Home NODE Project Background Pedagogical Approach
Pedagogical Approach Print E-mail
Written by Caroline Joyce   
Friday, 01 June 2007 13:55

The challenge posed by this project is to determine what teachers need to help them develop competency in the use of online tools to access real-time data so that they will be able to integrate them into their instructional practices. We propose that the best way to tackle this challenge is to present the use of real-time data as part of a systems approach to learning. The systems approach to program design and development is highly recommended within The National Science Education Standards according to the National Research Council (NRC).  The NRC recommends that programs designed for middle and high school students incorporate ways in which students can utilize the concept of systems to organize how they understand and manipulate the natural world as well as the technical world.

Students need to learn how to interpret phenomena beyond separate components (This is a finding of the SWMP/IOOS Needs Assessment as well) and see the world in terms of an interactive system about which they can gather information and apply data. Students many times do not recognize the differences between parts of a system and whole systems (National Science Standards, 1993).  Existing IOOS data tools have presented a way for students and teachers to examine individual parts of the ocean system, but have not been successful presenting ways that this isolated information can be integrated into an overall system.

The systems approach will operate on a number of levels within this project. Because of the difficulty of integrating technology in schools when it is poorly connected with the curriculum, our approach will tightly connect the use of online data tools within specific curriculum activities. Indeed, Web-based access to data will be built right into online learning activities.

On a broader and more engaging level, our development of curriculum modules and choice of scientific topics will be driven in part by compelling “stories” that highlight and dramatize the importance of systems at work. Students will utilize actual research stories to study the natural and man made events that influence our oceans. These stories will illustrate the need for the manipulation of real-time data to monitor these interactions.

The importance of a compelling research story cannot be overestimated. The story provides a common experience for students and teachers to build knowledge around and manipulate scientific tools within. The real story context creates an incentive for students to practice core subjects and share what they learn with others especially working in the virtual world of the Internet.

Scientific facts can become more interesting when viewed in the context of authentic and ongoing scientific research. The scientific story is the part that is missing from previous public SWMP and IOOS offerings.  The developers propose that scientific stories should be used as models for tackling scientific problems and effectively utilizing NOAA’s coastal and ocean observations.

We look forward to working with NOAA stakeholders and other research experts to identify appropriate research stories to introduce the use of real-time data. Examples may include:

  • Investigating the phenomena and impact of El Niño.
  • Looking at changes that coastal ecosystems undergo during Harmful Algal Blooms.
  • Tracking animal migrations using online data sets from tagged animals.

To make the interactions with the NODE portal and its scientific stories connect with middle school users, we recommend focusing on research that is locally relevant to our partner sites and the teachers and students they serve. When actual sites are identified, comparative studies among all sites can take place. Students can examine individual sites or all sites as part of a whole system influenced by events such as El Niños. Local data collection can bridge that gap identified in the SWMP/IOOS Needs Assessment to take what is presented nationally and use it locally.

At the heart of these scientific investigations is the ability to collect and compare data using online tools that incorporate observational capabilities such as SWMP/IOOS long-term and near real-time datasets.  Additional educational objectives will be met through the manipulation and graphing data by students and the incorporation of mathematics and science standards.

Last Updated on Saturday, 16 January 2010 02:55
Joomla Template by Joomlashack