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Course resources and a new learning opportunity!

2013-12-16

Hello all,


We’ve been getting numerous requests for a comprehensive list of all the resources used in the course. So we compiled all the readings, videos, and other resources, organized them by session, and put them into this Google Doc:


Water: The Essential Resource Course Resources


Please feel free to share them with your fellow educators and anyone else you think may find them to be useful.


Also, if you enjoyed Water: The Essential Resource, National Geographic will be offering another free online course in the fall of 2014, FLOW Education: Facilitating Learning through Outdoor Watershed Education. The course will be offered through the online education provider Coursera. Click on the blue “Add to Watchlist” button and sign up for a free Coursera account to receive updates about the course as the start date grows closer.  


FLOWe is scheduled to start in Fall 2014. We would love to have you join us for this learning experience!


Thank you again for your hard work in Water: The Essential Resource.


Happy holidays,


Kathleen Schwille

Water: The Essential Resource Course Wrap-Up

2013-12-11



After two months of hard work, we have finally reached the end of the course Water: The Essential Resource. Thank you for all of your enthusiasm and dedication to the course - it has been a pleasure to read everyone’s forum posts and see the meaningful conversations you have shared with your peers.


As we wrap up the course, there are three things to take note of:


  1. You must complete the post-course survey in order to receive credit for the course. Even if you are not taking the course for credit, please take a few minutes to share your thoughts with us so we can improve the course for the future.

  2. The final portion of the course project is due by midnight tonight, Wednesday, December 11th, Pacific Standard Time. Please be sure to submit your three peer reviews of others’ implementation reports by the deadline. For step-by-step instructions, check the Session 8 section of the course project guidelines.

  3. If you have successfully met all of the course completion requirements, a link to download your course certificate of completion will appear at the bottom of the Course page.


The course will close one week from today, Wednesday, December 18th. Make sure to download your certificate before then and save it for your personal records. If you have applied for credits from USD, we will report the names of those who completed the course to the university.


Thanks again for all of your hard work! It is truly inspiring to hear your reflections about applying what you have learned in the course in your teaching environments. As Kirsten put it, “The course definitely strengthened my passion for environmental education, to advocate for more use of the EEI curriculum in our district, and to encourage teachers to get their students outside into the natural environment as much as they can!” We hope you all found similar value in the course Water: The Essential Resource.


Sincerely,


Kathleen Schwille


Session 8 Reminder: Surveys and Implementation Reports

2013-12-09

Hello all,


This is just a reminder that you must complete the exit survey to help us improve the course for future learners (survey completion is required to receive full credit for the course, including CEU's). If you have already completed the course we would still like to hear from you.


The deadline to complete the survey is December 13th. Thank you for your help!


Also, don’t forget that the course ends this coming Wednesday, December 11th. For those of you who have submitted implementation reports, you must complete three peer reviews by this date. Just like the lesson plan peer reviews, you will find the link to your assigned reviews by going to the course page and clicking on “Review peer assignments” under “Implementation Report Submission.”


Don’t forget to post your end-of-course reflections in the Session 8 forum!


Thank you,


Course Staff

Start of Session 8: Exit Survey and Hangout Summary

2013-12-04

We hope that you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving break.  One item of business: please complete the exit survey to help us improve the course for future learners (survey completion is required to receive full credit for the course, including CEU's). If you have already completed the course we would still like to hear from you.


The deadline to complete the survey is December 13th. Thank you for your help!


On Monday night, we had a fantastic discussion about student engagement with Juan Martinez, Barrington Irving and Lynn Howard. Each panelist shared personal stories about how they became passionate about their field of study and how they use their passion to engage students.

If you were unable to watch the inspirational Hangout about student engagement last night, you can view the recording on the course announcement page. You will find lots of tips and ideas about ways to engage your students and help them get excited about learning about what interests them.


Juan found his passion when he noticed the importance of science, specifically photosynthesis, when he was first exposed to a community garden. Juan was a young man on the wrong path, living in a world that modeled gang life as a way to provide for yourself and your family. He got into trouble at school and was given the choice between going to detention or the high school Eco club. While in the Eco club, he found a surprising connection to gardening, having watched his mother grow food as he grew up. He wanted to grow the best jalapeño peppers to make his mother proud. Through the club, he also got to go on outdoor adventures and explore the mountains. He fell in love with wild things and began to see that there was life outside the world of gangs. He continues to share the natural world with young people from all walks of life, helping them find their own passions through the Children & Nature Network.


