: Twenty-two teachers from across the state attended professional development sessions with the federation at the N.C. Center for the Advancement of Teaching on Ocracoke.

Twenty-two teachers from across the state attended professional development sessions with the federation at the N.C. Center for the Advancement of Teaching on Ocracoke.

Even though school is out for summer, some teachers use this time to take classes themselves. That’s exactly what 22 teachers from across the state did in order to find opportunities to keep learning. The federation organized a four-day seminar focused on integrating digital learning about the coast at the N.C. Center for the Advancement of Teaching (NCCAT) on Ocracoke Island. Established by the state Legislature in 1985, NCCAT provides a year-round curriculum of intensive, cross-disciplinary programs that are offered to public school teachers through campus locations on Ocracoke and also in Cullowhee, N.C.

The federation has been partnering with NCCAT’s Ocracoke campus for the past six years through involvement with both the professional development seminars and with the installation of a living shoreline restoration project. The inclusion of digital learning techniques was a new topic for and it was well received by the participants. With most classrooms transitioning to provide computers for every student, teachers can maximize efficiency by understanding how to use various web-based education tools. The week was spent exploring various ways to incorporate near and real-time data, investigating citizen science programs and trialing new programs.

The teachers participated in a variety of hands-on learning both indoors and out as shown here with Terri Kirby Hathaway.

The teachers participated in a variety of hands-on learning both indoors and out as shown here with Terri Kirby Hathaway.

In true federation fashion of learning while doing, the seminar participants also spent time outside throughout the week. They had the chance to explore the living shoreline on-site and even made a splash by testing out wave energy devices. The teachers also logged some volunteer hours by lending a hand to bag oyster shell at the living shoreline nearby at Springer’s Point.

The Integrating Digital Learning: The Science of the N.C. Coast seminar was supported with funding from the Albemarle Pamlico National Estuaries Partnership (APNEP). Presentations and interactives were essential to making this seminar a success thanks to the following professionals: Terri Kirby Hathaway, N.C. Sea Grant; Jim Gould, N.C. Aquariums; John McCord UNC Coastal Studies Institute, and Bill Crowell, APNEP.

John McCord challenged the teachers with a task of constructing a wave energy device that was later put to the test.

John McCord challenged the teachers with a task of constructing a wave energy device that was later put to the test.

Lauren Daniel, one of the seminar participants shared: “I had a wonderful week thanks to your hard work. You gave me great ideas to use in my classroom, and I also appreciate how you brought in so many different people and resources to connect us to.”

Carmelle Martin was pleased to report, “My creative fourth graders will enjoy using some of the activities shared with us at NCCAT: sorting sea objects by attributes, researching environmental changes on the N.C. coast, and creating energy with waves. The Coastal Federation is a fabulous resource for all North Carolinians, especially our young learners.”

Sessions such as this one helps teachers return to their classrooms with a recharged interest toward teaching, in addition to access to new resources for their traditional lesson plans. In other words, “keeps good teachers teaching,” as emphasized in NCCAT’s mission.

Check out NCCAT’s calendar of programs to find other sessions this summer or fall to participate in: