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Pros: Kids can gather and share data around questions they develop together.
Cons: Tools are missing to measure and analyze quantitative data.
Bottom Line: Works within Google Classroom to help kids record and share observations of the world around them.
Scoutlier can be used to help groups of students engage in their own research. A class could work together to develop a question and decide what data they need to gather. In addition to whole-class work, this tool is also helpful for individual students working on their IB Extended Essay or AP Capstone Research Project.
Classes can also engage in citizen science projects already set up by Scoutlier through the Junior Researchers program. They can collect data on the size and salinity of ponds to determine the impact of rising sea levels on the marshes of Cape Cod. Or they can gather data on the Carmel River State Beach in California to help test out new artificial intelligence (AI) aerial vehicles that are detecting coastal change.
Scoutlier is a warehouse for middle and high school students to share pictures, observations, measurements, and videos (either on the web or through iOS and Android apps). The dashboard lets teachers view data live as students are posting. Once the class data set has been gathered, students can work together and look for patterns.
Within Scoutlier, an authoring tool allows teachers to make their own digital tasks and assign them using Google Classroom. Mobile Scoutlier apps can be used on students' own personal electronic devices. This makes it easy to take learning into the field to gather data.
Scoutlier is fairly simple for teachers to use. When users are first getting started, word bubbles provide cues for how to navigate the site. Scoutlier also capitalizes on Google Classroom, making the dissemination of assignments quick and easy. The sharing library allows teachers to view and copy assignments that other teachers have created. One available assignment asks students to gather data on human facial traits to look for genetic patterns; students answer a series of questions and take pictures of their test subjects.
Scoutlier can be a useful tool to aid in scientific inquiry; it's more flexible than citizen science sites (like Journey North), which ask students to gather data on predetermined questions. But it's similar to tools like Zydeco Inquiry in that it's limited to text, video, and photo observations. Other tools, like PocketLab, actually incorporate the existing sensors in students' mobile devices to allow for quantitative measurement.