TeachLive is a week-long immersive nature-based citizen science experience designed to build the capacity of teachers to facilitate high quality learning on environment and sustainability issues using real-world research projects.

Primary, secondary and specialist school teachers work as research assistants on Earthwatch expeditions, helping scientists with vital data collection, while communicating their experience live back to their students in the classroom via the TeachLive website. Students take a virtual scientific expedition with their teacher, providing inspiration, motivation and an opportunity to view their teachers as science role models.

Bush Blitz TeachLive

Bush Blitz TeachLive is an educational and professional development program that places Australian science, math (STEM) and geography teachers as research assistants on Bush Blitz expeditions, where they learn scientific skills, and get to teach “live” back to their classrooms.

Teacher blog

Benefits for Teachers

Teachers will receive valuable and unique professional development through enhancing their knowledge of STEM content, improving their web-based teaching skills and learning current research techniques. Teachers will also experience valuable networking opportunities and knowledge sharing. Teachers from various states and schools will work closely together, enabling them to share resources, ideas and creativity for their teaching methods and material.

The experience has proved extremely motivational for teachers, as previous participants in the program have returned to their schools with newfound enthusiasm for teaching science; and for sharing their new knowledge and skills with their school community. Teachers involved in past expeditions have been inspired to organise activities such as: neighbourhood biodiversity surveys with their students, researching local species in partnership with a scientist, and engaging their class with local environmental community groups.

Benefits for Students

There has been a significant drop in the number of high school students taking STEM subjects over the last two decades. Research has shown that STEM subjects are often thought of as uninteresting, and that students often find it difficult to picture themselves as scientists. Furthermore, students believe their teachers are more influential than peers and parents.

The TeachLive program allows students to take a virtual scientific expedition with their teachers, providing inspiration, motivation and an opportunity to view their teachers as science role models. They will see first-hand, the exciting life of a scientist through the experience of their teacher. They will get to see the beautiful and remote areas that scientific research takes place in, the types of work and technologies involved in scientific research, the types of data that is collected, and an understanding of how all this contributes to the central goal of this research – protecting our natural environment.

Teachers are inspired to implement nature-based and outdoor learning programs after these expeditions which has significant wellbeing benefits for students. Growing scientific evidence demonstrates that ongoing contact with nature is critical for physical, mental, social and spiritual health, and has positive effects on students’ ability to concentrate, learn, solve problems and be creative.

What skills do I need?

No special skills are required. All research techniques will be taught on site, and scientists and Earthwatch staff will be with you if you have any questions. You just need to be an Australian primary or secondary teacher who is passionate about science or geography and willing to share your experiences with your school community.

Requirements and Expectations

Successful teachers are required to:

Pre-departure

  • Actively participate in an online website training session (~2 hour webinar)
  • Complete medical and travel forms
  • Read project briefing documentation about the specific expedition (includes: daily plan, logistics, accommodation, packing list etc.)
  • Complete an online pre-participation survey


During Expedition

  • Post lesson plans for the week you are on the expedition, around the research theme (to be conducted by your replacement teacher); You may wish to prepare some material prior to the expedition
  • Attendance and participation in daily field activities
  • Write and upload a blog entry and photos to the Teacher blog each day

Post-expedition

  • Complete post-expedition survey
  • Use learnings from the expedition to implement new projects or activities back at your school or in your education community

TeachLive History

2004
TeachLive began with a pilot program that sent four Victorian teachers on Earthwatch expeditions across Australia.

2005
The program expanded with seven teachers from WA joining Earthwatch expedition Echidnas & Goannas of Kangaroo Island.

2007
Through the support of Woodside Energy over two years, the program gave teachers from WA the unique opportunity to teach live to their students as they studied whale sharks at Ningaloo Reef.

2009
Victoria Electricity sent one Victorian teacher on the Wildlife of Brazil’s Pantanal expedition to teach live back to her classroom to raise environmental awareness among her students.

2010
Lumo Energy sent a Victorian teacher to Queensland to teach live from our popular Project Manta expedition.

2011
With funding from the Victorian government, five teachers from Victorian State Schools joined scientists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences to help support climate change research in Eastern China’s steamy Zhejiang Province, while five other Victorian teachers joined scientists from Edith Cowan University to help protect the native animals of Charles Darwin Reserve in the Western Australian outback, followed by ten more teachers who travelled to the Reserve to teach live back to their students in 2012.

2013
TeachLive began an exciting new phase of the program with the launch of Bush Blitz TeachLive. Bush Blitz is Australia's largest nature discovery project to document the plants and animals in properties across Australia, and five teachers had the amazing opportunity to join the Henbury Station Bush Blitz expedition in the remote Northern Territory outback, where they assisted 15 scientists to discover new species of insects and spiders, as well as healthy populations of desert fish.

Bush Blitz

2015
The Victorian Department of Education and Training provided funding for six Victorian teachers per year over three years to participate in Earthwatch's Snorkelling Australia's Underwater Meadows expedition.

2017
Six teachers from across NSW travelled to St Bees Island off the coast of Queensland in the Whitsunday chain of islands, hiking with researchers across the rugged island to better understand how climate change is impacting the wildlife and landscape.