Barrington’s eyes were opened to possibilities when a pilot in the store asked him if he had ever thought of going into aviation. Although he had never thought of this possibility before, this simple interaction gave him permission to be what he wanted to be. He became the youngest—and only African American—pilot to fly around the world solo. Now, he shares his motivation and can-do attitude with kids. Barrington Irving invites students to build something together, and once they are committed, he lets them problem-solve and see that they are capable of building things that adults build, such as hovercrafts and planes. He trusts the students’ work enough that he even flies the planes that they built. The students’ confidence and problem-solving skills soar as they see that they can do anything they set their minds to.


Lynn Howard teaches over 400 students a week in a Title I school in San Diego. With little to no funding, she found ways to get kids inspired by conservation and interested in the natural world. She shared her work with students to reduce milk waste in the cafeteria. Students have calculated how much water, land, and methane enters the atmosphere per liter of milk and as a result, helped design a campaign to reduce milk waste. She also teaches her students about the food chain by raising pond turtles. Every day the class spends a few minutes outside closing their eyes and using their other senses to experience the world. Lynn interviewed several of her students about what nature means to them and the resounding answer was a sense of calm. We could all use more calm in our lives!


Be sure to check out the discussions in the Session 7 forum. There are several great conversations about the effectiveness of using water calculators to see “hidden water use” as well as a conversation about inspiring students with service learning projects.


As we start the final session (Session 8) of Water: The Essential Resource, we ask you to spend time reflecting on what you learned in the course.  We invite you to take a look back at your initial course goals and see if you have met some of all of your learning objectives.  Thank you for your continued efforts and dedication to the course and for sharing your thoughts with the community in the forums.


Sincerely,


Kathleen Schwille


Google Hangout!

2013-12-03

Once the Google Hangout starts, at 5pm PST (8pm EST),  you can view it here! 




To ask our Explorers questions, post on National Geographic Education's National Geographic Education Google+ Page. Sign into your Gmail account, search for National Geographic Education and click the red “Follow” button. Once you are following us, you will be able to view the Hangout and post questions for the experts in the chatbox. 


Reminder: Final Google Hangout Tonight!

2013-12-02

Hello all,

Don't forget to join us for the final Google Hangout of the course tonight, Monday, December 2nd at 5 pm PST (8 pm EST)! We will be talking with two amazing National Geographic Explorers, Barrington Irving and Juan Martinez. Both explorers have worked with students in different engaging ways and will share these experiences with you. Don't miss this great opportunity to talk with real-life explorers about what you can do to get your students outside and excited about learning.

You can view the Hangout from the course announcement page (www.eeipd.org). To ask our Explorers questions, post on National Geographic Education's National Geographic Education Google+ Page. Sign into your Gmail account, search for National Geographic Education and click the red “Follow” button. Once you are following us, you will be able to view the Hangout and post questions for the experts in the chatbox. 

When the Hangout starts, you will see and hear the explorers but they will not see or hear you. There is no need for you to have a webcam or microphone. We look forward to having you join us for the Hangout!

Course Staff

Session 7 Summary and Important Schedule Information

2013-11-27

Hello all - we wanted to let you know about two important schedule items: First, we will be taking a break for the Thanksgiving holiday. Session 7 will remain open through December 4th, giving you an extra week before Session 8 opens. Although the course will be open, National Geographic Staff will not be monitoring the forums from Wednesday, November 27th through Sunday, December 1st. Regular course monitoring will resume on Monday, December 2nd.

Second, please mark your calendars for the final Google Hangout of the course, which will take place on Monday, December 2nd at 5 pm PST (8 pm EST). We will be talking with two amazing National Geographic Explorers, Barrington Irving and Juan Martinez. Both explorers have worked with students in different engaging ways and will share these experiences with you. This is a great opportunity to talk with real-life explorers about what you can do to get your students outside and excited about learning.

Thank you for sharing your enthusiasm about some of the pedagogical resources that were shared in Session 7. We also have enjoyed reading forum threads about how to engage students in ocean stewardship, even when the ocean can seem like a distant place and foreign environment (for land-locked classrooms).

Several of you were excited about the possibilities of using film resources in the classroom, and shared videos that you have used to enhance your instructional content goals. Barbara mentioned how useful she finds the Session 6 resource Experiencing Film: Strategies for Engaging Learners: “I have always used video snippets in the classroom but continued to feel (until now) that students should be doing more with the information within the video then just sit listen and watch and/or answer guiding questions while watching.” Be sure to explore this resource that has simple instructional strategies that will help you use media as a teaching tool to augment student learning.

Others have begun to think about water conservation on an even broader scale. Robbie shared the exciting news about his school moving to a new, purpose-built campus next year, and his own efforts to encourage the headmaster to consider using water-saving landscaping techniques and bathroom facilities. It is inspiring to see the excitement you are all sharing with each other about resources, instructional strategies, and student thinking. In one course participant’s words, “How fortunate we are to be educators and concerned citizens, facing the issues of water.”


