Participants engage in marine data investigations using the Ocean Tracks Web interface and analysis tools, offer feedback, and discuss possible synergies with other DR K–12 programs.
Digital, large-scale scientific data have become broadly available in recent decades, and analyzing data, identifying patterns, and extracting useful information have become gateway skills to full participation in the 21st century workforce. Yet, pre-college classrooms are falling short in preparing students for this world and are missing opportunities to harness the power of Big Data to engage students in scientific learning. To address this issue, scientists, educators, and researchers at Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC), and Stanford University are conducting research that has led to the development of a unique Web interface called Ocean Tracks. Developed and tested in high school settings, this interface provides easy access and a set of student-friendly analysis tools to the study of large-scale data collected through the Global Tagging of Pelagic Predators (GTOPP) program, NOAA’s Global Drifter Program, and earth-orbiting satellites. In this session, presenters introduce the Ocean Tracks interface and its capabilities, followed by a structured activity in which small groups of participants engage in data investigations using the interface. The final part of the session involves a discussion where participants can offer feedback on the interface and share ideas on potential future project directions. For example, in what ways could the Ocean Tracks interface or possible extensions support other projects’ work in STEM education? In what other contexts outside of high school classrooms might these tools be useful? What directions for development or research have the most potential to advance the field of teaching and learning using data?