Needs and expectations of DataONE tools:
Mr. McMillin needs access to data his students can use to augment the limited data they can collect on their own in labs or outdoors. He has also found analysis of existing datasets to be a great way to involve special needs students with physical disabilities that keep them from participating fully in fieldwork. However, to be useable, he needs an educational module with teaching materials, mapped to educational standards, that identifies the appropriate data for the students to access and the tools for them to use. Ideally, these exercises will provide examples of how science and math matter in people’s lives. He has been using the National Science Digital Library (NSDL), so he wants similar kinds of support for finding material. He gets a lot of ideas from friends, so it could be useful for him to connect with other teachers using similar materials to trade tips and ideas.
Finally, Mr. McMillin seeks to demonstrate how all people can contribute meaningfully to the scientific process. Given his students’ interest in online interaction, he feels it might be possible to get them interested in participating in an on-line research project. Given the right materials, he could have students collect data and contribute it to a citizen science project, then follow that project to see how the data are used. He’s been wanting to do something like this for years, but hasn’t yet found a project that he could fit logistically and topically into his classes. On the other hand, he is certainly not going to create and deposit his own datasets, much less the metadata to describe them.
Intellectual and physical skills that can be applied:
Mr. McMillin is familiar with scientific data collection and analysis from his undergraduate education. He has had some additional training since finishing his degree (though not in data science), and does his best to stay current with scientific developments, mostly from the popular press. He is proficient with computer applications and comfortable navigating the Web and getting data into Excel.
Technical support available:
The school and the district has a small IT staff, but they have their hands full keeping the school’s computers and networks running smoothly and so are unable to provide much personal support for faculty. However, the IT staff is willing to install new software for Mr. McMillin, as long as it’s open source software, as the district has no budget for buying new software.
Personal biases about data sharing and reuse (and data management more generally):
As an educator and mentor, Mr. McMillin believes in open access to science information and processes and would like his students to see how even their seemingly small efforts can integrate with those of the larger scientific community through technology.