The Marine Institute’s Explorers Education Programme successfully held its first Continuing Professional Development (CPD) interactive online teachers summer training course with West Cork Education centre, reaching a group of teachers from all around Ireland including Cork, Kildare, Kerry, Dublin, Wicklow and Galway.
Dr Dympna Daly, Director of West Cork Education centre congratulated the Explorers team on their outstanding delivery of the five-day training course, bringing the seashore to the classroom and introducing marine themes on the primary school curriculum. “This was the first time we held an Explorers CPD course in Cork; and the first time the Explorers team have offered this as an interactive online CPD training course. We were therefore delighted with its successful delivery and as one of the teachers said they knocked it out of the park.”
To make it as engaging as possible, and not too far removed from the face-to-face courses that the Explorers have delivered for the past 15 years, the teachers received personal Explorer packs, which contained a range of educational resources and interactive materials. These were used throughout the course along with the recently published Wild about Wildlife on the Seashore films, presentations and interactive online and printable teaching resources that are now available on www.explorers.ie.
“The teachers feedback was very positive, particularly bringing a course that is normally delivered in person on the seashore to an online platform. The teachers really enjoyed the training and they were fulsome in their praise for the professionalism, the organisation and preparation by the Explorers team; as well as the resources provided by the Explorers Education Programme. The teachers were fully engaged in the course and found the content very relevant to their classrooms, while also being fun and enjoyable,” Dr Daly added.
The team included Padraic Creedon and Anna Quinn from Galway Atlantaquaria, and Eimear Manning from Camden Education Trust, as well as Shazia Waheed from Old Cork Waterworks Experience, Cork who all have extensive experience teaching children about the marine in the classroom.
“It was great to be able to join the team in the delivery of the online course, providing our expertise and stories about the seashore. We have a wealth of amazing seashore animals in Ireland including fish found in rockpools, sea snails, and a variety of crustaceans; as well as incredible seaweeds in Ireland. The Explorers online films and amazing photos help take teachers and children on a journey exploring the seashore. It also makes learning about our sandy and rocky shores accessible for everyone,” said Shazia Waheed.
The Explorers training also provided teachers with a range of ideas and themes for projects in the classroom ranging from plastics in the ocean to coming up with novel ways to mitigate climate change; as well as learning about marine biodiversity. The interactive online activities provided teachers with an opportunity to make flood defences – in their kitchens, to creating sea monsters from recycled items, as well as writing and performing stories – some of which used 3D online props.
“We were delighted with the teachers enthusiasm and engagement during the course and I am sure many of the teachers are now eager to get out and start exploring rockpools throughout the summer. On behalf of the team, thank you to the teachers for joining us online; as well as the Education centres for their ongoing support with providing teachers training and workshops throughout the year. We wish everyone a summer full of fun and look forward to seeing you in person in the new school year,” Ms Waheed further said.
The Explorers teaching training was coordinated by Dr Noirin Burke, Galway Atlantaquaria and managed by Cushla Dromgool-Regan, at the Camden Education Trust. For further information about the Explorers Education outreach in schools, teachers workshops and training, as well as the resources see www.explorers.ie. Follow us on Facebook: @ExplorersMarineEducation and Twitter @explorersedu for great ideas and fun facts about the ocean.
The Explorers Education Programme is funded by the Marine Institute, Ireland’s state agency for marine research and development.