Welcome to the Zydeco Project!

Supporting students with scientific practices continues to be an important goal in contemporary K-12 science standards. While it is important to ground science inquiry experiences in the classroom, we are also interested in seeing how we can support students to take advantage of information and phenomena in the world around them as part of that inquiry.

We aim to support cross-context inquiry that spans formal and informal settings by developing Zydeco (Sci-To-Go), a system integrating mobile devices and cloud technologies for middle school science inquiry. Zydeco enables teachers and students to create science investigations by defining goals, questions, and “labels” to annotate, organize, and reflect on multimodal data (e.g., photos, videos, audio, text) that they collect in museums, parks, home, etc. As students collect this information, it is stored in the cloud so that students and teachers can access that annotated information later and use it with Zydeco tools to develop a scientific explanation addressing the question they are investigating.

Zydeco was developed with an eye towards supporting science inquiry practices by understanding how people learn in classrooms and out-of-class settings. Some aspects of Zydeco’s design include:

Use of Multimodal Information
Because students can now capture and use a range of multimodal information for their science work, Zydeco offers multiple ways of collecting and organizing ideas. Students can capture a range of information artifacts, including photos, videos, audio, text, and annotate them with labels, captions, and voice notes to collect and describe a range of experiences.

Personal Interest-Driven Exploration
Open-ended inquiry encourages students to follow their own interests within a guided prompt or question. Zydeco enables students to create personally meaningful questions and incorporates inquiry organizers for their work to encourage more choice on what kind of information to collect and help make meaning from their experiences and collected.

Supporting Social Activity
Learning is often a social experience, and students exploring informal settings can work alone or with partners, taking different roles to collect, discuss, and categorize data and information. Zydeco encourages sensemaking discussions in the field about the content of the information being collected, and in the classroom where students can share, compare, and comment on each others’ information and ideas.

Student Ownership of the Inquiry Experience
Zydeco encourages students to filter and contribute their own content and ideas to their scientific investigations by allowing them to collect and interpret information that they feel is important to their work. Students can create their own collection of multimodal information to represent experiences they are connecting to their prior knowledge to support and drive their science work in a personally meaningful way.