COOL Classroom 2.1

About COOL Classroom

The COOL Classroom is a web-based inquiry environment aimed at teaching core ocean science concepts and enhancing students' understanding of the importance of coastal and ocean ecosystems. Grounded in the Learning-For-Use model of education and learning theory presented in How People Learn: Brain, mind experience and school. This environment affords each student the opportunity to address a scientific problem, analyze scientific data surrounding the issue, and develop informed explanations and/or solutions for this problem.

The COOL Classroom, designed by a collaborative team of science education researchers, teachers, ocean scientists, and technical staff (programmers, artists, etc), consists of larger units with a driving question that is explored using both on-line material and optional extension readings and activities. Students are further engaged in scientific inquiry through an online reflective journal that has been strategically placed throughout the unit so that students can stop and reflect on their learning. Meanwhile, these journal questions help teachers to facilitate class discussions and, along with the provided quizzes, are great opportunities for formative assessment.

Who Created the COOL Classroom?

Each module is developed collaboratively by a team of scientists, educational researchers, computer programmers, graphic artists, and science teachers and piloted by a national team of educators. The interdisciplinary design team ensures that the best possible practices and information is employed during the development of these units.

The development of this site has been lead by the Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences (IMCS) at Rutgers University as part of the Centers for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence Networked Ocean World (COSEE NOW). Pedagogical support is provided by the Rutgers Graduate School of Education and the Lawrence Hall of Science. We are grateful to the scientists of IMCS and the Rutgers Center for Remote Sensing & Spatial Analysis for providing their COOL content.

Through these associations, Rutgers has attempted to develop innovative concepts for teaching science and forge strong partnerships with K-12 educators. These programs and partnerships have facilitated the integration of research into high-quality professional development programs and educational materials.

Contact Information

For more information about this project, please contact one of the following:

  • Kristin Hunter-Thomson, Program Coordinator, Institute of Marine & Coastal Sciences
  • Dr. Carrie Ferraro, Program Coordinator, Institute of Marine & Coastal Sciences
  • Janice McDonnell, Assistant Professor, Department of 4-H Youth Development
  • Dr. Ravit Golan Duncan, Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Education
  • Sage Lichtenwalner, Research Programmer, Institute of Marine & Coastal Sciences