From April 8-11 I attended the 29th National Space Symposium in Colorado Springs as part of the Space Foundation Teacher Liaison induction. I had a chance to hike around the Garden of the Gods, a public park nearby and a national natural landmark. This place reminds of National Arches in Moab, Utah. Last Thursday I traveled to San Antonio to attend the NSTA National Conference. Saturday I participated in a tour of the Spanish missions offered through the conference. Enjoy the images.
 
 
Attended the Early Education and Technology for Children Conference in Salt Lake City. Learned about the Reggio Emilia approach to early education inspired in Italia as presented by Gary Stager. This approach reminded me of Pestalozzi’s. Richard Culatta, from the U.S. Department of Education publicized a cool tool, schoolspeedtest, for schools to know exactly how fast their broadband connectivity is and ‘connect 2 compete’ offering free/reduced price access to computers and internet connection to disadvantaged communities. There were plenty of apps advertised throughout the conference. I contributed to discussions, as teachers’ voices were absent; most attendees were product developers, professors, and educational consultants. I put a plug for the NASAViz app and exchanged ideas with several presenters.

 
 
Wonderful spring day in DC. Enjoy the photos!
 
 
On Monday and Tuesday, March 25-26 some sixteen Einstein Fellows spent two days at the Airlie Center in Warrenton, Virginia for a post-fellowship transition retreat. Amidst swans, snowed covered grounds and lakes, we followed a program consisting of human resources experts, former Fellows discussing career transitions, resumes, cover letters, networking and those of us returning to the classrooms, received a unique and exclusive hotline number to call when overwhelmed and dejected. I’m going to cherish that number; to be used during lunch (five minutes or so perhaps) and prep (wait, I wonder if I’ll get a prep, hope I do/students will get more out of me/ and that it reflects the number and diversity of subjects/levels I will possibly teach-I really love 8th grade physical science though, hint).

Today, at the Cannon bldg. in DC, nine Einstein Educator Fellows from NSF, DOE, NOAA, and NASA presented to a group of sixteen educator professionals from the United Kingdom and Teacher Ambassador Fellows from the United States Department of Education. I was one of the Einstein Fellows presenting. The goal of this presentation was to discuss current educational trends, exchange resources and compare educational systems. I talked about bilingual students, standardization and Content & Language Integrated Learning (CLIL). I asked how linguistically diverse students are serve in the United Kingdom and how does a national curriculum work on integrating a diverse kingdom (Ireland, England, Wales). The presentations’ delivery followed the Pecha Kucha format, where each fellow contributed and referred to twenty slides and each slide was shown for twenty seconds. My fellow Fellows, representing the states of North Carolina, Washington, Idaho, Colorado and the District of Columbia, will be returning to their classrooms for the 2013-2014 school year.
 
 
Fellows Steve B., Lynn R., Sharon, Chris, Sam, Cindy, Kathy, Sandee, Kevin, April and I spent a day at KSC in Orlando, Florida for a workshop and tour of the center, Thank you April for putting together this cool visit. In the workshop we were introduced to the Educator Resource Center, educational materials, the digital learning network, the NASA App for smartphones and tablets http://www.nasa.gov/connect/apps.html, a must have for STEM educators. We were also challenged by Jennifer H., Education Specialist who led the workshop at KSC Educator Resource Center, to design and build a thrust support system. I had done this activity with many of students when I had an elective class. Each Fellow submitted their designs to a rigorous test and, I must confess, mine was the lightest and strongest of all. If any other Fellows want to contest this, demand evidence; by the way, hearsay does not count.

We toured the center, watched wild life such as egrets, turtles crossing the road, bald eagles, manatees, crocodiles; it’s the wild side of NASA, almost as if we had been in a national wildlife refuge. Maybe we were, check out Merritt Island NWR. We visited the launch control center, role played launch director, climbed launch pad 39A (while no one was looking), practiced the astronauts emergency zip line exit from the launch pad tower, talked to a crabonaut, touched a moon rock, went into the cockpit of shuttle Altantis! (no photos were allowed here, it is not officially opened yet) and much more.

 
 
Last Friday I traveled to Las Cruces to be the distinguished speaker at the 5th Annual Southwest New Mexico Regional STEM Conference and I presented my research title ‘Bilingual Students in the Standardization Age’ at the Graduate Research & Arts Symposium. Got back Thursday night, put together a presentation I delivered yesterday Friday March 15 at Goddard and in a few hours I traveling to Orlando, Florida again. This time to Kennedy Space Center with a small group of Einstein Fellows for a series of workshops and enjoy Cocoa Beach, maybe even Universal Studios. I’m packing my running shoes and goggles, maybe I can swim and run with the sharks, did I say sharks? I meant dolphins.  

What a week! On my birthday an Argentinean was heavenly elected Pope. Really cool, he is even a chemist. Science helps us get closer to heaven while in faith we find the strength to rise again.

 
 
I talked to engineer Ariel S. of NASA-GSFC  and discussed how the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM), onboard NASA's Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity, works. Ariel is a fellow countryman from Argentina and was gracious enough  to talk to me between  real-time test runs and showed me the behind the scenes of different laboratories. 
Here are the two short videos one in English and the other one in castellano/español as Ariel explains the workings of SAM.  The  sound has some background noise as the testbed is running, but it is still audible. This is real science and technology in action. Amazing! Thank you so much Ariel.

 
 
 
 
Here is my "E-Learning & Digital Cultures" mooc course assignment. I titled it Catalytic Online Communities: Values, Communication & Education. There is an interesting short video clip at the end. Enjoy!