If you’re like most science educators, you’re often on the lookout for high-quality, scientifically accurate resources for your classroom, particularly ones you can modify for use with your specific student population. And it’s even better if those resources can introduce students to exciting stories within science, accurately reflect the complexities of the scientific process, and spark rich classroom discussions and explorations of data.
However, resources alone are not enough. You might ask yourself: How will this resource work with my students? What does implementing this resource look like in my classroom? Can anyone provide help or support me as I try something new?
But having access to a professional community can be difficult for many educators. You might be the only person at your institution who teaches a certain class, for instance. Or you might be geographically isolated, so it’s hard to connect with other educators for these kinds of rich discussions about teaching and learning.
At BioInteractive, we firmly believe in the power of connecting educators with one another. Our work is grounded in providing clear models for resource implementation, either as part of formal professional development experiences or within educator-to-educator discussions in a professional community.
High-quality free resources for teaching life science
BioInteractive’s free classroom resources reflect current knowledge of how students learn and use evidence-based strategies for supporting equitable access to science. We offer story-driven videos featuring real scientists doing real research, as well as interactive media and activities using data from peer-reviewed sources. Developed by experienced educators, our phenomena-driven resources foster engagement through student-centered learning. We also offer a growing collection of resources available in Spanish.
We encourage educators to adapt and modify our resources for their students. We offer Google Docs versions of our student handouts so educators can create versions of our materials that best serve their students’ needs. We want educators to have a space to share their own resources that modify or extend BioInteractive resources. To facilitate this sharing, we recently launched our Educator Resource Library, a repository that contains educator-generated teaching materials that complement BioInteractive resources.
Ongoing professional development for and by educators
BioInteractive also provides free in-person and online professional development for high school and undergraduate life and environmental science educators to deepen their scientific knowledge and pedagogical expertise. Our professional development emphasizes access for all students and incorporates evidence-based teaching strategies in combination with BioInteractive classroom resources that actively engage learners through the science practices.
We offer professional development both directly from BioInteractive and through partnerships with other collaborators. Our online direct-from-BioInteractive workshops are open to life and environmental science educators worldwide.
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Connecting across contexts
While we know that structured professional development is valuable, having space for ongoing educator-to-educator conversations sustains professional learning and community. We developed BioInteractive’s new Online Community to promote dialogue and connections between educators from diverse backgrounds and contexts. This space is for educators to learn from one another, find and publish their own resources that complement BioInteractive resources, and share their experiences. We've integrated features that make it easy to find and store useful content in one place to save time.
The Community offers a variety of topical groups where you can engage in educator-to-educator discussions — about teaching and learning, course design and delivery, professional development, and more — and exchange classroom resources and lesson plans. Educators must be verified to join the Community. In order to keep the verification process quick and easy, we accept a variety of evidence for educator status.
You can find more information about joining our Online Community, including the verification process, on our Online Community page.
Top image Credit — Alexander Semenov