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Introducing the "ROLE Model" Webinar Series
07/21/2010 | Carla Companion, University of Maine (Ocean Systems)
Tags: ROLE Model Webinar, concept mapping

At COSEE-OS, we've strived to transform ocean science education by involving members of the scientific research community through our programs. Many COSEE-OS Workshops have paired educators with research scientists, and we are always eager to hear peoples' feedback from these endeavors. After running several workshops, we began to notice a pattern - that we were hearing the same feedback time and time again. We found that there is a strong desire from participants to have more opportunities to interact with research scientists. Participants often comment on the usefulness of directly interacting with scientists, and how rare the opportunity is. One participant stated, "Please include a component to further interact with the scientists... This would allow me to gain access to clarify topics and to check my personal understanding of their areas of expertise."

Scientist Jim O'Donnell and High School biology teacher Valerie Cournoyer work together during a Scientist-Educator Collaborative workshop

Another frequent request is that educators want to see what happens to concept maps after being developed in a workshop, and to see the different ways that other educators have used what they learned about concept mapping in their work. In the 2010 COSEE Educator Engagement Survey (a network-wide follow-up survey for educator participants in COSEE workshops), participants in our workshops expressed this desire strongly. 68% of educators surveyed (n=25) stated that they agreed that it would be useful to be provided with "more examples of how I can use the tools in my classroom... or for my own needs as an educator."

Because arranging more face-to-face contact with busy researchers or time-pressed teachers to accomplish these goals can be difficult, we decided to tackle these requests by leveraging online tools to provide opportunities for connections to take place. It is through this idea that the Research-based Online Learning Event (ROLE) Model webinars were born. These free opportunities (requiring only a phone and and internet connection) will allow participants direct access to research scientists and fellow educators while in the comfort of their own homes.

A computer displaying an electronic concept map
Each ROLE Model webinar will have two parts:
  • A presentation from a research scientist who has developed a concept map specifically for the webinar - on relevant science topics, cutting-edge research or specific interest areas - that includes a rich collection of "assets" from the Ocean Climate Interactive database of images, videos, news items and other resources.
  • A presentation from an educator who has utilized concept mapping in unique and varied ways in their classroom, informal, or other environment.
  • Each webinar will also feature an overview of ways that the resources presented can be accessed by all (every map created by the scientist will be publicly available for saving, printing and sharing). Materials, follow-up articles and links to the concept maps created for each webinar will be shared through this blog. It is our goal that the participants of the webinars can engage in discussion and have "direct access" to the presenters, as well as to create resources that can be accessed even by those not attending the live presentations.

    We welcome your feedback as we prepare to launch this new effort - and hope to see you online soon!

    Have thoughts on this post? Send us a note and we'll share your ideas!

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