What’s new with NOAA Planet Stewards?

It’s been a busy fall as a new group of 70 teachers from around the country were getting trained and are now implementing Planet Stewards in their classroom!  In June, I had the opportunity to co-present “Lessons Learned” with Julie Stratton, science teacher at Cape May County Technical High School.  It was exciting to see how an actual class implementation played out during our spring pilot.  Based on Julie’s feedback, along with survey and focus group response from our other pilot teachers, we were able to fine-tune the curriculum with support from our friends at NOAA, and instructional designer, Mark Suter.

The Planet Stewards curriculum, over 165 quests in five areas of the NOAA sciences, is available inside the 3D GameLab quest-based learning platform.  Free accounts open in January, so be sure to sign-up soon, if you don’t already have a teacher account.  We’ll be back in April 2014 with another Planet Stewards teacher camp, as well.  Stay tuned!


NOAA Planet Stewards – Coming July 2013


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We’re very proud to announce the upcoming public launch of Planet Stewards, NOAA’s career pathway badges for middle and high school students.  We will be opening a no-cost training for up to 500 middle and high school science teachers in July 2013.  The training will be conducted fully online over the first three weeks of July.  Work at your own time and pace, supplemented by optional live events.  Earn your NOAA Teacher Badge!

When you’re done, you can bring your students into the platform to earn over 15 NOAA Career Pathway badges, all aligned to NGSS standards.  Up to two professional development credits will be made available through Boise State University for an extra fee of $60 per credit.

If you’d like to be added to the list of participants, please sign up here.

To learn more about the power of quest-based learning, and get a sneak peek at Planet Stewards, check out our video!

Revealing Planet Stewards

As many of you know, I’ve been engaged on our Planet Stewards project in conjunction with NOAA as part of our DML/HASTAC award.  It’s been amazing to be involved in the evolution of Mozilla’s Open Badges initiative, work with the talented experts at NOAA, and gain a better understanding of the need for environmental education in today’s times of Hurricane Sandy and other environmental disasters!

What does it look like to work on Planet Stewards quests and earn Mozilla badges?  Here are early screenshots inside 3D GameLab.  As you see the first screenshot, we currently have 169 quests!  These can be expanded on by individual teachers who have the option to add additional quests to the curriculum.

Freshwater Quests inside 3D GameLab

Quest designer, Lucas Gillispie, focused on creating quests that engage the student as a real-life problem solver of freshwater ecology issues using real-time data.

Planet Stewards Badges: 5 “super-badges” in the NOAA content areas, 15 career-pathway badges, and one Conquerer badge for those rare individuals who master all 20!

Next month I travel to the Climate Literacy Summit, and hope to gain a better understanding of how we can expand this work to better protect our planet and the humans who’d like to enjoy it now and in the future.

New Badges Have Been Released

Planet Stewards has released more badges, and we would like to share them with you!

The first badge is a teacher achievement badge. Teachers earn this by completing quests that teach them how to use the program and how to incorporate it into their classroom.  Our pilot teachers begin their training this week, and will receive this achievement when complete.

Teacher Achievement

The second set of rewards are general achievements. Achievements are small steps along the way, or areas of specialization completed during questing worthy of recognition.  Achievements are not OBI compliant, but are an important part of creating motivation and providing acknowledgement of learning.

General Achievements


We would love to hear what you think. Feel free to leave a comment or question.

The Teachers Have Been Selected!

Congratulations to the teaches that have been accepted to participate in the pilot launch of Planet Stewards!

All together there were 25 High School teachers accepted from all over the United States. Chris Haskell, the instructional designers, and the NOAA content experts have been working hard to develop the pilot launch curriculum, and are excited to share it. The teachers will be training the first two weeks of November and in January they will be introducing it to their classes. In order to congratulate the teachers properly I have listed below the name, school, city, and state of the 25 accepted participants.

Kelly McAllister Riverside Virtual Riverside CA
Sarah Cox Woodbine Community School Woodbine IA
Jennifer Creasy Charlottesville High School Charlottesville VA
Norman Alford West Broward High school Pembroke Pines Fl
Latha Janet Eau Claire High School Columbia SC
Lucia K. Jacobs Keenan High School Columbia SC
Lisa Triolo Columbia High School Nampa ID
Krista Dunn Lake Taylor High School Norfolk VA
Stephen Coleman High Tech High Quincy WA
Timothy Vaillancourt Advanced Math and Science Academy Charter School Marlborough MA
Pamela Rainard Smithfield High School Smithfield VA
Susan Twidle Howell High School Farmingdale NJ
Birgit Musheno Desert Vista High School Phoenix AZ
Montessa Young Idaho Digital Learning Academy and Oregon Virtual Education District Nyssa OR
Catherine Silver Winnacunnet High School Hampton NH
Julie Stratton Cape May County Technical School Cape May Court House NJ
Shaundrie Jones John L. Leflore Mobile AL
Samantha Kimmel Florida Virtual School Kissimmee FL
Amanda Peretich Calvert High School Prince Frederick MD
Vic Akemann Stevens Point Area Senior High (SPASH) Stevens Point WI
Catherine Flippen Mount Vernon Presbyterian School Atlanta CA
Bryan Hirschman Essex High School Essex VT
Brian Olivera Kodiak Rural Schools Ouzinkie AK
Melanie Joseph Florida Virtual School Orlando FL
Sara Chaves Beam Chesapeake Bay Governor’s School for Marine and Environmental Science Glenns VA

Again, congratulations Teachers! We are excited to have you be a part of Planet Stewards.

Presenting: Planet Stewards Badge Designs

Planet Stewards is excited to present to you the badge designs for the NOAA career pathways.  We would like to thank Eva Delgado for all of her amazing work. The badges turned out beautiful.

In the five areas of science covered by NOAA’s Planet Stewards badges, there are 3 career badges available for a student to choose from. Once mastering the required quests they earn the “super badge” which is the gold badge on the far right. This is the ultimate goal for a student, and the badge shows it with its striking design.

Take a look at the badges here. We are so happy to be sharing this with you and would love to hear what you think. Feel free to leave us a comment or question below.

Coastal Manager Badge Preview

Planet Stewards is making progress on the Coastal Management Career Badge, a minor badge of the NOAA freshwater sciences. The quests that have recently been designed were based off a Freshwater Quest Roadmap made by Lucas Gillispie. As you can see, the quests that are being designed for the Costal Management Career Badge include Introduction to Estuaries, Rising Tides and Shifting Currents, Coming To An Estuary Near You, Coastal Manager: Tools of the Trade, Data Quest: Measuring Water Quality, Stewardship of Estuaries, Hurricanes and Estuaries, and Culminating Activity/Project. Lucas has provided a short YouTube clip giving a brief tour of some of the quests learners will explore as they pursue their Coastal Manager badge.

Go to the Badges & Quests tab on the Planet Stewards website for more information.