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Topic: "MSPnet Academy: Two Strategies for Climate Change Education"

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MSPnet Academy Discussion
November 16th - 30th, 2017

Presented by: Brian Drayton (TERC) and Billy Spitzer (NE Aquarium)

This is a follow up discussion to the Nov. 16th MSPnet Academy Webinar.
(Webinar recording will be available 11/17/2017.)

Webinar Description: Brian Drayton from TERC and Billy Spitzer from the New England Aquarium discussed two complementary strategies for engaging the public in climate change outside of the classroom. Brian talked about a citizen science effort, and Billy spoke about an initiative to educate the public at informal science centers. Following a brief exposition of each strategy, they discussed the similarities and differences between these approaches and addressed questions from attenders.

To learn more about these projects and to download slides click "Background Material" below.

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This topic has 7 posts, showing all.

Welcome to the discussion!

posted by: Brian Drayton on 11/17/2017 4:50 am

The Climate Lab model aims to combine the strengths of "citizen science" engagement for young people and teachers, with the strengths of formal learning - e.g. time for discussion and group sense-making, , conceptual learning and science practice skills, in connection with the larger curriculum. The aim is climate change education, but also a lot more - place awareness and identity, systems thinking, ecology and human ecology.
So, as in any walk in the woods, there's always more to see. What do you see, in this model or in our story? What more would you like to hear?

personalized learning

posted by: Betsy Stefany on 11/20/2017 6:35 am

Hearing more about the Climate lab, enabled some revisiting to our MSP projects differed from Citizen Science and possibly why the change was hard for others to grasp. A Community of Practice is another structure into the conversation on climate in how it encourage individuals or cohesive cohorts to follow interests. These interests may be from the phenomenon of digital tool outcome.
The comments on "noise" and "outliers" that are frequently distractions to the protocol of Citizen Science are part of the phenomenon....and points easily discussed with peers or through CoP interaction on tool function and site surroundings. We tend to isolate project-based, problem-based and Citizen Science due to the function of the process of analysis AS a system when it is structured in a classroom, however with technology haven't we moved into a more inclusive learning system beyond the group's timing of thinking about an event, situation or site?

Talking about climate change

posted by: William (Billy) Spitzer on 11/17/2017 12:48 pm

My presentation on climate change communication focused on the work we have done in the National Network for Ocean and Climate Change Interpretation (NNOCCI) with informal science centers.

But I would be happy to talk about and answer questions about any experiences you have had, personally or professionally, with any audienxes.

This is an important issue that affects all of us, and we all have a responsibility to learn, engage, and talk about it.

Breaking through the spiral of silence and other divides

posted by: Sara Silver on 11/17/2017 1:19 pm

Hi Billy, I absolutely loved the presentation that you did with Brian. Just listened to the recording. So many takeaways. Are you connected in any way to the Climate Reality Project (Al Gore)? Seems that if more trusted messengers coalesce, the effect will be greater than the sum of the parts. I am very encouraged by the policies and actions taking place at the community and state level.

Climate Reality Project

posted by: William (Billy) Spitzer on 11/17/2017 2:16 pm

Thanks Sarah! We are not directly affiliated with Al Gore's project, at least not at this point, although some folks in our network have been involved in his training program. I have a lot of respect for what Gore has done and continues to do. But I think that even though his message may be strong, he is too polarizing as a messenger (and therefore not trusted by many). I agree that we need to engage as broad a swath of the American public as we can, deploying as many trusted messengers as we can, and that is why we see so much potential in the 1,500 informal science centers throughout the US.

Trusted messengers

posted by: Brian Drayton on 11/20/2017 5:35 am

I agree with your basic point, Sara - need to expand the number of trusted messengers, and find ways for them to colloaborate or reinforce each other. And actually the more "noise" we can make, the clearer the "signal" will be -- studies have shown that public opinion registers more "awareness" and more urgency about climate change when the press and figures in power speak about it more. This is a necessary (though not sufficient) condition for building and sustaining political will for change. So, as Billy wrote in his statement, "This is an important issue that affects all of us, and we all have a responsibility to learn, engage, and talk about it."

Community Sites and climate

posted by: Betsy Stefany on 11/20/2017 6:57 am

Thanks for discussing my question regarding the next possible extension from the science non-profit site out into the community.

Trust between peers to truly drill into issues is hard at any age level and tackling process of enabling positive discussion to develop is critical to adding validity to discourse.

Shared experiences like visiting is a tried and true way to anchor this effort and adding an online outreach like this one is increasing important to build an extended discussion on actions beyond the event.

I mentioned libraries as media discussions are a long tradition between generations. Similar to a visit to a science site and sometimes from what visitors carry off as pictures or gift store items the discussion returns to the individual interests and "take aways". A classic example for those of us who remember the start of the Boston Aquarium a certain seal..and the media expansion from that local exposure. Finding and how discussion is engaged is key.
Thanks for the outreach with through these systems.

post updated by the author 11/20/2017