Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

STARBORD Workshops

Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

STARBORD Workshops

Article excerpt

"Why should we teach a course about marine biology when we don't live in a coastal area?" asked one school administrator in reference to a marine biology course that his school had discontinued. Because the oceans cover over 70% of the earth's surface, it is important that everyone learn about them, and the K-12 curriculum is the place to start. In 1997, the Consortium for Oceanographic Activities for Students and Teachers (COAST), a working collaborative designed to deliver oceanographic and coastal processes education to pre-service and in-service teachers of grades K-12, received a grant from the Navy to develop materials and conduct workshops that would aid teachers in teaching oceanography and coastal processes education. Teacher training for technology integration was considered to be an important component of that delivery process by everyone involved in the project.

Background

COAST was a recipient of a two-year grant involving the teaching of oceanography and coastal processes in the K-12 curriculum. COAST is comprised of three entities: Operation Pathfinder (University of Southern Mississippi), Ocean Voyagers (St. Norbert College), and Stimulating Teachers about Resources for Broad Oceanographic Research and Discovery (STARBORD) (Mississippi State University). These entities offer a broad spectrum of means, methods, and materials for ocean science education, as well as a nationwide telecommunications infrastructure. Under the direction of Dr. Sharon Walker of the J. L. Scott Marine Center, University of Southern Mississippi, the nationally recognized Operation Pathfinder summer workshops have been conducted since 1993 as three-hour, graduate-level courses in six coastal areas of the United States (including the Great Lakes). Their goal is to teach elementary and middle school teachers how to infuse the teaching of oceanography and coastal processes into the existing curriculum. The National Sea Grant Office, one of the partners that provided this national course in marine science education, recognized the importance of technology in providing educational reform.

"Pre-college education is changing. The need to achieve national and international excellence in the future workforce requires a concerted, multi-agency effort focused on education. Sea Grant is responding to that challenge by providing leadership through partnerships. What happens in today's classrooms is not what happened 20 years ago. Textbooks are no longer the only curriculum guide, cookbook-type directions are no longer the prototype for science experiments, and teachers are no longer the ultimate source of knowledge. Partnerships, cooperative learning, electronic communication, interdisciplinary courses, contextual learning and scientific literacy are additions to an educator's vocabulary. To respond to needs for educational reform, Sea Grant programs are providing leadership in training teachers and producing relevant curriculum materials, and they are also participating in partnerships to reach out to a much larger audience in the education community" (National Sea Grant 1994).

St. Norbert College's Ocean Voyagers' Program was developed for middle school pre-service and in-service teachers and students, and involves integrating lesson plans on literature, oceanographic science, maritime life and lore, technology, and communications into the middle school curriculum. As part of Ocean Voyagers, St. Norbert's Sea Scholars program connects the Navy's fleet to the classroom by taking classroom teachers on actual ocean voyages aboard Navy research ships. This is done in order to improve teachers' knowledge of science and to help them apply that knowledge to all areas of the curriculum.

The Center for Educational and Training Technology and the Digital Research and Imaging Laboratory of the School of Architecture at Mississippi State University worked jointly to develop Web-based resources for use in the classroom, including the ability to take real-world data and manipulate it through the use of visualization tools. …

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