Engaging Students in Citizen Science Using Mobile Tools

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Engaging Students in Citizen Science Using Mobile Tools Elycia Wallis Piers Higgs Angela Muscat Museum Victoria Gaia Resources Museum Victoria. Outline. Background to the Biodiversity Snapshots project Our history, users and constraints What is the project? - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Engaging Students in Citizen Science Using Mobile Tools

Elycia WallisPiers HiggsAngela MuscatMuseum VictoriaGaia ResourcesMuseum Victoria

OutlineBackground to the Biodiversity Snapshots project

Our history, users and constraints

What is the project?

Main components of the system

Educational material and links

School trials

Where to from here?

IntroductionBiodiversity Snapshots is a web site & mobile tools:

We provide you with a field guide, identification tool and way to record your observations all on a mobile device you make the observations and participate as a citizen scientist.

HistoryALA and Gaia Resources were working in the citizen science and informatics areaThe ALA first partnered with Earthwatch, leading to the Climatewatch web siteDEECD funded Museum Victoria, who then partnered with ALA, leading to Biodiversity Snapshots

AudienceThe users of Biodiversity Snapshots are school children aged 9-15The aim is to combine environmental education with technology using mobile toolsThe Department of Education was keen to have a real world project involved

ConstraintsNetwork availability/ internet connectivity or lack of

Which mobile devices are available in schools

Observation and identification abilities of teachers and students

OverviewBiodiversity Snapshots is made up of components:

Field GuideEducation KitsRegistration process and survey setupHelp Me ID toolMobile tool


Field Guide279 Victorian species included:MammalsBirdsReptilesFrogsInsectsButterfliesSpidersOther Invertebrates

Includes introduced speciesContent written by project author and curatorsImages and sounds sourced from local photographers

Education KitsWritten by Museum Victoria Education staffPrimary Education kitSecondary Education kitsIncludes pre- and post- field tripinformation and activitiesMany teachers will not have abiology background. The kitsaim to give them enough resources to run the project.


Development of these kits also involved Rangers at National Parks and the Live Exhibits team at the Museum (using their bugs education kit)

The secondary education kit is quite broad but general enough to be used to suit the needs of particular classes. It covers years 7-10 and can be tailored for classes in years 11 and 12 (VCE)


Education LinksLink to the local Victorian Essential Learning Standards, will link to Australian Curriculum

Suitable for the ResourceSmart Australian Sustainable Schools Initiative (AuSSI) Victoria

Investigating if Biodiversity Snapshots can be rolled out nationally through AuSSI and with the assistance of the ALA

In relation to the AuSSI:It has 5 modules, one of which is biodiversity and this is the one that we are relating to11

Education LinksVictorian Essential Learning Standards (Ages 9-15)DomainDimension & StandardsScienceScience knowledge and understandingScience at WorkGeographyHumanities knowledge and understandingGeospatial SkillsMathsNumberMeasurement, chance and dataEnglishReading and WritingSpeaking and listeningThe ArtsCreating and makingICTICT for communicatingThinking ProcessesReasoning, processing and enquiryCivics and CitizenshipCommunity EngagementInterpersonal DevelopmentWorking in teamsThis list is which parts of VELS (grade 3 to year 10) is covered by using Biodiversity snapshots

e.g. some is done in pre-field trip (Thinking Processes), some during trip (ICT), some afterwards in presentations (Arts, English)


RegistrationWhen a school decides to participate, a teacher registers.

The teacher can set up classes and groups of students and can set up a field trip.

The parameters that define a field trip are locality and taxa groups.

Help Me IDSpecies tagged with silhouettes, size, colour, and tags specific to animal groups.Works quite well for birds, not so well for other groupsWe have observed that teachers direct children to use the tool to help make their identifications so we need to continue to refine it.

Mobile ToolOnce a teacher has set up a field trip, an email is generated for students that provides a web address, a user name and password.Students access that web address on their mobile device and login.

If the field trip is to an area with no internet connection students download the mobile tool to their device and use it offline.

A note that the mobile tool is developed completely in HTML 5, not as an application. This is brand new technology and allows us to use it across more devices than just an iPhone.15

Mobile ConstraintsProject initially conceived that the mobile tool would run on smartphones - few schools have these yet!ipads released during the build phase of the project theyre not widespread yet but netbooks are.This change had design implications e.g. screen size. For some schools, pencil and paper is the only mobile tool they have

School TrialsA number of schools participated in the school trials

Manna Lakes CollegeSome stories about trials:

Manna Lakes College 50 kids, year 7, volunteered their time and went out in horrible Melbourne weather!Lara Primary School went to Serendip Sanctuary and did the trials in conjunction with National parks17

LaunchBiodiversity Snapshots was Launched at MuseumVictoria on 25th August 2010

Minister for Education, Skills and Workforce Participation,Bronwyn Pike

Students from Merri CreekPrimary School also attended the launch

Where to from here?Add extra Victorian species coastal marine invertebrates, freshwater invertebrates, more birds, more insects (aiming for 700)Image and video uploads from studentsData sharing to ClimateWatch and the ALAContinue to form partnerships with Education providers outside schools e.g. National Parks ServiceThe ALA will also be implementing instances of the software in other places; and will release the underlying citizen science software as an open source toolkit

The three logos on the bottom of this slide are the three organisations apart from MV that will get instances of the software developed by the ALA installed; Climatewatch already has it, BA has it, and the ALA has left themselves until last. MV first off the list!19

AcknowledgementsIn particular, Piers Higgs, Anthony Jones, Tom Brownlie, Timo van der Schuit, Kehan Harman

In particular, Donald Hobern, Peter Doherty, Owen Butler

In particular Elycia Wallis, Angela Muscat, Gerard Roche

http://tinyurl.com/biosnaps-trialsurveyUsername: ajclass1.aj1.1Password: ZJvxcU