Authors: Claudia Caro and Olawale Oluwafemi (Femi)
Our participation in the International Virtual Science Symposium (IVSS) as judges has allowed us to learn more about the scientific experiences of students involved in the GLOBE Program. As members of the GLOBE Science Working Group with backgrounds in Geography and Biology, we would like to share our findings about the importance of the IVSS in the GLOBE community and give you some advice to empower your participation in this extraordinary yearly event.
Why an International Virtual Science Symposium?
Knowledge about the environment should be shared in easy ways without barriers. The IVSS is an online scientific space where students from all scholar years, including primary grades and universities, can share their scientific findings in the four investigation areas of GLOBE.
Participation is open to all GLOBE countries and results are available to all. The GLOBE Program is contributing to the increasing of awareness of our planet through support for research projects that include the collaboration between all GLOBE community members, students, teachers and STEM professionals.
What is the importance of the IVSS?
Science is not only about what you discover, but also about how you communicate your discoveries to transform data into valuable information that could be useful to understand in much better ways what is happening in our planet.
The IVSS has been helping us all to share ideas and research findings, through discussion opportunities and strengthened collaborations between students and scientists. In addition, the IVSS empowers the continuous improvement of students’ research abilities and scientific thinking skills year after year.
What are the main statistics of the IVSS 2017?
The GLOBE International Virtual Science Symposium witnessed a significant increase in the number of student projects from 105 in 2016 to 147 in 2017. Likewise the number of judges and mentors increased significantly. Judges increased from 24 in 2016 to 61 in 2017.
The number of mentors also increased from 37 in 2016 to 50 in 2017. Each year, more mentors and judges are needed to provide meaningful feedback to the students. As the IVSS continues to grow, so will the need for judges.
The Science Working Group during its face-to face meeting in Connecticut in 2017 reviewed the experience of the 2017 IVSS. One of the factors highlighted was the simplicity of the 2017 IVSS Rubrics.
Also, from the list of judges, it is evident that the Africa, Asia and Pacific regions have the least number of judges, and this suggests that more awareness of the IVSS within the GLOBE community should be encouraged mainly in these regions.
As part of the mandate or task expected from GLOBE International STEM Network (GISN) and Science Working Group members: Mullica, Dixon, Claudia, Femi, Dannielle and Constantinos participated in the IVSS.
According to Femi “I graded more than seven projects from four (4) different continents and I was amazed with improvement I saw in the students projects when compared to 2016 IVSS.” These improvements are not unrelated to the review of 2016 IVSS rubrics by scientists and educators, feedback from judges to students and teachers on each project, and IVSS webinars. We affirmed that all of these might have contributed to the improvement in the research quality of student reports during the symposium. The collaborations that existed between GLOBE Schools between countries for example GLOBE School in France collaborating with GLOBE School in the US have also been highlighted as contributing factor. Also it is important to visualize the countries from which projects come; we hope the next year to have this map full of dots!
First step: Conduct a research project in your local area, you can find some examples here https://www.globe.gov/do-globe/for-students/student-research-reports
Second step: Write a scientific report including:
Third step: Upload your report starting in January 2018, you will need to log-in with your GLOBE ID and password. https://www.globe.gov/es/news-events/globe-events/virtual-conferences/2017-international-virtual-science-symposium The report should be uploaded step by step considering the following items:
Rubrics are the criteria involved in the evaluation of each student report. Rubrics differ by grade level, because abilitity varies according the age of students. Rubrics score reports from zero to four stars, please review the evaluation criteria here as you write your report. https://www.globe.gov/es/news-events/globe-events/virtual-conferences/2017-international-virtual-science-symposium/rubrics
A badge is a virtual recognition of student projects that contribute something special to society, address local environmental concerns, or strengthen the ties within the GLOBE community. Students should explain in their report why they should be considered to receive one or more badges. These badges should be chosen at the time when students upload their project. It is highly recommended that projects try to earn at least two badges.
Collaboration: Researches show how community has collaborated in the development of the project, who were the team members and their roles. Include maybe local citizen, scientist and roles of team members.
Community Impact: Describes how a local issue led to the research question and what impact the students have had on their community, here could be interesting mention if the project is part of a GLOBE research campaign
Connection to a STEM Professional: Project show collaboration with STEM professional and how it enhanced the student research
Engineering Solution: An engineering solution to a real world problem based on student research. It could be create new and validated equipment to get data
Exploring STEM Careers: Understanding how student research relates to STEM careers
Interscholastic Connection: Describes interscholastic or international collaboration and how it benefits the research
January - 01 March : Reports submission
18 - 24 March : Evaluation
06 April: Feedback and badges
Frequent recommendation to write a good science report
Although you can present a report in your own language it is highly commendable to translate into English to facilitate communication of results around the world. Also, projects can only be provided feedback and scored if they are in English.
Try to present maps and graphs in your report, including those that help to locate your study site and to understand your results.
If it is possible, include collaboration of other schools in your project or collaboration with neighbors, parents, or other community members; it could strengthen the impact.
If your project is addressed to understand a local problem, try also to propose a solution to that problem.
Send your project with enough time to receive the feedback from your judges and respond to all their observations; this could help to improve your report. Remember communication is important.
What is needed for a research project to be considered good
Receive 4 stars
Earn 2 optional badges
Resources for the research projects
Special thanks to Dr. Dixon Butler, Dr. Julie Malmberg and members of the GLOBE Science Working Group for improving the quality of the blog.