1013 Views
  1. Nicole Freidenfelds
  2. https://nre.uconn.edu/Faculty_and_Staff/faculty_and_staff-freidenfelds.php
  3. Visiting Assistant Extension Educator
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. University of Connecticut
  1. Todd Campbell
  2. https://education.uconn.edu/person/todd-campbell/
  3. Department Head and Professor
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. University of Connecticut
  1. Cary Chadwick
  2. Geospatial Educator
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. University of Connecticut
  1. Laura Cisneros
  2. http://www.lauramariecisneros.com/
  3. Assistant Extension Professor
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. University of Connecticut
  1. David Dickson
  2. Extension Educator
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. University of Connecticut
  1. Jonathan Simmons
  2. Gradate Student
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. University of Connecticut
  1. John Volin
  2. https://umaine.edu/president/people/john-volin/
  3. Provost
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. University of Maine, University of Connecticut
Facilitators’
Choice

Promoting Lifelong STEM learning through a Focus on Conservation, Geospatial ...

NSF Awards: 1612650

2021 (see original presentation & discussion)

Grades 9-12, Adult learners, Informal / multi-age

Over the past four years the University of Connecticut Conservation Training Partnerships program has engaged more than 220 high school students and adult volunteers in applying innovative geospatial technology to address real-world conservation issues, resulting in over 70 local environmental projects throughout the state. In 2020, COVID-19 disrupted our natural resource science and education researchers' ability to offer face-to-face training workshops. As such, we quickly pivoted to provide an online teaching and learning platform for our intergenerational participants. Despite the many challenges, our team was able to successfully adapt our informal STEM programming during the pandemic.

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Discussion from the 2021 STEM For All Video Showcase (24 posts)
  • Icon for: Nicole Freidenfelds

    Nicole Freidenfelds

    Lead Presenter
    Visiting Assistant Extension Educator
    May 10, 2021 | 03:36 p.m.

    Thank you so much for visiting our presentation on Socially-Distanced Community Conservation Partnerships! We're excited to share the story of our program, Conservation Training Partnerships (CTP), with a broader audience and gain valuable feedback.

    CTP promotes lifelong STEM learning through a focus on conservation, geospatial technology and community engagement. We represent an innovative collaboration between the natural resource and education departments at the University of Connecticut. Our goal is to engage youth and adults in intergenerational teams to apply conservation science and geospatial technologies in the design and implementation of authentic conservation projects that benefit their communities. Our educational research seeks to understand how these innovative partnerships can support STEM learning and the development and maintenance of STEM identities. 

    Like many other informal STEM programs, the COVID-19 pandemic forced us to pivot to an online format. While we consider our 2020 programming to have been successful, we certainly faced a number of challenges throughout the process. We'd love to hear from other folks who transitioned to remote learning about your experiences over the past year, specifically:

    • What are the successes, lessons learned, limitations, and obstacles you experienced?
    • How has learning changed in the new contexts of virtual, blended, hybrid, etc.? 
    • How have you been able to foster equitable engagement in STEM learning?

     

  • Icon for: Martin Storksdieck

    Martin Storksdieck

    Facilitator
    Director
    May 10, 2021 | 04:33 p.m.

    Nicole and team: this is not only a wonderful project, it is also an impressive video: thanks so much!  I think you are asking good question. How would you briefly answer your three questions yourself?  The video insinuates some, but certainly not as directly as your questions indicate. I am particularly interested in the question of equity and particpation.

     
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    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Joy Kubarek
  • Icon for: Todd Campbell

    Todd Campbell

    Co-Presenter
    Department Head and Professor
    May 11, 2021 | 08:26 a.m.

