The project is a three year exploratory effort to promote a virtual scientist-teacher collaboration with middle and high schools that is sustainable, affordable, replicable, and broadly accessible. The project clarifies the Investigations in Cyber-enabled Education (ICE) framework constructs and gathers empirical evidence to form the basis of anticipated further research. The focus of the project is on climate change, particularly snow, and will be tested in both middle and high schools. The research question that frames the project is: under what circumstances can cyber-enabled collaboratioin between STM scientists and educators enhance teacher ability to provide STM education?
The project is designed to support and study scientists sharing in the creation of cyber training, collaborating with teachers online as they work through training, and providing a network of support for teachers as they implement what they have learned in class instruction. The PI, working with a development team of 13 scientists, a master teacher and technology experts, creates a course that works closely with the University resources and expertise. The course consists of research-aligned cyber-learning activities and a sustainable learning community that provides multiple venues for cyber-enabled scientist-teacher collaboration for practicing middle and high school teachers. Virtual collaboration persists after the courses end as teachers transfer training into class instruction. The course is hosted by University class management software that offers automatic tracking and assessment tools. The summative research uses an experimental design.