The program was divided into three components: professional development, field trip and podcast production. As stated earlier, the professional development component is a tangent of the main focus of this report and will not be addressed. Although the evaluation process is in its early stages, the assessment tools have produced some beneficial results. Thus far, 100 students from three different high schools and one middle school have participated in the Ocean Institute Program. Most students have not completed their podcasts at this stage; however a handful of accelerated students have successfully completed their podcasts and submitted the post-test and survey.
The first evaluation was to establish students’ knowledge of the topics addressed on the field trip. The pre-tests submitted reflected a general knowledge of the topics addressed on the field trip. The average grade of the pre-test was a 72%. 5% of the students scored a 100% on the test; while 54% scored a 50% or less. The post-test, although not completed by all students at this point, have shown significant improvement in academic knowledge. The average increased 24%, while the lowest score was 69%. Refer to table 1 to compare the results of the pre-tests and post-tests.
The evaluation process continued by analyzing the student surveys submitted; at this point in time, only 22% of the surveys have been completed. From the surveys it was determined that 80% of the students had never been to the Ocean Institute; there were 2 students who had never seen the ocean. The survey revealed a number of positive remarks:
- “I loved the hands-on activities and all the fish.”
- “It was nice to learn outside of the classroom.”
- “It was cool to take so many pictures and video of the field trip.”
- “It was the first time I have seen the ocean.”
- “I wish the field trip was longer.”
- “Making a podcast for school was meaningful.”
- “I make tons of videos, doing one for school was cool.”
- “I hope my podcast gets the most downloads.”
- “I learned a lot about podcasting and marine science.”
- “I downloaded all of my friends’ podcasts to my iPod.”
The evaluation process also included surveys completed by Ocean Institute visitors who used the podcast while visiting; 90% of the surveys were completed by Ocean Institute members. The survey revealed that the average visitor listened to 7 podcasts; however, visitors ranged from 1 to 13 podcasts. 85% of the visitors felt the podcasts enhanced the exhibits and made the trip to the Ocean Institute more educational and memorable. Some of the valuable comments received included:
- “I have always enjoyed how the Ocean Institute showcases students’ work; these podcasts were another example of the impact OI has on children.”
- “I have been to the Ocean Institute numerous times, however, I learned more on this visit than all the other visits combined.”
- “I have used podcasts at other museums, and although they are more professionally produced, I felt having students producing podcasts from their own experiences was very special.”
- “Some of the podcasts were outstanding; did not listen to the longer podcasts.
- “These students should be proud of what they have developed.”
- “I had never been to the Ocean Institute; the podcasts really helped me understand what happens at the facility.”
Although an initial evaluation has been completed by the student tests and surveys, and the Ocean Institute visitor surveys; there has been no formal feedback at this point in time from the teacher surveys. From what has been observed, many of the uncertainties teachers had were addressed during professional development; there has also been constant support provided during the podcast production process for teachers who felt they needed it.