EarthScope Education and Outreach: Accomplishments and Emerging Opportunities
Abstract:EarthScope’s Education and Outreach (E&O) program aims to increase public awareness of Earth science and enhance geoscience education at the K-12 and college level. The program is distinctive among major geoscience programs in two ways. First, planning for education and public engagement occurred in tandem with planning for the science mission. Second, the NSF EarthScope program includes funding support for education and outreach. In this presentation, we highlight key examples of the program’s accomplishments and identify emerging E&O opportunities.
E&O efforts have been collaboratively led by the EarthScope National Office (ESNO), IRIS, UNAVCO, the EarthScope Education and Outreach Subcommittee (EEOSC) and PI-driven EarthScope projects. Efforts by the EEOSC, guided by an EarthScope Education and Outreach Implementation Plan that is periodically updated, focus EarthScope E&O. EarthScope demonstrated early success in engaging undergraduate students (and teachers) in its mission through their involvement in siting USArray across the contiguous U.S. Funded E&O programs such as TOTLE, Illinois EarthScope, CEETEP (for K-12), InTeGrate and GETSI (for undergraduates) foster use of freely available EarthScope data and research findings.
The Next Generation Science Standards, which stress science and engineering practices, offer an opportunity for alignment with existing EarthScope K-12 educational resources, and the EEOSC recommends focusing efforts on this task.
The EEOSC recognizes the rapidly growing use of mobile smart devices by the public and in formal classrooms, which bring new opportunities to connect with the public and students. This will capitalize on EarthScope’s already prominent social media presence, an effort that developed to accomplish one of the primary goals of the EarthScope E&O Implementation Plan to “Create a high-profile public identity for EarthScope” and to “Promote science literacy and understanding of EarthScope among all audiences through informal education venues” Leveraging ESNO, IRIS, and UNAVCO resources has exceeded the capabilities of any single entity, thereby amplifying the impact of EarthScope’s education and outreach effort.