Science Education at the Crossroads is a national conference with a mission to reform science education research and practice by providing and pushing new avenues for interaction between stakeholders.
News and Plans
We are pleased to announce our 2014 meeting in Portland, OR, at the splendid Heathman Hotel, September 25-27. Our Call for Papers emphasizes and encourages Vexations and Ventures in professional learning -- the development of opportunities for teachers, scholars, and others to develop in their field of practice.
We also call out to the community to nominate others that we can invite to participate at our Portland meeting. As always, we are looking for "polite dinner guests," especially those who may be new to the group and could benefit from such an invitation. Again, we're especially interested in those involved in the development of new or ongoing professional learning opportunities. See the Call or simply contact us and we'll be happy to extend those invitations.
Finally, we're excited to reveal that Crossroads itself is at a sort of crossroads. We are currently pursuing external funding to further describe the process of Crossroads as a model for professional learning in multiple contexts. Some of our work along these lines is shelved here in our library, but we are actively pursuing new ways to describe both the inner workings of the conference and to share it with others. Our call for others' work in professional learning is one step in this direction.
As originally conceived, Crossroads is a venue for intense educational conversations. Such discussions can occur in larger research conferences although it is impossible to predict when and where those will arise. Rather than leave such interactions to chance, we decided to strip away the unnecessary aspects of big conferences. By rejecting pretense and posturing, discarding the presentations and slideshows, and emphasizing new actions over old results, what remained became Crossroads. Once the vision became clear and we began to grasp the possibilities, it just became a matter of letting others know what we were up to. If there was any genius to all of this it was simply in recognizing what was possible and deciding that somebody ought to do it – and so we did.
Every attendee must be a full participant. Those who wish to attend must prepare a document describing a challenge that you are facing along with strategies you might use to address the issue. This proposal undergoes extensive review and feedback is provided to the author. Revisions are resubmitted and printed within the conference proceedings. At your appointed time during the conference, the session is structured such that you spend more time listening than you do speaking.
For a variety of reasons, Crossroads attracts as many valued participants as we actively invite. Every dollar we collect is used for that year’s Crossroads. We do all we can to make the event affordable and worthwhile. There is no banquet and we do not issue awards. Instead, you will have a chance to hear about a dozen new projects that are just underway. In addition, you will expand your network of dedicated and inspiring professionals.
To better understand Crossroads and its format, take a look at a call for papers, a typical program, and any of the following proceedings. Our library has additional references and some of our own ventures to describe this format in other venues.
Your initial reaction to Crossroads is probably the single best measure of its potential value. Those puzzled by our endeavor and its purpose would not enjoy it. We have found that those who gain the most from Crossroads are those who find value in large conferences but also sense the need for an alternative. Crossroads is a place to begin and take responsibility for new pursuits, rather than find closure and completion to old ones. Most folks may not have previously sensed an alternate possibility. But upon learning of the purpose of Crossroads, they are certain it is right for them. What some find so special about Crossroads others will feel is too quirky and amorphous. In short, if you are uncertain about Crossroads, then that is a good indication it might not be what you're looking for.