Upcoming Presentations and Workshops:

Jiangnan University Professional Development Workshop

Date: Wednesday, May 20-22, 2014
Location: Jiangnan University, Wuxi, Jiangsu Province, CHINA
Workshop Title: "Scientific Teaching Methods for STEM Students"
Summit Moderated By: Dr. Liu He, Deputy Dean, College of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Jiangnan University, Wuxi, CHINA
This interactive workshop highlights innovative teaching strategies that align with NSF/AAAS Vision and Change biology education mandates and how they can also be utilized to enhance STEM education.
Presenters: McLaughlin, J. S.

The Penn State CHANCE Program: Exploring. Researching, and Conserving Our World's Ecosystems
Jacqueline S. McLaughlin
Associate Professor of Biology, CHANCE Founding Director, The Pennsylvania State University—Lehigh Valley, Center Valley, Pennsylvania, USA, jshea@psu.edu

The Penn State CHANCE program (Connecting Humans And Nature through Conservation Experiences) is making its mark by empowering environmental education world-wide through innovative teaching strategies that utilize scientific research (www.chance.psu.edu). Through physical (field-based) or virtual (online) learning environments undergraduate students and teachers travel the world to carry-out research on some of the world's most troubling environmental issues and problems. For example, China's biggest environmental challenge to date is stemming the tide of negative impacts of its burgeoning economy upon one of its most life-sustaining natural resources, water. CHANCE's work in China showcases how actual field work and online innovation can bring water realities, research scientists, and factual research data into Chinese classrooms to mobilize Chinese and American students to not only learn environmental science first-hand, but to address the societal and environmental challenges China and our world now face when it comes to its vanishing water supply due to pollution and global climate change. In a second example, the loss of biodiversity in tropical rainforests, mangroves, sea grasses and coral reefs due to climate change, over-harvesting and habitat destruction in Central America is affecting the future health of these fragile ecosystems and the sustainability of the people who live in these areas. CHANCE's work in Costa Rica and Panama brings students and research scientists together online and in the field to explore select tropical ecosystems with all human senses open while questioning the phenomena that are affecting the maintenance, loss, and restoration of the biological diversity within them. A scientifically literate global society fueled by a heterogeneous population of environmentally educated individuals who work towards environmentally sustainable life-styles and answers, and who can rethink the word human, in more than human terms, is being realized through CHANCE.


Transforming an Undergraduate Biology Laboratory Experience into a Real-World Research Environment
Jacqueline S. McLaughlin
Associate Professor of Biology, CHANCE Founding Director, The Pennsylvania State University—Lehigh Valley, Center Valley, Pennsylvania, USA, jshea@psu.edu

The time has come to transform science education to a place where teaching critical thinking skills and authentic experience is woven into the fine fabric of each and every lesson plan, laboratory assignment, assessment tool, and division and institutional strategic plan. This workshop will begin by overviewing the mandates of the National Science Foundation (NSF)/American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) report, Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education: A Call to Action (AAAS, 2010) to transform biology education at the undergraduate level nationwide. It will also describe transformative changes that are being implemented to the laboratory component of the biology course, "Molecules and Cells," serving predominantly sophomore level introductory biology majors at a branch campus of The Pennsylvania State University. Previously, these labs had utilized lower level inquiry-based methods with minimal exposure to select laboratory techniques. Vision and Change calls for coursework to model scientific passion and discipline, develop student lifelong learning skills, stimulate student curiosity and teach content via integration of scientific process. Using the strategy of assigning fewer projects with greater depth, this project has allowed students to become critically thinking, independent researchers able to answer real-world questions using primary literature, course content, and the scientific process. This laboratory transformation was accomplished by designing several student centered research experiences, each up to 6 weeks in length, which utilized higher-level, inquiry-based strategies. The four-step pedagogical framework that was developed and applied for each laboratory project make-over will also be presented, as well assessment data that was gathered three times over a three year period that focused on student evaluation and synthesis of the research process, analysis and application of research knowledge and skills, and synthesis of research, published and their own, into a critical paper.


International Conference of the Outdoor Learning Environment (ICOLE)

Date: Tuesday, July 15th, 2014
Location: Martin-Luther-University, Halle-Wittenberg, GERMANY
Keynote Address: "ICOLE 2014 International Conference"
Session Schedule: Tuesday, May 20th, 2014 at 2:30 PM and Wednesday, May 21st, 2014 at 1:30 PM
Conference Moderated By: Dr. Martin Lindner, Professor of Education, College of Education, Martin-Luther-University, Halle-Wittenberg
After a successful ICOLE 2013 at the Weizmann Institute in Israel, where international participants shared experiences in outdoor-education, the ICOLE 2014 will welcome its participants from July 13-19, 2014 in Germany with new input and impressions through a wide range of excursions. Each day will include one interactive sharing session, an educational visit to an outdoor learning environment, and modeling of the methods for teaching and learning in this setting.
Presenters: McLaughlin, J. S.

The Penn State CHANCE Program: Exploring, Researching, and Conserving Biodiversity Worldwide through Innovative Outdoor and Online Teaching Strategies
Jacqueline S. McLaughlin
Associate Professor of Biology, CHANCE Founding Director, The Pennsylvania State University—Lehigh Valley, Center Valley, Pennsylvania, USA, jshea@psu.edu

Today, humanity faces this reality – the environment is broken on local, state (province), national, and global scales most of which are a result of human impact on natural resources and ecosystems. Through its field courses and on-line tools, CHANCE serves as a catalyst to create innovative "outdoor" and "online" learning environments that foster and deliver conceptual understanding, interdisciplinary content, authentic scientific experience (conservation biology research) in factual ecosystems around the world, and diplomacy skills in order to create a more scientifically literate global society fueled by conservation minded individuals who work towards sustainable life-styles and answers.

