Jamaica’s tectonic setting makes it vulnerable to earthquakes, with two historic earthquakes—Port Royal 1692 and Kingston 1907—comparable in magnitude to the January 12th
, 2010 Haiti earthquake. Since the Haiti earthquake, Jamaicans have become keenly interested in understanding the nature of the plate boundary that crosses the island and the seismic risk it poses. Geoscience education activities and instruction designed to improve the scientific understanding of Jamaica’s seismic risk among pre-college and undergraduate learners and to promote preparedness and community resilience is centered on a new initiative, the Jamaican Educational Seismic Network (JAESN). JAESN is organized within the framework of the IRIS Seismograph in Schools with participating schools each hosting their own AS-1 seismograph station. In spring 2016, the Department of Geography and Geology at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona hosted two immersive 2-day workshops to introduce 22 JAESN teachers to ways in which seismology and geodesy can be used to teach core concepts in physics, geography, and mathematics. Instructors (UWI faculty, graduate students, visiting and local disaster management experts) shared information about Jamaica’s geology and seismic hazard. Teachers were introduced to online educational materials from IRIS, UNAVCO and EarthScope projects, and introduced to IRIS’ JAMASEIS analytical software. The workshops leveraged investment made though grants from the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), the U.S. Fulbright Program, and the U.S. Embassy in Jamaica to support teacher and student learning in the U.S. and Jamaica.
In this presentation, we provide an overview of the professional development workshops and share evaluation results. We also offer examples of how JAESN teachers are incorporating earthquake event data for local, regional and global earthquakes and educational resources from the workshops into their teaching. In time, we expect increased knowledge about earthquake hazards in Jamaica to be translated into improved preparedness and overall resilience as students bring education back into their homes and communities.