Student Team Chosen for “Mobile Design Boost”

Engineering Education doctoral students Shawn Jordan and Hanjun Xian, with Ag Economics student Kate Mane, will participate in this “boot camp” for prototyping digital learning products, sponsored by IDEO and Startl. The team’s project: an iPhone app called the "EcoExplorer.”

Xian, Jordan, and Mane

EcoExplorer lets learners solve environmental mysteries by connecting them with real-world sensor data from the past or present, all in the palms of their hands. Sensors that measure everything from wind speed to water temperature are ubiquitous in today’s landscape, but the data that they collect is not very accessible to the general public. Learners are challenged to pick an event — from a blizzard in their towns to choosing a site for a wind farm in another part of the country — and solve the puzzles by identifying the location of the event on a map and visualizing real sensor data from that location to determine potential causes of the event. EcoExplorer is primarily targeted toward the secondary education market (grades 6 – 12), including both students and their teachers.

From left: Hanjun Xian, programming expert; Shawn Jordan, content area/education expert; and Kate Mane, marketing expert. The team travels to New York City during spring break to develop the "EcoExplorer" idea further into a product that can be pitched to venture capitalists.