Monday, August 2, 2010: 4:30 PM-6:30 PM
Exhibit Hall A, David L Lawrence Convention Center
Bruce W. Grant
This organized poster session will build upon an education framework using large-scale public datasets to teach ecological principles and ecological thinking that was generated by an NSF funded workshop at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) in July 2009. With easy access to large-volume public datasets now commonplace, high-quality data are available to investigate many ecological questions and issues of interest to scientists, policymakers, and citizens. Many people, however, do not have the experience or skills to search, use, analyze, and interpret these data. Participants at our NCEAS workshop, and invited others, will present posters at ESA 2010 that will describe their work over the 2009-2010 academic year to design and test undergraduate teaching modules and assessment strategies for using large-scale public datasets in the classroom on topics such as climate change and polar bears, the global carbon cycle, invasive species (Cheat Grass and Burmese Pythons), disease (West Nile Virus), land-use and latitudinal gradients in species richness in bird diversity, and ecohydrology in the Mississippi River continental scale watershed. Based upon current principles in the expanding literature on learning theory, these activities emphasize student active-teaching methodologies that are inquiry-based and participatory. In addition, posters will address key issues in assessment, aligned with (1) the missing or misconceptions about ecology, quantitative reasoning (data manipulation and visualization), and scientific epistemology (data interpretation) that students bring into the classroom, (2) the developmental stages of student mastery of critical concepts needed to work with large datasets, and (3) modeling the types of assessments that will authentically measure and accelerate students' progress in learning. We anticipate that the synthesis and results will be submitted for publication and that the set of teaching activities will be published online by ESA in a peer reviewed venue such as TIEE. This project is a major part of the ongoing collaboration between ESA and the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) to improve the understanding and use of ecological knowledge throughout our nation and beyond.