The purpose of this Ocean Institute Podcast Program was to bridge the gap between science, education, and informal science education, while motivating students in the field of science and technology. The program is showcased on a National scale with the use of the Internet, while students have the opportunity to take ownership of their own project.
The Ocean Institute is a non-profit educational organization dedicated to improving science literacy in the schools. The Ocean Institute was established in 1977 and currently serves over 90,000 K-12 students per year with innovative science and social science field and lab programs. The Ocean Institute engages students with 60 standards-based programs and a philosophy that encourages small group learning, trained professional science instructors, and inquiry methodology. In 2002, the Ocean Institute built a modernized Ocean Education Center that offers fully-equipped At-Sea, Ecology and Surfscience Learning Labs supported with a collection of local marine life in over 60 tanks, a Coastal Ocean Observing Station, 16’ Oceanography Test Tank, Digital Video Analysis Lab, Folino Center for Technology and Communications, and a Center for Cooperation in Research and Education (CORE). In addition, the Ocean Institute operates three seagoing vessels including the 70’ research and education platform R/V Sea Explorer, brig Pilgrim and topsail schooner Spirit of Dana Point.
The Ocean Institute has emerged as a leader in developing innovative solutions to science education with particularly strong achievement in linking university research to formal and informal education settings. The Center for Cooperation in Research and Education has become a think tank for addressing challenging educational projects and currently manages seventeen active projects including two National Science Foundation-funded projects: Sea Floor Science targeting middle school Earth Science standards, and SeaTech which addresses career and workplace training for underserved youths in middle school and high school.
The Ocean Institute is one of the county’s leaders in providing high quality professional development for area teachers. Each year the Ocean Institute hosts over 1,500 teachers through workshops, seminars, lectures and programs designed to improve content mastery and inquiry teaching skills. The Ocean Institute employs videoconferencing technology through its FolinoCenter for Technology and Communications to provide efficient professional development to teachers throughout the United States. Finally, the Ocean Institute maintains a staff of over 50 trained science instructors who serve as role models for over 3,000 teachers annually who are engaged in Ocean Institute field trip programs.