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Transcript of Sun-Earth Day 2007 Podcast, Program 2

We live in the atmosphere of a dynamic magnetic star that interacts with the Earth, the solar system, and space beyond. My name is Troy Cline, and you are listening to the second in a series of NASA podcasts for Sun-Earth Day, 2007: Living in the Atmosphere of the Sun.

Our team recently had the opportunity to present Sun-Earth Day's new space weather action center program at the annual National Education Computing Conference (NECC) in San Diego, California. For more than two decades, NECC has been the premiere forum in which to learn, exchange, and survey the field of educational technology. While there, I was able to take full advantage of its hands on workshops, interactive and current sessions, and the largest educational technology exhibit in the world. I'll have to admit that my first experience at the NECC exhibit hall was a little bit embarrassing due to the fact that when I walked in, I simply stood there speechless and frozen in place, as I realized I was surrounded by thousands of people from the world of educational technology. However, as the initial shock wore off, I was able to chat with a variety of people about their views, ideas, and experiences. I was delighted to find that many of those people were not only familiar with the Sun-Earth Day program, but were registered participants.

During the conference, I conducted several interviews about Sun-Earth Day and educational technology in general. In today's podcast, I'll share clips from two of those discussions. The first interview was with an elementary school principal from Columbia, South Carolina, who recently discovered the wealth of educational resources that NASA has to offer, including Sun-Earth Day. The second interview was with Kathy Kaiser-Holscott, the director of the NASA CORE program, which is a worldwide distribution center for NASA's educational multi-media materials. Let's get started.

Cathy Cannon is the principal of a dynamic elementary school in Columbia, South Carolina. During her interview, she shared how NASA's educational materials and programs will enrich her school with cutting edge science, and just good old fashioned excitement. Now remember, these interviews were conducted in the center of a very active exhibit hall. You'll certainly hear a background filled with . well, exhibit hall action.

Cathy: Our school is in Richland District 2 in Columbia, South Carolina. We serve a very diverse population. We have approximately 600 students, and a large Special Ed population. Our school is a little microcosm of the world. We have just a little bit of everything which makes our school extra special I think.

Troy: And that makes it also very exciting.

Cathy: Absolutely.

Troy: I talked to you yesterday, and you were just bubbling with excitement about a recent experience you had. Could you tell us a little bit about that?

Cathy: Yes. Actually, our school was selected to be a part of the NASA Explorer Schools program

Troy: Wonderful program.

Cathy: Well, we have just begun, and so our team of teachers just got back from Langley Research just about eight days ago, and I took a couple of days to actually focus on the materials and really surf the web and look at some of the materials in depth once I got home last week. And I was just so excited about it you know? Our number one goal I guess you might say is, we want to engage students and teachers in active teaching and learning. We believe through that, what we are going to achieve is increased student achievement, then on top of that, we are preparing students of course for future careers, and we also want to promote why NASA is so important to people like me.

Troy: Absolutely.

Cathy: And I learned so much while I was there, I just felt very honored to be affiliated with such an organization.

Troy: I understand that Sun-Earth Day, and we talked about that, is a new program to you.

Cathy: Yes.

Troy: And we talked a little bit about what our theme is going to be and what our past themes have been, but the theme for our upcoming year is Space Weather, and the idea for one of our feature activities is to show students and teachers how to set up Space Weather Action Centers where they can actually pull in real NASA data that's current about tracking solar storms. And there's a whole online resource we're developing for that. Do you think that would be something that your school could actually use and develop?

Cathy: Absolutely. One of the things that we have done We've kind of taken a new twist on an old idea, and we've created something that we like to call ‘Sci-Tech’, which is a project based program that we're doing in our school. Each year we have developed it a little bit more - you know - we talk about it at the end of the year what went well, what we'd like to do differently, because it does drive our master schedule so that students have a consecutive amount of time. You know, it's not just an isolated 50 minutes here or what have you. So with Sci-Tech we actually do a lot with weather prediction. We have a weather station on the top of our school. We also have a state of the art news show and our children are - CNN! I mean they are . . .

Troy: That's magnificent.

Cathy: Yes. And the weather of course has a lot to do with whether or not you get to go out to recess, what type of activities you're going to be doing, and the children really see the correlation. We also integrate all subjects into weather. So this weather, and now taking it a step further and looking at you know, our Solar System and those things. It certainly is very applicable and builds on our mission and what we're trying to accomplish.

Troy: Cathy, I really want to thank you for your time, and is there anything you'd like to say or to your staff from where you are or where you come from?

Cathy: Yes, I would like to say, and I believe that my staff would be disappointed if I didn't, [sings "The Greatest Love"] I believe that children are the future.

Troy: Ha ha! That's great! Thank you very much!

Cathy: That's just our little theme song.

Troy: I wanted to hear the whole piece.

