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All About Digital Earth Watch

Environmental Monitoring with Digital Images

Annette Schloss, John Pickle, Jeff Beaudry, Alan Gould

Goal: 5,000-word chapters max – Web-hosted, will include audio and video elements.
Will have mechanism for making hard copy print (minus audio and video).

1. Introduction—The Power of Digital Images: What is Digital Earth Watch? MVH Partnership and Environmental Monitoring, Informal and Formal Science Education – John (what is the target audience) (brief reference to standards here). Who are the DEW partners? Examples of digital camera images, digital maps, aerial photos, satellite images.

Part I: Digital Tools

2. Getting Images with Digital Cameras (Science, Technology, Geography and Art) – Remote Sensing, Handheld Cameras and Picture Post – John and Gary  Types of classroom cameras, which one is the most useful? Cheap, rugged, does Megapixel number have an effect. How do you make it accurate?) How to use them for measurement (Spatial, Spectral, Temporal)

3. Getting Images with Kite Aerial Photography – Don

4. Getting Digital Images Through the Internet: Digital Maps, Satellite and Aerial Images (EOS Webster, Earth Shots, Pollen Counter...) – Annette

5. Software for Simple Image Analysis (ADI/Forest analysis, Color Basics, Digital image basics, etc.) New tools for new questions. – John 

6. Software for Advanced Image Analysis: Multispec and GIS Overview and link to Forestwatch resource [UNH – Annette]

Part II: Engaging Learners

7. Investigations, Activities and Challenges (place-based learning)
Science Standards: Integrating Content and Inquiry using digital technology (what grade levels) (Alan, Jeff)

8. Picture Post; citizen science, informal and formal learning. Actively monitoring the environment. (John, Annette)

9. Global Systems Science—Integrative teaching about scientific concepts – Alan – Jeff

10. Forest Watch – 15 years of school-university partnership – Martha, Jeff

11. Concept mapping and visual learning – Jeff

Part III: Evaluation

12. Formative Evaluation of Adult learning — Jeff

13. Program Evaluation of Digital Earth Watch — Jeff

14. The Future of Digital Earth Watch. –Alan

Synopsis of Digital Earth Watch

Digital Earth Watch (DEW) brings together biology, physics, chemistry, technology, art, engineering, and math in a project that supports environmental science field studies in middle school, high school, self-guided education and citizen science.

Our lives depend upon plants and trees in that they feed us, house us, give us clothes, medicines, absorb carbon dioxide, and give off the very oxygen we need to breathe. So when the plants and trees around us change, it can affect our health, our environment, and our economy. It behooves us to monitor plant life around the world. In the space age, we use NASA satellites to map the “greenness” of all Earth’s lands: "vegetation index maps" show where and how much green leaf vegetation was growing for the time periods monitored. The vegetation index maps are made using the proportions of various wavelengths of light reflected from leaves. Combining this data with our understanding and observations of plant behavior and physiology helps us to quickly assess the quality of the local environment.

On the DEW website, http://dew.globalsystemsscience.org, there is free software, videos, ideas for activities and challenge questions that let students and citizen scientists:
• Investigate properties of color and light;
• Learn how to measure the health of plants;
• Use inexpensive filters to make "plant stress detection glasses";
• Use digital images to
       --observe local, regional, and global environmental conditions
       --measure changes over time in Earth's ecosystems;

The free DEW software can be used to analyze color, light, and make measurements in digital images. The software components (Color Basics, Digital Image Basics, and Analyzing Digital Images), together with digital cameras or satellite images, are tools for measuring spatial features, color, and change over time.

The key DEW partners are the Picture Post team at the University of New Hampshire, evaluation experts at University of Southern Maine, remote sensing researchers at Indiana State University, and Global Systems Science at the Lawrence Hall of Science, University of California, Berkeley. DEW was developed through a NASA education grant project, Measuring Vegetation Health.