We created the WildLab to unlock the potential of location-based learning. (Think foursquare for nature.) The WildLab uses mobile technology to engage learners in citizen science activities that promote STEM learning and encourage local environmental stewardship. We are looking to: work on location-based mobile apps that take advantage of situated, ubiquitous learning (whether it be for science or other subject areas). We want to bridge formal school texts with informal learning activities happening outside of school that connect learners with their surroundings, and bring from prototype to finished product plug-in phone sensors for environmental data that could lead to a whole new lines of inquiry-based learning activities; build an API upon which others can build apps; and offer paid pro services on top of API.
How it works Birds: In 2009-2010, with support from the MacArthur Foundation, over 500 NYC students in 5th-12th grade collected thousands of bird sightings using the WildLab iPhone app. Students sent their sightings, tagged with GPS coordinates and other data, to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology at the end of the program. Why birds? Birding is one of the largest recreational activities in America according to the U.S. Fish and WildLife service (~50 million people engage in some form of birdwatching). Also, there is a long (100+ years), rich data set for birds. Anyone can currently use what we built for free--the Web site and phone app. We have over 1,000 users of the bird application now; the market consists of millions of learners.
Vision: Every student in the country will participate in real scientific efforts over the course of their education (K-20). Learn new patterns of behavior required for future role of citizen. Envision sky, earth, and everything in between as the new classroom. Every museum, every scientific paper will have a citizen science component. We also develop the API around which others build apps and curricula. Fits IBMs corporate responsibility priorities in 1.) identifying social/environmental problems in communities worldwide, and 2.) developing and maintaining STEM skills. We connect local to global. IBM could use expertise to develop citizen science API and do back-end number crunching and statistical analysis of data; bring apps into the realm of what cities do.
Our curricula are inquiry-based . On the first day of fieldwork, we make observations, not just of birds, but of the general habitat. Why would a bird like to perch in that tree, or where would a bird go to find food? In what ways are the habitat and birds connected? The app and data sets can address specific hypotheses, and also lead to further on-going inquiry and study. While the application and curriculum deliver a specific known outcome that is relevant to the school or teacher's goals and a specific project, it also inspires learning on a broader level. Inquiry breeds more inquiry. Most students knew a few bird names but had no idea how to identify them. Most have been to the park but never really made careful observations of the nature around them. Once they started looking, they saw nests, berries on trees, insects, and birds themselves. They wanted to share their discoveries with their friends too. They wanted to make a difference : knowing that their data was going to be used in research made a huge impact.
The phones are media-enabled field computers--they give learners superpowers . The app, based on the user’s current location, filters out species that don’t occur there; it also shows what species were recently seen nearby (using Cornell’s eBird API). Students and educators helped us shape the bird app, which takes learners through the process-of-elimination a scientist goes through to make a correct I.D. Users select habitat, then shape (bigger than a warbler, smaller than a finch--round body, long neck like a pigeon). Clicking on a species leads to a larger picture, a range map, and the big favorite--being able to play the birdsongs. To enter a sighting into the database and map, users scroll the number, add notes if desired, and submit their sighting. Future goals include ordering by probability, color, and working with Cornell on their API. Quizzes, more feedback to user.
Students and learners can also share their sightings via Facebook/Twitter. If a friend clicks on the sighting in Facebook, it leads to more information on the species. The classrooms had no access to social media, or Youtube. We also created publish-then-filter methods by tweeting sightings in real-time on wildlab data--it is an interesting platform for this sort of data, though not necessarily deep enough for scientists. Other avenues to explore are game-like point systems and virtual currencies to incentivize data collection.
The WildLab supports key steps of the scientific process (like observation, mapping/analyzing data and coming up with a hypothesis). In informal education, volunteers at NYC Audubon use the WildLab for Project Safe Flight and other conservation/data collection initiatives. Informal public bird walks at Prospect Park Audubon Center use the WildLab to collect their bird data too.
