Reflections from a teacher: Engaging Students in Ocean Tracks

“This week in class, you are going to be doing ‘college level’ work.” My high school students in my marine biology course stared back at me with their eyes wide, but I didn’t hear the groans that I was expecting. Instead, did I detect some excitement that the bar would be raised?

The Big Data Driving Google Maps

For many, the term “Big Data” remains very much a black box. How it is collected, managed, and then analyzed for practical use is still largely an unknown. To help unpack the mysteries of this buzzword, big data, it is beneficial to explore the ways it impacts our day-to-day lives: whether it be the ways in which we engage with content online to how it impacts our daily commute.

Ocean Tracks: Immersing students in complex data

“Data drives discovery, decision-making, and innovation. … However, our current education systems have not been equipped to produce either the workforce or the citizenry with the skills, knowledge and judgment to make wise use of the data streams that our technologies are delivering.” A Call for Action for Promote Data Literacy Workshop for Building Global Data Literacy, October 2015

Kicking Off Real World, Real Science

Last week I had the pleasure of traveling to Portland, Maine to meet with colleagues at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI). I had never been to Portland, coming from California, but had been told that Portland was a great foodie town, with the largest number of small brew-pubs per capita east of Portland, Oregon. That sounded great to me, and in truth, it was even better than that! Portland is filled with local shops, charming side streets, as well as restaurants right on the water.  

Inspiring Future Marine and Data Scientists Through the Lure of Ocean Tracks

The Oceans of Data Institute (ODI) at the Education Development Center (EDC), Inc.; Stanford University; and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography have been collaborating, with the support of three National Science Foundation grants over the past 5 years, to bring large scientific data sets into secondary and postsecondary classrooms.

Thinking Big

"Thinking Big," featured in the Summer 2015 issue of NSTA's The Science Teacher, explores curricular strategies for transitioning students to working with large, complex data sets. 

Harvesting a Sea of Data

"Harvesting a Sea of Data", featured in the Summer2015 issue of NSTA's The Science Teacher, addresses the fundamental challenge in getting big data into K-12 education: how to build a good interface. The article discusses the work of Ocean Tracks, an innovative program that gives students access to authentic data to investigate marine migrations.



Big Animals in an Ocean of Data

This presentation was given during the Exploratorium's Conversations About Landscape series on "From Data to Decisions: How Visualizations of Our Environment Inform Our Actions", held Tuesday, May 19th.

Data Use in the Next Generation Science Standards

Today’s students will graduate into a world where oceans of data are available to influence and drive decision making. When the Oceans of Data Institute ( surveyed 300+ students from community college and university settings, 85% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that the ability to make sense of data is important to get a good job and will help in their future careers. An overwhelming 90% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that learning to make sense of data will help them be more effective and informed citizens.

Oceans of Data Institute: Integrating Data Literacy into Science Education

This PowerPoint was presented at the Cutting Edge Digital Data Workshop in May  2015, and discusses the Oceans of Data Institute's work to-date.

Learn more about the workshop at


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