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Paleontologists go online for content delivered to at-home students

State Historical Society

When North Dakota schools shut down earlier this year, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the state’s paleontologists saw a need to offer science based programs to students learning at home.

State geologist Ed Murphy said the paleontologists began a series of live, online lectures, that ran from 10 to 11 am Monday through Friday. But six days into it, the Heritage Center shut down.

"So the paleontologists had to go home, and they took some fossils home with them," Murphy said. "Then  they set things back up again for online presentations."

However, Murphy said they soon realized it was going to be a big burden for them.

"They reached out, and in a period of three to three-and-a-half days, they came up with 20 guest speakers from literally throughout the world," Murphy said.

Murphy said it went very well.

"Everybody was either at home or in their office," Murphy said. "They had canceled all their travel plans."

Murphy said to get people to do this for a two-month period, probably won't happen again.

"Hopefully, not," Murphy said.

Murphy said 30 lectures were done through the “Zoom” platform. He said they were all uploaded to YouTube, and have been downloaded more than 3,300 times.

"They will be out there now for science teachers to use," Murphy said. He said he's very proud of the paleontologists.

"They're very busy anyway, and yet they tool on that added task," Murphy said.

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