Happy Thanksgiving,


Kathleen Schwille



Session 6 Summary for Water: The Essential Resource

2013-11-20

Hello all,


This week you examined how marine — both coastal and ocean — environments are being changed by human action. You were asked to discuss how you can help your students make connections and good decisions about human impacts on the ocean.

There were several thoughtful conversations about how to connect students to the ocean and make personal and professional steps towards “walking the walk”. One thread focused on impact that plastic bags have on ocean ecosystems. Barbara talked about her personal use of cloth bags for decades and wondered why this is such a hard practice for people to embrace. “What is it about carrying in your own bags that so many people frown upon? Is it the stigma of carrying them into the store with you? Is it having to remember one more thing? Or is it the cost of the cloth versions? Why aren't more people considering this alternative before it becomes the law everywhere? Here's a little haiku [not the greatest but I just came up with it] to spawn conversation in the classroom.

The real cost of

using plastic bags is too

high to justify

Denise suggested engaging her students with a personal plastic bag audit, similar to the water calculator activity, followed up with field trip to a local recycling center. Patricia talked about her own method of “walking the walk” by saying "’no thank you; it is not good for the environment’ to people when they try to give me even the smallest item which can I can carry in my purse, inside plastic bags…”

Denise also suggested using case studies that focus on charismatic keystone species to inspire students. Sea otters, for example, rely on healthy kelp ecosystems to live and raise their young. This is just one example of a familiar animal that can help engage students. “One can study how imbalances, such as too many sea urchins (because of too few sea otters eating them) can result in barrens caused when sea urchins decimate an area of kelp forest,” she suggested.

Rebecca has seen the benefits of teaching children ways to be proactive and engage their families in conscious consumerism. “I love hearing from the parents of my students things like, ‘My child told me not to wash the car because they were worried about the soap going to the ocean,’ or ‘We don't buy as many plastic bottles because my child told me it was bad for the ocean animals.’” She has seen her students make the connections and create change in their lives as well as their family’s behaviors. She made a   point that “It's not just teaching the next generation for when they grow up and vote, but so they can educate other generations now! This is a very visual generation of children, with everything so easily viewed via internet, etc.  Showing a short YouTube or National Geographic clip can have a powerful impact.” She mentioned the power of the TED Talk video (Charles Moore: Seas of plastic) that discusses plastic in the ocean. “I think if I show that to my students (and I will) it will do more to change their minds than any lecture I could give.”

We love to see you engaged in thoughtful discussions with one another and look forward to seeing what you have to say in the next session. Session 7’s discussion topic focuses on water management. Think about some activities you can use to help your students think about possible solutions to global problems like observed habitat and biodiversity loss. How can you help students understand they might be instrumental in affecting change globally (and locally)?


Kathleen Schwille


End of Session 6 on Wednesday!

2013-11-18

Hello all,


This is just a reminder that Session 6 ends on Wednesday. Please be sure to post to the forums before then and join the ongoing conversations about ocean ecosystems and student learning! 

During the remainder of this session, you should be incorporating your peers' feedback into your lesson plan so that you are ready to implement it in your classroom during the upcoming session. 

Course Staff

Session 5 Summary for Water: The Essential Resource

2013-11-13

Hello all,


During this session, the course content focused on the effects of human activity on natural water resources. You have learned from the course readings and videos that modern, water-intensive human activity is affecting natural water resources by shrinking rivers, glaciers, and water tables, in turn affecting human societies.

In the forums this week, you described some ways you could help your students make this connection through case studies and local examples.  Several participants focused on personal water usage, water calculators, and case studies that encourage students to ask probing questions. Other participants used local case studies, such as Salúa, who focused on water issues in the Sacramento-San Joaquín River Delta, and Patricia, who used a local beach as a case study. Others focused on global issues. Brook thought about using melting glaciers as a case study, and Rob suggested using the Tibetan Plateau as an example with his students.

Other course participants pointed out the value of using current events as a great hook to get students interested in very real and relevant topics. Abigail and Sarah brought up the recent drought in California, the devastation in the Philippines, and the planned flooding of the Grand Canyon. This was a great way to connect course content with current events!

One of the threads that received the most conversation was a topic started by Denise. A personal experience with her own children reminded her about the importance of empowerment over fear and helplessness (a teaching tip given in David Sobel’s book, Ecophobia.) She had spent the day at the recycling facility with her class and in the car ride home she had relayed what she learned on her field trip with her 10-year old and 13-year old. “In just 21 years our local landfill would be closed...I also shared the issues with fluorescent light bulbs and mercury in our landfills getting into our water system, explaining biomagnification of that mercury in our seafoods etc...My 10-year old was very silent and then said, "I'm scared."

