17 April 2020 - In early March, the Marine Institute's Explorers Education Programme delivered an introduction to ocean literacy, teaching children about the marine in the classroom, to over two hundred and fifty pre-service teachers at Mary Immaculate College in Limerick, for the first time with lecturers Dr Anne Dolan and Brighid Golden.
The Explorers training team of Dr Noirin Burke and Anna Quinn, based at Galway Atlantaquaria, introduced the second year students to marine themed tasks and experiments in the classroom as well as learning about the Explorers Education Programme online resources www.explorers.ie.
The fourth year Education for Sustainability students also took part in the Explorers training, which included a visit to Grattan beach, Galway where they learned about seaweeds and the seashore habitat, as well as a trip to Galway Atlantaquaria where they got to observe many of Ireland's Irish native marine species.
Dr Noirin Burke noted the pre-service teachers enthusiasm during the training, saying "the high level of engagement and interest in teaching children about the marine, highlights the importance of developing outreach collaborations with teachers early in their careers. They are the key to teaching young children about the marine through STEM and cross curricular subjects, and therefore have a significant influence ensuring children become our ocean champions."
Dr Anne Dolan, Lecturer in Primary Geography, Mary Immaculate College, Limerick congratulated the Explorers training team saying "the Explorers Ocean Literacy workshop for student teachers was invaluable. Perfectly pitched, the team designed and delivered workshops which were beneficial, enjoyable and facilitated tremendous learning."
The Marine Institute's Explorers Education Programme has been working with pre-service teachers in Dublin City University for over three years teaching them about the ocean. This year working with Mary Immaculate College, the team included the delivery of a pre-recorded lecture by Dr Burke, where she created a virtual classroom online for the pre-service teachers.
"Accessing online lectures via virtual classrooms has provided the Explorers team with an opportunity to look at new ways of engaging and training teachers, outreach teams and other education stakeholders involved in marine education in the future," said Cushla Dromgool-Regan, Explorers Education Strategic Manager, Camden Education Trust.
Dr Dolan further highlighted the benefit of getting support from leading outreach initiatives such as the Explorers Education Programme stating that "with the Explorers expertise in the marine and their knowledge of the primary school curriculum, the team introduced the students to ocean literacy in a manner which was reflective, engaging and effective. I cannot recommend the workshops highly enough and I look forward to partnerships with the Explorers' Programme in the future."
The Explorers Education Programme is funded by the Marine Institute, Ireland's state agency responsible for marine research and development. The strategic development of the Programme is managed by the Camden Education Trust. The support services and delivery of the Explorers Education Programme is carried out by Galway Atlantaquaria.
Further information about the Explorers Education Programme is available at www.explorers.ie
Education Programme Manager & Communications Lead
(Marine Institute's Explorers Education Programme)
The Camden Education Trust
C/o Galway Education Centre
Cluain Mhuire, Wellpark, Galway
Mobile: + 353 (0) 87 9185519
Photo caption: Dr Noirin Burke from the Explorers Education Programme introduces up to 50 fourth year pre-service teachers from Mary Immaculate College to teaching children about the wonders of the seashore on Grattan beach in Galway. Photo Anne Dolan.