EcoExplorer lets learners solve environmental mysteries by connecting them with real-world sensor data from the past or present, all in the palms of their hands! Sensors that measure everything from wind speed to water temperature are ubiquitous in today’s landscape, but the data that they collect is not very accessible to the general public. Learners are challenged to pick an event — from a blizzard in their towns to choosing a site for a wind farm in another part of the country — and solve the puzzles by identifying the location of the event on a map and visualizing real sensor data from that location to determine potential causes of the event.
EcoExplorer is primarily targeted toward the secondary education market (grades 6 – 12), including both students and their teachers.
In the Design Boost, the team is looking to improve their product through feedback from user trials, in addition to accessing outside expertise on app user interface design, how to access the school market, and legal issues that come with launching a product.
The EcoExplorer powerhouse team out of Purdue University includes
Shawn Jordan is a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University, where he is finishing his dissertation on virtual teams in industry entitled “Success in Virtual Cross-Disciplinary Engineering Design Teams.” His other research interests include cross-disciplinarity, innovation, and creativity. He received M.S. and B.S. degrees in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Purdue University, and has worked at Tellabs, Raytheon, Shure Incorporated, and the PBS engineering reality TV show Design Squad. In addition, he has helped teach a number of engineering design and programming courses at Purdue, and designed a class to teach middle school students an engineering design process through designing Rube Goldberg contraptions.
Kate Mane is in the process of completing her M.S. degree in Agricultural Economics at Purdue University. She holds an M.B.A and B.S. degree from Purdue University, with focus on Marketing and Strategy.
Hanjun Xian is a Ph. D. student in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. He holds M.S. and B.S. degrees in computer science from Sun Yat-sen University and South China University of Technology respectively and he started pursuing a Ph.D. in Engineering Education in 2009. Since 2008, he has been working with Dr. Krishna Madhavan as a programmer and designer on the SensorWorld project, which aims to document and make available sensor data from around the world. This project received 3rd place in the Apple AcademiX 09 competition, which focused on spurring change in teaching and scholarship through emergent digital learning environments.
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