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Countdown to the DML Competition Winners' Showcase: Day 47 with WildLab

This should be fun: Jared Lamenzo of WildLab, a 2009 DML Competition Winner, will be presenting on the panel No Child Left Inside: Mobile Tech Meets Education at an upcoming SXSW panel featuring some serious mobile education star power, including Richard Scullin of, Craig Watkins, Rebecca Bray from the Smithsonian, and Juliette LaMontagne. You can catch their panel on Friday, March 11, 2011. Here's the summary of what to expect:

"This panel looks at mobile learning technologies and programs that get students outside, envisioning a classroom framed by the sky, earth, and everything in between. The No Child Left Inside Act (NCLIA) now in Congress seeks to enhance the environmental literacy of K-12 students to foster understanding, analysis, and solutions to the major environmental challenges facing the nation. There is a tremendous opportunity to engage young people in science that connects their local environment to global problems, and technology is crucial to effectuate its promise. Five hundred million eyes looked on as Neil Armstrong stepped onto the Moon; under NCLIA, with eyes trained on the environment around them, learners could now help address a problem as complex as climate change. By implementing a citizen science-based model that leverages mobile technology, NCLIA could help form a scientifically literate citizenry while researchers explore questions previously unanswerable. Richard Louvs "No Child Left in the Woods" explores how going outside improves the well-being of young people, and fosters what E. O. Wilson has termed biophilia. Programs that combine appropriate technologies with outdoor experience can give learners a new point of entry to scientific understanding beyond textbooks, and introduce new modes of assessment beyond standardized tests."

(Related: I live-blogged Diversifying Mobiles: Participatory Learnings from a panel that Jared and Richard were on at last year's DML Conference.)

Mediated Spaces, the company that produces WildLab, framed several questions on their website about their work that apply to many DML projects:

"How do we scale our WildLab project in schools without sacrificing some of the rigor of the inquiry-based program? Also, how do we incorporate sensor data about the environment, and what databases should we talk to so that the questions, and scientific analysis, remain well-informed and robust?"

That's a good question for WildLab, since their numbers are increasing quickly -- Jared sent an update that they have now worked with 600 students, and have had 10,000 bird sightings. What's so great is how WildLab gets people looking not just at birds, but at urban birds. Here's a picture of WildLab's Gabriel Willow with 2009 DML Competition Winner M-Ubuntu, who flew a group of delightful South African Spectrum Primary students to our DML Showcase in Washington, DC back in May of 2010. Not only that, but the data counts. With WildLab's iPhones, "Students have already collected thousands of GPS-tagged bird sightings in green spaces near their classrooms. These sightings were then sent to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology for use in scientific research." One of my favorite video moments from the DML Competition round-up is WildLab's, at about the 15-second mark when a group of students flip out after spotting a bird in a nearby tree. Hello nature! What teacher would not want to hear that kind of enthusiasm?

Take a look at WildLab's formal and informal curriculum, used in their 2009-2010 pilot, too. Spread the word to educators in your areas and see if we can get more students outdoors to collect data and develop their STEM learning. And if you know educators located near the ocean, let them know about WildLab Marine, a similar initiative underway at

Facebook: The WildLab
Twitter: @thewildlab
iTunes App Store: WildLab Bird

Countdown to the 2010 DML Competition Showcase features Where Are They Now? updates on the 2008, 2009, and 2010 winners. The 2010 DML Competition winners will showcase their projects at the Designing Learning Futures DML Conference on March 4, 2011 in Long Beach, California.

Visit our DML Countdown page to view more updates from featured projects.



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