PBS TeacherLine Offers ‘Global Climate Change Education’ Course for High School Teachers


New online professional development course strengthens teachers’ instructional skills in STEM subjects to engage students in climate change lessons

Arlington, Va. (Oct. 13, 2011) – Climate change is one of the most urgent environmental issue facing the world, and it offers a compelling platform to engage high school students in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) while inspiring them to pursue careers in these fields. The Obama administration, Congress, and business leaders across the nation state STEM education is key to America’s prosperity and global economic leadership. To help schools improve environmental education and nurture a future STEM workforce, PBS TeacherLine® is offering a new online course for high school teachers, part of its series of professional development resources on climate change developed through a grant from NASA.

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STEM 417: Global Climate Change Education for High School” enables educators to teach global climate change using a problem-based approach and STEM methodology to engage high school students and help them understand the causes and effects of climate change. Teachers learn how to integrate dynamic digital media resources from NASA, PBS and other online sites into classroom instruction to capture students’ interest and reinforce academic concepts.

“Global climate change is one of the most significant issues of our lifetime, but it can be a difficult subject to introduce and teach in the classroom,” said Rob Lippincott, senior vice president of education for PBS. “This professional development course equips teachers with the information and resources from NASA which are required to meaningfully integrate the subject matter into their instruction.”

Industry reports indicate that too few American students are pursuing careers in STEM fields, putting the nation at economic risk. Increasingly, school, district and state education leaders are implementing initiatives to improve teachers’ knowledge and skills in STEM subjects and foster student interest in future careers in these areas.

NASA awarded PBS TeacherLine nearly $600,000 in funding from the NASA Global Climate Change Education grant in 2009 to improve the quality of STEM education. With the grant, PBS TeacherLine developed a series of online professional development courses and resources for middle and high school educators, including 10 free self-paced modules that enable teachers to explore best practices for teaching climate change. The course for high school teachers is the final installment of the program. These resources are available at www.pbs.org/teachers/STEM.

The Center for Research in Education Policy at the University of Memphis and Interactive Educational Systems Design is conducting a study to measure the impact of middle and high schools STEM professional development courses on teacher effectiveness. Among the courses that will be examined is the Global Climate Change course for high school teachers.

PBS TeacherLine is offering the course during its Fall session, which starts October 26. The 45-hour course costs $345 (costs may vary for courses offered locally through PBS stations), and teachers can earn professional development points, continuing education units, or graduate credit. To learn more about PBS TeacherLine, or to enroll, go to www.pbs.org/teacherline.

About PBS TeacherLine

PBS TeacherLine is committed to helping teachers acquire the skills they need to prepare students for a successful future. PBS TeacherLine provides high-quality, affordable professional development for preK-12 educators through facilitated, online courses, collaborative learning communities, and exemplary Internet-based resources. Currently, more than 100 courses across multiple subject areas are offered. Teachers can earn continuing education units, professional development points, and graduate credits for course completion. The courses have been developed in conjunction with leading education organizations, including the Mid-Continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL), Concord Consortium, and International Society for Technology in Education. For more information, visit www.pbs.org/teacherline.

About PBS

PBS, with its nearly 360 member stations, offers all Americans – from every walk of life – the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and online content. Each month, PBS reaches more than 118 million people through television and nearly 21 million people online, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; to hear diverse viewpoints; and to take front row seats to world-class drama and performances. PBS’ broad array of programs has been consistently honored by the industry’s most coveted award competitions. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. PBS’ premier children’s TV programming and its Web site, pbskids.org, are parents’ and teachers’ most trusted partners in inspiring and nurturing curiosity and love of learning in children. More information about PBS is available at pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org websites on the Internet, or by following PBS on Twitter, Facebook or through our apps for mobile devices. Specific program information and updates for press are available at pbs.org/pressroom or by following PBSPressroom on Twitter.