TeachLive Outcomes

Earthwatch has recently completed a comprehensive evaluation of TeachLive programs conducted between October 2016 and September 2017. This  demonstrated that they have resulted in great outcomes for teachers, students and their whole community:

Numbers of teachers and students engaged

In the 12 months surveyed, 23 teachers have participated in 4 TeachLive expeditions. During these expeditions 2,072 students shared in their teacher's experiences by connecting with them through the TeachLive website and other online platforms such as Skype.

After they returned to their schools the teachers were able to implement their new knowledge and research skills in their teaching, and also build the skills and capacity of other teachers in their schools, networks and communities. This has enabled them to reach 1,816 additional students beyond those who followed them during their expedition, bringing the total number of students who have benefited from the program to over 3,800 - an average of more than 160 students for every teacher who took part in the program.

Improvements to teaching practices

The teachers were asked to describe the impact that their involvement has had on their teaching practices. The response to this was overwhelmingly positive, with every teacher surveyed indicating that they have been able to implement their new knowledge, skills and motivation.
Examples of specific actions and programs that the teachers have undertaken as a result of their participation in TeachLive include:

• Partnering with local land managers to set up biodiversity monitoring programs, where students collect data that the land managers can use to inform their conservation strategies.
• Teaching students how to use household items to build scientific equipment (e.g.: ‘aspirators’ to collect invertebrates, devices to measure tree canopy cover) then leading their students in collecting this data in or near their school.
• Conducting professional development sessions for other teachers (both from their school and other schools in their community).
• Installing remote automatic cameras in school grounds and nearby habitat, to photograph wildlife that visit.
• Using publically accessible citizen science programs and Apps (e.g.: Earthwatch’s ClimateWatch program www.climatewatch.org.au) to collect environmental data with their students, which is provided to scientists and environmental management agencies.
• Incorporating citizen science into the school’s geography curriculum for 2018 and beyond, including conducting fieldwork to collect scientific data that can be used to inform environmental management.
• Leading students as they constructed native habitats such as frog ponds in their school grounds.
• Developing a fieldwork study on fish species in their local bay, using GoPros and fish bait baskets to assess the amount of fish and species within the local area over a period of time.
• Incorporating the expedition in their school’s careers class, by teaching the students about the diverse career pathways that the scientists on the expedition had followed to get where they are today.

Quotes and testimonials

The teachers also provided statements summarising their learnings and experience:

 It was the best PD of my teaching career. There was nothing that I didn't enjoy. Even elements of it which I found difficult were made enjoyable by the environment, staff and colleagues who were there.

                         – Teacher, Korumburra Secondary College, Victoria

This was one of the best PD activities that I have ever been on. The staff were fantastic, nothing was a problem and the organisation (and food) was simply superb. The location was stunning and the mix of on water and off water activities gave us a great insight into how scientific research is conducted in the field. I cannot recommend an Earthwatch trip enough.“
                          – Teacher, Glen Waverley Secondary College, Victoria

I have had a parent tell me that their Year 9 student never knew what he career he wanted but since I've been his teacher he has started coming home saying "I want a career in science". Winning!
                           – Teacher, Dimbulah State School P‐10, Queensland

Teachlive was a wonderful opportunity to consider the role of data collection and analysis in Science. This, together with the collegiality of peers from diverse backgrounds and the specialist skills, experience and knowledge of Dr Melzer resulted in a professional development experience that was over and above the typical 8 hour PD, in a room without windows and a PowerPoint presentation. I would greatly recommend the experience to all teachers interested in environmental issues and interested in the experimental design in data collection behind scientific research.
                            – Teacher, St. Scholastica's College, NSW

This was one of the best professional experiences of my career, the location, the people involved and the program itself was simply outstanding.”
                            – Teacher, Glen Waverley Secondary College, Victoria

Having the other teachers there was amazing. It was good that we came from various backgrounds and experience. Everyone was able to share different perspectives on how to teach things and share resources. The amount of knowledge I gained was amazing, particularly in field techniques and the impact of invasive species.
                            – Teacher, St Michael's Collegiate School, Tasmania.

In the Year 10 Geography class there is now a fieldwork excursion for the first time in a decade. Students look at environmental and coastal management in a trip to Altona Beach. Some of the fieldwork techniques such as a sand/mud sediment sample and looking at seagrass growing at Altona were based on the skills and knowledge I picked up on the EarthWatch trip. I also feel much more comfortable and confident taking Year 11 and 12 Geography classes on their mandatory fieldwork trips due to the knowledge and skills I learned from the trip.”
                             – Teacher, Broadford Secondary College, Victoria

My principal commented that I returned much happier and invigorated from the trip and that he had never seen me smile as much as when I was running the Skype session with my class. He has also been impressed with the way my Year 10 class have constructed a frog pond.
                             – Teacher, Broadford Secondary College, Victoria

The course was like placing a coal into a fire. It re‐inspired me and fed my passion for environmental preservation.
                             – Teacher, Bellingen Public School, NSW

Simply put it provided the kind of experience we try and create for students ‐ real world learning.
                             – Teacher, Ivanhoe Girls' Grammar School, Victoria

It was great to have this experience with other teachers from other school who were also passionate about teaching, geography and science. The enthusiasm spread and I think we all went back to our schools refreshed and ready to teach.”
                             – Teacher, Upwey High School, Victoria

The hands‐on experiences using different tools and data collection methods have taught me new ways to observe my own school environment with students and record and report what we find. The model developed to explain the issues on St Bees can be adapted to be part of our School Environment Management Plan and be used to guide future directions and interventions with our environmental program.
                             – Teacher, Bringelly Public School, NSW

It was the most rewarding experiences I have ever had the opportunity to partake in. I feel richer for the experience and was so proud to be able to represent my school and have them interact with me whilst I was on the journey.”
                            – Teacher, Narromine High School, NSW

It was a fantastic experience that gave me the hands on experiences I needed to make me feel more confident and empowered to teach. I can now refer back to 'that time I was conducting scientific research in the field', when I was a 'real scientist' which gives me more credibility with my students.
                            – Teacher, Monterey Secondary College, Vic