    Dear Martin,

    Thanks for your interest in our project!  The following represent some of our evolving thinking in the form of design principles about fostering equitable engagement in STEM learning grounded in literature and our experiences:

     

    Design Principle 1: Connect Project to Teen & Adult Interests & Identities

    The first principle encourages both teen and adult participants to connect their community conservation project to their prior experiences. This helps ensure that the project draws on the assets of both partners, avoiding deficit framing and allowing for more expansive and meaningful ways for participants to engage in science and conservation. This asset-based approach facilitates STEM identity authoring (Rodriguez et al., 2019; Rodriguez, 2020), which in turn can promote lifelong STEM learning and participation (Carlone & Johnson, 2007).

     

    Design Principle 2: Connect Project to Community Need & Real-World Challenges

    Through principle 2, participants connect their project to a community need and a real-world challenge. Not only does this set up the project to have real community benefits, but it provides participants with the opportunity to see the power in applying their disciplinary and action-oriented knowledge in the context of addressing community issues that are relevant to them.

     

    Design Principle 3: Connect Project to Disciplinary Knowledge & Practice

    Principle 3 encourages participants to utilize knowledge and practices of experts when planning and implementing their conservation projects. These connections allow for partnerships with a range of people from a variety of fields, including scientists and community organization leaders.

    This design principle aims to connect teen and adult learners to communities of practice (e.g., amateur birders) to both leverage disciplinary knowledge and practice to accomplish their desired pursuits, while also connecting them to communities where identities are constructed.

     

    Design Principle 4: Connect Project to Community by Sharing Publicly

    The fourth principle of sharing the project with the community and broader public serves two goals: (1) it informs the public about community members who are actively engaged in community improvements, and (2) it publicly recognizes the accomplishment of both partners. Similar to design principles 2 and 3, this principle has a dual purpose of both supporting teen and adult identity authoring and supporting community conservation efforts. While UConn-CTP project final products may range from a poster, article in a local newspaper, an Esri StoryMap, or a park bench, teen and adult participants are encouraged and supported to share their projects publicly. For most, this means presenting at a statewide conservation conference.

     
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    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Joy Kubarek
    Martin Storksdieck
  • Icon for: Martin Storksdieck

    Martin Storksdieck

    Facilitator
    Director
    May 11, 2021 | 11:12 a.m.

    Thank you, Todd, for these detailed design principles.  They are addressing Q3. How would you answer your Qs 1 and 2:

     

    • What are the successes, lessons learned, limitations, and obstacles you experienced?
    • How has learning changed in the new contexts of virtual, blended, hybrid, etc.?

     

  • Icon for: Nicole Freidenfelds

    Nicole Freidenfelds

    Lead Presenter
    Visiting Assistant Extension Educator
    May 11, 2021 | 12:09 p.m.

    Hi Martin,

    I'd love to chime in regarding question 1.

    Participant access to technology and reliable internet was one obstacle we faced, though we tried to mitigate that by loaning out laptops and mobile hotspots to folks who needed them.

    I think the most difficult challenge was that the virtual format might have inhibited participants from connecting or interacting with each other on a more personal level. We had relatively low responses to our post-workshop survey question that asked to what extent the virtual setting enhanced or inhibited a participants’ ability to establish a connection with their partner/teammates (68% and 63% for CTP teens and adults, respectively). These results will help guide this year's programming efforts - we aim to increase the rapport among participants by providing additional opportunities for teammates to interact and build stronger relationships.

    I consider our biggest success to have been connecting our teen and adult participants with nature found right outside their door. We did this through freely available mobile apps that got folks outside: identifying and recording hyper-local observations of plants and animals, mapping their surroundings, and sharing their discoveries with each other. 

    Participating from home also provided an opportunity to those who may have limited access to traditional in-person programs, for example, those who lack transportation or aren’t able to travel to a university campus or workshop location. An adult CTP interviewee noted that the virtual format was more convenient than attending a face-to-face workshop: “I think, personally, it worked out better. . . . I didn’t have to find childcare.  I could stay at home.  I could work in my house.  I didn’t have to worry about commuting anywhere.” 

