The GLOBE Program



he GLOBE Program is an international hands-on environmental science and education program. Through the development of data collection protocols, learning activities and technological infrastructure, the GLOBE Program provides a scientific framework and educational resources for teachers, students and scientists to engage in collaborative inquiry-based investigations of their local environment. Because of GLOBE’s extensive national and international reach, GLOBE employs a train-the-trainer model, based on a no-exchange of funds partnership with universities, school districts, science centers or other entities interested in providing GLOBE training in its local area. In turn, these GLOBE partners provide training to interested individuals during GLOBE training workshops and receive GLOBE materials to distribute to participating teachers. These trained partners are responsible for recruiting, training, and mentoring teachers in the local area. This model is intended to increase local and regional interest in GLOBE and provide the level of support and follow-up contact to newly trained GLOBE teachers. Currently, the GLOBE Program has 125 active partners within the U.S. and operates in 6 GLOBE Regions: Africa (22 countries), Asia and Pacific (16 countries), Europe and Eurasia (41 countries), Latin America and Caribbean (18 countries), Near East and North Africa (13 countries), and North America (2 countries). Since training workshops began in 1995, more than 59,000 teachers from over 25,000 GLOBE schools in 112 countries have become GLOBE trained teachers. Over 1.5 million students have collected and entered more than 23 million measurements into the GLOBE database, providing a unique resource for inquiry based science projects. An additional 77 million measurements approximately have been collected by automated instruments and entered into the GLOBE database.

A unique strength of the program is its international reach. No other international hands-on environmental science and education program has this type of coverage in terms of participating countries as well as the number of protocols.

Best practices are incorporated throughout the educational learning activities and associated materials developed for the program. The GLOBE Teacher Guide’s implementation section contains information about the teaching and learning process as well as specific teaching strategies such as cooperative learning. The guide was written using research on such best practices at the time. It provides key information for teachers about how they can implement GLOBE activities into their classrooms, such as how to use a student-centered approach to learning, to help teachers more effectively deal with a wide range of students, many learning at various levels and occasionally facing different needs (multiple intelligences, special needs, etc.).

GLOBE Protocols and Learning Activities are hands-on activities that require students to use instruments to collect scientific data for investigative purposes. This hands-on approach to learning is best carried out by students working in small groups, allowing students to share the work of taking a measurement and reporting the data they collect in a cooperative manner.

The GLOBE Teacher’s Guide and its contents allow teachers to scaffold their lessons:

Teachers are challenged to deliver standards-based learning in an efficient and effective way. One method teachers can use to meet this challenge is to design unit and lesson plans that are scaffolded to allow students to connect new ideas to existing ideas at their own levels of understanding. Examples of teaching units are provided and can be used as templates for developing further units based on the GLOBE protocols and learning activities. These units walk the teacher through the various aspects of classroom learning--from lesson preparation (concepts covered, equipment required, etc.) through the teaching process. Evaluation of the learning as a result of the lesson and unit is also covered. All educational materials (such as lesson plans and evaluation materials) are included as part of the units. A focus on teaching science through inquiry, and project-based learning is also noted in the implementation section. This is further promoted on an area of the website under the Student Zone, which describes the scientific process as well as exhibiting examples of student science projects (

GLOBE Protocols and Learning Activities are hands-on activities that require students to use instruments to collect scientific data for investigative purposes. This hands-on approach to learning is best carried out by students working in small groups, allowing students to share the work of taking a measurement and reporting the data they collect in a cooperative manner.

Research about online learning was referenced in the development of the new pilot GLOBE e-training modules. This included information from the U.S. Department of Education, Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning: A Meta-Analysis and Review of Online Learning Studies and The New Media Consortium Horizon Report: 2012 Higher Education Edition. In addition the use of avatars in these pilot modules is considered a best practice in online learning, especially when considering a hybrid-training program (face-to-face and online) (,, and The modules are also following standard procedures for design in receiving community feedback and input so that they can be improved. Because of the international nature of the program, an international group of GLOBE community members was assembled for this process.