Cathy: Well, you come and visit us in Columbia, South Carolina, and I'll sing the whole song for you over the intercom.

Troy: Well thank you to you and the wonderful example of the school that you have.

Cathy: Thank you.

Troy: In upcoming podcasts, we'll talk a little bit more with Cathy Cannon and hear how she plans to integrate the new Space Weather Action Center Program into her school. In the meantime, you can find more information about the Space Weather Action Center Program on the Sun-Earth Day 2007 website.

My next interview is with Kathy Kaiser Holscott, who is the director from NASA CORE. NASA CORE is a world wide distribution center for NASA's educational multi-media materials. Through CORE's distribution network, you have access to more than 200 video, slide, CD Rom, and DVD programs chronicling NASA's state of the art research and technology. It is through the use of these supplemental curriculum materials that you can provide the latest in aerospace information. These materials also provide a springboard for discussion on life science, physical science, Earth-Space science, aerospace research, technology, mathematics, geography, careers, education, and history. So lets hear what Kathy has to say.

Kathy: NASA CORE is NASA's world wide distribution center for their educational materials. Now, how we get involved with Sun-Earth Day is through a class that we have at the Lorain County Joint Vocational School, and that's where CORE is located. It's a very unique partnership between the school and NASA. Now, the special needs class that we have is so great. They're trying to become job ready, so they're being trained so that they can go out into the community and get a job.

Troy: Now, these students, how many students are there that you're working with that help us with all of this packing? I guess that they are packing materials, packing Cds. Could you explain a little bit about that and the students?

Kathy: Sure. Like this past year, there were 12 students. Many of them have different disabilities. You know, myself, I try to not know what those are, because we try to keep and open mind and know that the kids can do anything they put their mind to. So this year, like I said, we had 12 students. They were just great.

Troy: : I know that for Sun-Earth Day over the past several years, we've used NASA CORE, and these students have packaged, oh thousands and thousands of folders and materials, so many of the people out there right now listening to us, if you've received the Sun-Earth Day kit or the Sun-Earth Day folder and packet, you know that these incredible students that Kathy is talking about are the ones who actually put that together for you. Do you have any favorite stories or memories of anything that you've done with these students that really stand out in your mind?

Kathy: Well, one of my favorite things is, you know, that first week of school is so very hard. The kids are brought down to our office one time. Then, they have to learn their own way back to their classroom, which doesn't seem like much, except that our school is 10 acres under one roof.

Troy: Wow!

Kathy: So the students have to find their way back, and this is a job to them. They are being sent to our office to pick up these materials. So they will come back, maybe the receiving dock just received a huge truck shipment. They have to get that off of the truck, put it on carts, and take it back to their lab. Then they have to do all the counting to make sure that we received enough because many times, they're putting together 15,000 packets. It could be a poster, a lithograph, a CD Rom as you mentioned. And all those items have to be accounted for. They have to be packaged in a folder, and then the folder put into an envelope.

Troy: That sounds like quite a bit of responsibility. And I'm sure that the students actually, they must love doing this and working with NASA to get these materials out to our teachers like this.

Kathy: They really do. Previously, they worked on some items where they would put nuts and bolts together, all timed activities, to try to get them jobs in manufacturing. And they did it, but you know, they couldn't see the connection. But now they can. When they say "wow, I'm doing work for NASA", and then we show them pictures at a convention where we're handing out those packets to teachers, they get so excited and they just can't wait to get started again.

Troy: Because they really are making a difference on a national level.

Kathy: Yes they are.

Troy: Now if people are interested in just learning more about NASA CORE, and exactly what that is and how to get materials through NASA CORE, can you talk about that?

Kathy: Sure. We can be reached by phone, email or fax. And we have a website that is: Which is CORE. So please go on our website and take a look at what we have available.

[ Editor's note: NASA CORE's website can also be viewed at . ]

Troy: And the phone number and all the rest of the contact information is right there.

Kathy: Everything is there.

Troy: : Well, Kathy, thank you so much for your time, and I can't wait to get the word out more about NASA CORE.

Throughout this podcast series, we will be chatting with quite a variety of people including scientists and educators from the NASA community. You will hear interviews with members of the Sun-Earth Day team such as Isabel Hawkins, who will share with us exciting information from museums, science centers, and the general public. We'll also hear from Lou Mayo who will fill us in on the new Sun-Earth Day Amateur Astronomers program. Finally, Sten Odenwald will give us a sneak peak at the 2007 Technology Through Time lineup. For all other details about the Sun-Earth Day program, including information about our past Sun-Earth Day themes, be sure to visit our website at:

Sun Earth Day is a program sponsored by the NASA Sun-Earth Connection Education Forum at the Goddard Space Flight Center, and at the UC Berkeley Space Sciences Laboratory.

To find out more about the Sun Earth Day program, visit our website at:

This is Troy Cline signing off.

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