This presentation will overview the CHANCE program, from its inception ten years ago as a partnership between Penn State University and the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE), to today, with its thirty-five partners world-wide such as: Jiangnan University (Wuxi, China), Nanjing University (Nanjing, China), the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI; Panama City, Panama), National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT), The DOW Chemical Company, WIDECAST – The Wider Caribbean Conservation Network, and Science/AAAS (for a complete list see CHANCE Partners). It will also give examples of how CHANCE, and its partners, have collectively broken-out of the traditional boundaries of didactic education by allowing students and teachers to explore and research the biodiversity, and conservation related issues, of select ecosystems worldwide. Specific examples will include CHANCE's present work in China, Costa Rica, Panama and Pennsylvania using its innovative international field courses and online "research modules." Specific examples will include CHANCE's present work in China, Costa Rica, Panama and Pennsylvania using its innovative international field courses and online "research modules."

CHANCE works to prepare global-minded citizens who can analyze, create, and implement solutions to maintain biological diversity, and as such, face the challenges of our time such as energy, air, food, water quality, and climate change.


University of Jersey and Durrell Conservation Academy

Date: July 14th-25th, 2014
Location: Channel Island, Trinity, Jersey UNITED KINGDOM
Invited Speaker: "Durrell Academy Endangered Species Course"
Session Schedule: Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014
Course Leader: Dr. Sean Dettman, University of Jersey and Durrell Conservation Academy
The Durrell Conservation Academy's Endangered Species Recovery (ESR) course provides a thorough introduction to the issues and practical skills involved in saving species from extinction. Participants are encouraged to develop a critical under¬standing of biodiversity conservation and the issues it raises worldwide.
Presenters: McLaughlin, J. S.

The Penn State CHANCE Program: Exploring, Researching, and Conserving Biodiversity Worldwide through Innovative Outdoor and Online Teaching Strategies
Jacqueline S. McLaughlin
Associate Professor of Biology, CHANCE Founding Director, The Pennsylvania State University—Lehigh Valley, Center Valley, Pennsylvania, USA, jshea@psu.edu

Today, humanity faces this reality – the environment is broken on local, state (province), national, and global scales most of which are a result of human impact on natural resources and ecosystems. Through its field courses and on-line tools, CHANCE serves as a catalyst to create innovative "outdoor" and "online" learning environments that foster and deliver conceptual understanding, interdisciplinary content, authentic scientific experience (conservation biology research) in factual ecosystems around the world, and diplomacy skills in order to create a more scientifically literate global society fueled by conservation minded individuals who work towards sustainable life-styles and answers.

This presentation will overview the CHANCE program, from its inception ten years ago as a partnership between Penn State University and the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE), to today, with its thirty-five partners world-wide such as: Jiangnan University (Wuxi, China), Nanjing University (Nanjing, China), the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI; Panama City, Panama), National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT), The DOW Chemical Company, WIDECAST – The Wider Caribbean Conservation Network, and Science/AAAS (for a complete list see CHANCE Partners). It will also give examples of how CHANCE, and its partners, have collectively broken-out of the traditional boundaries of didactic education by allowing students and teachers to explore and research the biodiversity, and conservation related issues, of select ecosystems worldwide. Specific examples will include CHANCE's present work in China, Costa Rica, Panama and Pennsylvania using its innovative international field courses and online "research modules." Specific examples will include CHANCE's present work in China, Costa Rica, Panama and Pennsylvania using its innovative international field courses and online "research modules." CHANCE works to prepare global-minded citizens who can analyze, create, and implement solutions to maintain biological diversity, and as such, face the challenges of our time such as energy, air, food, water quality, and climate change.


Girl Scouts of Orange County, California

Date: Saturday, August 16th, 2014
Location: University of California, Irvine Campus, 9:15 am
Invited Speaker: "2014 Kick-Off Event – Building a Better World"
Session Schedule: Saturday, August 16th, 2014
Moderated By: Christina Salcido, Volunteer Management Director, Girl Scouts of Orange County, Irvine, CA.
This event is the Girl Scout annual membership year kick-off, a time when volunteers gather together from across Orange County, California, and rally around the incredible opportunity they have to shape girls' lives.
Presenters: McLaughlin, J. S.

Girl Scouts: A STEM Where ALL Girls Can Reach Their Potential to Better the World
Jacqueline S. McLaughlin
Associate Professor of Biology, CHANCE Founding Director, The Pennsylvania State University—Lehigh Valley, Center Valley, Pennsylvania, USA, jshea@psu.edu

It is difficult not to overemphasize the importance of transforming education throughout the United States to a place where teaching critical thinking skills and authentic STEM experience is woven into the fine fabric of each and every lesson plan, laboratory assignment, assessment tool, and institutional strategic plan, be it K-12 or collegiate environments. The end result – a scientifically literate democratic society, a reinvigorated research enterprise, and sustainable answers to address human, environmental, and economic realities – could be far-reaching. It could even be revolutionary. Many reports, however, find that while there is promising news for girls in the area of STEM educational attainment, many girls are being left behind, and not all girls are faring the same. In particular, black/African American and Hispanic/Latina girls face significant challenges. The aim of this presentation is to: (1) overview the importance of STEM education for ALL young girls, regardless of ethnicity or career path, in and out of the classroom; (2) inspire Girl Scout volunteers to work towards motivating and empowering young girls to enter STEM career paths by their good work as chaperones of the GS journeys; (3) provide specific ideas on how volunteers can help girls experience the broad importance and application of STEM; and, (4) share how the Girl Scout leadership experience coupled with STEM education, can positively contribute to "Building a Better World: One Girl at a Time."