Other apps: 3D species is a prototype of a field guide from the future, where details of objects under study can be seen and manipulated, i.e., seeing patterns of feathers up close. Horseshoe crab app (one-species protocol app) with the Cornell Cooperative extension (reaches hundreds of thousands of learners already participating in informal science ed programs) Herpetology app collaboration (with California State University and Gateway Science Museum) Weather app--crowd sourcing weather via sensor and reports; also crowd source CO2 and other gases Other location-based apps include history apps about neighborhood--tie it in to textbooks, nearby educational resources, activities outside of school that are shared in school.
How are we (and the people who are just now learning about climate change) going to deal with the future climate problems? How do we get away from participation through consumption, buying green products vs. being participants in our own communities. How will they connect to those problems, and what role are they going to play? There are 1 billion teenagers right now on the planet. There were one billion people on the planet in 1830. How do we participate: rollerskate to work? Wear sweaters when it is cold and recycle? Innovation and adaptation in massive collective ways to face environmental challenges. It was clear in our program that the technology wasn’t a barrier, but rather a tool. Brunelleschi, the great Renaissance architect and sculptor figured out how to span the great octagon that forms the base of the Duomo by inventing new tools. Rather than consume, what are we going to teach youth about these tools, and how does that form the knowledge they internalize as they go through life? Facts matter...data matters...critical interpretation of information to sift/synthesize discussion to form a vision. In schools, need to get out of the box--environment, health, well-being...what are the data? What are the diversity of opinions? What are the probabilities? How can we inspire young people to dedicate themselves to enrich the future...the citizen has to feel she or he has some ownership of the decision, which means they have to understand it. Not imposed upon. The citizen has to be participant. People in public office have to be able to discern between two competing theories--there are rules to this game.
Thanks. Amargosa toad from Nevada--how citizens can save a species http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=131194364&sc=17&f=1001 Last night’s email: I work with a citizen science effort along the Rio Grande. For the past 13 years we have involved K-12 and university students in an effort to monitor key abiotic and biotic variables along the Rio Grande and its riverside forest, the bosque. Our program now has 25 permanent monitoring sites spread out across New Mexico. I am interested in learning how we might use your services to expand the scope of our program. Thanks, Daniel Shaw Co-Director, Bosque Ecosystem Monitoring Program (BEMP) Faculty, Bosque School 4000 Learning Road NW Albuquerque, NM 87120 (505) 898-6388 voice (505) 922-0392 fax
Wild lab mendeley
Crowd Gone Wild: What Happens When Mobile Tech Meets Citizen Science? Gabriel Willow Science & Learning Specialist 718-757-0782 [email_address]
Citizen Science vs. Crowd-sourcing <ul><li>Are they the same? </li></ul><ul><li>New terminology is still being defined </li></ul>
Citizen science in action: the Christmas Bird Count <ul><li>25 original participants in 1900 </li></ul>
The CBC Today: <ul><li>Tens of thousands of participants in 2010 </li></ul><ul><li>48,648,435 birds sighted in 2010 count </li></ul><ul><li>The EPA now using CBC data as one of 24 major indicators of climate impact </li></ul>
People impact birds, birds impact people <ul><li>Birding is one of the most popular outdoor activities in USA </li></ul><ul><li>Roughly 70 million bird-watchers </li></ul>
Vision Every student (citizen) participates in scientific data collection related to their community Data is shared with scientists for analysis Open API allows others to build smarter apps, get better data
Species ID based on dynamic process of elimination
Outcomes 〈 Students enjoy the WildLab program. 〈 Students notice more/observe more than usual when outdoors. 〈 Students find the WildLab helpful, easy, and fun. 〈 Content knowledge increases. 〈 Interest in science careers increases. All teachers said they would participate again, because it: 〈 gives students exposure to the outdoors 〈 provides experiences with research & technology 〈 is easy to use 〈 offers experience with real data collection
Ask the world: hear an answer Method: Identify problem in community Follow scientific protocol & work with scientists Use local tech (front-end) --> connect to global problems (back-end) Design app that gets better with use Scientists, governments, public work together Create empowered citizen, future leaders
Ways to connect to issues, new entry points into science Courage not to be passive, but be citizens and in some cases, leaders. Face future environmental challenges
Gabriel Willow Science & Learning Specialist 718-757-0782 [email_address]