A GLOBE partner is currently leading the effort within the community and with the GPO staff to align educational materials to the new Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). In the past, GLOBE materials have been aligned with the National Science Education Standards, and the National Geography Standards prepared by the National Education Standards Project. Partners had also created state alignments with their specific standards as well. With the advent of the NGSS and 26 states involved in the writing process, this is an important document that will have implications for national science education for many years. A committee from the GLOBE community will be involved in the important work of showing how GLOBE aligns with the standards and the associated research. Once the committee has completed its work, the information will be disseminated to the GLOBE community.

Lead Organizations

University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) 




There are a large number of partners within the GLOBE community. First, there are a number of agencies involved with NASA in the program (NSF, NOAA and Dept. of State). Within NASA, GLOBE partners with CloudSat and CALIPSO for cloud observations. It partners with S’COOL for contrail measurements.

Externally GLOBE partners with NOAA’s Oceans for Life Program. This program accepts GLOBE students, primarily from the Near East and North Africa region, as participants for its summer field study program.

U.S. Partners: Nonprofit or governmental organizations, whose priorities focus on support of student inquiry and research about the environment, are invited to become a GLOBE U.S. Partner. In addition, businesses and organizations whose corporate mission is to invest in successful educational outcomes of students and the community at large are also welcome to become a GLOBE U.S. Partner. Each GLOBE U.S. Partner must have a formal affiliation with an institution of higher education, a school district, a State Department of Education, or recognized informal education organization (501C3) such as STEM learning centers, museums and foundations, leading to sustainable implementation of GLOBE in their community. Currently, there are 125 active GLOBE partnerships in the U.S. ( Each partnership can implement the program to meet its mission and goals, as well as undertake efforts to recruit GLOBE schools, train GLOBE teachers, and mentor GLOBE teachers and their students in their efforts to implement GLOBE and engage in GLOBE research activities.

Internationally, GLOBE is implemented through bilateral agreements between the U.S. government and governments of partner nations. Currently there are 110 GLOBE Countries in 6 regions. (There are 2 countries in the North America region, U.S. operates under the partner system, Canada has a bilateral agreement with the U.S.)




Since January 2013 GPO has distributed 6883 pieces of educational material to partners in the U.S.

Before launching its new website, the GLOBE Program Office (GPO) communications team began to execute an aggressive social media outreach and engagement strategy to boost online interaction and connection with GLOBE’s worldwide audience. One year removed from that endeavor, the Program Office communications team has meaningfully accomplished that goal and considerably more. Indeed, the social media outreach strategy has filled a much-needed role within the Program by rapidly, consistently and efficiently interacting and communicating with GLOBE’s international audience as well people who are new to the GLOBE Program through a broad variety of interactive social media platforms.

GLOBE’s social media presence has served to:

  • Drive thousands of visits to the GLOBE website;
  • Exponentially boost engagement across the GLOBE community;
  • Engage and re-engage existing GLOBE teachers, students, scientists and others who are passionate about Earth System Science research;
  • Raise awareness of the GLOBE Program among new educators and influencers;
  • Establish the GLOBE Program as a well-known and trusted resource for science classrooms around the world.
    GLOBE’s social media effectiveness is measured in several ways.
  • By increasing growth in audience and engagement, which is covered at length in the sections below.
  • By cumulative referral traffic back to the website also proves social media effectiveness.


Impact of Social Media on Website

Between 1 April, 2012 and 15 April, 2013, social media referrals increased by nearly 700 percent; in that time, GLOBE’s social media efforts were responsible for 7,854 visits to the website, compared to a mere 985 between 1 April, 2011 and 1 April, 2012. Twitter and Facebook were the main traffic drivers out of all GLOBE social media efforts; Twitter referred 4,274 visits and Facebook was close behind with 3,146 referred visits.

