Global Environmental Science using Technology GEST – Belize/US Consultants and Participating Institutions:
Primary Concerns: The proposed activities describe a professional development workshop for educators in Belize and USA to augment their environmental science content, use of technology, and multicultural pedagogical skills so as to motivate students towards global science with technology applications (GST).
- Conduct comparisons between the local climate, water/riparian environments, and living flora/fauna systems in the Belize tropical forest/stream/reef ecosystems with U.S. arboreal forest/streams using hands-on inquiry activities.
- Work in partnership to design classroom projects across borders utilizing internet communications.
- Utilize Belizean indigenous culture and their elements of social capital, along with effective metacognitive/multicultural strategies to enhance communication and learning of students towards GST.
- Evaluate the GST training outcomes and the learning processes among students, employing evaluation tools aligned with national programs in both countries.
Need: Teachers need support to upgrade their environmental science curriculum. In Belize, the ecosystems in forests, streams, and reef are adversely affected by climate change and human development. In West Virginia and Pennsylvania, the ecosystems in streams, rivers, and forest are adversely affected by climate change and coal/gas mining practices. In order to solve these complex problems, the students of today need to become familiar with how the environment and biodiversity are changing, in order to become conscious global citizens.
Train the Teachers: The goal of the workshop is to train and empower Belize and U.S. educators. A successful environmental science/technology curriculum utilizes authentic science content, hands-on inquiry investigations with data gathering, technology integration, and culturally relevant pedagogy as motivating factors. Together, Belizean and U.S. educators will collaborate through classroom projects to excite their students about global climate change and environmental health issues. Upon completion of the investigations, students will share their findings. When such knowledge is handed down through classrooms, students feel empowered to get involved in community decision making, lending support towards public cooperation and adaptation to the impacts of global climate change. All educators will be given the opportunity to earn undergraduate as well as graduate credit upon completion of curriculum.
PaxWorks donation: To be determined (examples: classroom materials for Belizean teachers, possible small grants for girls).
Proposed 8-Day Workshop Agenda:
Day 1-2) Belize City: Welcome and Community Building through Sharing
Arrive in Belize City and secure accommodations; Belize/US teachers meet and share light food and drink;
Teachers share expertise about local areas, conduct hands-on investigations with I-phone Aps and digital microscopes, hear invited speakers, brainstorm, and choose research teams; Afternoon trip to Mayan ruins.
Day 3-4) Terrestrial Site: Data Gathering and Knowledge Exchange with Technology
Belize/US teachers travel to terrestrial sites (suggest TREES, Dry Creek, Sibun River); Research teams collect data for Rapid Ecological Assessment (REA), Biodiversity measurements, I-phone Ap, Geo-cache; Strategize for classroom application; Large group sharing and discussion.
Day 5-7) Tobacco Caye: Data Analysis with Technology
Belize/US teachers travel to Tobacco Caye; Research teams collect data for Rapid Ecological Assessment (REA), Biodiversity measurements, I-phone Ap, Geo-cache; Begin data analysis; Strategies shared for classroom implementation; Discussion of project development.
Day 7+ 8) Belize City: Culminating Sessions to Bridge Worlds
Return to Belize City; Final presentations by research teams utilizing technology; Form established lines of communication and time-frame for continued collaborations; Workshop evaluations; Return home.
- Minister of Education – Mr. Patrick Faber
- Deputy Chief Education Officer – Dr. Carol Babb
- General Manager – Mrs. Deborah Domingo
- Tanesha Ross, Vice Principal
All Saints Primary School
Belize City, Belize