Public Discussion

  • Icon for: Joni Falk

    Joni Falk

    Facilitator
    May 11, 2015 | 05:18 p.m.

    Enjoyed watching this video very much and loved hearing the students. What I find key about this is that the mobile devices do not substitute for getting the kids out into nature, but enhances what they can investigate once they are there. How many teachers are using this? Can it be scaled? Is it a problem providing every team of students with a smart phone? Great presentation. Thanks!

  • Icon for: Shari Metcalf

    Shari Metcalf

    Presenter
    May 12, 2015 | 05:05 p.m.

    You’re right. Access to technology is an issue. We’ve worked with about 10 teachers over 3 years, but each time we have brought a set of smartphones. Technology is changing, though, and mobile broadband devices are becoming more common in classrooms, so the idea is to think about how they might be used, so once teachers do have that access, they have useful apps for learning with them.

    We’re currently looking at scalability, and how to support teachers in setting up and adapting the activities for their local ecosystem.

  • Icon for: Kevin Brown

    Kevin Brown

    Facilitator
    May 12, 2015 | 09:26 a.m.

    Yes, this is really cool, something I’d love to see in my son’s middle school where the “citizen science” projects seem kind of half-baked. I am curious about the level of resources required to implement in other schools. How are the hotspots created? How much does the equipment cost and how much professional development is required? Also wondering if you’ve been able to evaluate against a standard curriculum? The program itself seems extremely well designed so it’d be great to have evidence of impact!

  • Icon for: Beth Sanzenbacher

    Beth Sanzenbacher

    Middle Science Instructional Leader
    May 13, 2015 | 09:46 a.m.

    I would love to see the answers to these questions! We have been using EcoMUVE in your 6th grade classes for the past 2 years with great success. We’ve tired applying the skills learned in EcoMUVE in our local ecosystem, but this is a much more seamless way to connect the virtual with the real. Do you have plans to scale out any time soon?

  • Icon for: Shari Metcalf

    Shari Metcalf

    Presenter
    May 13, 2015 | 10:16 a.m.

    Hi, Beth! That’s fantastic. I did answer Kevin below, though it didn’t link as a reply. Thanks for reminding people that EcoMUVE, the virtual ecosystem software and curriculum, is available now as a resource for free download from our website.

    Meanwhile, in the next year I hope to have some more information about sharing our EcoMOBILE resources as well. It’s great to hear you’ve been using EcoMUVE – please get in touch with me (ecomuve@gse.harvard.edu) and maybe we can try testing our some of the mobile materials with you next year.

  • Icon for: Shari Metcalf

    Shari Metcalf

    Presenter
    May 12, 2015 | 05:10 p.m.

    The video shows our use of an augmented technology tool called FreshAiR (playfreshair.com), but this year we’re also trying out a new tool called ARIS (arisgames.org), which is free and open-source, and runs on iPads and iPhones. The software provides a simple authoring tool that lets us place and move hotspots.

    We’re doing design-based research, and exploring different designs and uses for the technology in the field, so we haven’t done any comparison studies yet. I encourage you to visit our website for a list of recent publications, however, at http://ecolearn.gse.harvard.edu.

  • Small default profile

    Elizabeth VanderPutten

    Guest
    May 13, 2015 | 09:26 a.m.

    Excellent video

  • Icon for: Shari Metcalf

    Shari Metcalf

    Presenter
    May 14, 2015 | 07:07 a.m.

    Thanks!

  • Icon for: Jacqueline Miller

    Jacqueline Miller

    Senior Research Scientist
    May 13, 2015 | 02:57 p.m.

    This project offers the best of the virtual science experiment world and the messy reality of doing real experiments. Students can get the basic ideas by working on simulations but then go out and learn that real experiments are often challenging to do and challenging to interpret. These experiences teach student not only the “scientific method” (whatever that is) but about the true nature of scientific research, an understanding all citizens should have.

  • Icon for: Shari Metcalf

    Shari Metcalf

    Presenter
    May 14, 2015 | 07:01 a.m.

    Thanks! Yes, we try to scaffold students in inquiry by giving them an opportunity to investigate in the virtual world first, and and the apply what they learned to understanding the real ecosystem around them.

  • Icon for: Deborah Kariuki

    Deborah Kariuki

    Facilitator
    May 14, 2015 | 12:10 a.m.

    I too like most of the other readers find this very fascinating and bring real world scientific methods and learning tools to these students is really student centered learning. The student’s area assimilates the information and learning while doing. This is great. My concern has already been voiced before and that is the access to the smart phones. When a wonderfully developed project like this one is only available through technology tools it is a problem and it becomes a matter of equity as those district that have money and the students already have access to better learning tools continue to receives more innovative ways of learning the gap for those without continue to grow. Has your team thought of how best they can adapt this learning so that it is not smart phone dependent? Please give us some insight as to how a teacher in some rural school where most schools are located in many states could use your system if the technology in and out of the classroom was not available.

  • Icon for: Shari Metcalf

    Shari Metcalf

    Presenter
    May 14, 2015 | 07:07 a.m.

    Thanks for your comment. We hope that as more students have access to tablets and smartphones, through their school or through BYOD programs, as is becoming more common each year even in relatively low-income communities, these kinds of technology-based tools will be more accessible to students in different circumstances.

  • Icon for: Joni Falk

    Joni Falk

    Facilitator
    May 14, 2015 | 01:57 p.m.

    While it is true that interventions using expensive technology is difficult to scale it is important to keep the long range view and experiment with what might be far more commonly accessible a few years out. The world of technology is changing so rapidly (although admittedly schools less so), and it is important to explore the possible. This project does that.

  • Icon for: Shari Metcalf

    Shari Metcalf

    Presenter
    May 15, 2015 | 11:07 a.m.

    Thanks so much, Joni. Yes, we’re excited to be exploring what’s possible with these new technologies for education.

  • Further posting is closed as the showcase has ended.

  1. Shari Metcalf
  2. Project Director
  3. EcoMOBILE
  4. http://ecolearn.gse.harvard.edu/ecoMOBILE/overview.php
  5. Harvard University
  1. Chris Dede
  2. http://isites.harvard.edu/chris_dede
  3. Timothy E. Wirth Professor in Learning Technologies
  4. EcoMOBILE
  5. http://ecolearn.gse.harvard.edu/ecoMOBILE/overview.php
  6. Harvard University
  1. Tina Grotzer
  2. Associate Professor
  3. EcoMOBILE
  4. http://ecolearn.gse.harvard.edu/ecoMOBILE/overview.php
  5. Harvard Graduate School of Ed
  1. Amy Kamarainen
  2. EcoMOBILE
  3. http://ecolearn.gse.harvard.edu/ecoMOBILE/overview.php
  4. Harvard Graduate School of Ed
  1. Meredith Thompson
  2. Post doctoral fellow
  3. EcoMOBILE
  4. http://ecolearn.gse.harvard.edu/ecoMOBILE/overview.php
  5. Harvard Graduate School of Ed

EcoMOBILE:Blending real and virtual immersive ecosystem experiences
NSF Award #: 1118530

EcoMOBILE provides immersive learning about ecosystems in virtual and physical environments. EcoMOBILE is a middle school science curriculum in which students both explore a virtual representation of a pond ecosystem (EcoMUVE), and also have the opportunity to extend their learning during a field trip to a real pond environment. Their outdoor experience is enhanced by using two forms of mobile technology for science education – mobile broadband devices and environmental probeware. The EcoMOBILE research is exploring how ecosystems instruction can be more engaging and effective by combining immersive virtual environments and real ecosystems infused with virtual resources.