This is an exciting time to be a science educator
I'm in my fourth year teaching 8th grade biology at The Nueva School. Launching "Science With Tom" - the YouTube show - is my chance to help teachers embrace the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), to bring charismatic young scientists into classrooms all over the world, and to instill a joy of interdisciplinary creativity in classrooms beyond my own. And now, thanks to a grant from New Schools Venture Fund, I'm down to 50% at Nueva, and spending 50% of my time working at public schools and science labs to make content.
Here's how this all started.
I began making science music videos while working as a Course Associate in the Human Biology program at Stanford.
I was lucky enough to get a Fulbright scholarship to study in New Zealand, leading to a "Masters of Science Communication." During my two years in Aotearoa, I created a new generation of videos, wrote a thesis on the impact of using music video in the classroom, and went on a New Zealand-wide school tour to promote "Science Idol."
Upon returning to California, I used what I learned in my masters program to help Bay Area students create a series of "Science History Battle Raps" (thanks to a grant from Hewlett Packard and a successful Kickstarter campaign).
As a middle school science teacher at Nueva, I'm getting on-the-ground training in constructivist education, and fleshing out my "Science Rap Academy" curriculum (where students research, write, and produce their own videos).
I'm also getting the chance to learn the best practices in science education, and to experiment with implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards.
The launch of "Science With Tom", the NGSS-inspired YouTube show, is a huge next step. I hope that teachers find it useful, that students find it entertaining, and that viewers feel compelled to participate by writing their own "Verse Twos", asking questions of the scientists in the comments, and subscribing to the YouTube channel. Most importantly, I hope it can supplement a science teacher's current curriculum and inspire curiosity, investigation, and creativity.