By Jen Bauer and Molly Phillips
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.
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.