Event Title

Promoting the Study of Natural Resources in K-12 Classrooms: Developing Active Professional Learning Communities for Science Educators On-Line

Location

Natural Resource Room 109

Event Website

http://uenr.warnercnr.colostate.edu

Start Date

24-3-2012 9:00 AM

End Date

24-3-2012 9:30 AM

Description

Laboratory Earth originated as a series of graduate courses offered to K-12 teachers by the School of Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The scientific content of the courses is congruent with topics identified in the National Science Education Standards and is designed to meet a variety of learning styles and appeal to teachers’ motivation to learn the content and improve their teaching. These graduate-level courses consist of four modules , are taught entirely on-line, and are part of a 36 credit hour graduate program, Science for Educators specialization in a Masters of Applied Science program at UNL. The Laboratory Earth program has grown in scope--from an initial three to six Lab Earth courses, as well as in sophistication of delivery. Course activities now include group projects interacting with on-line climate models and GIS software, as well as synchronous virtual chats and lectures using no-cost meeting software such as EVO and Join.me. Web 2.0 technologies sought out by the participants themselves are now complementing the Content Management System hosting the course at the university. Pre- and post-course surveys indicated significant increases in teachers‘ (n=51) content knowledge, science teaching efficacy beliefs (STEBI- A), sense of community within the course (LEO) and science teaching enjoyment (STES). Qualitative data indicated teachers valued the cohort system, content aligned to teaching needs, and the instructor’s response to requested feedback. Participants in the Lab Earth program find on-line learning an attractive professional development option. Throughout the Great Plains and western United States, many rural teachers live as far as 200 miles from an institution of higher education. For those teachers, participation in on-line courses provides an opportunity to be part of a vibrant and active professional learning community, where they can accumulate graduate credit while developing expertise and lesson plans that they can use in their own classroom. We have teachers who continue to take classes after graduation because of the value they see in continuing professional development within a community of dedicated professionals, developing and sharing lesson plans and inquiry-based activities, and tackling challenges they face in their classrooms together.

Comments

Citation: Low, R, Gosselin, D. 2012. Promoting the Study of Natural Resources in K-12 Classrooms: Developing Active Professional Learning Communities for Science Educators On-Line. UENR 9th Biennial Conference. http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/cuenr/9thBiennial/Sessions/40/

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
Mar 24th, 9:00 AM Mar 24th, 9:30 AM

Promoting the Study of Natural Resources in K-12 Classrooms: Developing Active Professional Learning Communities for Science Educators On-Line

Natural Resource Room 109

Laboratory Earth originated as a series of graduate courses offered to K-12 teachers by the School of Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The scientific content of the courses is congruent with topics identified in the National Science Education Standards and is designed to meet a variety of learning styles and appeal to teachers’ motivation to learn the content and improve their teaching. These graduate-level courses consist of four modules , are taught entirely on-line, and are part of a 36 credit hour graduate program, Science for Educators specialization in a Masters of Applied Science program at UNL. The Laboratory Earth program has grown in scope--from an initial three to six Lab Earth courses, as well as in sophistication of delivery. Course activities now include group projects interacting with on-line climate models and GIS software, as well as synchronous virtual chats and lectures using no-cost meeting software such as EVO and Join.me. Web 2.0 technologies sought out by the participants themselves are now complementing the Content Management System hosting the course at the university. Pre- and post-course surveys indicated significant increases in teachers‘ (n=51) content knowledge, science teaching efficacy beliefs (STEBI- A), sense of community within the course (LEO) and science teaching enjoyment (STES). Qualitative data indicated teachers valued the cohort system, content aligned to teaching needs, and the instructor’s response to requested feedback. Participants in the Lab Earth program find on-line learning an attractive professional development option. Throughout the Great Plains and western United States, many rural teachers live as far as 200 miles from an institution of higher education. For those teachers, participation in on-line courses provides an opportunity to be part of a vibrant and active professional learning community, where they can accumulate graduate credit while developing expertise and lesson plans that they can use in their own classroom. We have teachers who continue to take classes after graduation because of the value they see in continuing professional development within a community of dedicated professionals, developing and sharing lesson plans and inquiry-based activities, and tackling challenges they face in their classrooms together.

http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/cuenr/9thBiennial/Sessions/40