To Send Journals
Journal text is written as an e-mail. The structure of the e-mail is:
Subject: lastname journal mm/dd/yy
(e.g., shipp journal 01/09/99 - this is the JOURNAL day, which may not always be the day you are sending it!)
Body of the text is the journal entry.
Thoughts on writing Journal Entries
Orientation August 5 to 11, 2000
A Word on Why You Are Doing This The journals are one way to share the experience of research with others. They are a way to multiply your impact! They also are a way for you to document (for yourself) your own personal and professional growth.
Frequency and Responsibility
what is not the point
Describe successes/ failures.
Conduct and report student experiments. Accept and conduct student experiments while in the field where possible.
Include research, technology, engineering, tools, instruments, scales, etc.
Share what it takes to do research and recall that scientists are not the only critical ingredient to the process.
Share the practical use of the scientific process.
Ask questions - help students learn to ask questions.
Provide ideas and resources for activities that can be done in the classroom.
Tips for Journal Entries and E-mail Correspondence with Students and Schools
Compiled by Sandra Kolb
National Geographic Representatives
Priit Vesiland, Writer and Editor and Maria Stenzel, Photographer
Orientation March 17, 2000
Journal Evaluation Project
Conducted by: Ana Aslan, Arlyn Bruccoli, and Bhaskar Upadhyay
Teachers College at Columbia University, Quantitative Evaluation Methods in International Education
To disseminate the science and the personal experience gained by TEA parcticipants in the Arctic and Antarctic in a more effective manner in the future; we make the following recommendations. The evaluation team based these recommendations on a thorough analysis of the online journals and the surveys from the TEAs, Non-TEA teachers, and the students who read or used the TEA journals.
Provide workshops and training for new program parcticipants on how to write effective journal entries.
The Online Journal is a key communication component of the TEA Program. Because these journals are posted on the TEA Program's Web site, they remain a public record of an individual TEA's experience and also serve as representatives of the program to the Web site's visitors. A journaling workshop would support the TEAs' efforts to effectively communicate their field experiences. Such a workshop would benefit the program through both its outreach efforts and its ability to increase the professional capacity of its parcticipants. The orientation workshop is the ideal time for the program to increase the journaling skills of its parcticipants. During orientation, new parcticipants could learn about journal techniques through a review of sample journals from past TEAs. New TEAs could also benefit from working with a professional in this field, who could discuss strategies for conveying experiences through written communication.
Keep the readability of the journal entries at the level of the intended audience, students, teachers, parents, community members, etc.
Students, teachers, parents, and community members (any adult other than the ones listed) have different levels of language skills. The journal of a TEA will be stronger if the writer is aware of the needs of her/his audience. As noted in the findings many students have recommended that TEAs communicate through less complex language or include daily sections for students in their journals. As an alternative to simplifying the journal entry, writers can define scientific words as they appear in their journal entries. When writing to younger students TEAs can also work to use less complex sentence structures, than they might use when writing to adults.
Keep different sections in the journal entries for each kind of audience, students, teachers, and other adults.
Because of the near impossibility of engaging all audiences through one communication style, TEAs should consider (some have done this) including sections for different audiences in their journals. When writing a section to students, TEAs must be careful to continue to engage the audience in the processes of science, as well as their personal perspective. Addressing different audiences in separate sections, helps the writer to focus on the needs of the audience such as; the type of information to be included, language level, and word complexity. The student suggestion with the third highest frequency was to include a "Kids or children's section".
Focus on one topic in a given journal entry
Focusing on a given topic supports the TEA's ability to develop a powerful journal entry, as it requires the writer to address a topic in-depth and avoid summarizing. A focus also supports the writer's ability to convey the processes of the parcticular scientific research and the polar experience.
Provide cultural, environmental, and scientific information to readers while waiting for transport to the field
Students, teachers, and other readers of the journals seek to learn something out of every entry. It is not uncommon for TEA parcticipants to experience delays while traveling to their field sites. The program could support the TEAs and improve the content of entries written during these delays by addressing this issue at orientation. TEAs should be made aware of such situations and be advised how to best utilize them in their journals. Whether a TEA is waiting for transport in Greenland, Alaska, Chili, or New Zealand, they are still in a place that his/her readers may never experience. During these times, TEAs should make an effort to convey a sense of the environment, the culture, and any science related topics they observe.
Do not assume that a reader has read previous entries
As we reviewed the journals there were times when we found it difficult to understand certain sections as we had not read all of the prior entries. TEA writers should be advised to include a brief summary of any previously mentioned complex topic or major event, which they are developing in subsequent entries. From the non-TEA teacher and student surveys, we found that, like this evaluation team, some classes did not read every entry. While a concept in a journal may best be developed over several entries, to some degree each entry should be able to stand on its own.
Allow the TEAs more time to write journals while they are in the field
We found that TEAs felt they needed more time to write their journal entries. Since journal entries are the only way in which they can communicate with the people outside their field, it is of utmost essence that there should be a separate time for it. The program should consider allowing the TEAs an editing day each week. As opposed to requesting the TEA record an entry everyday, the program should consider asking the TEAs to record five a week, with one day being for editing her/his entries over the past week. The research team should also be aware of the intensity of this requirement of the TEA member of their team.
Make necessary changes in journal entries
We recommend that the TEAs, after returning from the field, edit their journal entries. Because the journal entries are open to all the people, it is important that the journal entries are well presented. Journal entries play an important role in informing readers about the polar research experience. At the end of the field experience the program should encourage TEAs to review and edit their journal. One way to encourage this activity is by allotting post field time for editing purposes.
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