Educator professional development as a component of earthquake and tsunami readiness and early warning systems
Abstract:The implementation of any real-time earthquake analysis for disaster mitigation requires not just scientific expertise and equipment but thoughtful, far-reaching, and long term education for emergency management personnel and the public. The “Cascadia EarthScope Earthquake and Tsunami Education Program” (CEETEP) is working to mitigate these potential disasters through collaboration building and professional development for K-12 teachers, park and museum interpreters, and emergency management outreach educators in communities along the Oregon and Washington coast (2013-2016). In this project nearly 150 coastal Cascadia educators are being introduced to critical knowledge about (among other things) earthquake monitoring and earthquake early warning systems. In collaboration last year with UNAVCO, CEETEP developed an animation explaining how GPS and seismic systems can work in concert to greatly enhance earthquake early warning systems for Cascadia and other subduction zone areas (www.youtube.com/user/unavcovideos, “animations”). Science and preparedness educators are key partners in the endeavor of implementing earthquake and tsunami early warning systems. The knowledge of how to run effective professional development programs for such educators will greatly enhance outreach efforts.
Initial results from CEETEP are very encouraging. Four of the planned six workshops were held in 2013 (northern coastal Oregon) and 2014 (Olympic Peninsula, Washington). Results from Year 1 show that participant content knowledge improved from 50% to 86% over the course of the workshop. Similarly, confidence in teaching about workshop topics increased from an average of 2.8 to 5.2 on a 6-point scale. Participant optimism about the efficacy and tractability of community-level planning also increased from 5.7 to 7.4 on a 9-point scale. Nearly 90% of participants continued to be active with the program through the time of the March 8, 2014 Share-a-thon and presented on a wide range of activities that they and their learners had undertaken related to earthquake and tsunami science and preparedness. Thousands of students, park visitors, and community members have subsequently learned Cascadia-specific earthquake and tsunami science and preparedness from CEETEP participant educators.