Title:Think Globally, Act Locally: The Role of Real Teachers in Community Science Issues
Authors:Lyndsey Clark, Barbara Bottaro, Martin Bazley, Karen Elinich
Publication:MW2002: Museums and the Web 2002

Science Museums and Science Centers are increasingly seeking more engaging, active ways of involving their audiences. The two partner institutions in this project are working with teachers to get students actively involved with real-world science and technology as preparation for employment and citizenship, whilst building ongoing relationships between the science museums, teachers and community organisations. Last year, US and UK Online Museum Educators (OMEs) worked with The Franklin Institute and the Science Museum, London to create 'Pieces of Science', a series of online learning resources, each inspired by a particular museum object. 'Pieces' has been very well received, and inspired the team to consider another ambitious project, aimed at involving students, as well as their teachers. In this second year of collaboration the focus has shifted to creating community and issues-based science projects, designed to engage older (high school) students and their teachers in community service, issues-based discussion and interaction with practising scientists. The legacy of each project will be a website providing related classroom resources alongside a record of the activities and a toolkit to support other secondary teachers to develop similar activities. Staff from the two museums are supporting the teachers in the development of activities and models. As the teachers create their educational resources, they document their process so that, by the end, there will be a body of data from which staff can draw conclusions and report findings. Likewise, while the teachers are creating resources, they will engage in conversation with their international colleagues, ultimately broadening the scope of their thinking and providing an international context for their educational resource creation. Based on the lessons from Year 1, this process includes creating thematic groupings, mixing UK and US OMEs and videoconferencing. This paper will focus on presenting lessons learnt and suggestions for anyone considering similar projects in the near future, including issues such as how to engender constructive online interaction and what works and what does not in online collaboration projects.