She then stated that “In my enthusiasm and unprepared remarks with my own kids I did not think about how to present this material...I share this because as part of a curriculum I would absolutely present differently and [realize] that it is important to leave students with a feeling of empowerment, that they CAN make a difference and ideally point out local examples of ways they can have an impact.” Thanks for sharing your realization and a very real example of how a doom-and-gloom approach can affect children.

In response, Ben felt that in order to “justify the urgency necessary to tackle today's environmental issues, it may be necessary to communicate clearly and realistically the scariness of the situation. Due to the structure of our society the education system is one of the few places where efforts at societal change can be implemented.  It might be time to scare some kids.”  Several people agreed with the idea that facts can be presented together with real-world solutions in order to empower students instead of instilling fear and a sense of hopelessness. Jesus responded, “I am scared too, and sometimes I think I am just one person in a world of seven billions, what difference could I make? But I keep encouraging my kids to do things like http://www.50waystohelp.com/  We should encourage in spite of the discouraging facts.” Great link Jesus, thanks for sharing!

The Session 6 forum discussion focuses on making connections between human activity and its impact on the ocean. Think about how you can help your students make connections to remote and abstract ecosystems.

Just a reminder: during this session you will be implementing your improved lessons in your own classrooms as part of the course project!


Kathleen Schwille


Reminder: Session 5 ends on Wednesday

2013-11-11

Hello all,


Just a reminder that Session 5 ends on Wednesday, November 13th. Please be sure to post to the Session 5 forums before then. 

Also, if you successfully submitted your lesson plan through the lesson plan submission tool and participated in the peer review process, you should now be able to view your peers' feedback on your own lesson plan. 

To see the feedback others have given on your lesson plan, go to the same place as where you submitted it: click on "Course" on the top menu and then "Lesson Plan Submission."

Thank you!

Course Staff

Session 4 Summary for Water: The Essential Resource

2013-11-06

Hello all,

We've reopened the peer review tool so that you have more time to complete your peer reviews. We will close it at 11:59 pm PST on this upcoming Friday, November 8th, so be sure to complete your reviews before then.

This week you learned about how human societies are changing water quality, both locally and globally. Water pollution is a big challenge for future generations — you were asked to reflect on what needs to change so society can mitigate the damage. There were several threads in the Session 4 forum that focused on the importance of action. Several teachers emphasized the importance of individual action. They called for students to assess their personal impacts on water quality followed up with empowerment tools to help them alter their personal behaviors, giving a voice to the “Think Globally, Act Locally” call for action.

Denise said students “may not be as aware of how our everyday habits can impact the ocean. They as individuals, can move the needle for the better or worse through [the choices and] the example they set through their actions for their parents and peers to see as they educate themselves.” Lila responded “Building awareness and taking ownership of what we do is really important.” She stressed positive thinking when it comes to the doom-and-gloom mentality that can come from a huge issue like water health “It can be overwhelming and depressing, but resiliency is a positive human quality. I do believe that helping our children to become better thinkers and problem solvers is the right direction to move in.”

Others emphasized that in order for real change to occur, there needs to be larger global change rallied by policymakers, NGOs and global citizens. Participants in these threads stressed the importance of the creation of multi-national legislation and enforcement which would lead to a global change in resource use and reduce water contamination. 

Wai commented, “While we all want to believe that the slogan "Think Globally, Act Locally" is a good strategy, a lot of what an individual does to minimize water pollution can only go so far in saving the Earth. I may seem overly pessimistic, but what we need is MASSIVE action by MAJOR powers. Geo-literacy must prevail and be integrated into numeracy and literacy programs.”

Barbara discussed the benefits of using case studies and stakeholder constraints/consequences to build effective decision-making skills of high school students. She states, “I am a firm believer from my own experiences in using case-based learning, that effective decision-making takes practice and utilizing everyday student experiences with something as common as water is essential to make it relevant to the student. I teach 6th grade now, and I am adapting this model as needed to continue to help develop young critical thinkers, problem solvers, and effective decision-makers.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves, Barbara!

In Session 5, you will be revising your lesson plans using the feedback that you received from your peers. Course content will focus on how human activity alters natural water systems. Please think about ways to teach these complex concepts to students and share your ideas in the Session 5 discussion forum.

Kathleen Schwille

Session 3 Summary for Water: The Essential Resource

2013-10-30

On Monday night we had our ocean Google Hangout with Tierney Thys, Dana Murray, and Mia King. Tierney shared some of the successes that she has seen with species recovery thanks to Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). She pointed out that it is important to protect all trophic levels for a successful marine conservation initiative. Tierney also cited several great websites and resources to engage students in citizen science projects. You can find these resources on our Twitter feed (@NatGeoEdPD) as well as on our Google+ site.
 
