Thursday, April 3, 2014

NSTA 2014: The Other Kind of Geeky Convention I Go To

Today was the first day of NSTA's National Conference on Science Education in Boston.

I go to a lot of geeky conventions. Anime conventions, gaming conventions, collectibles shows, comic conventions, science fiction conventions. And when you put about 25,000 science educators in one location, the result is definitely geeky. At something like this, I really get the flavor of my hobbies intersecting with the work of my day job.

And today's convention content turned out to be especially geeky.

My first session was a presentation by Texas Instruments on their zombie apocalypse simulation that teaches everything from brain anatomy ("Brainssssss!") to epidemiology to titrations. The special guest presenters were Harvard scientist (and zombie author!) Steven Schlozman and Big Bang Theory actress (and neuroscientist!) Mayim Bialik. This was a lot of fun, and a great way to kick off the event.

Next up, I had a more job-related seminar on the recent changes to the AP chemistry exam.

Then it was time for the Planetary Society's featured speaker; Bill Nye!

Nye was great. His talk covered his recent debate on creationism, the need for continued space exploration, and the development of defenses against asteroid impacts. He also discussed selfies, and how to do one correctly. Making sure your phone has enough charge and enough memory is a good start, as it turns out.

I'm taking the bus back and forth to the conference, so I'll be heading back tomorrow. I only got minimal time in the exhibit hall today, so I definitely want to see more of that (and pick up more swag!). I also need to get in some workshop time with the Vernier probe equipment that we've started using in my department. 

Back tomorrow! Because, science!