Goehring, Robigou, Ellins, Kappel, Barbaro, Herren

White Paper Title: 
New paradigms for expanding education and outreach for oceanographic and earth science

For nearly two decades, since the original RIDGE program began, ridge scientists have been finding ways to share the exciting discoveries of hydrothermal vent systems beyond the scientific community to public audiences of all ages, backgrounds and interests. With advances in communications and Internet technologies, new opportunities exist for telling the ridge story. Our working group brings a diverse set of backgrounds together to review outreach lessons learned and explore new approaches, technologies, and networks to expand our reach. This white paper describes some of the R2K outreach successes, potential future directions, and what each working group member brings to this endeavor.

Highlights of Ridge community E&O accomplishments

A more complete description of ridge-related outreach efforts and their impacts will be compiled during the meeting as part of the paper that will come from this working group.

Experiential Learning for K-12 Teachers – Teachers at Sea: Early efforts of RIDGE PIs resulted in the successful teacher-at-sea REVEL Project (Research and Education: Volcanoes, Life and Exploration). REVEL laid the foundation for a number of successful teachers at sea education projects including URI Graduate School of Oceanography’s Teacher Armada and the IODP Deep Earth Academy Teacher at Sea Program.

“Seagoing expedition” web sites: R2K scientists at various institutions institutionalized “research expeditions web sites” to engage students (K-Graduate level), teachers, and the general public in the excitement and complexity of seagoing work. These web sites provide mid-ocean ridge scientific background, data, and spectacular imagery of life on board research vessels, the seafloor and its unusual inhabitants. To name a few: REVEL (UW), Black Smokers (AMNH), Dive & Discover (WHOI), Extreme 2000 - Voyage to the Deep (U Delaware). With the evolution of satellite-sea-land telecommunication, seagoing expeditions worldwide are accessible to the public (Canada, France (IFREMER), Japan).

K-12 Curricular Resources: To complement REVEL and expedition web sites and reach teachers and students throughout the U.S., the R2K E&O office developed the SEAS (Student Experiments at Sea) program, providing ridge-related curriculum resources for K-12 educators and a program for students to engage in authentic inquiry through the web. In 2006, R2K E&O collaborated with GLOBE, an international web-based science education program, to create FLEXE (From Local to Extreme Environments) and begin reaching schools worldwide. FLEXE is a Ridge 2000/GLOBE Earth Systems Science project that features inquiry-based, data-oriented activities designed for middle/high school level students to learn about the deep-sea in the context of their own environment.

Informal Science Centers: R2K researchers also have a successful history of working with informal science centers to develop deep-sea exhibits for large audiences. Examples include the Black Smoker in the Hall of Planet Earth in the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, and the Seafloor Science exhibit at the Ocean Institute in Dana Point, CA. Additional efforts in this arena include collaborations with the Birch Aquarium at Scripps and the California Science Center, where R2K members have been aiding development of deep-sea mid-ocean ridge exhibit components. Such efforts provide excellent opportunities to share the excitement, process, and results of R2K research with large cross-sections of the public

Networks: Collaborations between networks is an effective way to broaden the reach of existing projects and materials. The TXESS (TeXas Earth and Space Science) Revolution is an NSF OEDG project that helps a large network of teachers build a solid foundation in Earth and ocean science by providing up-to-date information through guided inquiry activities and lectures delivered by science experts. The TXESS Revolution project invited Ridge 2000 to share educational resources (i.e., FLEXE) and science presentations as part of their teacher professional development academy on Extreme Environments and Extreme Events. R2K E&O has pursued similar collaborations with several COSEEs, helping disseminate ridge-related resources and materials through the COSEE network. 

Future directions - What are the R2K community’s hopes for E&O?

It is the intention of our working group to explore and prioritize potential fruitful avenues for future R2K outreach. Suggestions are being gathered using the provided wiki and these include ideas such as using the Podcasts, Field Guides, and LifeDesks (content management platform) tools and resources of Encyclopedia of Life (EOL) as well as YouTube and GoogleOcean to capture and disseminate R2K discoveries and imagery; authoring a series of public audience magazine and journal articles highlighting R2K science, technology, and discoveries; creating/compiling hands-on labs and lessons for teachers and disseminating these through channels such as DLESE and TOS; and using the arts to communicate to wider audiences. The working group will also explore ways to collaborate with existing programs/resources from marine education partners (e.g., OOI, COSEE, NOAA, Smithsonian’s Ocean Portal). Finally, the group will begin to identify members of the R2K community interested in implementing such projects as well as potential funding sources for projects.

The Working Group Members

Liz Goehring - Liz has served as the Ridge 2000 Education and Outreach Coordinator since 2001, initiating an EPO program for the R2K community that built upon and complemented existing outreach efforts. As coordinator, she has focused on creating programs that multiple R2K researchers could contribute to without having to create and fund individual efforts and on developing collaborations and partnerships with formal and informal education and outreach networks to leverage efforts and have a broader reach. Four major programs developed include a Distinguished Lecturer Series (DLS) – targeting academic institutions lacking marine science programs, Student Experiments at Sea (SEAS) – a pilot program to promote authentic inquiry in middle and high school science classes, VentureDeepOcean.org (VDO) – a public website featuring the research discoveries of the R2K community, and From Local to EXtreme Environments (FLEXE) – a web-based science education program developed in partnership with GLOBE (www.globe.gov).  Other outreach efforts have included coordination of support to various Informal Science Centers such as the Ocean Institute in CA, serving as co-editor for a special issue of Currents on Deep Hydrothermal Vents, helping initiate the formation of an R2K image bank for research and public use, and assisting with the coordination of R2K involvement in two IMAX films – Volcanoes of the Deep Sea and Aliens of the Deep.