Dana Murray talked about the intricate process of establishing different types of MPAs in the state of California. She explained how working through the public process for comment with the myriad of stakeholders can be a very rewarding and rigorous process. One of the highlights of town hall meetings held in California was the large number of students that came out to speak for the ocean.
Mia King talked about the success that she has had working with students in the lab raising sea hares and releasing them into the wild. Students get to see the full life cycle of these amazing organisms and it really ignites their passion for the ocean and conservation. If you were unable to watch the Hangout live on Monday night, you can view it from the announcement page or on the National Geographic Education Google+ site.

This week you learned how natural systems of water are influenced by human use. You were asked to discuss how the case study method supports the Common Core standards, including the development of reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. Patricia pointed out that “presenting case study and thorough analysis seems fundamental for students to fully acquire concepts in meaningful and highly relevant ways.” Brooke commented that when using the case study method “it seems like the teacher is merely the facilitator. Our job is to give our students the information and facts and let them come to their own conclusion.” Kristen saw how case studies promote stewardship and helps student develop decision-making skills.

Patricia decided to use the Aral Sea case study and support media to show how diverting water for cotton irrigation led to effects on both local residents as well as wildlife in Central Asia. Kristen used a lesson plan and case study about the Frontier River to address the posed discussion forum topic. She put a positive spin on the student assessment by prompting students to create maps that show what the river and surrounding areas would look like now if people had made more eco-friendly choices, modeling good decision making skills. Thanks for the great ideas. Please keep the thoughtful and engaging topics going as we move into Session 4.

Your lesson plans must be submitted today. One of your assignments this week is to peer review 3 of your peers’ lesson plans. Please be sure to follow the Peer Review guidelines and give thoughtful comments.

Thanks!

Kathleen Schwille


Google Hangout Tonight: Monday, October 28th!

2013-10-28

Hello everyone!

Don't forget: our Ocean Conservation Google Hangout is tonight, Monday, 
October 28th, at 5 p.m. PST/8 p.m. EST. This is a great chance to learn from experts!

We’ll be talking with Tierney Thys, Dana Murray, and Mia Kang. Tierney is a National Geographic Emerging Explorer specializing in marine biology and filmmaking. Dana Murray works on marine and coastal resource projects, including Marine Protected Areas, at Heal the Bay in Santa Monica, CA. Mia Kang is a history teacher at Lawrence Gifted Magnet School in Chatsworth, CA, with experience incorporating Marine Protected Areas into her curriculum. They are all excited to share their expertise with you, so please tune in tonight!


You can view the hangout from the course announcement page and pose questions for the experts on Twitter @NatGeoEdPD, using #WaterMOOC. Additionally, you can view the Hangout and post questions on National Geographic Education's National Geographic Education Google+ Page. Sign into your Gmail account, search for National Geographic Education and click the red “Follow” button. Once you are following us, you will be able to view the Hangout and post questions for the experts in the chatbox. When the Hangout starts, you will see and hear the explorers but they will not see or hear you. You can interact with other educators in your cohort and pose questions for the explorers in the chatbox. There is no need for you to have a webcam or microphone. Please post your questions for our featured guests on the National Geographic Education Google+ page or on Twitter, before and during the Hangout. A few select questions that are posted on the Google+ page before tonight will be asked by our moderator during the Hangout. Some of the questions asked during the Hangout will also be posed to our panel of experts. We look forward to having you join us for the Hangout!

Sincerely,

Course Staff

Google Hangout on Ocean!

2013-10-28

Once the hangout starts you can view it here. You can ask the panel questions on twitter @NatGeoEdPD #WaterMOOC or view and comment on National Geographic Education's Google+ Page


Reminder: Lesson Plan due Wednesday, October 30th

2013-10-25

Just a friendly reminder that the first draft of your lesson plan must be submitted for peer-review by next Wednesday, October 30th, 11:59 p.m. PST. Follow the directions in the course project guidelines.To submit your lesson plan, go to the Lesson Plan Submission tool, which can be found by clicking on "Lesson Plan Submission" on the course page.

