Synergism, Digital Seamonsters and CIT

digitalseamonstersDave Johnston, a Research Scientist at the Nicholas School of the Environment, and his colleagues at the Duke University Marine Laboratory have terabytes of compelling photographs, video, audio, and illustrations of marine mammals and sea birds to share with students in their course Marine Megafauna (Bio 127). To better teach about the ecology and conservation of marine organisms – and to encourage students to access course materials anywhere and at any time – they are developing a digital textbook for mobile devices like the iPad, supported in part by a CIT JumpStart grant. Dave’s colleagues at Duke’s Marine Lab (Ari Friedlaender, Larry Crowder, Andy Read, Doug Nowacek and Cindy Van Dover) contribute materials and ideas to the project, broadening it’s pedagogical scope and utility.

On another part of campus, Richard Lucic and Robert Duvall are teaching a new course (CompSci 109 Mobile Apps: From Concept to Client) where students develop applications for iPads and iPhones to learn programming project management. CIT provided a JumpStart grant to help develop course materials and provide students with iPads to test their projects. Richard and Robert asked CIT for possible projects; Dave Johnston’s plan for a mobile Marine Megafauna multimedia text was a natural fit. Dave pitched his proposal to the student programmers and an enthusiastic and talented student team chose to program the mobile Marine Megafauna multimedia text.

The student programmers are already making progress with fantastic material; see images and progress reports at the Digital Sea Monsters website. Keep up with all of Duke University Marine Lab projects on Facebook.


One of Dave Johnston’s Antarctic friends, photo used with permission