1. Josh Bernstein
  2. http://www.joshbernstein.com
  3. President & CEO
  4. Explorer At Large
  5. http://www.exploreratlarge.com
  6. Explorer At Large
  1. Martin Storksdieck
  2. http://education.oregonstate.edu/people/martin-storksdieck
  3. Director and Professor
  4. Explorer At Large
  5. http://www.exploreratlarge.com
  6. Oregon State University
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Public Discussion
  • Icon for: Margo Murphy

    Margo Murphy

    Facilitator
    May 14, 2018 | 07:49 a.m.

    It is great to see your initial focus on younger learners. Also really like how there are the three elements of the virtual exploration...1. the virtual exploration.  2. in class application of ideas, 3. visiting sites in real-life as an active learner.

    Some questions: How were schools selected?  What support do the classroom teachers have?  How are the explorations chosen?  Are the explorations tied to learning standards/ outcomes that the school is committed to?  

    Love all the smiles. Thanks for your work!

     
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    Josh Bernstein
  • Icon for: Josh Bernstein

    Josh Bernstein

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2018 | 07:04 p.m.

    Hi, Margo! Thanks so much for watching the video and for your questions. I see that Martin has responded to some aspects in his post below and so I will address the others / add my two cents.

    "How were schools selected?"

    The schools were selected in consultation with the PAST Foundation, our Instruction Unit Design Partner, based in Columbus, Ohio. Last year, inquiries were sent to superintendents and principals at a number of Central Ohio schools and selections were subsequently made based on location (urban, suburban, near urban, rural), school type, student population, teacher availability / interest, and a few other factors. Because of the tight timeline, we also needed to know that the teachers who were selected would be: 1. fully supported by their principals, 2. available for the professional development workshops, and 3. excited by and committed to the pilot's successful implementation. 

    "What support do the classroom teachers have?"  

    Teachers in our pilot classrooms attended two professional workshops that are shown briefly in the video. These ran 9am-2pm in January (beginning of implementation) and March (mid-implementation). The primary goal of these two workshops was to give teachers the opportunity to watch the videos, review the associated activities created by PAST, and then adapt / customize those activities for themselves based on what each teacher felt would work / not work for his or her students. After the in-person workshops, teachers are invited to use PAST's 'concierge service' which basically means that the team at PAST is ready and willing to assist with implementation questions or any issues the pilot teachers have. The teachers also have a private online forum which everyone participates in and monitors to make sure things go as smoothly as possible.

    "How are the explorations chosen?"

    I'm not sure if you're asking about the content in the videos that I, as host, participate in, or if you're asking about the activities the students perform in the classrooms or on field trips. If it's the former, the explorations that I did for the videos were determined by the Smithsonian Science Education Center (SSEC) as part of the I3 grant that funded their production. SSEC put inquiries out to several Smithsonian units and research centers and then we selected a diverse sample of topics: animal nutrition and adaptation episodes at the Smithsonian's National Zoological Park; conservation and water ecology episodes at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center; space science at the Smithsonian Astrophysics Observatory; animal care at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute; orchids and greenhouse design at the Smithsonian Gardens.

    If it's the latter and you're curious how we picked the field trip locations for the pilot, we did our best to match the content in the videos and the activities in the classrooms with the resources in the Columbus, Ohio area. So for the XAL videos on orchids, we took classes to the Franklin Park Conservatory; for the XAL videos on animal nutrition and adaptations, we went to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, etc. 

    "Are the explorations tied to learning standards/ outcomes that the school is committed to?"

    All of the videos, activities, and field trips are tied to NGSS standards as well as a problem-based learning pedagogy that encourages students to be curious and ask questions. I can't say that the schools are explicitly committed to this, but the fact that they are participating in this pilot suggests that they are willing to embrace our study and help us determine if the XAL eco-system of learning does inspire and engage young minds!

     
  • Icon for: Martin Storksdieck

    Martin Storksdieck

    Co-Presenter
    May 14, 2018 | 08:48 a.m.

