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Sage Lichtenwalner
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Katie Gardner
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Tim Zimmerman
Assistant Professor of Science Education
Networked Ocean World

Spotlight on COSEE-NOW

The Centers for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence – Networked Ocean World (COSEE-NOW) is actively exploring new ways to virtually bring together scientists and educators involved in Ocean Observing Systems (OOS). We are focused on using ocean research and effective education practices to inspire students and the general public in ocean exploration, discovery, and stewardship.

In the past year, COSEE-NOW has re-launched its website, conducted a pilot series of online seminars, and developed a suite of educational resources for both formal and informal education settings. Over the coming year, we will continue to expand our virtual network while developing additional prototype new media that bring together a diverse community of scientists and educators.

Here are just a few of the cool new projects the COSEE-NOW team is involved in.

Ocean Gazing Podcasts
COSEE-NOW’s newest team member, Ari Shapiro, has been capturing the personal stories of scientists and their work in his new biweekly podcast called Ocean Gazing. Ari is currently planning a new series of podcasts for the fall, and would love to include your ocean experiences and stories. Please encourage your educators, students, and scientists to call in and share their stories at (508) 289-3926.

COSEE-NOW website
The COSEE-NOW Virtual Community Portal COSEENOW.net may not be the next Facebook, but it has become a gathering place for scientists and educators of all kinds to come together and share their questions and resources about Ocean Observing Systems. We’re continuing to try new virtual education strategies and are learning a great deal about online communication and collaboration from our members’ survey.

Online Seminars (or Webinars)
This spring, we piloted a new series of online seminars in which classroom teachers learned how to use ocean observing systems data in their teaching and scientists have learned more about writing effective broader impact statements - just in time for the NSF solicitation deadline. NOW colleagues Deidre Sullivan, Tom Murphree, and Leslie Rosenfeld offered a special webinar for the members of the Interagency Work Group on Geoscience Ocean Education (IWG-OE) on their recent study on trends in the ocean workforce.

COSEE-NOW Ocean Literacy Interactive Animation

Ocean Literacy Interactive
The Ocean Literacy Interactive is a flash animated tutorial designed to highlight the OL essential principles and fundamental concepts. The interactive is the work of Dr. Paul Jivoff, a marine biologist from Rider University, and Laura Dunbar, a middle school teacher from Sea Girt, NJ.

Telling Stories About the Ocean
COSEE-NOW has put significant effort into developing our community’s capacity to tell “stories” about our experiences with ocean observing systems from both the perspective of the scientists and educators involved in this paradigm shift in how oceanography is done. We hosted a number of successful workshops on effective storytelling techniques under the guidance of Andy Goodman, a former Hollywood screenwriter and author.

Results of the 2008 Scientist Survey
What do scientists think about coastal sciences education and outreach? Are they engaged? And, in what ways are they contributing? This report offers answers to those questions. In 2008 we partnered with the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO) and included their members in this year’s survey. (We thank ASLO for their assistance). Anyone planning education programs or products, establishing partnerships among scientists and educators, or interested in improving their education and outreach activities will find this report interesting and useful.

COSEE-NOW members Chris Petrone and Lisa Ayers Lawrence conduct a density demonstration as an introduction to the Don’t Even Sink About It! activity at the 2008 NMEA conference in Savannah, GA. Photo by Carol Hopper Brill.

Using Ocean Observing System Data in the K-12 Classroom
Are you interested in classroom activities using Ocean Observing System data? The Virginia Sea Grant/VIMS members of COSEE-NOW have collaboratively produced three new classroom activities that use ocean observing system data. The first - Don’t Even Sink About It! - can be used in not only oceanography classes, but also chemistry and physics classrooms. The activity utilizes two components of ocean observing systems -AUVs and buoys - to explore density and how it affects the buoyancy of different objects. The second activity - Coral Bleaching: A White Hot Problem - uses four years of water temperature data from buoys to investigate the effects of rising ocean temperatures on the coral in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Finally, Can’t Take the Heat? looks at the concept of heat capacity and its effects on our daily lives, using air and water temperature from buoys and weather stations. All of these activities have been presented at several regional and national education conferences, including the National Marine Educators Association annual conferences.

The Scarlet Knight
Atlantic Crossing This past spring, the Rutgers University Coastal Ocean Observation Lab launched an underwater glider in their second attempt to cross the Atlantic. Named the “Scarlet Knight,” the glider is now over 60 percent of the way across and, with luck, will reach Europe later this fall. You can follow the glider’s progress online and encourage your students, educators, and volunteers in follow the adventure.

What’s Next? All this - and COSEE-NOW is just getting started! Here’s a quick preview of what’s coming.

OOS Informal Education Unit
Over the past year, Liberty Science Center and partners at Rutgers University developed a six-lesson unit to be delivered by informal education institutions. The unit is designed to engage students in OOS by connecting them with OOS data organisms that already capture students’ imaginations. These lessons are designed to be taught individually or as a cumulative unit. In the fall, COSEE-NOW will offer a webinar and face-to-face discussion about how to use the unit in informal settings such as residency and summer camp programs.

Cool Classroom
The COOL Classroom design team - Dr. Ravit Duncan, Sage Lichtenwalner, Laura Dunbar, Janice McDonnell, and Dr. Rick Lathrop - have been working on a new COOL Classroom adventures unit. This unit is focused on spatial literacy, connecting high school students to GIS maps and resources to estimate impact of three different land use development plans on a sensitive bay ecosystem. Their charge is to make a sound environmental decision based on land use and oceanographic data. We will be seeking high school teachers in spring 2010 for a pilot test.

Climate Change
COSEE-NOW has been working with COSEE-Ocean Systems to develop teacher professional development and quality materials focused on climate change education. Please check out a beta audio slide show featuring Dr. Oscar Schofield and his research experiences at the LTER Palmer station site. We are working on a series of activities appropriate for after-school programs and informal education settings. Please contact Janice McDonnell if you are interested in collaborating.

Updated Website
The COSEE-NOW website is just in its beta version. While our primary focus this past year was on initializing communications between COSEE-NOW and our community, we continue to move toward community-to-community interactions. Look for a new and improved COSEE-NOW website in the fall, including two new blogs from COSEE-NOW staff. The revamped site will also feature new online collaboration capabilities that will enable grassroots workgroups to form around niche topics or projects.

We hope these tools, and the resources that are developed from them, will help our community better serve both scientists and educators, as well as students and the public in the future.

Join the fun … VISIT COSEE-NOW ... NOW!