Habitat Tracker Paper in Learning, Media and Technology

A Habitat Tracker paper will appear in an upcoming issue of the journal Learning, Media and Technology. The paper, entitled “Scientific Inquiry, Digital Literacy, and Mobile Computing in Informal Learning Environments,” is part of a special issue on digital literacy and informal learning. It documents the digital literacy skills elementary students used while participating in the Habitat Tracker project, exploring the connections between the scientific inquiry practices they developed and the digital literacy skills they employed as they engaged with the Habitat Tracker curriculum.

The paper’s authors are Paul F. Marty, Nicole D. Alemanne, Anne Mendenhall, Manisha Maurya, Sherry A. Southerland, Victor Sampson, Ian Douglas, Michelle M. Kazmer, Amanda Clark, and Jennifer Schellinger.


Habitat Tracker at NARST 2013

Amanda Clark presented a Habitat Tracker poster at the National Association for Research in Science Teaching’s (NARST) Annual Meeting 2013 in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico, April 6-9, 2013.

The poster reported on research conducted with teachers participating in the Habitat Tracker project. The study’s research question was: What are the barriers elementary teachers experience as they attempted to employ a technology-rich, inquiry based science curriculum and its research design included online surveys, teaching observations (both in the classroom and during the field trip); and classroom/school observations.

The NARST Annual Meeting is presented by the National Association for Research in Science Teaching, whose mission is to “help all learners achieve science literacy” by “1) encouraging and supporting the application of diverse research methods and theoretical perspectives from multiple disciplines to the investigation of teaching and learning in science; 2) communicating science education research findings to researchers, practitioners, and policy makers; and 3) cooperating with other educational and scientific societies to influence educational policies.” The theme of this year’s annual meeting was “The S in STEM Education: Policy, Research and Practice.”


Habitat Tracker iPhone and iPad Apps Available for Downloading

The iPhone and iPad app are now available as free downloads in the Apple App Store.

The Habitat Tracker App is the perfect companion for a visit to the Tallahassee Museum. Walk the habitat trail as a citizen scientist, browsing and recording observations of the museum’s animals, habitats, and weather. Learn more about the animals and analyze the observation database on the Habitat Tracker website. Become more involved in your museum visit and contribute to a growing scientific dataset used by students across the Big Bend region! Great for both individual and family museum visits.

Ease of Use

  • Large buttons and colorful pictures provide easy access to all habitats
  • Simple interface for browsing and recording habitat, animal, and weather observations

Rich Information

  • Browse images and read about the animals as you visit their habitats
  • Access the observation database in real time to see what other visitors have observed at the museum

Complementary Website

  • Access rich multimedia materials about North Florida wildlife online, before and after your museum visit
  • Use the online data analysis tool to identify trends in observation data about the animals and their habitats

Copyright 2013 Florida State University

Image of Habitat Tracker iPhone App in the Apple App Store


Habitat Tracker Pilot Test a Smashing Success!

After two years spent designing iPad apps and websites and developing a complementary Next Generation Sunshine State Standards-based curriculum, the Habitat Tracker team ran the project’s pilot test in September and October of 2012. Eight fourth and fifth grade classes in four schools participated in the test, working in their classrooms and on field trips to the Tallahassee Museum. During the six week test, Tracker team members observed the teachers and students in the classrooms and accompanied the classes on field trips as students learned about the nature of science and scientific inquiry, developed scientific questions, collected habitat, animal, and weather observation data, and finally analyzed the data and presented their findings.

We are happy to report that the pilot test showed significant gains in students’ attitude toward science, understanding nature of science, and views of scientific inquiry.

The Tracker team thanks the principals and fourth and fifth grade teachers and students from the following schools for participating in the project:

In addition, we would like to thank the participating teachers for their help in curriculum development.

We also gratefully acknowledge the aid of the Leon County school district and the Florida State University Schools, and the staff of the Tallahassee Museum for all their work and support on behalf of the project.

Bobcat Habitat Welcome Page


Habitat Tracker at ASIS&T 2012

Nicole Alemanne presented a Habitat Tracker poster at the ASIS&T 75th Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, October 26-30, 2012.

The Habitat Tracker poster presented preliminary results of research conducted during the project’s second year. The research shows that the Habitat Tracker technologies have the potential to increase student engagement with scientific inquiry during field trips to a wildlife center by helping them become actively involved in their own science education. The poster was authored by Nicole D. Alemanne, Paul F. Marty, Ian Douglas, Sherry A. Southerland, Victor Sampson, Michelle M. Kazmer, Amanda Clark, and Anne Mendenhall.