    Hi Mary and all who are visiting and watching the video: you summarized the key idea behind the project nicely. Josh's videos take children on an exploration where Josh becomes the eyes and ears of the kids. The focus lies on being curious about the world and asking questions about phenomena, rather than use 5-min videos as "explanatoids" to tell kids how the world works. And this notion of exploration is then carried into the classroom and into the field trips.  We chose volunteer teachers/schools in the Columbus, OH area where our partner, the PAST Foundation, has worked for many years on supporting teachers in the classroom. During in-person workshops the teachers design classroom activities with support from PAST, and these activities are tied to standards or desired outcomes. Note that the videos nicely cover some of the key science and engineering practices of the NGSS Framework.

     
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    Josh Bernstein
  • Icon for: Jonathan Margolin

    Jonathan Margolin

    Facilitator
    May 14, 2018 | 10:30 a.m.

    Martin, thanks for explaining the role of the videos--I see that the intention is for the videos, classroom activities, and explorations to be a coherent learning progression. What are some of your research methods for observing whether this progression is occurring as intended?

     
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    Josh Bernstein
  • Icon for: Martin Storksdieck

    Martin Storksdieck

    Co-Presenter
    May 14, 2018 | 12:38 p.m.

    We are conducting surveys with teachers, caregivers, and the "older" (3rd grade) students, as well as conduct observations and "focus groups" with students. Not all of the students will experience the full range of activities, and we hope to see some difference between students who do to those who don't.

  • Icon for: Jonathan Margolin

    Jonathan Margolin

    Facilitator
    May 14, 2018 | 10:37 a.m.

    For our STEM educators in attendance: What is your impression--based on this video--about XAL's approach to extending and enrich an existing curriculum? What benefits and challenges have you had with supplemental STEM resources?

     
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    Josh Bernstein
  • Icon for: Wendy Bruce

    Wendy Bruce

    Parent
    May 14, 2018 | 01:25 p.m.

    This is a great way to reach students. My granddaughter would love this.

     
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    Martin Storksdieck
    Josh Bernstein
  • Icon for: Jonathan Margolin

    Jonathan Margolin

    Facilitator
    May 14, 2018 | 01:33 p.m.

    Yes, I couldn't help thinking about my kids and how much they would enjoy this. 

     
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    Martin Storksdieck
    Josh Bernstein
  • Icon for: Sally Crissman

    Sally Crissman

    Facilitator
    May 14, 2018 | 02:27 p.m.

    the video clips really help tell the story of your project, including the adult preparation for supporting kids' experiences. Any preliminary indications of the degree to which the project boosts adult understanding of science as practiced or science content or their confidence in ability to foster kids' science learning and positive attitudes towards science?

    I concur that the kids seem engaged and motivated! Jonathan's question about link to existing curriculum intrigues me too: what's the same and what's different about XAL way of learning science and the existing curriculum?

    Am I right that this is Year 1? How long is the project?

    Sally 

     
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    Josh Bernstein
  • Icon for: Josh Bernstein

    Josh Bernstein

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2018 | 05:50 p.m.

    Hi, Sally. Thanks for watching the video and for your comments. I'm happy to respond to your questions as best as I can. I see Martin has also responded.

    "Am I right that this is Year 1? How long is the project?"

    Yes, this is Year 1 in terms of implementation in classrooms, which began in January in Central Ohio. The videos being shown in the classrooms, however, were filmed as part of our work with the Smithsonian Science Education Center in 2014-2015 (this was the part that was funded by ED). 

    As for length of the project, we are now transitioning from Implementation to Scale Up, which means fundraising for the creation of many more videos and the subsequent instructional units that teachers use. Our long-term vision includes videos, activities, and field trips for the full PreK-12 spectrum that will be produced and implemented over many years to come.

    "Any preliminary indications of the degree to which the project boosts adult understanding of science as practiced or science content or their confidence in ability to foster kids' science learning and positive attitudes towards science?"

    As Martin states below, the research piece just started so it's too early for even preliminary indications. For what it's worth, though, the teachers I have been in contact with during my site visits (mostly for filming) are deeply enthusiastic about how their students have responded to the materials. Some have said that parents have called to ask what's changed in the classroom lately, as the kids are just that excited about learning -- that's encouraging for us to hear.