Of critical importance: the shift in social media as a significant driver of traffic to After implementing an optimized social media strategy, social media contributed to five percent of referral traffic between 2012 and 2013 (a 37 percent increase from the previous year).

Forethought in the design and development process of GLOBE’s social media profiles informed a referral strategy linking back to Note that all of GLOBE’s social media profiles were branded and customized with design, social media integration, landing tabs and Facebook apps – a consistency that is essential for social media success.
Recent data: Week of May 27 2013 passed the 100,000 Fans mark on the GLOBE Program Facebook site

The GLOBE website just surpassed the one million page views mark in May 2013

As part of the Student Climate Research Campaign (SCRC), two competitions have been held. The Earth Day 2012 video competition took place in early 2012. GLOBE students were asked to create videos of their classes engaging in exploring and investigating their local climates through data collection with GLOBE protocols and climate-focused learning activities. A total of 58 videos representing at least one school per region were entered in the competition. Winning videos were then shared on GLOBE social media and the GLOBE web page.

The GLOBE Student Art Competition was held during the fall of 2012. Students submitted original artwork showing their local climates, which was then judged on set criteria - artwork detail, summary detail, and inclusion of all required materials. GLOBE Students entered 106 pieces of artwork to the competition. Submissions came from five Regions (Africa was the only exception) and all the artwork was shared on the GLOBE Facebook page. All participating students as well as partners and country coordinators received a calendar.

The Earth Day 2013 Video Competition took place in the spring of 2013. GLOBE students were asked to show how doing GLOBE has helped improve their school, home, or local environment. A total of 82 videos representing at least one school per region were entered in the competition. This was an increase of almost 30% from the 2012 Video Competition. Winning videos were shared via GLOBE social media and the GLOBE web page.

For SCRC, over almost 2 years there have been 19 (plus 2 more coming up before the campaign ends in August 2013). There have been 155 unique attendees at the SCRC webinars.
There have been two GLOBE International Scientist Network webinars with 58 unique attendees.

There have been 24 Learning to Research (an NSF funded iTEST grant) webinars, with attendance ranging from 20-45 attendees each over 2 years.

Other metrics available from the GLOBE website ( metrics/impact) include numbers of teachers trained, workshops and data contributed.



Effectiveness and Impact

Evaluation findings and impact statements:

The SRI Evaluation reports are all located on the GLOBE website.

Below are some findings from the last external evaluation report.

In relation to GLOBE’s effect on student achievement:

“The examination of a relationship between test score and overall measures of GLOBE implementation was inconclusive. However, when examining specific aspects of GLOBE implementation (namely, the quantity of data analysis activities and overall breadth of coverage), we did see a small but reliable positive correlation with scores on the content items. We further note that there were no significant negative associations between GLOBE and scores; participating in GLOBE does not appear to be associated with lower scores on a test of science knowledge” (p. 24).

In relation to professional development:

“Our results indicate that the design elements of professional development that mattered most for program implementation in GLOBE varied, depending on the aspect of implementation being measured. To increase data reporting, the most effective professional development strategy was to focus on promoting student inquiry in initial professional development sessions. In other words, a unit increase in Focus on Student Inquiry increased the odds of data reporting to by 23%. For both protocol use and preparedness for student inquiry, the opportunity to “localize” GLOBE—that is, to plan for how to tailor its implementation to local circumstances of teachers’ classrooms was a significant predictor of the extent to which teachers implemented these aspects of the program. In addition, a focus on the content of GLOBE was a significant predictor of teachers’ feeling more prepared to implement student inquiry in GLOBE. We found conflicting results for the effect of duration of professional development and for the nature of the GLOBE partner providing the professional development: more hours of professional development supported greater protocol use but seemed to undercut a focus on student inquiry, and university-based partners tended to do a better job supporting protocol use, while reliance on school-based partners was associated with less frequent use of student inquiry” (p. 48).

Overall, evaluation of the program is in process.