Partnerships in the Ocean Literacy Network

The Ocean Literacy Network is built on successful partnerships among individuals and institutions committed to promoting ocean literacy among the public.

Bringing the expertise of scientists and educators to the same table, and nurturing meaningful partnerships has been integral to the Ocean Literacy Network from the beginning.  The Ocean Literacy Network has created rich opportunities and provided a vehicle around which scientists and educators have forged relationships and are building a shared community of practice to accomplish a common goal—promote ocean literacy among the public. The development of the Ocean Literacy Framework would not have been possible without these relationships. (See the Honor Roll for a list of individuals and institutions that contributed to the the Ocean Literacy Framework.)

  • Scientists brought their science content knowledge and experiences sharing that content with the public and their students;
  • Educators brought their pedagogical content knowledge about how to help learners make meaning of and understand the science.

There are several underlying principles for initiating and growing partnerships between scientists and educators that have contributed to developing this community of practice for the Ocean Literacy Network.

  1. Draw on existing relationships and connections, and ask colleagues to contact their colleagues to join in the effort as well. It is helpful to select partners who have shared values, goals, and/or ideologies.
  2. Think of knowledge and tools as assets to be shared, and that these can be built on and revised by the community. Encourage ownership of these assets among all the members of the community.
  3. Cultivate mutual respect by encouraging a culture of honesty, open dialogue, careful listening, and recognizing distributed expertise.
  4. Define goals and processes clearly and, very importantly, have a shared activity around which all partners can do meaningful work together toward those goals.

Successful application of these principles is reflected in long-lasting partnerships that extend beyond any one project, as members strive to work together and sustain the new community.

To learn more about the partnerships that emerged from the Ocean Literacy Network, read Scientist and Educator Partnerships and Ocean Literacy: Creating a New Community of Practice, published in National Marine Educators Association Special Report #3.

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