What “Sustains” Us

July 31st, 2013 - Posted in 2013, Dimensions, From the CEO by Anthony (Bud) Rock

Science centers and museums the world over are successful through the combined efforts of capable staff, dedicated board members, committed volunteers, supportive community leaders, and a widely diverse collection of suppliers whose products and services help us bring exciting and educational programming to our visitors. ASTC refers to these suppliers—including individuals, corporations, and public agencies—as our “sustaining members.” Together, they support nearly every aspect of our operations, and they are often the source of the most innovative and forward-thinking concepts employed within our institutions.
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Meeting All the Standards

April 22nd, 2013 - Posted in 2013, Dimensions, From the CEO by Anthony (Bud) Rock

Even the most dedicated supporter of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) learning today would not be faulted for some level of confusion over the many educational standards for science that seem to be in various stages of development or review. There is considerable discussion lately, for example, about the new Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), not to be confused with the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy in Science and Technical Subjects.
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“The Company We Keep”: Help Us Gather the Stories of Their Museum Experiences

March 18th, 2013 - Posted in 2013, Dimensions, From the CEO by Anthony (Bud) Rock

The ASTC office in Washington, D.C., is only a few Metro stops away from the National Library of Congress, which houses among its treasures a compilation of oral and written testimonials from those who have witnessed history. Testimonials personalize events; they bind the presenters and listeners through common thoughts and feelings. Stories are much richer through first-hand telling.

In thinking about these historical testimonials, it occurs to me that so many fascinating individuals have passed through the doors of our science centers and museums and experienced so much. If we are judged by the company we keep, then we are no doubt judged favorably for the company of so many curious and inspired folks who have chosen to spend their precious time with us.
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We Have Our Roots in Water

January 30th, 2013 - Posted in 2013, Dimensions, From the CEO by Anthony (Bud) Rock

It has been a few years since ASTC’s award-winning magazine, Dimensions, last devoted an issue to a single science-based theme, like water. But, we were drawn to this topic for our January/February 2013 issue as we learned more about the 2013 International Year of Water Cooperation, and the UN’s decision to call upon its scientific and educational arm, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), to lead the effort “because of the organization’s unique multidisciplinary approach which blends the natural and social sciences, education, culture, and communications.”

This blend that defines UNESCO is mirrored in the work of science centers and museums all around the world. Recognizing this, ASTC has formed a strong partnership with UNESCO during the past two years that has, in turn, given greater visibility to a wealth of activities within our field to help raise local awareness about sustainable development, youth empowerment, greater access for women to careers in science, and many more topics that are precisely the issues defined as UN global priorities.

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Science as Child’s Play

November 29th, 2012 - Posted in 2012, Dimensions, From the CEO by Anthony (Bud) Rock

Let me forewarn readers that the next few paragraphs are about science—real science, as defined by such terms as inductive reasoning, hypothesis testing, statistical analyses, and probabilistic modeling. Some people call this child’s play, and, in fact, it is precisely about child’s play that I am referring.

I was struck by an article in a recent edition of Science magazine (September 28, 2012; p. 1623) that discussed new studies concerning scientific thinking in young children. The thrust of the article is that, when even very young children think and learn, they employ intuitive processes that are directly analogous to the fundamentals of scientific inquiry. Children make detailed observations of their worlds, systematically formulating hypotheses, experimenting, analyzing, revising, and making decisions in essentially the same rigorous fashion that defines good science.
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