    "What's the same and what's different about XAL way of learning science and the existing curriculum?"

    There are a few things that we believe make XAL unique. First, the PAST Foundation works very hard to create dynamic, hands-on activities that tie the videos to educational standards (more NGSS than CCSS given the topics). This helps teachers use the videos within already existing educational frameworks.

    Secondly, PAST supports the implementation along the way with virtual workshops, online teacher discussion groups, and a 'concierge' service that we think is a tremendous resource for teachers. Our teachers are not told what to do as much given the chance to decide for themselves what will work best for their classrooms and students. As a result, the teachers in our pilot have taken a greater degree of ownership in the material and its implementation. When we get to scale, some of this will be done online through XAL's website, giving teachers the chance to help each other with implementation -- tips, tricks, and techniques to assist with success. PAST will also continue to support our work in Central Ohio, which we intend to keep as our "test kitchen."

    Finally, we believe that there is an additional level of student engagement that comes from host-led content. Much of this has been proven in the television space, where host-led shows can engage an audience in a way narrated, host-less shows can't. There's an immersive quality to the videos we create and, over the past few months, we've seen that students deeply connect with the "Explorer Josh" aspect. They watch me do things on screen and, as a result, many want to become explorers and "do" exploration themselves. This is most evident on the field trips, where I have witnessed first-hand how often the students (irrespective of race or gender) would come up to me and say they wanted to be me. Last week, at the Columbus Zoo, one student specifically "dressed like Josh" for the field trip so he could "look like an explorer." Of course, we promptly told him that he didn't just look like an explorer but that he 100% was one. 

    Hopeful these answers help! Happy to share more.

  • Icon for: Martin Storksdieck

    Martin Storksdieck

    Co-Presenter
    May 14, 2018 | 05:16 p.m.

    Sally: we are at the start of the research and do not have our data yet. But the study as conducted right now does not address adult learning. We'll get there way later. It addresses whether and how teachers can integrate the discovery-based videos into their classroom and can continue with the idea of curiosity, exploration and discovery. Then we are interested in the first reactions of the kids. And the focus on caregivers and afterschool providers is somewhat in the background. We are most interested in whether adults see changes in their kids. But we are looking for additional funding to expand the research on the project such that we can cover more of the potential claims.

  • Icon for: Patricia Roath

    Patricia Roath

    Parent
    May 14, 2018 | 06:12 p.m.

    I love the concept! Kids, especially those at the elementary level, can apply what they have learned from the videos with real, hands-on learning. Not only do I hope it makes its way into Missouri schools, but that it can be expanded for retail purchase. While I am a history buff and would love to see Ancient Egypt somewhere in this program, archaeology would be a fabulous science addition.

     
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    Martin Storksdieck
  • Icon for: Martin Storksdieck

    Martin Storksdieck

    Co-Presenter
    May 14, 2018 | 06:50 p.m.

    Thank you for your kind words, Patricia!  I don't want to speak for Josh, but his interest and his prior work extends way beyond typical STEM; stay tuned for lots more interesting videos.

  • Icon for: Josh Bernstein

    Josh Bernstein

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2018 | 07:19 p.m.

    Hahaha. Yes, agreed!! We stayed domestic with the video content for the pilot due to budgetary constraints but you can be sure that our long-term vision for XAL content is to bring STEM experts from all around the world into the classroom, and this would most definitely include Egypt!

  • Icon for: Todd Newman

    Todd Newman

    Video Producer
    May 15, 2018 | 01:31 p.m.

    Josh,

    A very clearly developed overview of your program. Your production quality is terrific!

     
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    Josh Bernstein
    Martin Storksdieck
  • Icon for: Josh Bernstein

    Josh Bernstein

    Lead Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 07:03 p.m.

    Thank you, Todd! One of our goals with the video content produced for Explorer At Large is to maintain the same standards in production quality that we use for the cable networks (History, Discovery, National Geographic) where I've been a host. The fun is applying the skill set of 'entertainment' to the specific needs of education.