  • Icon for: Laura Cisneros

    Laura Cisneros

    Co-Presenter
    Assistant Extension Professor
    May 11, 2021 | 12:53 p.m.

    Hi Martin, 

    And to respond to Q2 (How has learning changed in the new contexts of virtual, blended, hybrid, etc.?), we leaned more into place-based learning and having participants engage more so with the natural environments in their backyard and assessing environmental quality parameters near home (e.g. biodiversity assessment, water quality assessment). As Nicole mentioned above, an important part of CTP is intergeneration learning that happens with the teams working through field activities together. We faced some minor challenges with replicating this in a virtual platform, but were more or less able to overcome this by using breakout rooms at multiple points through out the virtual workshop. This allowed teams time to discuss and develop their community projects among themselves with an instructor present to help guide/facilitate discussion. Participants were also able to work on their projects in the field after the two-day workshop following social distancing protocols.

  • Icon for: Amy Alznauer

    Amy Alznauer

    Facilitator
    Lecturer
    May 11, 2021 | 08:08 a.m.

    Good Morning Everyone!

    What a fantastic project and presentation, which seemed to offer truly impactful programs to your existing communities and creatively extend and transform those programs using virtual tools. A few questions. You mention that you bring together intergenerational teams. Could you say a bit more about that? Later when you show impact you separate out teens and adults in the survey responses, but were those two groups working together? Could you say a little about your thinking behind the decision to create age diversity in the teams, and whether or not you tried to measure the effect of this decision? You also did a lovely job offering some clear examples of your projects – like the contest to observe the greatest diversity in backyard or local floral and fauna, or mapping trails, public education, and surveying for wildlife. I’d love to hear if there was a star activity, one that really stood out from the rest and was the greatest success of this pivot to pandemic programming. And if so, how might what you learned from this activity (or activities) impact future virtual programming?

  • Icon for: Nicole Freidenfelds

    Nicole Freidenfelds

    Lead Presenter
    Visiting Assistant Extension Educator
    May 11, 2021 | 12:21 p.m.

    Thank you for joining our discussion, Amy!

    I think our star activity was the Backyard Biodiversity Challenge. This was a place-based educational activity at our participants’ homes and away from the computer. Participants were given 15 minutes to record observations of flora and fauna in their backyard or neighborhood using a free data-collection mobile app, Epicollect5. We structured this activity as a teen versus adult friendly competition to boost engagement and replicate the relaxed learning experience of our in-person field program. After returning to Zoom an instructor shared and discussed the results of the activity with the full group. One benefit of being virtual, that wouldn't have happened if we were all together in person, was seeing the map of Connecticut with all of the observation locations. It was a fantastic way to get folks outside, connecting with nature in their immediate area, and also genuinely highlighting the biodiversity throughout our state. We will absolutely include this activity again in future virtual programs.

  • Icon for: Todd Campbell

    Todd Campbell

    Co-Presenter
    Department Head and Professor
    May 11, 2021 | 08:37 a.m.

    Hi Amy,

    Here is some additional information about how/why we focus on bringing intergenerational teams together:

    Our emphasis on engaging intergenerational teams in projects is grounded in the notion that being supported to engage in a long-term conservation project, whereby geospatial and conservation science principles and practices could be leveraged to meet intergenerational teams negotiated community-focused needs and pursuits, can lead to teen and adult (i.e., intergenerational teams) STEM identity authoring.

    The intergenerational teams begin their work in the project by participating in a two-day summer workshop facilitated by faculty and staff from the center for land use education and research and the departments of extension, natural resources, and curriculum and instruction (i.e., science education). Workshops are held during the summer, outside of the school year, and in different locations within CT. Teen and adult community volunteer participants are recruited through emails and in-person visits to high schools and community organizations (e.g., land trusts, conservation commissions, and non-profits) nearby each workshop location. Adult participants often have little to no formal environmental science training, but are affiliated and involved in conservation activities through a local community organization. Intergenerational teams are established before the workshop either by the participants themselves who subsequently applied together or by the program coordinator based on geographic location and project topic interests taken from participant applications.

