In preparation for my coming iPad, I have been playing around with some useful apps. There really isn’t a lot of thought behind it; I just search for things that might be relevant to what I am teaching.
My science and engineering students are beginning their biology unit and I came across a great app and site called Project Noah, an organization of citizen-scientists that exists on the web. Visitors to the site use a computer, smartphone or iPod to upload pictures of a plant or animal that they have spotted in the wild. Then other users comment on it and identify it. Along with the photo comes automatically generated latitude and longitude that then broadcasts to the rest of the scientific community that yes, your animal was found here.
One way of thinking about it is geocaching, but for animals. You can then go online and see all of the different things near you or around the world. Kids get a real kick out of seeing the world map on the site with their result showing up. With the iPod app, I can have a small army of students contributing their information to this as well. That weird crawly thing they found under a rock? Post it on Project Noah. Maybe someone knows what it is.