Place-Based Learning Symposium, New Bedford

Join the New Bedford ECHO Project on December 1-3, 2010 for the first symposium on Place-Based Learning.  The symposium will feature keynote speakers including the Massachusetts Secretary of Education, Paul Reville, and concurrent sessions and working groups focused on discovering new partnerships and best practices in Place-Based Learning.

Place-Based Learning connects students to their immediate surroundings and heritage.  This method, sometimes called “pedagogy of place”, allows individuals to teach and learn through observation and doing, using personally relevant resources as the context for their academic growth.  Museums, cultural centers, and many other non-traditional learning centers hold a world of educational, historical and cultural materials and experiences that enlighten all who visit them. Coinciding with traditional education practices, Place-Based Learning centers possess the potential to enrich the learner’s experience and make difficult concepts clearer to understand.

The conference is free to attend and teachers can receive 10 PDP’s for attending.  For more information and how to register visit Or contact Abbey Spargo: 508-994-5400 ext. 23 or

Ocean Voices Series, New Bedford

The Ocean Explorium at New Bedford Seaport,174 Union Street,New Bedford, MA

Presents Ocean Voices, August 5, reception 6:15 – 7, talk 7:00 PM

Join Dr. Ken Oliveira from UMASS Dartmouth as he discusses his work with the American Eel.  Dr. Oliveira describes the American Eel as “an ecologically and commercially important species” possessing “an amazing life history with many unique adaptations” that make it a historically successful species.  The American Eel spawns in secret locations within the Sargasso Sea, a process that has never been observed.  In 2008, Dr. Oliveira and his research associate, Dr. Whitney Habel, a develop-mental biologist, successfully hatched American Eels in their laboratories at the University in Dartmouth.  This represents a first for scientists long puzzled by the reproductive processes of the animals.  While larval eels are found in the Sargasso Sea, adult eels have never been seen there.  Dr. Oliveira will discuss the life history and current research of this fascinating fish.

Call for Papers Place-Based Learning Symposium: December 1-3

Place-Based Learning connects students to their immediate surroundings and heritage.  This method, sometimes called “pedagogy of place” allows individuals to teach and learn through observation and doing, using personally relevant resources as the context for their academic growth.  Place-Based Learning brings forth several questions. How does Place-Based Learning compare to other models of teaching?   Is it the best method to reach today’s youth?  How do we evaluate its effectiveness?  Can informal learning centers be leaders in the creation and promotion of effective Place-Based Learning programs?

In an effort to explore best practices by leading educational and cultural institutions nationwide, the New Bedford ECHO Project invites proposals for presentations and papers on Place-Based Learning to be delivered at a symposium held in New Bedford, MA on December 1-3, 2010.  The symposium will focus on four main themes:  Leveraging regional success stories on a national scale; Successful Place-Based Learning programs and partnerships;  How standardization of the current educational system creates disparities in the educational attainment of native/underserved/minority students; Value and shortcomings of Place-Based Learning including assessment and evaluation

The New Bedford ECHO Project (NBEP), a combined effort from the New Bedford Whaling Museum and the New Bedford Ocean Explorium, works locally with the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park, and our ECHO partners in Alaska, Hawaii, Massachusetts and Mississippi to address the educational needs of our respective populations. Through its focus on history, culture, arts and environment the NBEP, allows students and educators alike to engage in a variety of content and context based teaching and learning opportunities. Examples include the Whaling Museum’s popular history, language arts and culture based school programs, the Ocean Explorium’s Enviro-Lab, which allows school and youth groups a chance to go out into Buzzard’s Bay for hands-on research and the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park’s “From Hampton to New Bedford: A Network of Freedom” program which is a set of curriculum-based activities and materials that brings the story of the Underground Railroad to life.

Submissions should broadly fit into one or more of the above themes.  Presentations should be submitted as an article for review and publication in symposium proceedings. All submissions should follow the style outlined in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (2001, 5th edition). Submit proposals to: Sara Meirowitz c/o New Bedford ECHO Project at 18 Johnny Cake Hill, New Bedford, MA 02740. Web:  Proposals should be submitted in abstract form (less than 100 words) and are due by July 31, 2010. Honoraria and travel stipends may be available.

Meet the Ocean Explorium Team in New Bedford

Come find out what the Ocean Explorium at New Bedford Seaport is all about! As part of the Ocean Voice speaker series,  the staff of the Ocean Explorium will give visitors an inside look at who the people behind the scenes are, what they do, and how they do it. Meet executive director and shark biologist Mark Smith; education coordinator and Massachusetts Marine Educators grant recipient Abbey Spargo; volunteer coordinator and fisheries biologist Jen Costa; Connecting Oceans Academy co-director and educator Jack Crowley; and curator and aquarium design specialist Warren Gibbons. Moderators are Simone Bourgeois and Arthur Dutra from Sea Lab, a public school in New Bedford.

Tuesday, July 14    7-8 PM
Admission: $3 adults, $2 seniors/children

The Ocean Explorium recently opened full time for visitors.
Daily hours are 10 AM to 4 PM.  Come see the aquarium exhibits, marine life, Science on a Sphere®, and the Discovery Bay children’s activity center. Admission during regular visiting hours is $6 adults, $4.50 seniors, and $4 children.

The Ocean Explorium at New Bedford Seaport is located at the corner of Purchase and Union streets in downtown New Bedford. For more information or directions visit online.