    As part of the two-day summer workshop, teens and adult teams learn about conservation science principles and geospatial technologies as they began to plan their 10-month projects. During the workshop, each team learned how they can apply innovative, user-friendly mapping and web technology—specifically a smartphone GPS app, mobile/web data forms, and interactive mapping platform—to address conservation issues through hands-on fieldwork. Activities include water quality monitoring, interactive trail or resource mapping, and tree inventories.

    Community conservation projects are designed and developed by the intergenerational team at the two-day workshop, with the guidance of program faculty. The goal of these projects are to address a local environmental issue in the participants’ community while leveraging their new knowledge and technological toolkit and aligning with their interests. Interwoven throughout the two days were activities such as team building, discussion of collaborative team partnership norms, and community project brainstorming and development. The collaborative team partnership norms discussed with the participants were based on Bang et al. (2017) and encouraged movement away from culturally-normed hierarchical teen-adult interactions. At the end of the workshop, participants pitch their project idea to the other participants and program faculty, effectively launching their community project work.

    Following the workshop, the teams carry out their conservation projects with ongoing (online and in-person) support and guidance of the program coordinator throughout the project period. The coordinator project support includes encouraging active participation in all aspects of the community conservation project work (e.g., project development, implementation and development of project products) by both the teen and adult participant. Teams showcase their work during a poster session at a regional conservation conference in the spring of the following year.

  • Icon for: Amy Alznauer

    Amy Alznauer

    Facilitator
    Lecturer
    May 11, 2021 | 09:33 a.m.

    Hi Todd,

    Thank you for these responses to both me and to Martin.

    This statement in particular was quite helpful: "This helps ensure that the project draws on the assets of both partners, avoiding deficit framing and allowing for more expansive and meaningful ways for participants to engage in science and conservation."

    And this: "The collaborative team partnership norms discussed with the participants were based on Bang et al. (2017) and encouraged movement away from culturally-normed hierarchical teen-adult interactions." 

    I wonder if you've had a chance to view this project: https://videohall.com/p/1910 It occurs to me that your project, by making the work consequential for and embedded in communities, actually goes a long way towards equity and inclusion.

  • Icon for: Laura Cisneros

    Laura Cisneros

    Co-Presenter
    Assistant Extension Professor
    May 11, 2021 | 12:44 p.m.

    Hi Amy,

    Thank you so much for your questions and the link to the Learning with Purpose work! I wanted to add on to Todd's response in regard to our motivation to work with life-long learners and intergenerational partnerships. Our NSF AISL research associated with this project is focused on understanding STEM identity authoring by life-long learners or intergenerational partnerships, which is linked to sustained interest and involvement in STEM and conservation efforts by lifelong learners (Carlone & Johnson, 2007). This focus on STEM identity authoring by life-long learners is motivated by the fact that much of conservation and land use decisions are often carried out at the local level by volunteer boards and commissions throughout the United States (Arnold 2000; Nolon 2014), which typically have little support in the form of education in natural resources or conservation science and often represent an older demographic. Thus, the intergenerational partnerships formed and supported by the CTP program provides an opportunity to involve high school students in these local conservation efforts, provide learning opportunities for both teen and adult conservation volunteers, and bring together the unique skills and knowledge of teens (e.g., tech-savvy) and adults (e.g., knowledgeable of local community environmental issues) that can lead to innovative ways of addressing real world pursuits and challenges that are relevant and important to the participants and their communities.

  • Icon for: Amy Alznauer

    Amy Alznauer

    Facilitator
    Lecturer
    May 12, 2021 | 09:20 a.m.

