So far for our project, we are exploring different kinds of etools, each of which provides a different kind of interaction with scientists, scientific data, and local relevance (and brings up the question of what an etool is). So far, the biggest categories are:
1. national databases that students can contribute their own local data to. This is similar to projects like Journey North’s monarch butterfly tracking or citizen science projects out of Cornells’ Lab of Ornithology. photo © 2007 Mike Baird | more info (via: Wylio)
2. modeling tools like My World GIS, where students can layer different kinds of data onto a global map and synthesize information, gather evidence, and form scientific arguments or predictions.
photo © 2010 Joe Wolf | more info (via: Wylio)
3. online collaboration tools like Voicethread (my current favorite): we need to find a way for kids to collaborate with outside experts (and each other) around specific artifacts. I like Voicethread for its annotation tools and the fact that kids can contribute voice to make comments (making it more likely that they’ll contribute). Are there any other tools like this out there that are free and easy to use?
4. Online artifact-making tools: prezi & Glogster. Trying to figure out ways for kids to make final products that are informative, data-driven, fun, and locally relevant. Any others that we should be aware of?