2348 COSEE-West: Building the Bridge Between Scientists and Educators

Friday, February 19, 2010: 1:50 PM
Room 11A (San Diego Convention Center)
Lyndell Whitley , USC Sea Grant Program, Los Angeles, CA
Scientific outreach is essential in developing the next generation of scientists. Recognizing the importance of science in current issues and bringing that scientific research to educators is a key COSEE role. COSEE partnerships include scientists, such as Dr. Chris Lowe who brings his Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) relevant research to educators, and teachers, like Amy Hill who takes the available resources and puts them into action with her students. COSEE creates a bridge for information and communication between scientists and teachers, sometimes directly at in-person events or online, and sometimes acting as the messenger between them. To assist Chris in sharing his research with educators, one of his lectures was leveraged in three ways. COSEE-West hosted an MLPA-themed teacher workshop at Cabrillo Marine Aquarium during which Dr. Lowe gave a lecture to the teachers and the public and it was videotaped. The lecture recording was later used as a keynote during one week of a three week MLPA-themed online workshop during which Dr. Lowe and his graduate student answered questions from people all over the world about his lecture.  Finally, we have made Dr. Lowe’s lecture available on the COSEE-West website for anyone to see to free. Along with his lecture on the website are background reading, online resources, and related activity suggestions for teacher use. All these services are made possible by the NSF funding to COSEE-West. Amy attended a different COSEE-West workshop than the one that Chris was involved in and shared with us that she was already involving her whole class in a student coastal research project. Through this connection, the MLPA initiative process was brought to her attention. She knows that pre-collegiate student research becomes a life experience when it can be applied to policy making and when their efforts can be the foundation for advocating for the environment. When southern California began the process, the students used their findings and experiences to represent the community and to take a leadership role in providing input to the MLPA process. Students prepared comments and a video to present their findings at MLPA meetings. This video and the ning site that they created about their experiences was shared with teachers in the COSEE-West online workshop (which involved Chris) and demonstrates the importance of promoting scientific research by students and their engagement in policy. COSEE West provides multiple kinds of connections between scientists, educators, students, and the public to promote marine science literacy.