New math and science standards focus on depth of learning and gaining practical scientific skills that can be best achieved by using rich data sources and by participating in actual science.

Isabel instructing students on data collection in the field.

Access to rich data is has traditionally been out of reach in a classroom setting and schools have few sources for long-term environmental monitoring. Novel computer-based approaches to study the environment represent a unique medium to learn practical business skills and instill important lessons about health and nutrition. Teachers are finding that learning through inquiry using real-time authentic data represents a unique way to keep students engaged and informed about their local environment.

Keeping students engaged can be a huge challenge. One simple way to solve it is to have students actively involved in performing real science - get out into the field, make observations, enter some data and analyze it, and come up with their own questions to aks and answer experimentally.

Isabel presenting field collection methods.

myObservatory can help serve as the hub where students collaborate on collected data for analysis in a classroom project setting, providing structure to student activities and data collection.

Long-term data storage combined with access restrictions means that a project can be continued through several semesters of a given course, for long-term data collection and analysis. Students who have finished a course may continue to have read-only access to data, or could continue to work with a project to build toward senior papers or a master's thesis.

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