This Pathways proposal seeks to find the most effective means for communicating research, research processes and ocean sciences to the public from the ocean ship Joides Resolution (JR). The JR is an NSF-supported research vessel that assists scientists and educators in their quest for understanding the science of oceans and ocean floors worldwide. The goal of this project is to find the best mechanism for communicating science through the numerous platforms of informal science education.
Through a series of discussions by stakeholders that include scientists, educators, end-users in the informal science education community and evaluators, 3-5 pilot projects will be selected for further elaboration, testing and evaluation for communication methodologies. From these studies and refinements, models for communication will be produced for further implementation. Partners in this venture include: Consortium for Ocean Leadership's Deep Earth Academy (DEA)and the Education Division for the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP).
This project will enhance the public's understanding of oceans, ocean floors, and related research in these elements, and inspire younger individuals who may consider ocean science as a career. Models for how best to communicate the world of ocean science will be tested and disseminated through informal science education networks and platforms. Further, models for evaluation of this multidisciplinary science endeavor will be helpful to advancing the informal science education field.
Bringing every student and member of the general public on board real research vessels and inspiring them with the "wow" of technology, exploration and discovery would be the norm in an ideal world, where this experience impacts participants in significant ways. In the absence of this, educators and scientists work together to inspire the public in ways that bring them as close as possible to these experiences. The education team of the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) received this Pathways grant to explore the most effective ways of bringing the excitement of seafloor exploration through the JOIDES Resolution to the public – by partnering with a diverse group of scientists, educators and informal science institutions. Through the creation of a regional network and a combination of techniques, including live ship-to-shore interactions, interactive multimedia, hands-on activities, and exhibit components, the project gained much knowledge about the successes and challenges of different approaches, understanding audiences, and bringing knowledge of past climate change, ocean systems and exploration to the public. The programâ€™s overall goals were to: * Refine and select the best methods for sharing the excitement of JRâ€™s science, the nature of science, and STEM careers with informal audiences; * Develop prototypes and partnerships to showcase and assess these methods; * Disseminate awareness and knowledge of JR-based science. Four pilot projects were developed: * JOIDES Resolution Outreach Network (JRON): a nationwide network to hold public events at museums and libraries * Stories from the Cores: an interactive video game * Girl Scouts workshops: a series of programs designed for Girl Scouts using JR content * JOIDES Resolution ebook: an interactive childrenâ€™s book Major Results JRON JRON Alumni Database: over 150 JRON members registered in over 20 states and on four continents (scientists & educators). 15 volunteers staffed or directly contributed materials for JRONâ€™s three "JR Science Weekend" events. 15 hands-on activities and resources have been adapted for museum audiences from IODP Education resources; these are available for future events. Over 675 individuals of all ages attended the three JR Science Weekend events in three communities These events are feasible, popular, educational. JR Alumni are enthusiastic about continued collaboration with IODP Education programs. Informal learning institutions are enthusiastic and willing, but also busy: this takes work from the JRON team. A public library can be an ideal partner site. Stories from the Cores Interactive Game: Stories from the Core aimed to plan a stand-alone interactive that allows users to experience the discovery of evidence in ocean cores, put less focus on "data collection," more on working with evidence (stories), and focus on comprehension and engagement in discovery process. Over the course of the project, staff learned that: It is possible to: isolate a few inquiry points for a story, if you are able to simplify (without losing accuracy) make a core story appealing to a general audience create a rigorous science framework usable in "serious gaming" applications It is hard to: detach from the more physical "data collection" aspects of these stories keep this science focused and relevant Girl Scouts Project The Girl Scouts project aimed to increase involvement of girls and underrepresented groups. It was successful in involving 112 Junior, Cadette and Senior Girl Scouts, who attended three-session workshop series in three locations (New York, New Jersey and Virginia) and a live video event with the ship. They received participation patches. Lesson plans and materials for more than five sessions of workshops were adapted or written for the project and integrated with GSUSA curricula and approaches. About 50% of participants were from under-represented minority groups. Evaluations indicated that the participants enjoyed the program, grew in their understanding of JR science and how science works in general, and became more interested in STEM careers. The effectiveness of the program was rated highly be the GS leaders, who were enthusiastic and hoping to continue in the future. JR ebook The goals of the JR ebook included: * Increase awareness of the JR * Reach audience younger than the age of usual JR programming * Create a free-choice learning experience with broad appeal * Create interactive digital activities with potential for multiple applications The book, Uncovering Earthâ€™s Secrets, was released in April 2013. It is available on ITunes and on www.joidesresolution.org, where it has been downloaded more than 200 times. Hundreds of copies have also been distributed at conferences and events. Evaluation results indicate that the book is well-liked and accomplishes its goals of increasing awareness and knowledge of the JRâ€™s work. In looking to the future of this Pathways grant, a full-scale AISL proposal was submitted to NSF in January 2014 (pending) that combines all four of these pilots and takes them to a much higher level. With independent IODP program funds, work is on-going on smaller parts of all four projects.