that shares the scientific discoveries of NASA across a broad array of audiences.

In the past four-and-a-half years, the Planetary Science Division’s Forum – in collaboration with the other three Forums - has worked to support its community of education professionals and scientists involved in E/PO to communicate, collaborate, and strengthen their efforts. The Forum’s work encompasses identification of best practices based on educational research, increasing understanding of needs through audience-based working groups, the development of strategic collaborations and partnerships to increase programmatic reach, and the creation of strategic resources to support community members in their E/PO work (e.g., an online workspace for the community to communicate, collaborate, and share practices; recommendations to scientists for increasing impact in educational settings; a one-stop shop for NASA SMD classroom and informal education products, http://nasawavelength.org).

Drawing on evaluation data, the presentation will explore what resources and support mechanisms are valued by the community, ways the community uses the available resources, and the outcomes of the effort to date.