What is the most compelling reason to use QUEST resources in the science classroom? "They are local", "I can download them", and "short is good." These are a few of the quick responses given by science educators attending QUEST's first 2-day institutes this summer. Forty science teachers from Vallejo to San Jose attended one of two Institutes entitled "Using QUEST Multimedia in the Middle and High School Classroom to Enhance Teaching and Learning" (yes, it’s a mouthful, but you probably get a good idea of what we focused on...). The Institutes were held in partnership with CTAP Region IV at both the San Mateo County Office of Education in Redwood City and the Alameda County Office of Education in Hayward in mid-August.
Participants spent an intense two days discussing the importance of incorporating 21st century skills and multimedia into the science curriculum, learning about and practicing with the science resources on the QUEST website, and ultimately, planning a unit and lesson that incorporate one or more QUEST resources into their curriculum for the upcoming year. They streamed, podcasted and downloaded, left comments on the QUEST blog, explored Explorations, created Google Maps, searched the QUEST Flickr Group, learned about RSS feeds, and started their own social network. Did I mention they only had 2 days?
And of course the hard work paid off with some very creative plans for the '08-'09 school year: students at Centerville Junior High in Fremont will be reading and commenting on the QUEST blog each week, and students at Terra Linda High School in San Rafael will be using QUEST and Google Maps to learn about and locate the most powerful telescopes on Earth. Students at Gompers Continuation High School in Richmond will view QUEST video and use a QUEST Exploration before a field trip where they will collect photos and video to make their own short media piece! These are just a few of the innovative ideas that teachers came up with at the institutes.
In addition to a stipend for their time, these forty teachers will now be the recipients of follow-up support from QUEST Education for the duration of the '08-'09 school year. As the provider of that support, I couldn't be more excited to work with these amazing teachers. In an era of high stakes testing and underfunded, overcrowded classrooms, it is a privilege to work with such dedicated and creative individuals.