I’ve spent a lot of time recently thinking about how we can better teach science using data. I believe that 21st Century science is increasingly data-intensive, and that in order to teach science as it is actually being practiced, it should be possible to identify datasets and data stories relevant to most, if not all, topics in modern science to use in the classroom.
So, being a biologist, I began by looking into the world of modern biology – seeking areas where new frontiers are...Read more
In May, I visited La Jolla and Scripps Institute of Oceanography for the first time. Coming from Maine and what seemed like a never-ending winter I was looking forwards to the sun and warmth of California. Of course, I arrived on an unusually rainy day. However, the weather soon returned to its usual splendor and I walked along the shore to the meeting room at Scripps where I was to help work on the undergraduate modules of Ocean Tracks.
I was one of three faculty at this meeting, all...Read more
A scientist, a teacher, and a data analyst walk into a room…
This describes the start of 4 days of intense discussion about the Ocean Tracks-College Edition (OT-CE) modules. Early in May, ODI’s Ocean Tracks curriculum development team met with faculty, like myself, who had used the OT-CE materials in their classrooms. I teach biology at Portland Community College and joined the workshop after testing three of the modules with my students. Since it was still raining in Oregon, it was...Read more
As an oceanography instructor, I aim to engage students with authentic data, particularly when introducing concepts or processes. One of my primary learning objectives for introductory students is to interpret and critically analyze data presented to them. Data interpretation has become an important 21st century skill for students who may only complete a single college level science course. Oceanographic data can be visualized in so many ways: depth profiles, spatial scales (local, regional...Read more
ODI is the sum of many parts. Comprised of 18 projects (5 actively funded) and about 25 staff, there are a lot of moving pieces to ODI. At any given time—in addition to the regular day-to-day work of moving 5 NSF-funded projects forward successfully—our staff is attending or presenting at conferences, meeting with partners and funders, and/or working on proposals for future work. As you might imagine, we are careful to prioritize our time.
When the opportunity of the...Read more
In the mid-1980s, the technology for electronically tracking ocean wildlife was just being developed. Early electronic tags relied on acoustic pings to communicate location and depth, and required captains and crews using directional hydrophones to actively follow marine animals through the ocean – for hours or days at a time.
The first challenge in using these technologies, of course was getting close enough to the animals to attach the tags to them. Fortunately, tournament...Read more
It’s been a few months since I last contributed to the ODI blog, and boy, a lot has happened in my blogging hiatus! We had leaks, hacks, an election, and the Cubs finally won the World Series (though I’m still not convinced this last one isn’t “fake news”). Through it all, the ODI team has been hard at work making new connections and continuing our efforts to better prepare K-16 students with the data literacy skills required to navigate the aforementioned rapidly changing world....Read more
At ODI, we spend a lot of time writing about the ever-increasing flood of data that our society produces. As scientists (which many of us in ODI happen to be), we tend to focus our thinking on the rapidly growing number of sensors deployed in every imaginable setting on our planet (and beyond!), producing endless streams of data – giving us a fundamentally new window into the workings of the world.
But there are also more and more devices much closer to home, producing rich and...Read more
It is no longer news that the use of data-based decision making has reached a critical mass in every industry sector. There were...Read more
I can feel the energy of the waves gently pushing at my body, the sound of bubbles rising by my ears. I look down at my underwater clipboard and carefully write down “5”; the number of kelp stems, or fronds, that I’ve just counted. I let my tethered pencil go, and it floats up in front of me as a fish swims by. Everything seems to move in slow motion around me. I am relaxed, but focused. I need to finish measuring all the kelp plants along three, 20m transect lines laid out in front of me;...Read more