SUMMER INSTITUTE PROGRAM FOR PHILADELPHIA TEACHERS - 2003

Sponsored by Bryn Mawr College with support from the National Science Foundation


BRIDGING CULTURES IN K-12 CURRICULA: EXPLORATION AND EMERGENCE


(Depending on enrollment, positions in this institute may be available for teachers other than those in Philadelphia schools.)

Program Outline: Science is often thought of as a special set of interests, abilities and practices, rather than as a process of question-asking, intuition-testing and story-revising that all of us engage in daily, and which all of us--whatever our content area--can pursue in our classrooms. Understood in this way, science is accessible to everyone, and best taught in relation to other parts of the curriculum, by teachers who are themselves excited by the sort of teaching and learning that involves exploring new realms and trying out new tasks. This Institute will provide selected teachers with an opportunity to integrate science with social science and humanities, both in subject matter and in approach. Our general theme for this shared exploration is a new framework called "emergence," which we will apply to a variety of disciplines and practical contexts.

All of us are trying to make sense of the world, by habitual ways of thinking that shape how we organize new observations and new questions (both those we ask and those we don't). Periodically, because new ways of making observations arise, new frameworks for thinking also evolve. Like telescopes and microscopes, computers have opened up a whole new world of possible observations. Because they can calculate so rapidly, computers have made it possible to explore the consequences of relatively simple interactions of relatively simple things in ways that were never possible before. From this new capability are emerging significant insights into phenomena long believed too complex for serious analysis--as well as a new general framework for thinking about how novel properties or substances arise out of simpler entities. The concept of emergence has proved useful for biologists, physicists, chemists, computer scientists; for psychologists, historians and economists...as well as for sculptors, visual artists, multimedia performance artists, film makers and computer game makers. It is very also useful as a way of thinking about how to set up and run a classroom so that new discoveries can be made. Teachers who are interested in the emergence of "emergent systems" as a way of thinking are invited to join this discussion.

Participants will work with faculty and each other to adapt material and approaches from this exploration for use in their own schools and classrooms. We'll also use the internet as a valuable tool for curriculum development as well as a source for materials and experiences.

The Institute Directors are Doug Blank, Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Bryn Mawr College, Kim Cassidy, Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at Bryn Mawr College and Anne Dalke, Senior Lecturer in English and Co-ordinator of the Feminist and Gender Studies Program at Bryn Mawr. Professor Blank is interested in artificial intelligence, cognitive science, and machine learning. He helped form an Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Lab at Bryn Mawr, where robots, machine learning, neural networks, and other forms of artificial intelligence are studied. Professor Cassidy has prior experience as a pre-college teacher, has co-directed several prior summer institutes, and has a research program in the area of cognitive development in children. Professor Dalke's primary area of scholarly interest is interdisciplinary teaching. Last spring, she published a collection of teaching stories, Teaching to Learn/Learning to Teach: Meditations on the Classroom. This summer she is coming out with a new volume, "Minding the Light: Essays in Friendly Pedagogy," and presenting on a panel, "Practices that Reposition Students in their Education: New Ways of Working with One Another," at the Annual Conference of the International Association for Learning Alternatives. The Institute directors will be assisted by Paul Grobstein, Professor of Biology and organizer of the Summer Institute program, and by colleagues in the Bi-College Education Program and from other College departments in the sciences, social sciences and humanities.

Institute Requirements and Follow-up: Fellows will be expected to play an active role in the Institute, helping to develop effective ways to integrate scientific concepts and perspectives with other aspects of the curriculum. In addition to active participation in discussion during the two week summer session, Fellows will be expected to prepare a written proposal describing plans to make use of Institute experiences in their own classrooms, to experiment with these during the following academic year, to participate in several follow up meetings during the year, and to prepare a report of the their year's activities which can be posted on a World Wide Web site so as to be available to other interested teachers.

Institute Schedules and Location: This Institute will take place at Bryn Mawr College from 21 July through 1 August. Sessions will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays. Lunch will be provided.

Eligibility: High school, middle school and elementary school teachers, including department heads, and school administrators are eligible. Participants may teach science and/or other subject areas. Preference will be given to teams of teachers from schools that serve overlapping student populations. Please indicate team memberships on the applications forms. Enrollment will be limited to eighteen.

Incentives: Participants from Philadelphia schools will receive 60 hours of Act 48 credit, and a $500 stipend. An additional $300 per participant to purchase educational supplies and materials will be available to Philadelphia teachers submitting cogent curriculum proposals and agreeing to provide a written report on their experiences.

Principal's Commitment: Institute participation requires signature of principal.

Application procedures: Information and application forms are available on line at http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/local/suminst/application.html. See http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/local/suminst/ for information about the general program and other available Institutes.

For more information: Doug Blank, Computer Science Program, Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, Pa. 19010. 610 526- 6501, dblank@brynmawr.edu; Anne Dalke, Department of English, Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, Pa. 19010, 610 526-5308, adalke@brynmawr.edu