What is Palaeo101?
Palaeo101 is a project that will provide free online resources for the teaching of palaeontology in schools. We aim to crowd-source multimedia from the academic community tailored to Earth Science and Biology curricula worldwide. We will initially be targeting the UK, and then move to other English-speaking countries as we develop the resource package. This will provide classrooms with clear, appropriate, and informative materials with the unrivaled accuracy and precision that only direct sourcing can provide.
For whom are these resources intended?
In the Palaeontological Association’s Newsletter 80, page 63, the Earth Science Teachers’ Association (ESTA) put out a call for Association members to help provide educational resources for our schools.
“Individual teachers have produced some excellent materials but they are often restricted by the material to which they have personal access.”
“…in the ideal world students will have access to good-quality palaeontological specimens or replicas, but in the current economic climate this is not realistic.”
“…access to good quality copyright-free images of fossils would be extremely beneficial to school teachers.”
Palaeo101 aims to provide a pool of relevant multimedia for both teachers and students worldwide. These multimedia will be assigned to specific regions within national curricula, providing a free and alternative way for teachers to provide extra resources for their classrooms.
How do we ensure resources are accurate?
Palaeontology is a vast and complex subject, combining aspects of many other scientific disciplines, from molecular biochemistry to particle physics. It not only encompasses the complexity of living biological systems, but also addresses how biological complexity arose and evolved in the past. It would be an unmanageable task for any single palaeontologist to break down this complexity into manageable community resources. For this reason we are crowd-sourcing material aligned to each aspect of the curriculum directly from academics involved in relevant research. This will ensure that the materials we distribute will be accurate, up-to-date, and informative.
How do we ensure resources are relevant to the classroom?
We are working closely with teachers, ESTA, academics, and the relevant educational bodies in our production of materials. Once contributed, multimedia will be screened before they are available for distribution.
How can I get involved?
Teachers: It’s of the upmost importance that our resources are fit for their intended purpose. We’d love to hear from you to learn more about what materials and formats you’d find most helpful. This will help refine our services.
Academics: We can’t produce these resources to our desired level of quality without your help. If you are willing to contribute materials or your time, please get in touch (addresses below). As this is entirely charitable, we can unfortunately offer nothing other than acknowledgement for intellectual property.
All materials will be held under a Creative Commons CC BY-SA 3.0 licence which entitles free use under the conditions that:
“This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work even for commercial purposes, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms. This license is often compared to “copyleft” free and open source software licenses. All new works based on yours will carry the same license, so any derivatives will also allow commercial use. This is the license used by Wikipedia, and is recommended for materials that would benefit from incorporating content from Wikipedia and similarly licensed projects.”