Paul Marty on Habitat Tracker: Engaging Students with the Nature of Science through Mobile Learning at a Science Museum

The School of Library, Archival and Information Studies, the iSchool at The University of British Columbia, is pleased to announce Dr. Paul Marty, Associate Professor, School of Library and Information Studies, Florida State University, is the next speaker in our continuing series of lunchtime colloquia. He is presenting “Habitat Tracker: Engaging Students with the Nature of Science through Mobile Learning at a Science Museum” on Wednesday, March 13, from 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm in Dodson Room 301, Level 3, Chapman Learning Commons of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre at UBC.

This colloquium presents results from a research project designed to engage elementary school students as active participants in their own science education, before, during, and after visits to a science museum. The Habitat Tracker project ( uses online and mobile learning technologies to integrate field trips to a wildlife center with a standards-based curriculum designed to help elementary students better understand the nature of science. Along with a series of integrated classroom activities, participating students use a custom-designed iPad application and website to collect, share, and analyze scientific data about north Florida wildlife and natural habitats while on a field trip to the Tallahassee Museum, a 52-acre, outdoor natural science museum ( Students contribute their observations in real time to shared databases that can be accessed by other students online, and used to develop and answer scientific research questions, thereby helping students better understand the scientific inquiry process. This presentation will provide an overview of the information systems and science education modules developed for the project, and discuss results from pilot tests conducted with more than 1500 fourth and fifth grade students.

Paul Marty is an associate professor in the School of Library and Information Studies at Florida State University. His research and teaching interests include museum informatics, information behavior, and user-centered design. His current research focuses on the evolution of sociotechnical systems and collaborative work practices, digital convergence and the evolving roles of information professionals, and involving users in the co-construction of distributed, digital knowledge.

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