I started to cautiously speak about this as a possibility with friends and colleagues as early as mid-January, after which I spent a few weeks responding to clarifying questions about the proposal I submitted the previous July sent by an NSF program officer.
I waited, made some changes, waited, made some changes, and when on a canoe with my wife and son yesterday checked my email (for the first time in a few hours — in this particular instance, I wasn’t anxiously checking!) to receive the notice that the NSF CAREER project was awarded funding. It will begin August 1, 2023. It is Project CREDIBLE (Creatively Reimagining Engagements with Data in Biology Learning Environments).
It will draw on and ask me to grow with respect to three topics/ideas:
- high school teachers’ use of complex sources of scientific data, approached through the perspective of Bayesian updating and data analysis
- the life sciences and environmental science
- place-based learning (and leveraging the insights we have about where we live — definitely not only in a place like the Smokies)
There are outstanding partners for the project, especially DataClassroom and the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont as well as partnering teachers in local schools and an advisory board with some of the smartest and most critical (but kindest) people I know and have worked with. I am lucky to have two outstanding Ph.D. students (who will help and even push me to do great work) interested in working on the project.
Here’s the public abstract; a little more with some more detail for a “scientific audience” is here.
There have been prominent and widespread calls for high school science students to work with data in more complex ways that better align with and support the work of professional scientists and engineers. However, high school students’ analysis and interpretation of scientific data is often limited in scope, complexity, and authentic purpose. The aim of Project Creatively Reimagining Engagements with Data in Biology Learning Environments (Project CREDIBLE) is to support and advance students’ work with ecological data in high school biology classrooms by embracing a new approach: Bayesian data analysis methods. This project has the potential to empower 20 high school teachers and their approximately 1,200 students to make sense of data within and beyond classroom contexts. It also will involve sharing research findings, an educational technology tool for Bayesian data analysis, and curricular resources in open and accessible ways.
As an open science thing/commitment/practice, the proposal is available in entirety here.
I’ve received much support for my work, not the least from my department and now the NSF. I am lucky and don’t and won’t forget that. Thanks to those who have supported me. I feel responsible for doing my best, growing in the process, and supporting others to have as many opportunities and as much support as I have been lucky to have.
On a more personal note, this has been a year of tremendous ups and downs. I don’t know what to add to that, other than to say that I am grateful for the experiences.