Bill Nye is a man with a mission: to foster a scientifically literate society by helping people everywhere understand and appreciate the science that makes our world work. Nye has spent the past 20 years educating students young and old about science and understands the importance of keeping minds active after the last school bell rings. “Learning can happen anywhere and at anytime – the important thing is that it should never stop,” Nye said. “We’ve put together fun, free and easy activities that will make this the summer of learning versus the summer filled with the dreaded words ‘I’m bored.’ ” AN EARLY KNACK FOR HOW THINGS WORK Making science entertaining and accessible is something Bill has done most of his life. Growing up in Washington, D.C., he spent afternoons and summers de-mystifying math for his classmates. While working for Boeing in Seattle, Bill combined his love of science with his flair for comedy. After winning a Steve Martin look-alike contest, he became an engineer by day and a stand-up comic by night. Eventually, Bill made the transition to comedy writer and performer on Seattle’s home-grown ensemble comedy show “Almost Live.” This is where “Bill Nye the Science Guy®” was born. The 18-time Emmy Award-winning show appeared before Saturday Night Live and later on Comedy Central. During this time, he also wrote five kids’ books about science, including his latest title, “Bill Nye’s Great Big Book of Tiny Germs.” BROADENING HIS MISSION Bill’s passion for math and science translated into a love of space. His role as CEO of The Planetary Society, the world’s large space interest organization, has taken him across the globe. And one thing Bill is very proud of is the MarsDials, two sundials on residing on Mars he created with Cornell scientists. America’s favorite stand-up scientist hasn’t changed much from that kid growing up in Washington, DC. He still rides his bike to work. He’ll pull out his Periodic Table of the Elements from his wallet. And his drive for helping others understand science is as strong as ever.
For the past 20 years, I have been engaged as an educational researcher, evaluator and professor of educational policy. Areas of expertise include education reform, policy implementation and effectiveness, post-secondary attainment and socio-economic disadvantage. My publications address the social institutions and policies designed to promote educational advancement for students, especially the socially disadvantaged. Teaching and research associations over the past 20 years include the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign, University of Minnesota and Stanford University. I hold a Ph. D. and M.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a B.A. from Lawrence University.
Deborah "Debi" Ash is a graduate of Capella University's School of Education (PhD - Instructional Design for Online Learning and MScEd- Professional Studies in Education) who currently develops, designs, and facilitates Teacher Education and General Education classes at the Robert B. Miller College in Battle Creek, MI. Her past experience includes facilitation at ITT Technical Institute - Online, International American University, Glen Oaks Community College, and Axia College in Phoenix, AZ. Dr. Ash is also the Director of a non-profit educational consulting group, AIDEC, which focuses on the implementation and utilization of instructional design models & principles that engage and motivate students who are at risk of not completing high school. Her work at AIDEC includes grant writing for Federal IES applications, research in the field of participatory design, engaging learning strategies, instructional technology, and ensuring that all students receive a fair and balanced education at the secondary level based on individuality, respect, and responsibility. Teaching/Learning Philosophy Human nature is as true to form as the individual. Although we have similar facets, the truth of the matter is that we are nothing alike. Just as DNA is unique to each of us; so is our nature to learn. Culture, education, media, friends, and free will give each of us a different path for our lives. It is the responsibility of a teacher/instructor to open the minds of the learner’s to new experiences; it is the learner's responsibility to act upon it. Based on a very balanced blend of Naturalism and Existentialism, Dr. Ash's educational philosophy extenuates the ability to see each learner as a force of nature and experience. Taking the time to recognize each learning style, each cultural group, and each learner as a separate person within the whole is the success of her teaching and design process. The success of the learner is the overall goal of the classroom. Teachers simply cannot “walk” into the classroom and teach the subject at hand. Each subject does not exist in black and white; every avenue should be explored if the learner should so wish it to be. An inquiring mind is a learning mind and she encourages this to the benefit of all involved. Overall, to teach is unique; just as the learners are. To look away from the true nature of an individual who is within a classroom is not an option. Instructional Design for Online Learni