[MSTA ] Fwd: Aleta Sullivan, August Science Scene Newsletter

Aleta Sullivan aletasullivan at gmail.com
Tue Aug 25 16:23:52 CDT 2015

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From: Forestry Suppliers Inc. <promo at forestry-suppliers.com>
Date: Tue, Aug 25, 2015 at 2:23 PM
Subject: Aleta Sullivan, August Science Scene Newsletter
To: aletasullivan at gmail.com

Science Scene Update - August 2015 View in browser
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logo] <http://www.forestry-suppliers.com/Promo/promo.asp?lid=33014> [image:
Facebook] <http://www.forestry-suppliers.com/Promo/promo.asp?lid=33016> Oh,
the Things You Can Do… with Technology! Interacting with technology has
become an extension of ourselves thanks to the portability, power and
versatility of smart phones, tablets, and laptops. And what's more, there
are millions of apps that allow us to do many diverse tasks in all aspects
of our lives quicker and easier. What if you could inspire your students to
use these devices for science research? What if you could use them to
create an app specifically for your classroom or school such as an
arboretum trail or a garden your class may have planted? Perhaps you can
find an app close to what you need, but what if you could think outside the
box to develop your own class app to engage your students in what they are
studying without the high cost of paying a programmer to develop it for you?

Dr. Jere Boudell, Professor of Biology at Clayton State University, is
interested in doing just that! Attempting to bridge the gap between the
world of technology and ecology through mobile app development, Dr. Boudell
creates Android apps for use in ecology, outreach and education, in
addition to teaching workshops and running *EcoHackathons* where she
teaches others to use this technology for their own benefit. Her latest
*EcoHackathon* was held at the Ecological Society of America 2015 Meeting
<http://www.forestry-suppliers.com/Promo/promo.asp?lid=33027> in Baltimore,
Maryland, August 9-13, 2015.

Thinking Outside the Box.   Thanks to her love of technology, Dr. Boudell
participated in a few regular Hackathons on her own prior to 2013.
Realizing what she was learning personally could have far-reaching benefits
professionally for both ecologists and educators, she decided to find a way
to make it possible. In 2013, Dr. Boudell found a platform for Android
mobile application development called MIT App Inventor. A blocks-based
programming language, MIT App Inventor dramatically decreases the learning
curve for programming and is both fun and easy to use. It is an ongoing,
fully supported project under the direction of Hal Abelson at the MIT
Center for Mobile Computing
<http://www.forestry-suppliers.com/Promo/promo.asp?lid=33028>. Dr. Boudell
has made it one of her missions to share her knowledge with others and to
inspire them to be creative and innovative by applying technology both in
the field and in the classroom. Deciding to test MIT App Inventor on her
own students at Clayton State University, she requested the help of a
programmer on campus and held her first *EcoHackathon*. "We noticed
immediately how engaged the students became – it was a challenge for them,
but it was fun. We ordered pizza for them, but they were so engaged in
their challenge, they did not even eat the pizza! Now, that's saying
something!" In that first *EcoHackathon*, Dr. Boudell says they were able
to take students who had NO programming experience coming into the event,
and they were able to create apps for ecology in seven hours.

After the event, Dr. Boudell contacted the MIT App Inventor Team to share
her experience with them. Excited about her purpose for using the app, they
asked her to submit an application to make a presentation at a summit they
were holding. She was selected to present her *EcoHackathon* experience at
the summit which has led her to teach workshops and run other
*EcoHackathons*. Dr. Boudell has also taught workshops to faculty so they
can learn to develop apps for themselves, as well as, for use in their
classroom. By implementing these apps in their classroom, their students
become more engaged and more knowledgeable about the technology they are
using, and in turn, learn problem-solving skills through programming.

Dr. Boudell has two goals in teaching others to use technology. One is to
unleash the creative mind in technology and science because the apps being
developed by engineers are more for profit than being specific to certain
scientific research needs. The other is to empower people to create apps
within their field and develop logic-based, problem-solving skills in the
process. Dr. Boudell says, "Due to the advancement of technology, young
people have lost out on the opportunity to develop some technology skills
such as programming. It is great to see the excitement of accomplishment on
their face when they create an app!"

  Putting this technology to work on the campus of Clayton State
University, Dr. Boudell created an Arboretum app for students and the
community to use when visiting the University's Arboretum Trail on campus.
Originally, Dr. Boudell used QR Codes to link students and visitors to more
information about each plant, but as time has gone on, she has now attached
micro-chipped tags to each plant, which when touched with an Android
Smartphone using the Arboretum App, opens up specified information about
each plant. Dr. Boudell's efforts have also impacted the Atlanta community.
As a direct result of Dr. Boudell's *EcoHackathons*, two of her ecology
students have worked with a local nature preserve to build an app for
visitors to use on their Android Smartphones when touring the preserve.
This app helps visitors interact with the plants, and in the process, learn
more about the plant than just its name. Bringing research into the
classroom and your community is so important to increase stewardship and
awareness about the value of ecosystems services and to reinforce the idea
that science is important. Thanks to Dr. Boudell, we can see what an impact
technology can make in achieving this. To learn more about Dr. Boudell's
work and to see some of the other apps she has created, please visit her
website <http://www.forestry-suppliers.com/Promo/promo.asp?lid=33029>, or
follow her on Twitter @apps4ecology
<http://www.forestry-suppliers.com/Promo/promo.asp?lid=33030>. If you are
interested in running your own *EcoHackathon*, please email Dr. Boudell for
help in getting started—she would love to hear from you! Visit us on
Facebook and Win!

Our friends at *Marine Science Adventures* in Gulf Shores, Alabama, are
holding a Professional Development Seminar for Teachers
<http://www.forestry-suppliers.com/Promo/promo.asp?lid=33031>, September
17-19, 2015, and they have given us one *FREE Registration* to give away!
All you have to do is visit our Facebook page and like, comment, or share
our post *"Win a Teacher Seminar Registration Fee!"*.

The prize includes materials, specified meals, specimen jars, instruction,
and bunkroom-style lodging (travel not included). The drawing will be held
at noon CST on Friday, September 4, 2015.

Led by Dr. John Simpson, the seminar will cover collecting, identifying,
and preserving specimens, plus key information on how to plan and prepare
for a marine biology field trip. The seminar will involve both day and
night seines in the *Little Lagoon*, Gulf and beach collections, tidal
pools and marsh collections, and cover specimen preservations. Each
participant will leave with a collection of specimens and receive a
certificate of completion. Coming Next Month

Brad Panovich, Chief Meteorologist at WCNC Charlotte, NC, knew he wanted to
be a Meteorologist his whole life. So when one of his teachers had a
meteorologist visit her classroom one day, his love for weather was only
confirmed. Join us next month as we discuss everything weather with Brad,
and see, firsthand, how he forecasts the weather while educating his
viewers at the same time.

Share your thoughts! Comment on Facebook
<http://www.forestry-suppliers.com/Promo/promo.asp?lid=33016>! Science
Scene on the Road

*September 30-October 2, 2015 *Mississippi Association for Gifted Children
Pearl, MS

*October 22-24, 2015 *NSTA Area 2 Conference
Reno, NV

*October 25-27, 2015 *Mississippi Science Teachers Association
Jackson, MS

*November 12-14, 2015 *CAST 2015
Fort Worth, TX

*November 17-21, 2015 *National Association of Agricultural Educators
New Orleans, LA

*December 3-5, 2015 *NSTA Area 1 Conference
Kansas City, MO
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