The Oregon Coast Aquarium announced plans to launch a groundbreaking interactive website, the “Oceanscape Network, ” targeting teachers and students to go online in the summer of 2013.
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The Oceanscape Network, funded by a grant from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, Pacific Power and Swindells Charitable Trust, will feature innovative programs offering teachers and students resources to learn about marine science through hands-on projects, videos podcasts and more. The website is part of a commitment by the Aquarium’s Education Department to offer STEM education, an acronym for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
The strength of a nation’s STEM workforce is viewed as an indicator of its ability to sustain itself, according to the United States National Academies (USNA). In 2006, the USNA expressed concern about the declining state of STEM education in the United States. Its Committee on Science, Engineering and Public Policy developed an action plan to advance STEM education in the United States in order to compete in the 21st century. Their top recommendations included improving science and mathematics education; strengthening skills of teachers in science, math and technology; and preparing students to enter college and graduate with STEM degrees.
“The Oceanscape Network will address the top recommendations of the USNA by assisting teachers and students in the area of marine science, making it engaging and interactive, ” said Marsh Myers, Aquarium Education Manager and project manager for the Oceanscape Network. “The website will serve as an impetus to get students outdoors, where the real work of science begins; not merely sitting in front of a computer, ” said Myers. “The website’s design will promote scientific inquiry with students asking a question about the natural world and conducting an investigation to find their own answers.”
Myers said students will be able to earn credits and connect with the ocean when they choose projects that encourage them to go outdoors to complete. The projects offered will be about the ocean environments, but students from any part of the nation will be able to apply it to their own lcales, such as a stream, a river or wetland. The main goal of the website is to provide a tool that supports the process of genuine scientific inquiry for students who live anywhere in the United States.
The Oceanscape Network will have a component for teachers as well as students. There will be downloadable curriculum with supporting materials and resources for teachers, including lesson plans and videos. They will be able to create online “student communities” to help facilitate the scientific exploration of ocean habitats. Students will be able to access educational modules that will help them understand and appreciate the natural world while earning science credits toward their high school diplomas in Oregon.
For more information about the Oceanscape Network, contact Marsh Myers at 541-867-3474 ext. 5314 or visit the Oregon Coast Aquarium website at www.aquarium.org and click on the “Educational Programs” tab. A link provides updates as the project builds and expands.
About The Oregon Coast Aquarium
The Oregon Coast Aquarium is a private, not-for-profit aquatic and marine science educational facility offering a fun and interesting way to learn about Oregon’s unique coastal ecosystem. The Aquarium is dedicated to teaching marine wildlife and ocean conservation through responsible management and exhibition of marine life.
Image: kind courtesy & copyright Trev Jones 2011