What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Project Noah is an app adaptation of an innovative website that allows you to submit nature photos to help with global research missions, but there are privacy and safety concerns. In order to use the app or website, you must sign in with an existing account (e.g., Google, Facebook, or Twitter), and full functionality requires access to your location. Once signed in, you can submit photos of wildlife with labels or a request for others to suggest what species they are. Photos can be submitted independently, or you can join missions to submit specific requested photos and help to document species. Some of these missions support scientific research, such as the Lost Ladybug Project. Submitted photos are associated with your login account and include a link to your profile, for which there is an option to include your name and photo. Submitting photos and participating in missions earns you patches. There is also a field guide that displays photos submitted by others that can be filtered by wildlife type.
What kids can learn
Language & Reading
Thinking & Reasoning
- analyzing evidence
- collecting data
- making conclusions
- meeting challenges together
Engagement, Approach, Support
Students will enjoy using their mobile devices to get outside and look for new things. The design is clean and intuitive. Teacher-created, structured missions that match the class curriculum might be more engaging.
Kids learn how to see the environment and begin scientific fieldwork. This powerful tool empowers kids to document what they see, right where they are. The additional steps of field research (naming, context, etc.) could extend the learning.
The experience is fairly simple, but there's no tutorial or obvious starting point. The website offers a FAQ and more detailed information about the project and may be a better place to begin. The active user community can help inspire excitement.
What's it about?
The main activities in PROJECT NOAH include submitting wildlife and plant life spottings, joining missions to help crowdsource a particular set of spottings, and browsing submissions from other community members. To submit a spotting with the app, users tap the "New Spotting" button, choose a category such as mammals or fungi (if they know it), upload photos, and enter data about the spotting such as common name, scientific name, date spotted, and location. Users can also ask the community for help identifying the species.
Is it any good?
The idea behind Project Noah is commendable -- fostering the development of "citizen scientists" by engaging people in the wildlife around them and crowdsourcing the collection and verification of data. This app makes it easy to submit pictures on the go and, if you're comfortable with the location sharing, to see what other people in your neighborhood are noticing and submitting. Also, the missions and patches can help kids feel appreciated for getting involved and contributing to research.
To really get the most out of this app in terms of understanding the missions and viewing photos, visiting the website is recommended. In addition, unlike some other wildlife apps such as Audubon Birds, there isn't much information about the wildlife included; info and help with species identification comes from other users. Finally, the whole project is based on creating networks, so this app will require working with your kid to create a safe profile and talking together about online communities.
Explore, discuss, enjoy
Help your kids set up their accounts and adjust privacy settings. Project Noah is a social network, so kids need to be aware of what they're sharing and with whom.
Get out into the field with your kids! Start with the backyard or a nearby park. Encourage them to identify their spottings before submitting to the Project Noah community.