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How can teachers engage students with science issues that are meaningful in their local communities? This question sparked the development of the Community Science Action Guides. During the 2001-2002 year, The Franklin Institute Science Museum and the Science Museum, London invited sixteen teachers to participate in a collaborative exploration of this idea. Working with students at their schools in the US and UK, the teachers each selected a science content area that had local context.

The resulting "Community Science Action Guides" are content packages that support student investigation of local science issues. Developed and tested by these teachers, known as Online Museum Educators (OMEs), the "Guides" include planning resources, activities, and ready-to-use materials. The Online Museum Educators—whose activity is made possible by support from Unisys—participated in online conversations throughout the resource development process, sharing their diverse perspectives on community science issues and offering support to one another.

Community Science Action Guides Because the participants cross school levels from primary through secondary, the "Community Science Action Guides" offer resources for teachers at any level. The "Guides" are arranged in the gallery from primary up through secondary levels. However, several of the resources in the middle reach across many interest levels.

By their nature and mission, science museums believe that access to primary objects can spark meaningful learning. Use of the world wide web has broadened access to museum collections in ways never before imagined. But how can educators make use of online collections and exhibitions? The Online Museum Educators' work has paved the technological way to that answer.

During the 2000-2001 year, The Franklin Institute Science Museum and the Science Museum, London invited teachers into the collections interpretation process. These Online Museum Educators selected objects that most appealed to them and then proceeded to learn about the object, its history, and its significance. Museum staff facilitated access to the objects and their documentary materials. Later, back in their classrooms, the OMEs developed classroom activities related to their encounters with the real objects. Finally, they created web exhibitions, or "pieces," for other educators to use.

The two chapters of Online Museum Educators—one based in Philadelphia and one based in London—participated in online conversations throughout the resource development process, sharing their diverse perspectives and offering support to one another. This sharing of project ideas, constructive criticism, and educational systems through wires across the Atlantic strengthened the creation of an international collection of resources for teachers, students, and museum enthusiasts worldwide. The result, called Pieces of Science, is an online gallery of sixteen teacher-created educational resources that support museum artifacts.

Pieces of Science Because the participants cross school levels from primary through secondary, the "Pieces of Science" gallery offers resources for teachers at any level.

Clocks...Teaching Time is another example of museum meeting classroom. Focused on The Franklin Institute's collection of timepieces, the Journey in Time and Time Keepers features were the efforts of the 1999-2000 Online Museum Educators. The resources include historic background information on a variety of timepieces, as well as lesson plans, projects, vocabulary and book lists, and other exciting activities.

"Wired@School" features other webwork created by participants in The Franklin Institute Online Museum Educator program. Interested in sound, computer drawing and animation, geology, or videoconferencing for educators? Those are just a few of the resources available for exploration:

Treasures@Sea
Computer Labs
Native Americans
A Journey II the Center of the Earth
PEMDAS
The Delaware Estuary
Something Froggy
Wonders of Space
Sim City 2000
Some Thoughts on the Use of the Internet in Schools

Have you seen the Wind?
Wildlife Ambassadors
Videoconferencing for Educators
Sound
Basic Oil Primer
The Story of Flight
Computer Drawing and Animation
El Niño and La Niña
China
Empowering Student Learning with Web Publishing
Rock Hounds

Online Museum Educators have been invited to participate based on the quality of their online work.
For information about becoming an Online Museum Educator, contact the program staff.


Resources for Science Learning at The Franklin Institute, Copyright 2007 The Franklin Institute, 220 North Twentieth Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19103, 215-448-1200, webteam@www.fi.edu