Integrated Collaborative Education NSF NOAA CIRES COE

Summary of the Workshop Final Report

Full Copy in PDF format.

Integrated Collaborative Education Online Workshop for International Polar Year

. International Polar Year (IPY) begins in March 2007 and runs through March 2009.   A primary goal of IPY is “to attract and develop the next generation of polar scientists, engineers and logistics experts; and, to capture the interest of schoolchildren, the public and decision-makers”. Within the United States, the Polar science and education community has sought   to ensure that all education, outreach and communication activities contribute to a coordinated, interdisciplinary, international effort.  

Sponsors . The U.S. National Science Foundation, Office of Polar Programs and the U.S. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, Office of Education sponsored a two week online workshop from 17-31 March 2006. The workshop was open to any educator, scientist, outreach professional, or member of the general public interested in IPY. The University of Colorado's Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) and The College of Exploration were the organizers.

Outcomes . The ambitious expected outcomes of the workshop were: 1.List of top concepts related to IPY and the Poles to be considered by educators, 2. Begin a framework for Polar Literacy,  3. Develop details and methods for implementation by, to, and with different, diverse and indigenous audiences/populations,   4. Foster collaborations and create, enrich, and strengthena learning community which can continue online,   5. Identify ideas for measuring IPY education efforts at end of IPY, 6. Entrain greater awareness of use of technology , and  7. Respond to needs of participants.

Keynotes . The workshop was opened by a video welcome from Dr. Dave Carlson, Director, International Program Office, International Polar Year.

Dave Carlson Welcome (windows media format)

Dave Carlson Welcome ( Real media format)

A presentation was also given by Mark McCaffrey from CIRES on steps already taken towards Polar Literacy. The presentation can be watched here, it is in Flash format and should play on most computers.

Purpose. One of the main purposes of the workshop was to achieve consensus on the most important concepts concerning the Poles..  A pre-workshop survey asked participants for their top 3-5. The answers were the basis for an online discussion for the first week. Over 84 comments were posted and helped everyone move towards an integrated, collaborative sense of what is important. A summary list of ten was compiled:

1. The Uniqueness of the Polar Regions  
2. The complex inter-connections in the Earth system  
3. Global Climate Change
4. Importance to science  
5. History and Culture  
6. Places of extremes  
7. New models of land ownership/stewardship and international collaboration and cooperation  
8. Need and opportunity to study holistically  
9. What we don't know, the spaces between disciplines, and the gaps in our knowledge  
10. People and stories  


Misconceptions . Another key area of investigation and sharing was the listing and discussion on misconceptions. The pre-survey uncovered a long list from participants. The discussion resulted in 84 contributions.   This area has a huge potential for further work.   An effort was made to produce a chart of Key Concepts, Intended Understandings and Naïve Conceptions.

Breakouts . The planning committee wished to offer the broadest possible participation. To achieve these 12 separate areas were available: K-Graduate Education, Informal Ed, International Collaboration, IPY Plans, Diverse Audiences, Field Experiences, Young Scientists, Ed Tech & Digital Media, Data Communications, Art Gallery, Arctic Residents and Funding. Some were more active than others.

Other Features . Additionally the workshop offered a reception and technical help area, a collection of resources, a contribution to a calendar, and a social space “café”. This area was host to The HipBone family of games and analytic tools which is a toolset for   “mind-to-mind” collaborative thinking. They focus on a very powerful human habit of thought (and cognitive style) -- that of making associations between one thing and another.   In simple terms, this is a matter of seeing patterns: similarities, analogies, symmetries, isomorphisms.

Results.   The results include a number of reports from surveys, the lists of concepts and misconceptions and a network of interested communicators and educators.The workshop created a greater awareness about a broad range of communication and educational opportunities, challenges and technologies that relate to polar regions and their global linkages in general and IPY in particular.

Purpose and Goals

Outcomes and Outputs

List of top concepts related to IPY and the Poles to be considered by educators

List of 10 compiled

Begin a framework for Polar Literacy

Links   between concepts, understandings and misconceptions made. Table created.

Develop details and methods for implementation by, to, and with different, diverse and indigenous audiences/populations

Difficulties and challenges identified. Example programs shared and personal connections made.

Foster collaborations created, enriched, strengthened, create a learning community which can continue online,

Over 200 participants. Many new introductions and personal connections made.

Identify ideas for measuring IPY education efforts at end of IPY,

Limited discussion and progress. More work is required to define measurements.

Entrain greater awareness of use of technology

Variety of education and communication technologies used during the workshop

Respond to needs of participants.

Surveys before during and after the workshop captured a wealth of information and informed design and adaption.

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