Title:Immersing Students in Research at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute
Authors:Dana Hutchins, Alan Lishness
Publication:MW2006: Museums and the Web 2006

This paper describes the collaborative, user-centered design process used to develop the Gulf of Maine Research Institute's (GMRI) new on-site and on-line marine science education center. At GMRI, 5th and 6th grade students conduct their own in-depth, simulated marine research investigations, including handling and observing both live and dead specimens. Investigations are facilitated through networked, interactive computer research stations with digital video dissecting microscopes, video notebook report cameras and aquarium schooling tank cameras. Teams of students make virtual trips into the Gulf of Maine to record scientific data using actual echogram images, and to conduct commercial fishing expeditions based upon a realistic economic simulation. Students record their observations with their digital tools and present their findings in summary 'peer review' sessions. All of the students' hypotheses, evidence and findings are saved to individual personal science notebook Web sites which they and their teachers and parents can access at school or home. On their personal sites, students can annotate, update and export all of their digital movies and images to create additional extended research reports.