NASA Spotlite Design Challenges: Student-produced Videos That Confront Science Misconceptions

Thursday, February 9, 2023 @ 7:00 PM EST
Presented by: Sharon Bowers, Joan Harper-Neely, Betsy McAllister, Holli Kohl, Shaun Conway & Suzanne Sprague

NASA Spotlite Challenges use the engineering design process to empower learners to research, write, and produce short videos to confront science misconceptions. Two new NASA Spotlite Challenges, Cloud Detectives and Land Detectives, focus on cloud and land covering misconceptions and encourage learners to gather real-time data as evidence to refute the misconceptions. During this STEMinar, you will interact with experts from NASA eClips,  GLOBE Observer, Screencastify, and Virtual Science Teacher to learn more about the design behind this collaborative work, tips for easy implementation, and the pay-off based on project evaluation.  For a more hands-on, step-by-step introduction to the NASA Spotlite Cloud Detectives challenge, please plan to join us for the February 23 Roundtable.

Sharon Bowers has been a K-8 educator for more than 30 years and her work with children earned her several honors, including recognition as a Secondary Science Presidential Award Winner for Virginia.  Sharon is a Senior STEM Specialist and the Associate Director for the Center for Integrative STEM Education at the National Institute of Aerospace (CISE-NIA). In this position, Sharon and her teammates develop NASA eClips and other resources that model best practice in the use of instructional technology to support STEM education and professional learning experiences for educators.  Sharon has developed and teaches graduate courses for McDaniel College that lead to a certificate in STEM Instructional Leadership.  She earned her BA in Biology, her MEd in Special Education (both from McDaniel College), and her EdD in Integrative STEM Education from Virginia Tech.


Joan Harper-Neely is a Senior STEM Education Specialist for CISE-NIA. She is a member of the team that produces the NASA eClips videos and educator guides. Joan enjoys planning and delivering webinars and face-to-face professional development on best practices for integrating STEM into the curriculum. She received her BS in Education from Pennsylvania State University and her MEd in Curriculum and Instruction from Regent University. As an adjunct professor at McDaniel College, Joan teaches a course exploring Technology's Impact on Learning. Joan is passionate about teaching learners to access, use, create, and control technology to solve problems and develop content about topics they find interesting and important.

Betsy McAllister is the STEM teacher specialist for Hampton City Schools in Hampton, VA and the Educator in Residence at CISE-NIA.  She received her BA in Biology from Hollins University and her MEd from Old Dominion University, with an emphasis in science education.  Betsy enjoys supporting teachers in their growth as STEM educators and engaging students in real-world STEM experiences.  She also enjoys her role in growing the STEM Network for her school division by developing meaningful connections between science classrooms and outside entities.  She is passionate about environmental education and volunteers her time as a Master Gardener and Master Naturalist.


Holli Kohl manages the GLOBE Observer Project as part of the GLOBE Program. GLOBE Observer ( invites people of all ages to participate in NASA science by collecting environmental observations in support of Earth system science through a smart phone app. Holli coordinates the GLOBE Observer team, which includes staff at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA Langley Research Center, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the Institute of Global Environmental Strategies (IGES). GLOBE Observer is funded under the IGES-led NASA Earth Science Education Collaborative:



Shaun Conway’s primary responsibility is to partner with the largest districts that Screencastfy works with (LAUSD, Denver PS, Cincinnati PS, Jefferson County KY, and many more), to ensure that Screencastify is supporting the elevation of instructional goals through video inside and outside the classroom. Prior to joining Screencastify, Shaun was a classroom teacher and building administrator for more than 10 years. During his time in education, Shaun worked to expand blended learning strategies and 1:1 initiatives, while always focusing on meeting teachers and students where they are. Shaun is a Golden Apple Scholar and Distinguished Alumni from Illinois State University's Department of History.


Suzanne Sprague is founder and executive director of Virtual Science Teachers, a nonprofit organization that has freely provided over 1 million interactive online learning sessions through the Virtual Science Teachers website.  She is passionate about equity in science education, supporting teachers, and environmental education.  She works with a deep commitment to science teachers, knowing they preparing students to be the problem solvers we need to make the world a brighter place.