WeatherBlur

Principal Investigator: 
Project Overview
Background & Purpose: 

WeatherBlur is interested in the following major research questions for investigation:

  1. How can inquiry and place-based education pedagogies be used to build an online learning community?
  2. How do scientists, community members, and students interact to promote learning and collaboration within a non-hierarchical online learning community?
  3. To what extent can server-side data be used to identify key components of the learning experience between and amongst each community of learners?

This project will focus on a topic that has demonstrated appeal to the targeted audience in these applications - the question of how shifts in weather and climate are affecting the local ecosystems and fisheries on which Maine and Alaska’s island and coastal communities depend. Students, with the facilitation of their teachers, will be placed in a peer relationship with scientists and fisherman, providing an opportunity for all stakeholders to become generators of knowledge.

Setting: 

At this time the WeatherBlur project is partnering with schools, fishermen, and research scientists in island and coastal communities in Maine and Sitka, Alaska.

Research Design: 

The project uses a comparative research design and will generate evidence that is descriptive [design research, observational], associative/correlational [social network analysis] and causal [statistical modeling]. Original data are being collected on students, teachers, fishermen, and climate/weather research scientists using assessments of learning, observation [personal observation, videography, Web logs], survey research [self-completion questionnaire, structured interviewer-administered questionnaire], and performance-based assessment. We are currently in the process of developing a content assessment incorporating NAEP test items and a performance-based assessment targeted to understanding data literacy. Analytic plans include social networking analysis of server-side data and correlational analysis of content assessments with activities completed online.

Findings: 

We currently have needs assessment data that has shaped the development of the WeatherBlur online learning community.

Other Products: 

Curricular materials and performance-based assessments.