Digital Resources in Paleontology Professional Development Workshop at NAPC 2019

By Jen Bauer and Molly Phillips


Teachers and faciliators having just completed the ice breaker. Each person was a time period or an event and they had to find their pair and line up chronologically!

The National Science Foundation’s Advancing Digitization of Biodiversity Collections program along with many other associated projects have been hard at work developing high-quality educational materials associated with paleontology for K-12 audiences. The iDigBio team collaborated with the FOSSIL Project to bring all of these wonderful materials together as part of a paleo-themed professional development opportunity for local teachers in association with the 2019 North American Paleontological Convention (NAPC) in Riverside, California. The one-day workshop on June 25, 2019, introduced teachers to a variety of project-based resources from ADBC and beyond including: EPICC Virtual Field Experiences, Digital Atlas and Encyclopedia of Ancient Life, myFOSSIL, iDigFossils, iDigPaleo and HHMI Global Change. You can see the full agenda by clicking here.

Teachers were provided multiple ways to access all of the resources presented including a website, a Google Drive folder, and their own USB drives.  Participants brought laptops so they could walk through each resource and test out materials through hands-on activities. Because of the variety of materials, there was something for every situation and learning style – from 3D printed specimens, to virtual field experiences, and educational data portals.

Jon Hendricks exploring the Digital Atlas of Ancient Life and all the resources stored there!

Alycia Stigall giving an introduction to an activity using the virtual teaching collection on the Digital Atlases of Ancient Life.

Michael Zeigler walking through a lesson plan he developed with Liz Lewis on bite marks in the fossil record. Available on iDigFossils.

Jeanette Pirlo walking through navigating the iDigBio website so teachers can find all the valuable resources stored there.

Lisa White gave not one but two presentations. One on EPICC’s virtual field trips and another on HHMI’s Understanding Global Change.

Molly Phillips walked through how to effectively use the iDigPaleo portal, which is a way to annotate, measure, and explore iDigBio data.
Participants exploring 3D fossils and trying to figure out who dun it – the mystery of the bite marks on different bones!

During NAPC and the workshop, teachers and other participants were invited to contribute to the myFOSSIL group “NAPC” where pictures could be shared and discussion could take place surrounding the events. If you are interested in seeing what the teachers were up to or what other NAPC attendees shared please click here. As this convention is recurring, we hope that the chatter in the group continues into the coming years.

The workshop agenda was created to have “free time” so teachers and resource developers could talk and exchange ideas for how to use each project in various classroom settings as well as what was missing and/or needed to support teachers and students during implementation.

Thank you to the presenters and facilitators for creating and sharing so many quality resources, and to the teachers that joined us for a jam-packed schedule on one of their summer days. Also a huge thank you to Riverside STEM Academy for hosting the workshop and to the NAPC organizing committee for allowing us to be part of their programing. Last but not least, thank you to our funders: iDigBio, the FOSSIL project, and the Paleontological Society.

All of the workshop’s partners.

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