During the Fall of 2015, MBS junior Renee Dorwart participated in an Independent Study on Broadcast Meteorology. This was a follow-up on work done during the 2014-2015 school year by Olivia Braunstein and Samuel Nadler, who, though collaboration with Greg Blumberg of the University of Oklahoma, created an iBook manual for the Chapter. Ms. Dorwart's work was the first application of the iBook.
Several different media were used in the program, including the following:
Presentations at All-School Morning Meetings - Graphics and scripts were developed to provide hyper-local forecasts for the Morristown-Beard School community, focussing on school events such as, reunion weekends, graduation, and sporting events.
Video Forecasting - Created graphics and wrote copy for use in the school's green screen studio.
School Website Forecasts - Posted forecasts for the larger school community.
In all cases, the focus was on maximizing the medium being used and creating a forecast that addressed the specific needs of the community.
The student benefits of this project are captured in Ms. Dorwart's words:
“As a part of the continued development of MBS Weather Services, I am doing an independent study in broadcast meteorology. I am continuing the research of two other MBS students and actually demonstrating what they have done in weekly weather forecasts. Introducing the broadcast aspect to this study makes this a more interactive and interesting topic. I hope this will influence more people to take an active role in the study of weather. As a service to the community, this program is extremely beneficial to the Morristown- Beard School. Hopefully other students will see how interesting this topic really is and want to be a part of it also, so that it can grow into something even bigger.”
As a general education experience, using the meteorology applications opens up a whole new world of learning. One can only learn so much by reading a textbook in a classroom. The best way to be interested in something is if you are really involved in it. There is no better way to be involved in this than attending the AMS Annual Meeting, presenting your work, and receiving feedback from professionals in the field. This program is a great example of not only Student Centered learning but Student Motivated learning. The level of engagement peaks when the student creates the curriculum and decides what is to be studied.
This program also supports the National Weather Service's (NWS) Weather Ready Nation initiative. How better to create a citizen scientist than to start the education process and plant the seed of interest in high school? Meteorology, and specifically forecasting, typically is not part of the high school curriculum, and it is a very complex subject. Teaching these topics as part of a larger, hands-on program enables a depth of understanding that would otherwise be lost. High school students that do find these experiences as motivation to pursue a meteorology degree will have an excellent head start, and college students get to solidify their knowledge through teaching. This program creates a unique and wonderful learning opportunity for all students involved to learn more advanced topics in weather and science and gain confidence in those topics.