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Making Meaning – Step by Step with Vital Signs – Review

April 29th sessions recorded:

Afternoon: http://stateofmaine.na4.acrobat.com/p32117522/

Evening: http://stateofmaine.na4.acrobat.com/p97793153/

MLTI is proud to partner with Gulf of Maine Research Institute’s Vital Signs initiative, a  program that encompasses technology, content and pedagogy using inquiry-based learning. Incorporating the four strands of science learning to deal with essential questions regarding invasive species, Vital Signs offers teachers and students a way to be real scientists dealing with real observations and data.

Vital signs website, http://vitalsignsme.org/, provides a rich environment that allows users to set up accounts so they can add to the data and make comments on fellow citizen-scientists’ observations. However, even if you do not register, you can access the ever-expanding datasets about invasive species through the Expore Data tab.

After formulating an essential question, a user can set up a useful query using the Advanced Search feature. The results of the search can then be downloaded as a CSV (comma separated values) file and inserted into a spreadsheet like Numbers, using the Sort and Export feature.

Once in the spreadsheet, pertinent data can be specified by deleting the extraneous data columns. Then charts and graphs can be made using the appropriate data.

Even better, Google Fusion Tables, http://tables.googlelabs.com/, can be used to take the latitude and longitude data to place information on a map, and then export the map as a layer (KML) into Google Earth. Wow!

This is just a general overview. The specific steps are outlined in a document available at

http://vitalsignsme.org/how-create-google-earth-map-layer-your-own-data-set.

The four strands of science learning are explained in Ready, Set, Science:

http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=11882&page=17

Making Meaning – Step by Step with Vital Signs – April 29

April 26th, 2010 No comments

Vital Signs Logo

Presented at 3:15 and 7:15 PM

Please join us as we partner with Vital Signs once again to bring you a webinar that walks you through the process of an inquiry-based investigation using the real data available on their website. This process involves rigor, relevance, and can cross all disciplines. We will start with an essential question about invasive species in Maine, find pertinent data in Vital Signs, then sort and export that data, organize them using spreadsheets, and, finally, project the results onto maps and into Google Earth. If participants have access to an extra computer, they can follow along, step by step, to see how it works.

March 25 Webinar: Original Research

March 22nd, 2010 No comments

Our students are in an unprecedented position of being able to gather, sort and reflect upon information and data with ease and precision. Digital tools available on the MLTI devices and online give students the ability to record observations, conduct interviews, collect data and then use this information to produce meaningful results. By conducting original research, students can better understand ‘real world’ phenomenon and contribute their learning to a wider knowledge base.

My co-presenter for this webinar will be Sarah Kirn, Program Manager for the Vital Signs project, part of the Gulf of Maine Research Institute’s educational outreach. Sarah will be taking us through how the Vital Signs project uses original research by student and citizen scientists to build a picture of the spread of invasive species through the state. The process of collecting data through fieldwork, contributing the data to the Vital Signs database, and using the data in analysis creates a powerful learning experience for students, as well as raising their aspirations for science careers.

We will also look at other ways students can take advantage of digital tools to conduct original research, and how this can be part of a wider research process.

Please click on the Webcast link to register for or join the 3.15 and 7.15 webinar.

In addition to the webinars. MLTI and GMRI are offering a workshop that introduces teachers to working with Vital Signs data with students during the week of March 24 – 31. For more details, please visit the MLTI site.