REAL DATA, REAL LEARNING: CUAHSI WATER DATA CENTER RESOURCES AND SERVICES FOR CREATING AND SHARING DATA-DRIVEN EXERCISES FOR TEACHING WATER SCIENCE
HydroDesktop is a free, open source application for finding, getting, analyzing and using hydrologic data from the web-based CUAHSI-HIS system that the WDC supports. HydroDesktop provides a simplified GIS that allows users to incorporate spatial data, and simple analysis tools to facilitate graphing and visualization. We highlight some of the features of HydroDesktop and the CUAHSI-HIS system that make it particularly appropriate for use in educational and public outreach settings. The incorporation of "real data," localization to an area of interest, and problem-based learning are all recognized as effective strategies for learning. Many example exercises educators create around water may list several websites and data sources (e.g. EPA, USGS, etc.) an educator needs to prepare even a simple exercise. HydroDesktop can simplify this process by providing unified access to several sources. The GIS interface can be used to incorporate local spatial data to explore environmental factors. Simple graphing and time series tools can be used to illustrate relationships between different data and water science concepts.
CUAHSI supports a community of researchers and educators who are employing our data services for education, including sharing best practices around creating modules, supporting researchers and educators in accessing the services, and cataloging and sharing modules such as examples we share here on analyzing the impacts of Marcellus Shale gas development, and the effect of stream-groundwater interactions on stream temperature.