Valerie Paul
Senior Researcher
Edith Widder
Senior Researcher
Richard Tankersley
Professor of Biological Sciences
2012 Update

Updates from the Sunshine State: COSEE Florida

COSEE Florida just completed its second year developing and nurturing collaborations among scientists and educators to promote discovery, literacy, and stewardship of the ocean. The Center achieves these goals by engaging ocean scientists, enhancing ocean science knowledge and experiences for pre-service educators, and supporting a Florida Ocean Learning Network through our theme: Water as Habitat. The following are highlights of some of the Center’s accomplishments and substantial progress since its establishment in October 2010.

Engaging Ocean Scientists

 Graduates of the Presentation Boot Camp
Graduates of the Presentation Boot Camp held at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute in May 2012
One of the primary ways that COSEE Florida engages ocean scientists is through a series of workshops aimed at (1) improving their ability to effectively communicate the results and significance of their research to other scientists and the public, and (2) helping them broaden their impact of their research through effective educational outreach. COSEE Florida’s Presentation Boot Camp (PBC) is a two-day intensive workshop covering topics from identifying needs of the audience, to organizing and planning effective presentations, to displaying data in a meaningful way. Scientists also receive training in the use and application of an evaluation protocol and rubric for providing speakers with feedback on the effectiveness of their presentations. Nearly 200 Florida ocean scientists have graduated from the PBC!

In addition, COSEE Florida offers programs in which ocean scientists learn about the National Science Foundation Broader Impacts review criteria (Broader Impacts 2.0 workshops) and how to develop high-quality, innovative broader impacts statements (Broadening the Impact of Science: Strategies Underlying Success; BIS-SUS). Broader Impacts coaching also provides scientists with personalized guidance in designing effective educational outreach and assistance in forming partnerships with educators to effectively share their research and knowledge with students and the public. Look for upcoming dates of these workshops on the COSEE Florida website.

Enhancing Ocean Science Knowledge and Experience for Pre-Service Educators

Jackie Zakarian collects samples from Indian River Lagoon 
Jackie Zakarian (REPT intern) works with scientists at the Ocean Conservation and Research Association to determine sediment toxicity in the Indian River Lagoon
COSEE Florida has developed an ocean science concentration for undergraduate students pursuing their Bachelor of Science in Education – middle grades science. The program emphasizes training teachers to “think” like scientists and provides them with authentic research experiences. We anticipate that this will significantly increase their understanding of ocean science content and the nature of science.

Students complete three courses as part of the concentration in order to: 1) develop an understanding of ocean science content (particularly Ocean Literacy Essential Principles 1, 3 and 5); 2) build on their ocean science knowledge and begin to incorporate that knowledge into lesson plan development; and 3) prepare them to implement high-quality, ocean-themed lessons while student-teaching. Several of the student teachers have participated in COSEE Florida’s Research Experience for Pre-service Teachers (REPT) program. This program, modeled after the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program, is an educationally valuable capstone element within the ocean science concentration. Students are partnered with local ocean scientists and conduct a 7-week internship in their lab.

The summer program culminates in poster presentations of the students’ experiences and findings. The ocean science concentration provides pre-service teachers with a more in-depth knowledge of ocean science and understanding of the nature of science. The third iteration of the REPT program and completion of the second year of the concentration will occur in the summer of 2013.

Supporting a Florida Ocean Learning Network

To foster ocean literacy and stewardship, COSEE Florida hosts many different events throughout the year focusing on the theme Water as Habitat. These well-attended events include interactive science cafes, educator workshops, lectures and other community events. The goal of these events is to engage the public and increase their knowledge and understanding of marine science. To date, COSEE Florida has hosted 16 separate events and involved 40 ocean scientists and over 900 participants!

 Laura Diederick from the Smithsonian Marine Station welcoming educators to a Water as Habitat workshop hosted by COSEE Florida
Laura Diederick from the Smithsonian Marine Station welcoming educators to a Water as Habitat workshop
All Together!

One of the most critical aspects of COSEE Florida is to ensure that we collaborate and integrate our three initiatives throughout the partnership. It is through this integration that scientists remain engaged in COSEE activities. Some of our previous and planned cross-initiative collaborations include:

  • PBC graduates presenting at Water as Habitat events to practice their presentation skills
  • Ocean scientists mentoring REPT interns
  • Ocean scientists reviewing the content of the ocean-themed lessons developed by the pre-service teachers
  • Ocean scientists incorporating training of pre-service teachers as part of their broader impact statements
As the Center continues to develop, we will have more opportunities for scientists, educators and the public to work together to promote discovery, literacy, and stewardship of the ocean. For more information about COSEE Florida visit our website at www.coseeflorida.org.