     
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    Jillian Conry
  • Icon for: Martin Storksdieck

    Martin Storksdieck

    Co-Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 07:10 p.m.

    Josh, I wonder whether a later aspect of the project (with somewhat older kids) could even include a media production element. The kids could make their own local 5-min documentary (as team work) on something that can be discovered in their environment. 

  • Icon for: Josh Bernstein

    Josh Bernstein

    Lead Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 11:31 p.m.

    I love this, Martin!

     
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    Martin Storksdieck
  • Icon for: Michael Belcher

    Michael Belcher

    Graduate Student
    May 16, 2018 | 04:10 p.m.

    Great work on your video! Are you seeing any changes in the questions (type or amount) students are asking as they engage in the classroom explorations? I'm wondering if watching Josh ask questions in the video results in students asking deeper, more focused questions during their own explorations. Also, do you include students in the process of selecting topics and developing questions for exploration in the videos?


     


    Thanks and great work!

     
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    Josh Bernstein
  • Icon for: Martin Storksdieck

    Martin Storksdieck

    Co-Presenter
    May 16, 2018 | 04:15 p.m.

    We are currently conducting a study that includes outcomes on students, and indeed, we are studying how this approach influences student questioning. But we are still in the data collection phase, so no results yet. 

  • Icon for: Josh Bernstein

    Josh Bernstein

    Lead Presenter
    May 16, 2018 | 04:26 p.m.

    Hi, Michael! Thanks for watching and for the kind words. Martin's team at OSU has JUST started with their classroom visits for the research component, so it's too early to say what changes may or may not be evident in the students' questions. We do hope to answer that question, as it's a key part of our pilot experiment (and, personally, I hope that we see an increase in curiosity, questioning, and agency, as well as an increased desire to go outside and explore).

    As for your second question, the 20 pilot videos created in 2014-2015 were not designed with explicit student input simply due to the timeline and logistics of filming at so many Smithsonian units. In the interest of time (and budget), we went with our instincts on what questions to ask.

    That said, over the past few months, a number of our teachers in Ohio have suggested ways we can both incorporate students in the process moving forward and capture/create content that other teachers can use as part of our platform's scale up. We are also planning to build an XAL web portal so that questions can be submitted by students, teachers, and parents directly as we begin to make new videos. 

    Hope that addresses your questions. Again, thanks for watching! 

  • May 17, 2018 | 06:07 a.m.

    Beautiful professional video, thanks for sharing your work! I love the 3 components at the core of your design for learning approach; visual exposure in the classroom through compelling age-appropriate targeted video, experiential exploration in hands-on making/building activities, and the immersive community component of field trips bringing the content alive in authentic ways. This is truly an exciting and holistic approach to learning but it brings a few questions to mind:

    1. Are you adding a purposeful reflection component into the cycle for students, since as Dewey famously said, "We do not learn from experience... we learn from reflecting on experience"?

    2. Have you seen or do you foresee sustainability issues for longer term adoption, since teachers are juggling curricular packages that are often very prescriptive for ELA, Social Studies, Math, etc with little room to bring in redesign or custom design of existing units? If you agree this is a challenge, is an entity such as SSEC working on recommendations for systemic changes possibly growing out of your study results?

     

     
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    Josh Bernstein
  • Icon for: Josh Bernstein

    Josh Bernstein

    Lead Presenter
    May 17, 2018 | 11:38 a.m.

    Karen - thanks for watching our video and for your excellent questions! Some answers from me (and Martin may choose to chime in, too).

    1. 'Purposeful reflection' is certainly something we aspire to include in the XAL eco-system. At the moment, we are calling these 'Family Moments' -- moments when students can watch XAL videos with their parents or caregivers and discuss / reflect on the materials. Parents are encouraged to engage with their children on the video content and, if they desire, go into their community and perform exploration-related activities together.  Once we move past the Pilot phase, our website will allow for deeper engagement through student portals that encourage the type of personal reflection I believe you are referring to.

