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Reflecting on Practice in Informal Learning Environments. Presenters: Kristin Evans, Birch Aquarium at Scripps, UC San Diego Lynn Tran, Lawrence Hall of Science, UC Berkeley Emily Yam, Aquarium of the Pacific, Long Beach. Professional Learning Reflecting on Practice.

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Reflecting on practice in informal learning environments

Reflecting on Practice in Informal Learning Environments


Kristin Evans, Birch Aquarium at Scripps, UC San Diego

Lynn Tran, Lawrence Hall of Science, UC Berkeley

Emily Yam, Aquarium of the Pacific, Long Beach

Professional learning reflecting on practice
Professional LearningReflecting on Practice

  • Research indicates that for professional learning to be meaningful and effective, it is best that the learning is continuing, social, active, related to practice, and positioned within a community that supports learning.

  • Reflecting on Practice Workshop

    • Immerse (beginning and veteran) informal science educators in discussions about, reflections on and applications of research and theory on learning and teaching science.

      • Connect practitioners with literature

      • Engage practitioners in habits of reflection

      • Build and nurture a community of professionals

Reflecting on practice a professional development program for informal science educators
Reflecting on PracticeA professional development program for informal science educators

  • Communicating Ocean Science (COS & COSIA)

    • K-12 and ISEI (informal science education institutions

    • Partnership between ISEI & IHE

    • NSF funded, COSEE

  • Reflecting on Practice Program

    • NSF & IMLS funded

    • # of partners

  • Reflecting on practice goals of the workshop
    Reflecting on PracticeGoals of the workshop

    • Introduce and model reflective tasks and interactive sessions that will help us think about, talk about and observe your practice.

    • Share experiences about our own reflective practices, as an individual and as part of an institution.

    • Create a community of professionals to share and grow our practice.

    Ponder this
    Ponder This

    • What is the value of reflecting on your practice?

    • What are some of the ways that you reflect on your practice effectively?

    Reflective practice
    Reflective Practice

    • Questions: What aspect of my practice am I reflecting on?

    • Purpose: Why am I selecting this aspect of my practice?

    • Evidence: What observations and information do I need to collect?

    • Analysis: What do the observations and information tell me about my practice?

    • Synthesis: How can I use what I have learned to transform my practice?

    Think pair share
    Think– Pair–Share

    • How might you describe informal science education as compared to formal?

    • What are the observable characteristics of learning happening?

    • What are the conditions that encourage and support learning happening?

    Cup card activity
    Cup & Card Activity

    • Fill the variously shaped and sized cups and containers with water from the pitcher. Then place the cards over the mouth, invert the cup/container and notice what happens.

      • Can you get the card to stay on the cup?

      • Does the amount of water matter?

      • How does the shape of the container affect the results?

    Cup card activity1
    Cup & Card Activity

    • In the Cup & Card Activity: what did you learn, how did you learn it, when did the learning occur, and how did you know that?

    • Using the Activity as a reference point, revisit your thinking about the characteristics of learning and conditions that encourage learning discussed earlier.

    Quick write
    Quick Write

    • What is your understanding of how people build understanding, or construct knowledge?

    Phases of the moon activity
    Phases of the Moon Activity

    • Be metacognitive. Think about and be conscious of the way you are thinking and making sense of the ideas.

    • Focus on how the activity creates situations where you as learners confront concepts you do not understand, have partially formed explanations, or have unrefined mental constructs

    Phases of the moon think pair share
    Phases of the MoonThink– Pair–Share

    • Think about the times you looked at the Moon. What did it look like? Did you see it last night? What shape was it?

    • The different shapes and appearances of the moon are referred to as the phases of the Moon. What do you think causes the phases of the Moon?

    Phases of the moon ponder this
    Phases of the MoonPonder This

    • What did you do to make sense of what causes the phases of the moon?

    • What did you notice about how your peers made sense of the concept? What new ideas about moon phases or interactions between the moon, earth and sun did you develop?

    • What makes experiences important for learning?

    • What makes social interactions important to learning?

    Ponder this1
    Ponder This

    • What is prior knowledge?

    • How do you draw out learners’ prior knowledge?

    Prior knowledge video observations
    Prior knowledgeVideo Observations

    • Videos are a way to observe, think and share about our practice

    • Videos serve as references for personal contemplations, as well as conversations with peers

    • Tools: Ground Rules, Critical Friends, & Observation Instruments

    Prior knowledge observation instruments
    Prior KnowledgeObservation Instruments

    Think pair share1
    Think– Pair – Share

    • What is it that makes conversations important for learning?

    • What are the characteristics of a conversation that would make it a “learning conversation?”

    Listening to conversations
    Listening to Conversations

    • Eavesdrop on un-facilitated conversations

    • Find a group of peers (all children or adults) and a mixed group (children and adults)

    • Take notes and write down your thoughts,

      • How are learners talking to each other?

      • How are peer-to-peer similar and different from mixed conversations?

      • How are conversations similar and different from facilitated discussions?

    Conversations research discussion
    ConversationsResearch Discussion

    • How did the learners interact with one another?

    • How did learners talk with each other? Who was talking to whom and how?

    • How are the un-facilitated conversations similar/different to one another?

    • How are they similar/different from ones that are facilitated by an educator?


    • Wrap-up thoughts?

    • Key ideas from literature?

    Summary slide
    Summary Slide

    • Blah, blah, blah

    • Self Reflection– What are ways that you would like to reflect on your practice?