Sincerely,

Course Staff


Water: The Essential Resource Session 2 Summary

2013-10-23

Hello everyone,

Mark your calendars for our next Google Hangout: Monday, October 28th, at 5 p.m. PST/8 p.m. EST. We’ll be talking with Tierney Thys, Dana Murray, and Mia Kang. Tierney is a National Geographic Emerging Explorer specializing in marine biology and filmmaking. Check out her bio. Dana Murray works on marine and coastal resource project, including Marine Protected Areas, at Heal the Bay in Santa Monica CA. She has worked to manage MPAs in the Peace Corps, researched protected areas for the World Wildlife Fund, and surveyed marine life for the Reef Check. Mia Kang is a history teacher at Lawrence Gifted Magnet School in Chatsworth, CA, with experience incorporating Marine Protected Areas into her curriculum. Ask questions beforehand on our Google+ page or on Twitter @NatGeoEdPD.

The course material and discussion forum in Session 2 focused on the challenges that aquatic and marine ecosystems face in today’s world. We asked you to consider examples of these challenges that you have seen in your local area and how you might introduce your students to local water issues. There are many tradeoffs involved in the relationship between human water use and the natural environment, and many of you began to identify some of these tradeoffs in your discussion posts on the Session 2 forum.
 
Briell, in her post titled “Water Trade Off in Victoria BC,” opened up conversation about one of the most obvious tradeoffs between human and natural systems: “using the resources of tomorrow for today's comfort,” as a responder put it. Course participants saw this tradeoff in their own backyards: large-scale vineyards, man-made fish hatcheries, desalination plants, dammed rivers and development, the desert and the city of Phoenix, and even canals in Milano were discussed. A common concern was the challenge of inspiring students to care about these issues and reason about these tradeoffs. “How do you get students to learn the skills necessary to make informed decisions?” wrote Ben. Rebecca considered it a matter of cultivating their natural curiosity: “Kids love science and we need to grab them early to help take care of our planet.” All of you were eager to come up with ideas for engaging students with these complex issues.

Many participants shared their excitement for activity-based learning that gets their students out of the classroom and face-to-face with water-related issues. Some participants found that a local stream or creek provided a rich experience for their students where misconceptions were revealed. “I was amazed as to how many students were ‘shocked’ to know that organisms - microscopic organisms - live in these waters,” wrote Diana. Others found the value in introducing their students to a local expert. Denise and her students learned a lot from a guest speaker from the Tuolumne River Trust. Lusia took her students on a field trip, where they were able to interact with an engineer who worked on the famous Hetch-Hetchy Project.
Brook also pointed out the value of case studies, calling them “an excellent way to show students that there are often valid points coming from each side.” It seems like many of you are finding potential ways to teach your students about these complex tradeoffs between human and natural systems, whether through a well-chosen case study, field trip, or class activity. Keep the conversations going, both on our forums and on Twitter @NatGeoEdPD.

Also, don’t forget that if you still want to register for graduate-level extension semester units from the University of San Diego, the deadline is next Wednesday, October 30th. Click here for more information.
 
Kathleen Schwille


Reminder: Session 2 ends on Wednesday!

2013-10-21

Hello all,

This is just a reminder that all sessions and session forums close on Wednesdays at 11:59 pm PST. The Session 2 discussion forum will close this Wednesday, October 23rd. Please read the session prompt carefully before responding. The Session 2 discussion prompt states:

“Based on your readings in the Literacy Guides (Tradeoffs of Dams and Salmon Populations) and viewing the Pictures of Practice videos, share an issue local to you that involves tradeoffs in water use between human and natural systems—explain how this tradeoff is being managed, ask your peers if they think this tradeoff is being well managed and why.”

Thank you for sharing your thoughts on instruction with your peers. We are thrilled to see everyone sharing ideas with the community. If you have posted on other topics, but have not yet responded to the Session 2 discussion prompt, please be sure to post about local water issues in your area before Wednesday at midnight. To get into the conversation, check out two examples of on-topic posts in the Session 2 forum titled “Tuolumne River Trust” and “Desalination, Re-using treated water, water conservation in San Diego.” We look forward to reading your responses!

Sincerely,

Course Staff


View the Google Hangout Here!

2013-10-17

You can watch the Google Hangout here, the video feed will start once the hangout begins. To ask questions to the panel you can post a question on the National Geographic Education Google+ Page (https://plus.google.com/116983520436200180841/posts) or tweet questions  @NatGeoEdPD with #WaterMOOC. 



Session 1: Summary

2013-10-16

Join us for the Google Hangout this Thursday night, October 17th at 8 pm EST, 5 pm PST!


We have a diverse group of educators participating in Water: The Essential Resource, and we hope to build a strong community that fosters collaboration and interchange of ideas. Participants have different levels of experience and backgrounds. Our group includes both formal and informal educators that work in charter and public schools and science centers, as well as professional development providers from all over the world. As you are implementing environmental education curriculum, you will be able to collaborate with educators from both urban and rural settings to brainstorm solutions to any barriers you might encounter while carrying out lessons in your classrooms.


