On Friday Brett and I drove to Charlotte, NC for the 2012 meeting of the Geological Society of America. Brett spent Saturday in a workshop while I caught up on museum paperwork and prepared a public lecture on Carmel Church. The meeting technical sessions started this morning.
The GSA national meeting is a huge event, far larger than the SVP meeting I attended in Raleigh a few weeks ago (there are a lot more geologists than there are vertebrate paleontologists). It can be a bit overwhelming the first time you attend one (I think this is my fourth); there were 41 different concurrent technical sessions before lunch this morning! Today was my busiest day, as Brett and I presented our posters this morning in Session 29, Recent Advances in Geoscience Education (Posters). (To give an idea of the size of GSA, our posters were number 175 and 178 in the Sunday poster session!).
Brett and I coauthored a poster on our project on virtual field trips for the iPad, featuring Oakes Quarry Park. I’ll post more about that project in a few weeks. Brett also had a second poster in this session, on teaching math in introductory geology classes. Jen Wenner at UW Oshkosh and Eric Baer at Highline Community College have developed an online math tutorial for geology students called “The Math You Need, When You Need It.” Brett has been using this in her geology classes with considerable success. Incidentally, Jen, Eric, Brett and I were all geology students at Carleton College together back in the early 1990′s.
Brett and I were so busy answering questions about our own posters that we didn’t get a lot of opportunities to see many other posters, or any talks. I did get to see several other education posters, however. Dave Heiser and Kent Golden also presented on virtual field trips, specifically the Peabody Meseum’s “CT Rocks!” program, much of which is already available online. Dave was also a student at Carleton and the same time Brett and I were there, but in biology instead of geology (there are a lot of Carleton alums at this meeting). In the same session Peter Riemersma and Peter Wampler described the use of a student photography contest to generate interest in their geology department.
I also managed to get to a few paleontology posters, including one by David Fillmore, Spencer Lucas, and Edward Simpson on vertebrate trackways from late Carboniferous sediments in Pennsylvania. These tracks were donated to the Smithsonian by Ralph Lacoe in 1898, but remained unexamined until now. They are similar to the tracks below, from the Pennsylvanian of New Brunswick (specimen from the New Brunswick Museum).
The presentations continue tomorrow, and since my poster session has ended I’m hoping to see a lot more posters and talks for the rest of the meeting.