UTEP’s ‘Dr. Skateboard’ to Promote Science in Canada

Bill Robertson, Ph.D., associate provost and associate professor of teacher education at The University of Texas, is one of about 20 U.S. speakers who will participate in one of Canada’s largest annual teacher’s conferences Feb. 16 and 17, in Calgary, Alberta.

Organizers asked Robertson, whose alter ego is “Dr. Skateboard,” to attend because of his success at explaining difficult scientific concepts through the use of action science.

Robertson planned to lead two hands-on workshops about the relevance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education, and the mathematics of skateboards, as well as a presentation to about 300 area middle school students about the physics in skateboarding.

More than 10,000 educators are expected to attend the Calgary City Teachers’ Convention Association that will have 429 sessions. The event will be based at the TELUS Convention Center in Calgary, located north of Montana.

Dan Grassick, the association’s president-elect, said it is easier to teach a scientific principle to young students when they can see how what they learn applies to their own lives.

“You get this,” he wrote to Robertson in his initial invitation. “You have to hook the kids, relate to them, push them, and make it personal.”

Robertson said he plans to promote the use of video to teach science and math concepts in the classroom because many students seem to process the information quicker and more accurately that way. These videos often make it easier to get students to read about the scientific principles that were demonstrated.

“Videos have become a cost-effective way to deliver content,” he said, adding that there are many examples of free to low-cost materials available on websites such as TeacherTube.com.