Featured speakers included Tom Kiser, CEO and Founder, Worthington Energy Innovations; Dan Kammen, University of California-Berkeley; Jennie Stephens, University of Vermont; Susan Meabh Kelly, Teacher and Instructional Coach, Connecticut State Department of Education; Debra Rowe, Oakland Community College; Don Scott, National Biodiesel Board; and Monty Alger, Director, Institute for Natural Gas Research, The Pennsylvania State University.
You should attend Energy Education Summits if you are teaching about energy or wish to teach about energy in K-12, higher education or public education. Leading educators share best practices and develop partnerships to expand the impact and effectiveness of energy education. The Summit covers what we teach in energy education, how we teach it, how we can collaborate to teach it better, and how we can overcome critical challenges. The report and presentations from the inaugural Summit held in January 2015, present a vision for energy education in the US.
Rationale behind the Summit:
The need for effective energy education has never been clearer. On one hand, society needs to move away from energy technologies that threaten climate instability. On the other, changing these technologies raises difficult choices and possible dangers. Humanity may be condemned to great hardship from climate change if it does not change energy technology, yet making the wrong choices or picking the wrong pathways may disrupt energy services and create serious risks.
Citizens and leaders need increased energy literacy to resolve the dilemma by making changes in technology, policy, and behavior. In addition, a new energy economy will also need a workforce with new skills, knowledge, and perspectives. Energy literate leaders in politics, labor, business, and religion must help citizens and the workforce cope with the challenges and embrace the opportunities of change.
Despite the needs for energy literacy, very few college and university students in the United States or elsewhere systematically learn about energy as part of their education. Many, perhaps most, students working on energy attend technical courses that inadequately address societal content and sustainability. Inadequate energy education hinders development of sustainability education. New forms of energy education must become a fundamental part of undergraduate education, in the United States and everywhere else in the world.
The Summit was:
- An opportunity for energy and environmental and STEM educators to gather with leaders from business and industry, government and civil society to raise the profile and expand the impact effectiveness of energy education.
- An opportunity for energy educators in K-12, higher education, and informal education to share best practices and develop new partnerships. The Summit will cover what we teach in energy education, how we teach it and how we can collaborate to teach it better, and how we can overcome critical challenges.
- The Summit was designed to catalyze new initiatives and partnerships in energy education.
- The agenda included issues at both the classroom level (content, curriculum and pedagogy) and at the programmatic level (degree and sub-degree programs).
Desired outcomes included:
- Enhanced energy and sustainability literacy for students in all disciplines based on critical thinking about energy and its relationships with environmental issues such as climate change, international security, and the challenges of peak oil;
- New curricular models emphasizing active, interdisciplinary learning and research;
- New degree and certificate pathways for teaching about energy and sustainability;
- Stronger educational research programs that more effectively take innovations in science and technology to the demonstration and deployment stages, with broad public acceptance.