Some of you have very specific goals for this course, but so far everyone has expressed a deep enthusiasm for teaching and learning about water and fostering environmental literacy. For example, Eliaquim says that his goals are to “learn more about water, properties of water, proper ways to use water, our problems with water, know problems on water of other people far from my place, and take suggested solutions to water problems.” Ian shared that he “hopes to learn more practical uses for EEI and how to implement them in a non-traditional outdoor education setting and even in a field-trip setting.” Jackie would like to use what she learns in this class “to teach students how they can make better choices to contribute to stopping the human impact on climate change.


Several goals involved learning to incorporate more pedagogical strategies in the classroom. Patricia insightfully discussed wanting to understand student misconceptions. “Many times we may have understood issues and structured knowledge in a certain way and when we teach it maybe we don’t consider students’ misconceptions in order to work from those to establish proper explanations and arguments. I think the course may help us to consider different ways of teaching, clarifying, dialoguing, experimenting, fostering civic participation and evaluating diverse aspects of water.” We couldn't have said it better ourselves, Patricia!


On the Session 1 forum, lively conversations are beginning. One focuses on potential strategies to help students understand the consequences of pollution. Anupam shared a thought-provoking video showing the effects of pollution on the seabird population of Midway Island, 2000 miles from the nearest continent. This inspired a conversation on how pollution is a great topic for encouraging students' reasoning skills, such as cause and effect, which in turn can combat misconceptions. "I sometimes feel that because water is considered "renewable" unlike energy sources called "non-renewable", students may be more likely to take water for granted," said Denise.  In another thread, Brook (who lives near the San Joaquin River) pointed out that "water sustainability is a difficult issue for students to understand. Many of the students in our mountain community look around them and see the large variety of water resources (which leads them to think we have an unlimited amount of water). Furthermore, many of my students have not grasped how important the ocean is when learning about the water cycle."


Lusia shared a similar concern in yet another thread. “One of the greatest challenges I have is getting students to realize that water is not like air and in San Diego, we BUY our water from the Colorado River. It is very difficult for them to understand that we do not have enough water locally to support our population and helping them to grasp that we are importing water is a major struggle.”


Still others focused on pedagogical strategies to increase student understanding. One conversation centered around potential ways to teach the water cycle through project-based learning. Kirsten suggested terrariums as a way to provide students with a visual model of the water cycle, while Lynne mentioned the usefulness of turning the classic water cycle diagram into a jigsaw puzzle. Doug shared his idea for making the entire classroom into a kinesthetic learning space by having the students act as individual droplets of water, moving through different parts of the water cycle as they move around the classroom. Others noted how this variety of activities would help different students learn. Nearly everyone also mentioned how these project-based strategies would be most effective when the student learning extended beyond the activity or visual itself. "Using the project-based learning approach by beginning with a provocative entry activity and a motivating Driving Question would make diagrams and models more meaningful," said Kirsten.


Thank you to all who have participated in the discussions so far! We are happy to see people diving into the course. If you haven’t posted a new discussion or responded to a discussion thread, we encourage you to participate. The purpose of the forums is to foster rich and engaging conversations with your colleagues so that you can learn from each other and problem-solve together. Please be sure to take time to read through discussion threads and get involved in conversations by replying to posted topics. Forums for Session 1 will close for additional comments tonight, so be sure to get involved in discussions early in future sessions.


We are looking forward to seeing active discussion boards in Session 2, which opens today. Help make this professional development opportunity as engaging and informative as possible by sharing your thoughts and knowledge. You can even continue the conversation on Twitter! Please follow @NatGeoEdPD. Our brand-new Twitter feed is a place for you to continue to share resources with your peers. Use #WaterMOOC in your tweets to keep the conversation flowing.



Kathleen Schwille



First Google Hangout on October 17th!

2013-10-15

Our first Google Hangout will take place this Thursday, October 17th, from 5-6p.m. PST/8-9 p.m. EST. We will be talking with Sandra Postel, a National Geographic Fellow and founder of the Global Water Policy Project, and Shannon Switzer, a Photojournalist/Water Conservationist and National Geographic Young Explorer. We will also talk with a local California teacher. Check out these links to learn more about the explorers:
Dr. Sandra Postel
Shannon Switzer

To view the Hangout, sign into your Gmail account and then go to the National Geographic Education Google+ Page (https://plus.google.com/116983520436200180841/posts) and click the red “Follow” button. Once you are following National Geographic Education, you will be able to view the Hangout. When the Hangout starts, you will see and hear the explorers but they will not see or hear you. You can interact with other educators in your cohort and pose questions for the explorers in the chatbox. There is no need for you to have a webcam or microphone. Please post your questions for our featured guests on the National Geographic Education Google+ page before and during the Hangout. A few select questions that are posted on the Google+ page before the 17th will be asked by our moderator during the Hangout. Some of the questions asked during the Hangout will also be posed to our panel of experts.

