March 19, 2013
2013, Oceanography 26(1):98–105, http://dx.doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2013.08
Annette deCharon | University of Maine, Darling Marine Center, Walpole, ME, USA
Linda Duguay | University of Southern California (USC), Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies, and USC Sea Grant Program, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Janice McDonnell | Department of 4-H Youth Development, Rutgers University, Institute of Marine & Coastal Sciences, New Brunswick, NJ, USA
Cheryl Peach | Scripps Educational Alliances, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA
Carla Companion | University of Maine, Darling Marine Center, Walpole, ME, USA
Christen Herren | University of Maine, Darling Marine Center, Walpole, ME, USA
Patricia Harcourt | COSEE-West, USC, Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies, USC Sea Grant Program, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Theodore Repa | Administration & Instructional Leadership, Graduate School of Education, Touro College and University System, New York, NY, USA
Carrie Ferraro | Coastal Ocean Observation Lab, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, USA
Patricia Kwon | COSEE-West, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Sage Lichtenwalner | Coastal Ocean Observation Lab, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, USA
Eric Simms | previously at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD, La Jolla, CA, USA, now at Harvard University Center for the Environment
Lynn Whitley | Pre-College Education and COSEE-West, USC, Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies, USC Sea Grant Program, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Public appreciation and basic understanding of the role the ocean plays in the global environment has become more important as the urgency to make decisions on complex environmental issues has increased. Because communicating science to the public is often challenging for scientists, they can benefit from employing methods such as concept mapping, which "deconstructs" science into discrete ideas and organizes them into graphical formats. Responding to recommendations by ocean science faculty who participated in concept-mapping workshops with pre-college educators, four Centers for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence designed, implemented, and evaluated a series of professional development workshops for graduate students. These workshops engaged 20 faculty-level ocean scientists to help 73 graduate students depict complex scientific ideas using concept maps. Evidence shows that operationally breaking down topics and reorganizing them into graphical formats benefited faculty and graduate students alike. Each workshop culminated with the graduate students delivering oral presentations to nonscientist audiences such as high school students. Graduate students were highly rated on their abilities to place topics within a broad societal context. In a follow-up survey, graduate students recognized the potential of concept mapping to enhance their professional skills and to organize their own research.
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