The mission of the COSEE Network is to spark and nurture collaborations among research scientists and educators to advance ocean discovery and make known the vital role of the ocean in our lives. This mission is reflected in the multiple synergetic partnerships developed by the COSEE Centers between formal and informal education institutions and the scientific community, and the myriad ways each partnership strives to effectively integrate ocean science research into the classroom.
The highlights presented here showcase specific Center-based initiatives designed to promote innovative collaborations between research scientists and educators for the dissemination of knowledge and enhancement of educational options by:
- Fostering opportunities for students and teachers to interact with marine scientists
- Actively engaging scientists in education and public outreach
- Assisting scientists in acquiring the skills necessary for effective communication of ocean science concepts and research
- Developing and sharing innovative, technologically sophisticated education and communication tools and strategies
- Infusing current ocean sciences research into a variety of educational applications
COSEE collaborative efforts have occurred through workshops, science fairs, the Ocean Literacy Campaign, and initiatives that employ ocean-based examples for use in the classroom.
Modeled on successful master naturalist programs nationwide, the Coastal Master Naturalist Program seeks to develop highly trained volunteers who engage in ocean sciences education, stewardship, and citizen science activities.
Each of COSEE Alaska's Scientist-Educator Professional Development workshops focused on a large ecosystem: the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands, the Gulf of Alaska, and the Arctic Ocean. These workshops were opportunities for researchers to present to, work with, and develop lasting relationships with teachers - and to learn from and share research with a local community where their research often has the most direct impact.
The Ocean Literacy Campaign is a wide-ranging, collaborative, and de-centralized effort by scientists and educators to build a more ocean literate society. This grassroots effort resulted in a definition of "ocean literacy", which is guiding efforts to incorporate ocean sciences education into classrooms and public venues and is assisting ocean scientists with communicating research findings more effectively in a broader public context.
Alaska’s Ocean Science Fairs are fundamentally different: they use ocean scientists as judges and the students are judged not only on scientific merit but on the cultural and/or local relevance of their work. This level of cultural inclusion in the student’s scientific exploration is powerful.
Since 2009, COSEE Pacific Partnerships has offered week-long residential professional development institutes at marine laboratories in Oregon, Washington, and Hawai'i that bring together community college faculty and research scientists with the goal of improving the quality and quantity of ocean science content taught at community colleges.
The mutually beneficial nature of Scientist-Educator Collarative (SEC) workshops fosters positive interactions between scientists and educators: scientists provide educators with rigorous content knowledge resulting from their scientific training and educators provide scientists an opportunity to learn about the challenges they face integrating scientific topics into K-12 classrooms.
COSEE Southeast has adapted popular buoy and remotely operated vehicle activities designed for middle and high school grades for use in elementary grade classrooms and clubs. The programs include professional development and follow-on coaching for teachers adopting the curricula.
COSEE SouthEast's South Carolina’s Amazing Coast (SCAC) Program is a three-year initiative that employs ocean-based examples to engage 3rd-5th grade students and teachers in science learning. The SCAC framework uses a scaffolding approach for curriculum implementation and a coach-mentor model for teacher professional development, drawing from local coastal examples to address inquiry skills, STEM disciplines, and Next Generation Science Standards.