We are looking forward to our live interaction on October 17th! If you can't be there for the live Hangout, it will be recorded for later viewing on the National Geographic Education Google+ Page.


Water: The Essential Resource Opens Today!

2013-10-09

Title: Water: The Essential Resource Opens Today!  

Welcome to Water: The Essential Resource, Annenberg Learner and National Geographic’s first massive open online course (MOOC)! The theme of this course is water. The course will provide information and resources to help you understand the importance of water in Earth’s natural systems. You will also explore the Education and the Environment Initiative (EEI) curriculum, revise and implement a lesson plan, and reflect on these experiences with colleagues.

This course offers three live Google Hangouts with scientists and National Geographic explorers. These three Hangouts are the only live interactions during the course, more information to come soon.

The Evaluation and Training Institute will be conducting an evaluation of the course to help us better understand how participants use MOOCs as well as the effectiveness of the course. There are two surveys that we would like you to complete as a course participant: a pre-course survey before you start the course activities and a post-course survey when you complete or un-enroll from the course. Each survey will take approximately 5 minutes to complete.

If you have not done so already, make sure you complete the pre-course survey by TODAY, October 9th.

To find out more information about how you can register for three graduate-level extension units through the University of San Diego for completion of this MOOC, click here. You must register for extension units by October 30th.

Please watch this short how-to video that walks you through the course content and navigation. The video will show you where to find reading materials, videos, and the course project, as well as instructions on how to post to forums. You can re-watch specific sections of the video at any time by using the links provided at the bottom of the video screen.

Once you have finished watching the video, please begin your course work for Session 1. Remember to post to the session forums early in the week so that there is plenty of time for others to join the conversation.  


Course registration will remain open through October 16th, please invite your friends to join!

Thank you for joining us for this professional development experience.

Kathleen Schwille

Course Instructor


Welcome to Water: The Essential Resource

2013-09-27

Welcome to Water: The Essential Resource, Annenberg Learner and National Geographic’s first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC)! The course begins next week on Wednesday, October 9th. Before then, we would like to bring a few items to your attention:

The Evaluation and Training Institute will be conducting an evaluation of the course to help us better understand how participants use MOOCs as well as the effectiveness of the course. There are two surveys that we would like you to complete as a course participant: a pre-course survey before you start the course activities and a post-course survey when you complete or un-enroll from the course. Each survey will take approximately 5 minutes to complete. Please note: Completion of these two surveys is required in order to receive a certificate of completion and graduate-level extension semester units.

Make sure you complete the pre-course survey by October 9th.


To find out more information about how you can purchase three graduate-level extension units through the University of San Diego for completion of this MOOC, click here.

Lastly, please watch this short how-to video that walks you through course content and navigation. The video will show you where to find reading materials, videos, the course project, as well as instructions on how to post to forums. You can re-watch specific sections of the video at any time by using the links provided at the bottom of the video screen. Please watch this video before the course begins.

Thank you for your interest in Water: The Essential Resource! We look forward to having you in the course.


Welcome to Water: The Essential Resource

2013-09-04

Welcome to Annenberg Learner and National Geographic’s first massive online open course (MOOC). The theme for this course is water. The course will provide information and resources for you to understand the importance of water in Earth’s natural systems. You will also explore the EEI curriculum, revise and implement a lesson, and reflect on these experiences with colleagues.


The course will run from October 9th-December 11th but you will be able to access session one and post in the introductory forum discussions on October 2nd. This is not a self-paced course; you will need to complete the sessions according the schedule below. You should plan on spending a total of 4-5 hours a week reading, participating in virtual discussions, and working on your course project. The weekly sessions will start and end on Wednesdays.


The course schedule is as follows:

  Pre-Course Activities: October 2-9

 Session 1: October 9-16

 Session 2: October 16-23

 Session 3: October 23-30

 Session 4: October 30-November 6

 Session 5: November 6-13

 Session 6: November 13-20

 Session 7: November 20-December 4 (2 weeks to complete; Thanksgiving Break) Session 8: December 4-11

 Course ends: December 11

All course materials will be accessible for 1 full week after the course ends. Course access ends December 18.

You can start now by taking the pre-course survey! Please explore information in the Course Information tab and the Course Completion tab to find out more about the requirements to earn a Course Completion Certificate (free). By completing all the required elements of this course you are eligible to earn three (3) graduate level extension semester units. These units will be available through the University of San Diego for $225. Session 1 will be open for exploration on October 2nd.