Community Platform for Ocean and Climate Education, Careers, and Workforce Development
Students, teachers, and parents from minority and underserved schools will examine how knowledge of remote sensing, ocean, and climate science influence students interest in and preparation for careers in STEM.
The Community Platform for Oceanic and Climate Education, Careers, and Workforce Development is a three-year ITEST strategy project targeting students, parents, and caregivers in Prince George's County, Maryland. The project examines how knowledge of remote sensing data, as well as ocean and climate science influence student interest in and preparation for careers in STEM. The project activities address the four domains that influence career choice: community, school, family, and peer groups. Project partners include Prince George's County Public Schools, U.S. Satellite Laboratories, Jackson State University, Alcorn State University, South Carolina State University, Oregon State University, and NOAA-Cooperative Remote Sensing Science and Technology (CREST) Center at the City College of the City University of New York. The project design is guided by the principles associated with lifelong learning, communities of practice, and connectivity through social networking. As a result of this effort, elementary and middle school students will participate in afterschool year-round SMILE Clubs (Science and Math Investigative Learning Experiences). A customized home-based curricula will be developed for families with middle school youth, using NOAA's SOS (Signals of Spring), which focuses on ocean literacy and SPRINTT (Student Polar Research with IPY National Teacher Training), which enables families to develop a polar systems research project. Parents and caregivers receive four weeks of training on SOS and SPRINTT on Saturday mornings in the first year of the project before it is implemented in subsequent years. Finally, undergraduates in the Louis Stokes Mississippi Alliances for Minority Participation (LSMAMP) at Jackson State University, NOAA/CREST, and other partner universities act as cybermentors for 10th grade students in year-round science and math clubs. Teacher activities include an online community of learning (with support from NOAA's Climate Service Portal), an annual community forum to discuss the use of cyberinfrastructure as a learning tool, and online mentoring by NASA Endeavor Fellows in the final year of the project. Professional development is provided for teachers who serve as SMILE Club advisors, in addition to weekend seminars and webcasts for math and science teachers that use the home-based curricula. This project is designed to serve 340 students, 36 teachers, and 20 parents and caregivers. The mixed-methods evaluation addresses the following question: "To what extent and under what conditions do community networks affect student knowledge of remote sensing for ocean and climate literacy and influence their interest in pursuing more education and careers in STEM using this technology?" The evaluation plan includes a logic model, as well as questions and instruments that address each domain in the community platform. In terms of broader impacts, the project addresses a range of familial and community factors that impact educational and career trajectories in climate science. The application of a community platform to impact lifelong learning incorporates an innovative approach to teaching and the use of networking technologies. This work may increase the understanding of climate science among students, parents, and teachers, while expanding the field's understanding of effective strategies to engage and sustain student interest in climate science and remote sensing.