About TeachLive

About TeachLive

TeachLive is an innovative professional development program for Australian science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and geography school teachers; but also a unique opportunity for school students to be inspired by real STEM research, increasing their motivation to pursue further studies in these subjects.

In this program, primary, secondary and specialist school teachers will work as research assistants on Earthwatch expeditions, helping scientists with vital research and data collection, while communicating their experience live back to their students in the classroom via the TeachLive website.

For more information about Earthwatch, visit au.earthwatch.org

Benefit for Teachers

Teachers will receive valuable and unique professional development through enhancing their knowledge of STEM content, improving their web-based teaching skills and learning current research techniques. Teachers will also experience valuable networking opportunities and knowledge sharing. Teachers from various states and schools will work closely together, enabling them to share resources, ideas and creativity for their teaching methods and material.

The experience has proved extremely motivational for teachers, as previous participants in the program have returned to their schools with newfound enthusiasm for teaching science; and for sharing their new knowledge and skills with their school community. Teachers involved in past expeditions have been inspired to organise activities such as: neighbourhood biodiversity surveys with their students, researching local species in partnership with a scientist, and engaging their class with local environmental community groups.

Benefit for Students

There has been a significant drop in the number of high school students taking STEM subjects over the last two decades. Research has shown that STEM subjects are often thought of as uninteresting, and that students often find it difficult to picture themselves as scientists1. Furthermore, students believe their teachers are more influential than peers and parents1.

The TeachLive program will allow students to take a virtual scientific expedition with their teachers, providing inspiration, motivation and an opportunity to view their teachers as science role models. They will see first-hand, the exciting life of a scientist through the experience of their teacher. They will get to see the beautiful and remote areas that scientific research takes place in, the types of work and technologies involved in scientific research, the types of data that is collected, and an understanding of how all this contributes to the central goal of this research – protecting our natural environment.

Teachers inspired to implement nature-based and outdoor learning after these expeditions will also have significant well-being benefits for the students. Growing scientific evidence demonstrates that ongoing contact with nature is critical for physical, mental, social and spiritual health, and has positive effects on students’ ability to concentrate, learn, solve problems and be creative.

What skills do I need?

No special skills are required. All research techniques will be taught on site, and the scientists and project staff will be with you if you have any questions. You just need to be:

  • An Australian primary or secondary teacher who is passionate about science or geography, teaching, and willing to share your experiences with your school community.

Requirements and Expectations:

Successful teachers will be required to:

Pre-departure:

  • Actively participate in an online website training session (~2 hour webinar)
  • Complete medical and travel forms
  • Read project briefing documentation about the specific expedition (includes: daily plan, logistics, accommodation, packing list etc.).
  • Complete a pre-participation on-line survey

During Expedition Requirements

  • Post lesson plans for the week you are on the expedition, around the research theme (to be conducted by your replacement teacher). You may wish to prepare some material prior to the expedition.
  • Attendance and participation in daily field activities.
  • Write and upload a blog entry and photos to the TeachLive website each day

Post-expedition

  • Complete post-expedition survey
  • Implement new projects or activities back at your respective school, using your learnings from the expedition

The history of TeachLive

TeachLive began with a pilot program in 2004 that sent four Victorian teachers on Earthwatch projects across Australia. In 2005 the TeachLive program expanded, allowing seven teachers from Western Australia to join the Echidnas and Goannas of Kangaroo Island research expedition.

From 2007 – 2009, through the support of Woodside Energy, the TeachLive program gave teachers from Western Australia the once in a lifetime opportunity to teach live to their students as they studied the whale sharks of Ningaloo Reef.

In 2009 Victoria Electricity sent one Victorian teacher on the Wildlife of Brazil’s Pantanal expedition in South America to teach live back to her classroom and raise environmental awareness among her students, and in 2010 Lumo Energy sent a Victorian teacher to Queensland to teach live from Earthwatch’s Project Manta expedition.

In 2011, with funding from the Victorian government, five teachers from Victorian State Government Schools joined scientists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences to help support climate change research in Eastern China’s steamy Zhejiang Province, while five other Victorian teachers joined scientists from Edith Cowan University to help protect the native animals of Charles Darwin Reserve in the Western Australian outback, followed by ten more teachers who travelled to Charles Darwin Reserve to teach live back to their students in 2012.

In 2013 TeachLive began an exciting new phase of the program with the launch of Bush Blitz TeachLive. Bush Blitz is Australia's largest nature discovery project - a multimillion dollar partnership to document the plants and animals in properties across Australia – and five teachers had the amazing opportunity to join the Henbury Station Bush Blitz expedition in the remote Northern Territory outback, where they assisted 15 scientists to discover new species of insects and spiders, as well as healthy populations of desert fish. For more information about BushBlitz TeachLive, visit http://bushblitz.teachlive.org.au/

In 2015 an exciting new phase of the program began, with the Victorian Department of Education and Training providing funding for six Victorian teachers a year to participate in Earthwatch's Snorkelling Australia's Underwater Meadows expedition, from 2015 to 2017. To find out more about the Department and other programs on offer go to http://www.education.vic.gov.au.

In 2017 Earthwatch further developed the TeachLive program, as six teachers from across New South Wales travelled to St Bees Island in north Queensland, hiking with researchers across the rugged island to better understand how climate change is impacting the landscape. The teachers are now employing their new scientific research skills, as Earthwatch has fostered connections between their schools and local land managers, and helped them to plan how they can work together to monitor and protect wildlife and ecosystems in their communities.

How can I get involved

If you would like to be added to the TeachLive mailing list, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. this request, and you will receive email notification when applications open for new TeachLive expeditions.

 

  1. Lyons, Terry & Quinn, Frances (2010) Choosing science : understanding the declines in senior high school science enrolments. National Centre of Science, ICT and Mathematics Education for Rural and Regional Australia (SiMERR Australia), Australia.