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Rhode Island Natural History Survey » Education
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Animals &Education &Events &Skills Workshops dgregg on 24 Apr 2009

Naturalist Skills Workshop—Ants, April 29

Naturalist Skills Workshop—Ants, Wednesday, April 29, 7-9 p.m., Coastal Institute Kingston. Sign up now.

The next Naturalist Skills Workshop will be Wednesday, April 29, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and will be on ants. Dr. David Lubertazzi will review ant taxonomy, ant fauna of southern New England, and literature useful for ant identification. He will describe collecting and preparation techniques. The Workshop will meet in the Coastal Institute Kingston, Room 101. If you’ve begun to learn the ants, bring your stumpers! Dr. Lubertazzi is an ant ecologist with a Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut. The Naturalist Skills Workshops are informal evenings designed to give naturalists an introduction into the taxonomy and methods of study for particular animal or plant groups. Space in Naturalist Skills Workshops is extremely limited and to attend, you must RSVP to RINHS. This workshop is free to RINHS members and $5.00 for non-members. To RSVP, for more information, and for directions, call 401-874-5800 or email info@rinhs.org. RINHS Naturalist Skills Workshops are sponsored by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Rhode Island Refuge Complex.

Education &Exec's Blog &News dgregg on 04 Feb 2009

National Research Council Reports on Informal Science Education

The National Research Council of the National Academies recently announced the release of a report on the efficacy of non-classroom (sometimes called “informal”) science education. Although under development for some time, this release is pretty timely stuff with the new Obama administration having promised to put science back in its rightful place and Congress considering various versions of No Child Left Indoors legislation. In my brief read of a pre-release version available on line (see link below), I’m not sure that the conclusion–that worthwhile science learning can take place in non-classroom situations, be they formally or informally organized–is either startling or particularly useful by itself. In a world of extreme financial resource scarcity, it would have been much more useful to have a strong conclusion about the relative efficiency of non-classroom versus classroom science education. Of more apparent value is the considerable effort made by the authors to provide guidance on evaluating non-classroom science education program outcomes. Quantitative evaluation of informal education is notoriously difficult and the lack of positive, objective “metrics” has been a stumbling block to those trying to increase support for such programs. New directions with regard to program assessment would, therefore, be useful. But don’t take my word for it, see for yourself:

Link to NRC Report on Science Education

I’m interested in your thoughts. Please leave comments below.

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