eScience in and beyond the classroom

This is a pre-conference space to determine what we'd like to discuss at the workshop on 4th December. Our time allocation is 1 hour 40 minutes and so to maximise that time please do contribute here in advance. Workshop information is here and on the conference website

Friday, December 08, 2006

Workshop issues

The discussion after all 4 presenters had spoken was fruitful and included the following questions and issues: (if anyone would like to add to these or expand please do)

How will you (Dawn) get round the ethics situation of needing to disguise on google earth where the girl went to collect her pollution data? We will not use ‘my route home’ and focus on school surroundings instead.

The bags bought to carry the equipment were not viewed as cool by the children – same issues as we found with Ambient Wood rucksacks, hats for GPS, and SENSE clipboards for some children.

Taking equipment home and collecting data on the journey home can make children self-conscious as it is social time, it may interfere with their usual walk or journey home. A problem with using children’s own mobiles is there are so many platforms to build for.

What specific requirements (Silvia) were there of the mobile collaborative unit? The unit needs to be very easy to walk around the equipment with whilst using, e.g. a tablet or smaller. The scientists will be engaged in supporting each other in equipment use.

Ian and colleagues found they needed to pay more attention in development of the human interaction objectives - how the users would interact with each other and link together, and what the information exchange would be. Problems had been caused by automated updates by Windows causing machine reboots. Although scheduled for middle of UK’s night, this is when people around the world were accessing the equipment. Took a long time to detect this.

What were the requirements for the visualisation tool (Hilary) for Sense and e-Science public understanding? For Sense, we started them hypothesising with paper maps to see what their skills were in using that representation. We later needed to be able to show children their collated and synchronised data easily to support their analysis annotations and to be able to understand others’ data easily. We didn’t get as far with prototype as hoped (no path trail using GPS) but it and the 3D CO / GPS map used on e-Science certainly could be understood by the children.

Can we get scientists using the data that is collected? HS: something we have thought about from SENSE and Public Understanding, setting up the experience with active input from scientists to ensure more parties benefit. Introduces more issues of data validity.

In this work, there can be issues about the kinds of schools you use – more ordinary schools rather than private (advanced thinking) schools can be easier to work with.

Why not make more use of 3D modelling and virtual environments to engage children Hilary? Yes, great idea. It does depend on projects having the skills available to create the environments but we should look into this.

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