    Thank you for this! It is so easy to bemoan different lacks in the newer generations or the older generations, but you are trying to combat that demoralizing approach with something so hopeful - bringing the generations together so they can enhance each other. I love the idea of the local knowledge of older generations being paired with the tech savvy energy of younger generations - producing a ... super power?  It it strikes me as particularly valuable here when we are talking about our earth, which we all share. 

    ATTN EVERYONE - if you haven't done so yet, check out their website: https://nrca.uconn.edu/students-adults/index.htm
    Great videos and information about this amazing project.

     
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    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Nicole Freidenfelds
    Laura Cisneros
  • Icon for: George Hein

    George Hein

    Facilitator
    Professor Emeritus
    May 11, 2021 | 09:59 a.m.

    Hi Nicole and the team,

    You've carried out an impressive shift based on the problems associated with the Covid virus crisis. The focus on teaching participants on-line skills may be as important as the conservation issues. Are you documenting the progress on participants' skills as they progress in the project.  And what does it take, especially in time, for the staff to teach the new skills?

     

     

  • Icon for: Nicole Freidenfelds

    Nicole Freidenfelds

    Lead Presenter
    Visiting Assistant Extension Educator
    May 11, 2021 | 12:35 p.m.

    Hi George,

    Thank you for watching our presentation and joining the conversation!

    We administer post-workshop surveys to evaluate our participants' feedback on how well they were able to learn how to use new technology and how to apply that technology toward their conservation projects. We typically also include follow-up interviews once their projects are complete. Overall, teen and adult participants reported that it was easy to use Zoom and Google Drive and felt comfortable communicating with program leaders through the video platform. Over 70% of respondents indicated that the virtual setting enhanced their ability to learn and apply new technology. We plan to collect more longitudinal data during the final year of our project and will be better able to document any progress in participants' skills over time.

    Last year, most of the teaching occurred synchronously during our two-day virtual workshop. However, we also provide a variety of resources on our website either created or curated by our instructors: online tutorial videos, webinars, reference guides, etc. These are easily accessible to our participants but do take time to record or assemble. After the workshop, we support participant teams one-on-one as they carry out their conservation projects. Some teams need more help than others so it's difficult to say exactly how much time is spent, but one example is meeting with a team online for an hour to walk through creating an ArcGIS StoryMap.

     

  • Icon for: George Hein

    George Hein

    Facilitator
    Professor Emeritus
    May 11, 2021 | 01:51 p.m.

    Yes, it's that extended "tail" of answering questions and encouraging those who, for whatever reasons, are slower to understand the sometimes seemingly complex ways required by electronic activities.  It's important to document the ways that helped students who have difficulties.

     
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    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Nicole Freidenfelds
  • Icon for: Todd Campbell

    Todd Campbell

    Co-Presenter
    Department Head and Professor
    May 11, 2021 | 10:02 a.m.

    Thanks for sharing this video Amy! I look for Barbara Rogoff's and her groups' video each year because of the important work they do. I really appreciate how they share, "Learning with the purpose of contributing to the benefit of a group can be leveraged to create more equitable learning situations" and elevate the importance of community-mindedness as a common motivating orientation that is sustaining for minoritized communities. 

     
    1
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    Amy Alznauer
  • Icon for: Rich Wagner

    Rich Wagner

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 11, 2021 | 06:02 p.m.

    Wonderful collaboration.  I'm not sure I'd be so ambitious with the technology only because I've had a disproportionally high rate of setbacks lately in the field.

    I have already installed the Epicollect5 app.  The Backyard Biodiversity challenge is a stroke of genius. 

    Rich Wagner
    Prof. of Meteorology, MSU Denver

     
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    Nicole Freidenfelds
  • Icon for: Luiz Oliveira

    Luiz Oliveira

    Researcher
    May 11, 2021 | 07:50 p.m.

    Hello Nicole and team! I love the outdoor/adventure theme of your guys' project! It seems like the perfect fit given the situation with the pandemic. I think the students had a lot of fun taking part in the activities, especially as they also learned how to use different technologies. 

