iSpot Local: Bioblitzes and crowd-sourced digital data
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iSpot Local: Bioblitzes and crowd-sourced digital data



Talk at the CALRG conference, 14 June 2011

Talk at the CALRG conference, 14 June 2011

Open Educational Resources (OER) and other freely-available learning resources provide a huge potential for learners. But activities to engage learners with appropriate resources are thinner on the ground. iSpot Local is a JISC-funded project exploring one potentially fruitful activity: bioblitzes.

A bioblitz is a time-limited wildlife survey of a particular site during which all organisms encountered are identified and recorded by the public, working with a team of experts. We already know that bioblitzes can be very popular with a wide audience, and can generate much useful scientific data.

iSpot Local is running six bioblitzes to explore the potential for using them as the key mediating event for the co-creation and crowd-sourcing of digital content and learning related to field biology. We are exploring how to better capture the data generated on the day, and more importantly, how to embed the bioblitz in ongoing learning trajectories: from preparation activities, learning on the day, and onwards in to follow-up learning and engagement.

The project is a partnership between the OU, Ambios (an environmental organisation based in Devon) and Learning South West (a partnership of learning organisations), and has links with an extensive network of stakeholders, including schools, councils, learning organisations, landowners, and specialist nature societies and recording schemes.

In technical terms, we are building an iSpot Local website (using Drupal) to act as a community 'hub' for each of the six bioblitzes, where key stakeholders can provide background and scene-setting information about the site and the bioblitz day. The bioblitz data is collected using the existing iSpot website (, to connect participants up to the vibrant and helpful iSpot community, and is then displayed in aggregated form on the iSpot Local site.



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  • Needs logos: Ambios, JISC, OU, LSW

iSpot Local: Bioblitzes and crowd-sourced digital data iSpot Local: Bioblitzes and crowd-sourced digital data Presentation Transcript

  • iSpot  Local:  bioblitzes  and    crowd-­‐sourced  digital  data     Doug  Clow    CALRG  Conference,  13  June  2011  
  • Open  EducaEonal  Resources  (OER)  
  • CreaEve   Social   AcEve   Par$cipatory   Open-­‐InteresEng   learning   ended  
  • Bioblitzes  •  24  hours  •  Public  •  Wildlife  survey  •  Experts  on  hand   Popular:   •  engagement   •  outreach     •  science   •  learning  
  • •  Capture  of  data  not  good    •  Not  part  of  ongoing  learning  acEviEes  
  • •  Bioblitz  as  key  mediaEng  event  for  co-­‐ iSpot  Local   creaEon  and  crowd-­‐sourcing  of  digital   content  and  learning   •  iSpot  Local  website  –  CC-­‐BY,  linked  to  iSpot   •  Six  seVngs:     schools,  public  sites,  local  authority  
  • Project  structure  •  Partnership   –  OU  –  iSpot  Local  website   –  Ambios  –  on-­‐the-­‐ground,   community  engagement   –  Learning  South  West  –     learning  stakeholders  •  JISC  eContent  programme  •  March  to  September,  £100k    
  • Technical  •  iSpot  –  stores  observaEons  with  tag  •  iSpot  Local  –  community  content  (Drupal)  plus   visualisaEon  of  bioblitz  observaEons  (API)  
  • Semi-­‐public  site   Sharpham  Bioblitz   Marsh  improvement  plan  •  94  visitors   •  246  different  species  •  420  records  on  iSpot   –  143  plants   –  Previous  best  38   –  72  invertebrates  •  409  idenEficaEons   –  13  birds  
  • Sandford   Bioblitz  •  Primary  school  •  SEll  processing   data!  
  • •  Model   –  PreparaEon   –  On  the  day   –  Follow-­‐up  learning  and  engagement  •  Lots  of  nidy-­‐gridy  organisaEonal  detail  
  • •  Four  more  bioblitzes  •  Follow-­‐up  learning  acEviEes  and  engagement  •  EvaluaEon  •  Follow-­‐on  funding  and  sustainability  
  • •  iSpot Team: Jonathan Silvertown, Doug Clow, Richard Greenwood, Richard Lovelock, Julian Clark-Lowes, Mike Dodd, Martin Harvey, Donal O Donnell, Jenny Worthington, Marion Edwards, Jon Rosewell, Janice Ansine, iSpot Mentors•  iSpot Local Partners: Simon Roper, Simon Mauger, Paula Jones•  Photos: Doug Clow, Ambios @dougclow   hdp://