And then something completely different

photo: Caine Delacy, Ocean First Education.
Photo: Caine Delacy, Ocean First Education.

A lot of different things are done and could be done at the research stations. In this post we show how the stations could be part in the school world and the fostering of the next generation. Andrea Schmuttermair, Kimmo Karell and Niko Nappu presented their project of building ROV’s in schools at ITK 2018-seminar.

Knowledge related to science, technology, engineering, arts and maths (STEAM) is crucial in responding to the challenges we are facing as a society. Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) or under water robot is a standard tool in marine industry. They have been used quite extensively in marine sciences. We want to take the building of ROV’s to schools and  use them in cooperation with scientists at the biological field stations.

Collaboration between the schools and the research stations.

Project ROV is a global initiative to combine phenomenon-based learning with STEAM components to create collaborative, multidisciplinary, inquiry-based STEAM projects, designed by students. During the project, inexpensive ROVs are built at schools and used to study a scientific hypothesis formed by the students and assisted by scientists.
21st century skills, inquiry based teaching and STEAM-teaching (Science, Technology, Mathematics, Arts, Science) are essential tools in this project. The goals of Project ROV are: 1) Encourage questioning, critical thinking and problem solving 2) Engage students around the world in underwater research, creating citizen scientists 3) Create a culture of “makers” 4) Inspire students at a younger age to pursue STEAM educational paths and careers 5) Build global collaboration and awareness 6) Encourage local community and school collaboration.
There are several schools and teachers involved in the project in Finland, Germany and USA. The project will: 1) Create global collaboration for something that connects everyone on earth: the ocean 2) Raise awareness for the United Nation’s sustainable development goal of conservation and sustainable use of oceans, seas, and marine resources. 3) Encourage local area research and knowledge and create a better understanding of our local oceans, seas and underwater environments.
Engaging children in science will lay the foundation for skills needed in the future in many ways. In addition to learning technology, the children will learn cooperation, collaboration and communication skills, programming and logical thinking, engineering, biology and scientific thinking.

The prototype of a ROV developed in the project in Itäkeskus Comprehensive School by Kimmo Karell and his students (9th grade).
The prototype of a school build developed in the project in Itäkeskus Comprehensive School by Kimmo Karell and his students (9th grade) (photo: Kimmo Karell).

Read more and follow the project at Comments and ideas can be addressed to info AT or niko dot nappu AT

Mobile nature observations at HiLIFE-stations

In order to introduce mobile data gathering tools, a web browser based visualization service was set up for the stations a few months ago. The service is aimed for any visitor at any of the stations; people can use their mobile devices to record their own nature observations. The observations made are visualized on a map below (fig. 1) in real-time. The idea of this project, besides introducing the tools, is to provide meaningful doing for different groups visiting or staying at the research stations. So far observations have been made by staff, researchers, different courses and sudden visitors.

Fig. 1. The mobile nature observations visualized on a map. A green marker means a positive observation and a red marker means a negative observation.

We used Open Data Kit –tools for data gathering and Google’s services in visualizing the data. All the tools used work seamlessly hand in hand. All the necessary tools have been installed and are available at the stations. Mobile data gathering tools can be used for example both in research and teaching purposes.

Using mobile devices for data gathering has some advantages against traditional field forms. With digital mobile forms, all kinds of data can be gathered simultaneously with one device. Besides of numeric data it’s also possible to record co-ordinates, take photos, record sound etc. With ready-made digital forms and pre-formatted answers to choose from, errors in writing down the data can be minimized. One big advantage is also that the data is sent directly to the server (or a spreadsheet) from the field. The forms work also off-line, which is very important in field conditions, also in a technologically advanced country like Finland there are numerous areas with no mobile data connection available.

Contact Lammi Biological Station for more information on the tools available. The nature observation system is at your disposal if you visit any of the five HiLIFE-stations.

There are also co-operation between Lammi Biological Station and some teachers around Finland. The idea is to use the mobile observation tools in school projects and public science projects.