Véronique Robigou – Véronique has been involved in a multitude of mid-ocean ridge, ocean and earth sciences E&O since 1994. She created, implemented, and directed professional development programs for K-12 teachers (REVEL Project), and spearheaded the development of offshore-onshore websites to entrain students and teachers to experience sea-going research and exploration (first REVEL website 1996). As director of an NSF-funded COSEE center she collaborated with scientists interested in augmenting their E&O communication skills and taught courses to graduate and undergraduate students that are eager to communicate their research in K-12 settings, as well as practice teaching in classrooms and collaborate with K-12 science teachers. She contributed to and or hosted media programs such as the JASON Project (1994), NOVA PBS show (1999) and UWTV live-stream programming (2005) from the seafloor. She has developed curriculum in support of museum exhibit (AMNH Education department) and contributed visuals incorporated into museum exhibit (AMNH 1998-1999).  She is now working on integrating the rigor of science with visual art to share science stories with the public.

Kathy Ellins – Kathy is the program manager at the Institute for Geophysics at The University of Texas at Austin. Although her early training focused on hydrology, marine geology and oceanography, she currently specializes in geoscience education. For more than ten years she has provided K-12 professional development in Texas to science teachers, including through an NSF-sponsored Opportunities for Enhancing Diversity in the Geosciences project, the TeXas Earth and Space Science  (TXESS) Revolution, which she leads. Other projects include Water Exploration, a Web-based education program for Texas high school students developed with funding from the Texas Water Development Board and Earth Systems Science: A Key to Climate Literacy, led by Tamara Ledley (TERC) and sponsored by NASA. Active in national Earth science education reform, Kathy has served on the U.S. Science Advisory Committee (USAC) for the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP), the IRIS Education Committee and participated in the development of the Earth Science Literacy Principles. She is interested in collaborating on projects that integrate the outcomes and products of E&O efforts of the different geoscience programs and consortia (e.g., R2K, IRIS, MARGINS, etc.) to create a lasting legacy of rigorous K-16 Earth science curriculum materials.

Liz, Véronique and Kathy will prepare and co-lead discussions of the E&O working group, and help prioritize E&O goals as set by the R2K community. 

Ellen Kappel  - Ellen comes to the R2K E&O group without the traditional background in E&O (however, her scientific background is mid-ocean ridge tectonics).  As a program manager for the Ocean Drilling Program (more than 10 years ago), Ellen supported lecture series, graduate fellowships, brochures for many audiences (but generally not K–12), educational CD-ROMS, and other E&O projects. In many cases, she provided the ideas and was the primary contributor. In her current capacity as Editor of Oceanography, Ellen’s forays into E&O have been to support new initiatives related to the magazine (see www.tos.org/oceanography) and its sponsor, The Oceanography Society. However, most of those initiatives are related to undergraduate and graduate education.  For example, Ellen launched a "hands-on oceanography" column and magazine supplement related to that concept, and she has recently started a "career profiles" column (the theme is: “there IS a good life outside of academia”). With her Geo Prose hat on (Ellen’s company), she has worked as editor for several projects related to geoscience E&O (e.g., Earth Science Literacy Initiative, many IRIS projects), but they were not her own initiative. Ellen excels at pressing people into action to help produce products, editing the language, and taking a product to its completion.  She is happy to contribute ideas to the E&O working group and contribute to the paper after the meeting.  If there are opportunities to collaborate on E&O projects in the future, Ellen is very willing to participate. 

Tracy Barbaro – Tracy Barbaro is the Project Coordinator for Learning + Education Group of the Encyclopedia of Life. Tracy focuses on outreach, the development of tools and resources to help educators and learners utilize the species content from the Encyclopedia of Life and facilitating the development of educational partnerships. She is exploring ways to communicate and improve the public understanding of science through social media and interactive platforms. The Encyclopedia of Life (EOL) is an unprecedented global partnership between the scientific community and the general public with the goal to make knowledge about all the world’s organisms freely available to anyone. EOL is currently undertaking a Marine Theme, coinciding with the Census of Marine Life. EOL is aiming to promote synthesis and dissemination of marine biodiversity information online worldwide and anticipates compiling information on 90% of marine species through 2013. We hope to leverage EOL's global scale and broad scope to help the scientific and conservation communities address several major questions including major patterns of evolution and biogeography among the major marine groups.

Christy Herren - Christy, a biological oceanographer by training, currently views herself as a scientist-educator “hybrid” with one foot perched delightfully in each exciting world. After a research postdoctoral position at MBARI, she transitioned to become part of diverse team with COSEE Ocean Systems team at the University of Maine. COSEE OS was established to research and design highly flexible and engaging online tools that better enable individuals to understand the relatedness of biological, geological and geochemical phenomenon. COSEE-OS is one of numerous NSF-funded Centers for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence (COSEE) with a mission to help scientists translate their research stories to broader audiences in order to improve public awareness and engagement in ocean sciences. Since fall 2005, COSEE-OS has investigated issues in educational research that pertain to pedagogy, practice, and the learning process. User feedback has reinforced the desire for interactive products and processes that highlight fundamental concepts as well as their "big picture" connections. As a result, COSEE-OS is creating and evaluating multi-media tools that both highlight basic concepts and can be readily applied to other disciplines. Our team hopes to find innovative ways to engage R2K scientists and related investigators to develop more effective tools for education and outreach. Indeed, if NASA can create materials that make people feel like they have visited other planets, why can't the same be accomplished for the hydrothermal vents here on Earth?