Denver Museum of Nature & Science Receives Honors for Distance Learning Program

Denver Museum of Nature & Science Receives Honors for Distance Learning Program

Colorado Distance Learning Association Awards Museum Teacher of the Year and Program of the Year

DENVER- April 26, 2013- The Denver Museum of Nature & Science has been awarded two honors from the Colorado Distance Learning Association (COLODLA). Mark Widdifield, the Museum’s distance learning assistant coordinator, received the Teacher of the Year Award and the Museum’s Virtual Heart program received the Program of the Year Award.

Distance learning at the Museum started almost 10 years ago with Scientists in Action (SIA), a program that uses video conferencing gear to connect scientists in labs, the field, or collections areas with schools around the country. Students have the chance to talk to the scientists through live audio and video feeds and ask a variety of questions, from what the scientists studied in college and how they became interested in science to what fossils they’ve found and where. Over the years SIA has grown and is now broadcast monthly to thousands of students across the country.

The Museum’s virtual classes evolved from the technology of SIA. The Museum offers eight virtual classes that are broadcast to school classrooms. In the Virtual Heart class, students have the opportunity to explore heart anatomy as they observe a sheep heart dissection, which takes a close look at concepts behind how the heart works and affects the whole human body. The Museum started offering this program throughout the country during the 2010–2011 school year.  An elementary school from New York nominated the class for COLODLA’s Program of the Year Award.

“I am extremely honored to receive this recognition,” said Widdifield.  “Through the Museum’s distance learning we have the opportunity to spread the love of science, scientific thinking, and our scientist’s research around the world. It’s a mechanism to take the best regional Museum to people across the country.

COLODLA has members from higher education, K–12 education, government, and business, and exists to promote and support the development and practice of quality distance learning in Colorado.

About the Denver Museum of Nature & Science

The Denver Museum of Nature & Science is the Rocky Mountain Region's leading resource for informal science education. A variety of engaging exhibits, discussions and activities help Museum visitors celebrate and understand the natural wonders of Colorado, Earth and the universe. The Museum is located at 2001 Colorado Blvd., Denver, CO, 80205.  To learn more about the Museum, check www.dmns.org, or call 303-370-6000.

Many of the Museum’s educational programs and exhibits are made possible in part by the citizens of the seven-county metro area through the Scientific & Cultural Facilities District.

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