The American Society for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T) supports information specialists from such fields as computer science, linguistics, management, librarianship, engineering, law, medicine, chemistry, and education, by bridging diverse streams of knowledge and focusing what might be disparate approaches into novel solutions to common problems. The theme of this year’s conference was Information, Interaction, Innovation: Celebrating the Past, Constructing the Present and Creating the Future.

iConference 2012 logo


Habitat Tracker at the College of Communication and Information Leadership Board Meeting

Nicole Alemanne gave a presentation on Habitat Tracker at the Florida State University College of Communication and Information Leadership Board meeting in Tampa, Florida on June 8, 2012.

The FSU-CCI Leadership Board includes outstanding alumni and friends of FSU who are actively involved in supporting the College by: promoting the College, its students, faculty and programs; providing financial support;and assisting with community development activities. Nicole presented on the project’s collaborative elements, gave an overview of the iPad app and the bobcat website, discussed student engagement and teacher involvement, noted some learning to-date and answered questions.

Florida State University College of Communication and Information logo


Dr. Michelle M. Kazmer Joins Habitat Tracker

The Habitat Tracker team is excited to announce that Dr. Michelle M. Kazmer has joined the project. Dr. Kazmer is an Associate Professor in the School of Library and Information Studies within the College of Communication and Information at Florida State University. She also holds a courtesy faculty appointment at the Florida State University College of Medicine in the Department of Medical Humanities and Social Sciences. Her research focuses on participants in distributed social worlds, and in particular the processes of knowledge creation and sharing among those participants. She is also interested in the interaction between online and local settings for participants in distributed social worlds.

Dr. Kazmer teaches in the areas of information organization, information needs, information sources and services, and theory development. She is the co-editor, with Dr. Kathleen Burnett, of the Journal of Education for Library and Information Science. She worked at Ford Motor Company in Dearborn, Michigan, as a technical information specialist, and prior to that as an engineering librarian and electronic documents coordinator at the University of Illinois.

Michelle M. Kazmer


Habitat Tracker at AERA 2012

Amanda Clark presented a Habitat Tracker poster at the American Educational Research Association’s (AERA) Annual Meeting 2012 in Vancouver, Canada, April 13-17, 2012.

The poster summarized research designed to determine the effectiveness of a technology-rich curriculum focusing on the nature of science and scientific inquiry in fostering teacher learning. It was authored by Amanda Clark, Sherry A. Southerland, Paul F. Marty, Victor Sampson, Ian Douglas , Nicole D. Alemanne, and Anne Mendenhall.

The AERA Annual Meeting is presented by the American Educational Research Association, whose mission is to “advance knowledge about education, to encourage scholarly inquiry related to education, and to promote the use of research to improve education and serve the public good.” The theme of this year’s annual meeting was ““Non Satis Scire: To Know Is Not Enough.”

AERA logo


Habitat Tracker at DigiTech 2012

Habitat Tracker won two awards at Florida State University’s Digitech 2012 open-house technology fair on March 30, 2012.

The William Johnston Building hosted three floors of student exhibits and information about FSU tech courses and degree programs for the full-day event. DigiTech celebrates the innovatives ways in which diverse departments across FSU have embraced computing and digital technology. It recognizes student achievements, acknowledges the efforts of faculty and departments, promotes collaborative opportunities, and encourages the growth of technology and computing across disciplines. The Tracker tech team was on board to demonstrate and discuss Habitat Tracker’s mobile app and online websites. Thanks to their efforts, Tracker won the Campus Choice Award for the most popular exhibit (decided by votes cast by event attendees). In addition, the project picked up an Excellence Award for best Software System (awarded to a complete software system including Web and mobile interfaces and a database application; judged on usefulness, user experience, visual design, and complexity).

The Tracker representatives at DigiTech 2012 included current students Aldo E. De La Paz, Nikunj Mehta, Chase Anderson, Gilberto Parada, and Andrés Ruiz, and alumnus Dale Smith. Dr. Paul F. Marty and Dr. Ian Douglas were in attendance as well.

Habitat Tracker at DigiTech 2012


Habitat Tracker at iConference 2012

Nicole Alemanne presented a Habitat Tracker poster at iConference 2012 in Toronto Canada, February 7-10, 2012.

The Habitat Tracker poster outlined the project’s purpose and preliminary results, and focused on the integration of student work before, during, and after field trips to the Tallahassee Museum. During the two poster sessions Nicole also demonstrated the iPad app. The poster was authored by Paul F. Marty, Ian Douglas, Sherry A. Southerland, Victor Sampson, Nicole D. Alemanne, Amanda Clark, Anne Mendenhall, Aldo de la Paz, and Casey Yu.

The iConference is presented by the iSchools organization, which represents 33 Information Schools dedicated to advancing the information field and preparing students to meet the information challenges of the 21st Century. The theme of this year’s conference was Culture-Design-Society.

iConference 2012 logo