    Do you think the project helped spark an interest in nature/outdoors with kids participants that weren't previously interested? 

    P.S. Fantastic video animation and presentation, one of the best so far :)

    Thanks!

     

  • Icon for: Nicole Freidenfelds

    Nicole Freidenfelds

    Lead Presenter
    Visiting Assistant Extension Educator
    May 12, 2021 | 07:23 a.m.

    Thank you so much, Luiz :)

    I would say that the group of participants we had last summer were mostly already fairly interested in nature. We were well into our program recruitment season when COVID hit and unfortunately we lost quite a few participants that had registered by that point, especially students from more urban communities. Schools were really struggling to figure out online learning and some districts were more impacted than others with students not having access to technology. I have a feeling that a lot of the students (and even a few adults) that had signed up for our program before the pandemic but then "disappeared" from communication are the ones that would have most felt a new spark of interest in the outdoors.

    We've modified our recruitment strategy a bit this year, are forging stronger connections with teachers in specific communities, and are really hoping to attract more students who don't already see themselves as "environmentalists" or "outdoorsy types."

  • Icon for: George Hein

    George Hein

    Facilitator
    Professor Emeritus
    May 12, 2021 | 09:54 a.m.

    Nicole,

    If you haven't already thought about it, you might look into making community contacts through libraries and/or museums (as other video presenters have done).

  • Icon for: Julie Poynsenby

    Julie Poynsenby

    Graduate Student
    May 14, 2021 | 05:17 p.m.

    Great video and what a fantastic challenge! I think the Backyard Biodiversity Challenge should be expanded as you demonstrated how possible the idea is virtually anywhere. Great job on adapting to the challenges thrown up by Covid-19.

     
    1
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    Nicole Freidenfelds
  • Icon for: Nicole Freidenfelds

    Nicole Freidenfelds

    Lead Presenter
    Visiting Assistant Extension Educator
    May 17, 2021 | 09:09 a.m.

    Thank you, Julie!

  • Icon for: Todd Campbell

    Todd Campbell

    Co-Presenter
    Department Head and Professor
    May 16, 2021 | 12:02 p.m.

    As interested, here’s a link to a recent article published from our project that details some of our research findings (this link provides free access for 1st 50 prints) https://t.co/npqqeA9a1DIntergenerational community conservation projects, STEM identity authoring, and positioning: the cases of two intergenerational teams

     
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    John Volin
    Laura Cisneros
  • Icon for: Todd Campbell

    Todd Campbell

    Co-Presenter
    Department Head and Professor
    May 17, 2021 | 09:18 a.m.

    We would love to hear about how others have thought about interactions/collaborations between teens and adults in informal spaces. This is important to us as we have sought to support both teen and adult learning and identity authorship as part of our project. While we think working to counter some of the hierchacal positioning typical of teen and adult interactions can help with opening up space for recognition and becoming, we also recognize the complexity of this in connection to writings from others.  Here is some text from Camino (2005) that has influenced our thinking:

    In fact, Camino (2005) identified what she considered to be a fallacy in how power was often thought of as a zero-sum equation when it came to youth [teen] and adult interactions, where “the only way youth c[ould] gain power [wa]s for adults to give up power” (p. 78). In her evaluating youth and adult partnerships, she illuminated how the lack of leadership from adults often frustrated both teens and adults in the youth and adult partnerships, especially when adults suggested that their role was to ‘just get out of the way’. To allay this type of frustration, she suggested that adults taking on leadership roles didn’t have to be thought of as teens not being afforded power, instead Camino (2005) suggested that adults could play a role in leveraging their experiences and expertise to support youth in ways that not only “assist[ed] youth in exercising the full range of agency that they are developmentally capable of [while also supporting] . . . youth [who] were not ready to direct the vision and action” (p. 78) of their projects.

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