GV to offer ‘chunks’ of education through virtual learning series – Grand Valley Lanthorn

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Courtesy / GVSU

The Regional Mathematics and Science Center (RMSC) at Grand Valley State University is working with faculty at the GVSU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences to create a new learning series called Grand Morsels

Grand Morsels is a series designed to break down complex scientific concepts into smaller, more digestible pieces, in hopes of providing K-12 teachers and other community members with a better understanding of how science shapes the world.

Grand Morsels is a free virtual event to help give teachers new content in a simple, easily accessible package. The series will take place on the last Tuesday of each month.

Science program coordinator Kathy Agee said Grand Morsels is about diving into topics that most people know but can’t quite explain, and sharing content about how science applies to daily life.

“(Great Morsels) is the idea that, ‘Oh, somebody’s going to put these pieces together and help me understand this fundamental level of how something works,’ Agee said. “I think that’s what struck a chord, going back and having that basic understanding.”

The RMSC is an outreach program within the university that has worked for 30 years to support students and teachers in the West Michigan area.

Agee helped develop the Grand Morsels series alongside RMSC Director Dr. Kristofer Pachla and School of Communications faculty member Dr. Richard Besel.

Early in the development of the series, the committee focused on addressing the challenges teachers and educators are facing in the face of the ongoing effects of the pandemic on the education system.

“There’s a shortage of teachers, there’s a shortage of substitute teachers, teachers are out with COVID so teachers couldn’t leave their classrooms…and also people are getting tired of the community virtual,” Agee said. “The three of us got together and said, ‘What can we do to help teachers, students getting into teaching, or anyone in the community to create something that isn’t long and arduous for people to attend virtually?’

The Grand Morsels Learning Series not only provides content in a free, comprehensive format, but also allows teachers to earn credits for their State Continuing Education Clock Hours (SCECH), which are required for the renewal of the teaching license, from February.

Agee said she hopes the series will reach more than teaching audiences and encourage the idea that learning is ageless.

“We really wanted to encourage people to be lifelong learners, there’s always something more to learn,” Agee said. “Never stop asking questions, never stop learning.”

Each presentation will include a 30-minute lecture by GVSU faculty and a 15-minute question-and-answer period from the audience, on the theme “Science is all around us”.

The first presentation, titled “Talking in the Air: The Science of Wireless Communication,” will be led by Dr. Len O’Kelly, associate director and professor at the GVSU School of Communications.

O’Kelly said he was driven to educate about what he considers the most scientific method of communication available today: spanning great distances wirelessly and the science of radio.

“When I was a broadcasting undergrad, we had to take an engineering course to learn how our equipment worked and what to do when it didn’t,” O’Kelly said. “We don’t teach that anymore. For me, it is also important to know “how” behind it, and I look forward to sharing this information with others. »

O’Kelly said he believes the field of communication is vital and wants to reinforce the idea that science and communication can go hand in hand.

“Any opportunity to show the value of what we do in communications is important to me and I’m always happy to do so,” O’Kelly said. “If any of the educators, or even a high school student, sees the show and thinks more critically about how communication and science co-exist, then it’s worth it.”

The Grand Morsels Learning Series is generating buzz beyond GVSU.

Teachers and community members in the area said they looked forward to the presentations and hoped to see more in the future.

Rebecca Lewis, an 8th grade science teacher at North Rockford Middle School, said that as an alumnus of GVSU, she enjoys being a part of what happens at the university.

She said she hopes O’Kelly’s presentation will show her a new approach to teaching such complex concepts.

“The idea for this learning series struck me as very interesting because my students always struggle to understand difficult science topics,” Lewis said. “I hope to learn how to break down these complicated ideas and present them to students, and even adults when the conversation arises, so that they truly understand the content, rather than just memorizing the facts.”

“Talking Through the Air: The Science of Wireless Communication,” will take place virtually on January 25, 2022 at 7 p.m.

For more information and to register for the presentation, those interested can visit the Great Pieces page on the GVSU website.

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