Virtual Explorers promotes and supports science investigation
in a project-based learning environment for students worldwide via the Internet,
helping them to develop their own understanding and appreciation of biodiversity
As teachers, we mentor others in our field to facilitate an active and meaningful learning experience in web-delivered instruction for their own students.
As women, we place emphasis on females as role models and leaders in science and technology in an effort to encourage young women to pursue work in these fields.
As global citizens, we support wildlife conservation that also addresses the needs of local people.
For teachers we:
For students we:
To accomplish our mission, we partner with wildlife researchers, visit them in the field, and document their research on our web site. While in the field we post to our web site their research data and methodologies, as well as descriptions and images of our daily adventures. Prior to our field visits we post to our web site substantial background information on the research animal, the study site, the host country, and its people.
Additionally, we partner with educational researchers, classroom teachers and others to investigate the effectiveness of our web content for improved student understanding of key science concepts.
Student-centered, project-based instruction is essential for learning
to occur. Students of all ages need to relate new information to their
own experiences and existing knowledge, and they need to be actively engaged
in constructing new knowledge. Units of study should be cross-curricular
and teaching methodologies should address students varied learning
styles. In this model of instruction, topics are presented in such a way
as to stimulate the learners innate curiosity and are designed to
reflect real-life experiences as much as possible. Assessment serves to
provide learners with insight into their own learning processes and seeks
to help them identify areas for future growth.
To facilitate this type of learning, each Virtual Explorer expedition is organized around essential, open-ended questions that teachers and students can answer for themselves based upon the information and resources provided on the organization web site and other available resources. For each expedition we provide information about the geography and history of the hosting country. Additionally, we provide a cultural context and perspective for students examining complex global conservation issues. Students are encouraged to apply their new knowledge to projects of their own design at the local level.
By providing students with access to wildlife researchers working in the field examining problems without known solutions and/or answers and by asking students to think about these problems and the larger cultural and human issues, we provide a meaningful context for learning about the scientific process in general and wildlife conversation in particular.
Additionally, by providing a real window into the daily life of wildlife researchers, we provide realistic career information for students interested in wildlife conservation.