By Jan Heiderer, GLOBE Communications Coordinator;
Gary Randolph, GLOBE Regional Consortia Coordinator; and
Eric Stonebraker, GLOBE Regional Desk Officer for Asia and the Pacific
The world's largest international science education program, GLOBE (Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment), is establishing ties with UCAR international affiliates to enlist support for the program's efforts around the world. Two collaborative relationships, in South Korea and Nigeria, have already been established (see sidebar), and more are expected.
GLOBE would like to open this opportunity for collaboration to the entire UCAR community. We know that most scientists are already very busy, but the look of awe on a child's face when he or she finally understands something about clouds or soil makes the investment of time worth the effort.
GLOBE, whose program office is part of the UCAR Office of Programs, is a partnership between the United States and 108 other countries to enhance school science education by building collaborations between elementary/secondary school systems and colleges, universities, and nongovernmental organizations. Each participating country manages and supports its own unique national and regional activities.
The UCAR International Affiliates Program (IAP) was created in the 1980s to assist UCAR member institutions in forming partnerships with international organizations and to increase communication and collegiality in the atmospheric sciences worldwide. Currently, there are 47 international affiliate institutions.
The GLOBE program office is enlisting IAP's support through GLOBE Learning Communities, which are groups of individuals from diverse backgrounds and organizations, with broad expertise and resources, and the teachers and students who need their assistance. The learning communities work together to do scientific research that addresses real issues in their communities. Learning communities have sprung up around the world as businesses and organizations surrounding the local schools that participate in GLOBE have realized the value of the students' work and have wanted to become involved in some meaningful way. Members of these learning communities may assist financially, for example, by helping students acquire instruments or providing travel support for conferences, or may simply assist students in understanding the science behind the data they collect.
With input both from scientists, who want specific measurements so they can use the student data in their research, and from teachers, who want to help students gain an understanding of their environment, GLOBE has developed specific protocols for data collection in five main Earth science investigation areas: the atmosphere, hydrology, soil, land cover/biology, and phenology. Students in the GLOBE program collect environmental data within any or all of these areas. Even with a teacher's help, however, the children may not understand what the data mean or how they fit into the larger Earth system. Scientists within the community can be of great value in helping students understand the intricacies of our planet's environment and how it works as a system.
GLOBE invites all UCAR scientists and affiliates with expertise in any of these five investigation areas to become involved with the GLOBE community in their country or U.S. state. This involvement can include working with schools on projects or mentoring students. The goal is to create the most engaging learning experience possible in order for more students around the world to become excited about science.
If you are interested in collaborating with GLOBE teachers, students, and the worldwide GLOBE community, or if you know of someone who might be, please contact the GLOBE Help Desk.
Some time ago, we invited members of the UCAR community to become involved in the GLOBE program. Pablo Lagos, UCAR affiliate representative and professor in the School of Earth and Mineral Science at the Federal University of Technology in Akure, Nigeria, noted that his department is "enthusiastic and willing to engage in a long-term relationship with the GLOBE projects."
Dong-Kyou Lee, associate professor in the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Seoul National University, expressed great enthusiasm for the GLOBE program and the interaction with students and teachers it would afford. Subsequently, he has volunteered to serve as a co-coordinator for GLOBE in South Korea. He has already brought together Korean GLOBE teachers to plan for a workshop in 2008 and has given GLOBE presentations at several professional society meetings.