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12-6-11: Results Are In! GEF Institute's Professional Development Course is a Hit
Sustainability Education Concepts and Teaching Methods Online Pilot Gets Rave Reviews
December 6, 2011 - Green Education Foundation (GEF) is proud to announce the successful pilot launch of its first online professional development course, Sustainability Education Concepts and Teaching Methods. With over 500 enrollees from around the world, the pilot is providing GEF with valuable feedback and insights regarding the quality and delivery of content. Since its launch on November 1, 2011 the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and constructive.
The course is hosted on Moodle, GEF’s online learning platform. To engage participants and present visually appealing content, course developers interspersed multiple 1-2 minute video animation clips within each unit. Bryan Fields, a physics, biology, STEM and Sustainability teacher from Conant High School in New Hampshire, shared his enthusiasm about the delivery and content:
“My complements to the E-learning designer for an excellent integration of video and text and easy navigation. I am impressed with both the quality of the information and the effective and engaging use of technology used to convey the information.” Another educator noted, “I have never seen a course on Moodle as nice as this.”
To ensure learners are absorbing information and providing thorough feedback, each unit includes pre and post assessments, unit content surveys, as well as discussion forums to engage with the course instructor. Annette Sampon-Nicolas, an educator in Roanoke, Virginia, shared her opinion:
“The videos are fabulous and just the right length. The questions and material are thought provoking and thus effective. I find this course so engrossing that I often do not see time fly by and suddenly I realize I have been working on it for 3 hours! I also had hesitations about on-line courses in general, but now I am ‘sold.’”
The course provides teachers with the broad knowledge, skills, and impetus to proceed with curriculum implementation and sustainability initiatives in the classroom and the broader community. The units are considered an introduction to sustainability, but provide substantial, in-depth content useful even to those educators already integrating sustainability themes in their schools. One participant noted, “I think these units are terrific. I can't wait to incorporate these ideas into my already green classroom.”
The goal of the course’s design and materials is to offer a unique opportunity for teaching and learning STEM skills. Sustainability issues present a familiar context for students to integrate STEM skills with emerging knowledge in the social sciences. By making real-world connections to STEM learning, students develop the critical thinking and analytical skills that prepare them for success in higher education and 21st Century careers.
GEF defines ‘Sustainability Education’ as an integrative teaching model that connects student knowledge of environmental, economic and social systems with real-world applied learning strategies. At its core, sustainability education develops the knowledge, skills and intellectual habits essential for academic excellence and innovation, global citizenship, and ecological literacy in the twenty-first century and beyond.
Free registration in the pilot is open until December 15, 2011. Participants have through January 31, 2012, to complete 10, 1.5 hour units. Up to 2 academic credits or up to 4.5 PDP/CEUs are available to interested teachers upon course completion for a fee payable to the accrediting university. To participate in the pilot course, or pre-register for the Spring session, register at http://www.gefinstitute.org/.
For those educators in need of classroom-ready sustainability lessons, visit GEF’s Sustainability Lesson Clearinghouse. The Clearinghouse is home to over 600 sustainability lessons organized by grade level, subject area, format, and environmental focus. Educators are encouraged to collaborate and share by uploading their own lesson plans and materials. Access is unlimited and free to GEF members.
GEF’s National Green Week, the largest waste reduction campaign in history, is fast approaching. Educators are encouraged to use lessons from the Clearinghouse as well as the multitude of lessons, activities, and contests to engage their school in this free, nationwide program. National Green Week launches on February 6, 2012 and runs through Earth Day, April 22. Schools are encouraged to make any week their own green week.
About GEF Institute
GEF Institute, a division of Green Education Foundation (GEF), was established to meet the increasing market demand for sustainability focused education and training. The Institute builds on GEF's expertise in K-12 sustainability education and STEM concepts by offering affordable online courses in sustainability to educators, students at the high school and undergraduate level, employees and professionals. In addition to individual online courses, the Institute’s robust certificate program distinguishes those with a proven comprehensive understanding of important sustainability topics. The Institute's courses are eligible for professional development or academic credit.