[CESElist] ESS Professional Development

Carlyn Buckler csb36 at cornell.edu
Fri Aug 3 09:11:53 MDT 2007

Dear CESE folks –

Regarding the 2007 meeting in Boulder, and the breakout group, “Augmenting
the Relationship between Informal ESS Providers and K-12 Education”: 
Here’s an update on what we have been doing to try and reach the goals
that the group had outlined.

Briefly, the group agreed that informal ESS education venues – science
center, museums, aquaria, zoos, and the like – are excellent educational
resources for promoting inquiry based, free-learning experiences in ESS. 
As most of these institutions already have established relationships with
their local K-12 educators – providing programming, etc. to local schools
- we also saw these venues as being perfect conduits for providing
professional development (PD) in ESS to formal educators.

One obstacle to realizing this relationship was the fact that there
exists, to our knowledge, no ESS education specifically for informal
educators.  A recent survey of informal ESS venues showed that the median
number of staff per organization who have Earth science training is only
one, and about 1/3 of institutions have no Earth science-trained staff. 
ESS education professional development for informal venues is needed if
they are to provide quality, inquiry-based education, and essential if
they are to provide formal educators with quality ESS education PD

ESSEA has in place an excellent program for providing formal educators
with high quality PD.  We approached Bob Myers of ESSEA with the idea of
taking the template of ESS PD for formal educators, and using it to
produce ESS PD for informal education staff.  Rob Ross (PRI), Rusty Low
(GLOBE) and I wrote a grant to ESSEA, and we have been selected as an
ESSEA partner.  We will be producing several new modules for ESSEA,
specifically designed for the informal ESS educator.  We have a number of
institutions that have showed interest in providing staff to pilot the PD,
including AMNH, Oregon Paleolands, and others.  The grant also allows for
mini-grants for participating organizations to contextualize their
learning by augmenting/updating exhibits, signage, programming, etc., and
the program will be disseminated through the Earth System Science Informal
Education Network – ESSIEN (InformalEarthScience.org).  By providing this
PD, and introducing informal venues to the ESSEA program, we hope not only
to improve the quality of informal ESS education throughout the U.S., but
also bring informal organizations into the fold of bringing quality PD via
ESSEA to their local formal educators.

Thanks to all,

Carlyn Buckler

Carlyn Buckler, Ph.D.
Paleontological Research Institution
1259 Trumansburg Road
Ithaca, NY  14850
607-273-6623 x25   Fax:607-273-6620

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