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Professional Development

RAPsRAPs 2005
  June 2004 RAP
Participants from 15 countries attended a June 2004 RAP about mobile exhibits hosted by Technopolis, the Flemish Science Center, Belgium
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ASTC RAPs (Roundtables for Advancing the Professions) held in 2005.

February 17—20
Successful Science Shows (3S)
Technopolis, the Flemish Science Center, Mechelen, Belgium

Science shows add unmistakable value to science center visits, creating deep impressions that complement hands-on exhibits. RAP participants will discuss the vital ingredients of a successful show and consider whether it is possible to write a "universal" manual. Participants are invited to present a show for fellow participants and Technopolis visitors.

Contact: Steven Vols or Ann Clerbout, 32 15 34 20 20
e-mail: rap@technopolis.be

March 18—19
Marketing the Contemporary Science Center
Orlando Science Center, Orlando, Florida

Come to this dynamic workshop in sunny Orlando and share strategies and ideas on advertising, membership, impact of membership on your numbers, content and effect of your science center newsletter, and internal communication with other marketing leaders. Attendees will also experience Cocktails & the Cosmos, a monthly marketing event held at Orlando Science Center. Cost is US $50.

Contact: Heidi Pinchal or Kirsten Reynen at 407/514-2021 or 2128; e-mail hpinchal@osc.org or kreynen@osc.org.

May 13—14
Expanding Museum Outreach Through the Use of Multi-User Environments
SciCentr.org, Cornell Theory Center, Ithaca, New York

SciCentr.org is the online science museum of the Cornell Theory Center (CTC), a high-performance computing and interdisciplinary research center at Cornell University. CTC researchers are working with multi-user virtual environments (MUVEs), new outreach tools that combine online chat and 3D gaming technology with all the features of the World Wide Web. MUVEs appeal to youth and offer opportunities to engage them in constructivist learning activities focused on research. In this workshop, to be held at CTC's New York City office, attendees will experience student showcases and virtual tours and participate in group brainstorming, discussions, and hands-on, team-based "world building," using technologies and content that can be integrated into a virtual science exhibit.

Contact: Suzanne Kolodziej, CTC, Education Outreach Coordinator, 607/255-4427; e-mail smk@tc.cornell.edu

June 16—17
Personal Mobile Devices and Science Centers
Liberty Science Center, Jersey City, New Jersey

Liberty Science Center is offering this 2-day workshop for those who are exploring the use of personal portable devices (MP3 players, cell phones, PDAs, RFIDs) as learning tools. Liberty is researching ways for guests to use their own devices to enrich their learning experience. Your participation will assist this research project in progress, as well as provide you with an opportunity to explore your particular interests in applications for this technology. If your science center is already doing this kind of work, you are encouraged to share strategies and ideas.

Contact: Wayne LaBar, Vice President of Exhibition and Theaters 201/451-0006 x347 or Julie Berger x546; e-mail wlabar@lsc.org.

August 11
Physics — the Most Simplistic of the Sciences
Utah Science Center, Salt Lake City, Utah

This RAP on physics for informal settings immediately follows the Summer 2005 meeting of the American Association of Physics Teachers (www.aapt.org). The major goal of the RAP is to explore informal learning strategies for Overcoming Fear of Physics in the general public—and in science center personnel—via new and novel experiences that help generate personal revelations about how the world works from a physics perspective. Several sessions at the AAPT meeting are also relevant to science centers, including new and novel interactives and physics for the general public. Although these are separate events, science center education and exhibition staff registering for this RAP may also want to attend the AAPT meeting—and AAPT members are invited to participate in the RAP.

Contact: Joe Andrade, Director, 801/484-4904; e-mail joeandrade@uofu.net

August 26-27
NASA's Reduced Gravity Flight Program: Museum Opportunities
St. Louis Science Center, St. Louis, Missouri

This weekend RAP hosted by NASA and the St. Louis Science Center (SLSC) will open the door to an exciting opportunity for your institution to involve high school students, community members, and staff in an authentic scientific endeavor. Participating museums will be able to fly experiments on NASA's reduced gravity aircraft, also known as the "Vomit Comet." From NASA experts and current program participants at SLSC, RAP participants will learn about the conditions of the flight, good experiment ideas, the proposal process, and how to make this an institution-wide activity. Travel stipends for the workshop may be available.
NASA Reduced Gravity ProgramNASA Reduced Gravity Program for science centers and museums.

Contact: Holly Hughes, SLSC Community Science Programs, 314/535-0104; e-mail hhughes@slsc.org.

November 10-11
A Different Angle: Mathematics Exhibits in the Science Center Museum of Life and Science, Durham, North Carolina

Science centers are beginning to approach science learning from a different angle—geometry, calculus, algebra, numbers, and measurement—and apply their expertise in informal education to mathematics. Designing stand-alone mathematics exhibits raises unique challenges, all of which can be exacerbated by math phobia on the part of exhibit developers, institutional stakeholders, and the adult public. The Museum of Life and Science recently completed a math exhibition and is eager to share the development experience. What are the best ways to create experiential mathematics exhibits? How do we communicate that math is more than just arithmetic? What concepts do children need to master? How should a mathematics exhibit be marketed to attract the public? Share your experiences and discuss your questions, as RAP participants develop strategies for creating effective mathematics exhibits at their own institutions.

Contact: Suzanne Perin, Mathematics Exhibit Researcher, 919/220-5429 x352; e-mail suzannep@ncmls.org

December 2-3
Innovative Techniques for Training Floor Interpreters
New York Hall of Science, Queens, New York

As we learn more about how our visitors learn, we must learn new techniques to train our interpretive staff. Come to this interactive workshop and share your best practices for staff training. While you're there, you'll learn innovative techniques used at the New York Hall of Science, jump into mock trainings, explore the role of technology and create your own can-do tools for immediate implementation. Learn how to transform your interpretive staff into floor agents of inquiry. The workshop, like our science centers, will be entirely hands-on, using exhibits in the museum's newly developed north wing.

Contact: Sookram Ramsaroop, Supervisor of Interpretation and Demonstrations, 718/699-0005 x332, e-mail sramsaroop@nyscience.org; or Preeti Gupta, Vice President for Education, 718/699-0005 x349, pgupta@nyscience.org

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