    2. Explorer At Large is decidedly NOT offering curriculum packages for the reasons you mention. Instead, we offer instructional units that teachers can adopt and adapt as they see fit. It's important to us that teachers view Explorer At Large materials as additional tools to include in their repertoire. Some may want to use only the videos. Others may choose to use our Activities and Field Trip content. All XAL materials are designed to dovetail with and supplement educational standards (more NGSS than CCSS, given our focus on science content) but not replace them. Time will tell how this changes beyond our pilot as we scale.

    (Note: We cannot comment on behalf of SSEC, as they are a different organization from Explorer At Large.)

  • Icon for: Marina Ivchenko

    Marina Ivchenko

    May 17, 2018 | 11:20 a.m.

    A bit disappointed 'cause cannot join this great program/idea. 

     
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    Josh Bernstein
  • Icon for: Josh Bernstein

    Josh Bernstein

    Lead Presenter
    May 17, 2018 | 11:23 a.m.

    Good news, Marina! Once we scale up beyond the pilot in Ohio, people all around the world will be able to watch Explorer At Large videos and participate in our ecosystem of hands-on, problem-based learning! This is just the beginning.

  • Icon for: Marina Ivchenko

    Marina Ivchenko

    May 17, 2018 | 11:26 a.m.

    Happy to hear that news!!

     
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    Josh Bernstein
  • Icon for: Judi Davis

    Judi Davis

    May 18, 2018 | 10:01 p.m.

    I have long been dismayed at the emphasis on testing and the resulting squelching of curiosity.  I love that you are developing programs that encourage the natural curiosity of children.  Our rural elementary school of a dozen children had a robotics activity yesterday, and I've never seen a more excited group of kids!  Look forward to having our school participate in your program.  You'll have to come and check it out when it's underway, Josh!

  • Icon for: Josh Bernstein

    Josh Bernstein

    Lead Presenter
    May 18, 2018 | 10:17 p.m.

    Thanks so much, Judi! Yes, we have every hope to bring XAL content to rural communities and many other communities beyond our current pilot implementation in Central Ohio. Curiosity is truly the key to learning and, as you point out, our current education system too often focuses on preparing students for tests instead of on sparking curiosity for life. Explorer At Large intends to change that! And yes, I'd love to work with your school and would be honored to check it out! All the best to you, Josh

  • Icon for: Josh Bernstein

    Josh Bernstein

    Lead Presenter
    May 19, 2018 | 01:12 p.m.

    I want to say thank you to all the people who are taking the time to visit this site. At the moment, almost 7,000 people have watched our video about sparking curiosity in students, and everyone at Explorer At Large is both humbled and thrilled. THANK YOU! Let's hope the same excitement and wonder we're seeing in our students in Ohio schools can be brought to children and schools everywhere!

     
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    Marina Ivchenko
  • Icon for: Jillian Conry

    Jillian Conry

    Graduate Student
    May 21, 2018 | 09:39 a.m.

    Thank you for sharing your project. I no longer teach bilingual elementary, but my students certainly would have enjoyed having XAL embedded in our curriculum. Have you considered offering the videos with subtitles in various languages or ancillary materials that scaffold the content for English-language learners? This could make XAL more marketable to diverse classrooms in and beyond the US. I appreciate your attention to the quality of production and hope it can be expanded as envisioned! 

  • Icon for: Josh Bernstein

    Josh Bernstein

    Lead Presenter
    May 21, 2018 | 11:23 a.m.

    Hi, Jillian! Yes, we will certainly be translating XAL videos into other languages as we make our content available around the world. Thanks for your support!

  • Small default profile

    Vanda Straker

    K-12 Teacher
    May 21, 2018 | 11:06 a.m.

    It’s wonderful to see the energy, enthusiasm and communication among the young Berwick kindergarten students as they experience hands on learning in a variety of community settings.

  • Icon for: Josh Bernstein

    Josh Bernstein

    Lead Presenter
    May 21, 2018 | 11:25 a.m.

    Agreed! Doing class visits and seeing the engagement and excitement from our students (at Berwick and the other schools) is a true highlight for me! Here's to hoping we get millions of kids around the world just as excited and engaged!

  • Further posting is closed as the showcase has ended.