Under the direction of Kanesa Seraphin, Paul Brandon, and Truc Nguyen, CRDG’s science, learning technology, and evaluation teams are working together on a project funded by the US Department of Education to investigate how instruction in inquiry-based teaching enhances marine science education. The Teaching Science as Inquiry-Aquatic Science (TSA-AS) project is a modularized professional development program for teachers that combines instruction in inquiry teaching with marine science content, relating both to the ocean literacy principles developed by a collaborative network of scientists and educators (http://oceanliteracy.wp2.coexploration.org/). A complementary marine science curriculum (see p. 5) designed for online delivery is being used for the professional development.
The pilot group started in 2010 with the physical science and chemical aquatic science modules. Beginning in 2011, modules on biological and ecological science were added, so that teachers took the full set of four modules throughout the course of a school year. The structure of the project allows for teachers to attend the workshop, teach the inquiry unit in their classrooms, and then come back for a follow-up session to debrief and share their insights with other teachers. An online learning community provides support and learning on an ongoing basis, providing teachers with direct access to teacher resources as well as interaction with other site users. The TSI-AS platform promotes the discussion of new ideas as well as the sharing of teacher-created resources through a unique content management system that prompts users to “stay and discuss” or “move to the right place.” Teachers can rate and write reviews of EOFE materials in addition to having in-depth discussions and sharing in the teacher forum.