earthguide • about us

Geosciences Research Division

What we do

Earthguide Main Page

Earthguide Online Classroom

Earthguide is dedicated to providing online materials for K-14 students, teachers, and the public to enhance lifelong learning and encourage positive action related to the management of the Earth, its living and natural resouces, changing climate, environmental quality and society.

We do this by building online content and the website that holds that content. Earthguide and Earthguide Online Classroom are our two primary home websites. Earthguide serves visitors around the U.S. with some visitors from around the world. Earthguide Online Classroom includes materials with special regional relevance for students, teachers and parents living within the San Diego region and southern California. We also participate in teacher professional development programs and operate a student internship program for UCSD undergraduates.

Because of our unique position within the heart of the scientific community at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and partnerships that include scientists, regional educators, governmental agencies and local communities, we are uniquely positioned to incorporate the .. of these core constituencies.

Who we are

Since inception in 2000, we have worked under the direction of Dr. Wolf Berger, Professor of Oceanography at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Development of the website and day-to-day management has been conducted by Memorie Yasuda, Earth science educator and web developer. Production has been conducted by a creative team of UCSD undergraduate students. Earthguide is part of the Geosciences Research Division at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and works to support the greater outreach community at Scripps.

Web Traffic Graph

Where we want to go

We wish Earthguide to play a role in improving science literacy for all Californians, Americans and global citizens that surf the web.

We would like our online resource to be highly utilized and known for its convenience, educational value, quality of its content, durability and relevance to the interests of the public.

Our priorities

  • Providing significant and basic earth science content for educational purposes via the web.
  • Developing web-based educational materials that support and enhance learning and teaching for K-14 students and their teachers.
  • Developing interactive web materials that are intuitive and easy-to-use in existing home and classroom settings.
  • Designing content that engages a diverse audience and encourages academic development.
  • Collaborating with complementary outreach organizations that seek to improve public literacy in the areas of general science, math, engineering and technology.
  • Selecting projects that allow UCSD undergraduates to produce them as part of their practical learning experience.
  • Seeking, utilizing and highlighting high-quality science content wherever it already exists and making it more easily available to students, teachers and parents.
  • Presenting content in a way that promotes dialog, provides hope for the future and highlights the value of natural systems and resources.
  • Supporting the web-based educational outreach needs of the research community at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UCSD.

What we value

  • Greater public literacy and sense of value in the areas of Earth, marine and environmental science.
  • The availability of high-quality educational materials that supports the existence of an informed, capable and reflective citizenry, able to participate in solving natural resource and environmental challenges at home and around the globe.
  • Educational materials that supports development of key technical and workplace skills.
  • Educational content that meets the practical needs of individual learners and educators
  • Educational content that uses the power of the web to achieve more individualized learning, greater self-awareness of cognition and ethical choices.
  • Scientists as a source of knowledge, as the individuals who have succeeded in acquiring the capabiltiies we wish to promote, and as experts in anticipating and prioritizing significant environmental change.
  • Using emerging higher-order capabilities of the web to communicate geospatial and other information more intuitively to an audience.
  • Using web-based animations, visualizations, simulation, imagery and narrative to enhance rather than replace understanding of the real world and abstract thinking skills.
  • Presenting science as a system of acquiring knowledge that simplifies by exposing patterns of order, strives to unify observations and describe cause-and-effect relationships in complex systems - to counter the common notion that science is essentially disparate and confusing.
  • Helping people to understand that scientific thinking is creative and that research has entrepeneurial components.
  • Presenting science as an important tool for decision-making, planning and making the most our of limited resources.
  • Distinguishing science and technology to counter a common notion that they are synomymous.
  • Developing public awareness that well-managed natural and engineered Earth systems are essential to sustain and improve human well-being.

Our work

K-12 education

Through federally funded programs of priority, coordinated with outreach at Scripps, Earthguide develops online materials that meet both federal and California state guidelines for schools.

Current examples include:
  • Earthguide our evolving home website for the general public, with support from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Earthguide serves as a repository and central home for outreach products built for many projects over time.
  • Earthguide Online Classroom, our growing website for students, teachers and parents living within the San Diego region and southern California, with ongoing support from the Centers for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence (COSEE) - California, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) through mid- 2012. The prototype for this project was produced in partnership with the San Diego Unified School District.
  • Designs of the Deep: The Fishes, a public educational website in production as part of the Digital Fish Library project at SIO and UCSD, funded by the National Science Foundation through early 2010.
  • Examples of animated explanation for Undersea Detectives, an educational website in production that serves broader impacts goals of a research project funded by NSF through early 2009.
  • Deep-Diving Elephant Seals, an educational website in production that serves broader impacts goals of a research project, funded by NSF through 2009.
Past examples include:

Undergraduate interships

Over 65 undergraduate student interns have contributed to the production and evolution of Earthguide. Today, 4-6 interns work on the Earthguide team. Interns create interactive materials that communicate and educate. Our projects benefit from the enthusiasm, creative input and viewpoints of our student interns.

Special benefits to our interns:
  • A paid opportunity to gain skills in areas related to future careers and build materials that can be used in job portfolios.
  • Project experience that includes defining a communication problem, creating a solution and executing its production.
  • An opportunity to test and develop interpersonal skills required for creative collaboration.
  • An opportunity to develop awareness of the multiple ways in which people bring value to our production team, and thus an awareness of what employers seek in job applicants.
  • Experience producing an object, such as a mathematically-driven animation, that requires input from more than one team member.
  • Development of self-awareness of one's own core competencies and confidence in being able to acquire new skills on an as-needed basis.
  • Development of an understanding that problem-solving is not "a problem" and that it is the focus of creative work.
  • Opportunities to participate in public events, presentations and field experiences when a match exists between individuals and opportunites.
  • Developing professional work habits.

What's next for the long term?

Projects with regional focus for Earthguide Online Classroom

  • Water Supply

    (working title) To develop the concept, produce a prototype website and evaluate a major project effort.

    What does the average citizen need to know about their water budget? A lot in order to make informed choices that affect their household, community, state, and national resource priorities.

    Although a wealth of information exists, it is time-consuming to assemble key teaching materials that from multiple stakeholders. Where does your water come from? What do all those numbers on your water bill relate? How much more expensive is desalinated water? Why is water still scarce when it rained a lot this year? What do the delta smelt, Arizona and global warming have to do with watering my lawn in San Diego?

    Earthguide would like to fill this niche by assembling existing materials from a variety of sources and placing it in a useful online resource for southern Californians. Once we have this frawework, the discoveries of researchers can be placed in context and individuals can find it easier to be better informed.
  • Marine Debris

    (working title) Develop website concept and prototype website.

    Oceanography instructors often cite the case of the lost Nike shoes or rubber duckies adrift in the North Pacific as a novel way to illustrate ocean circulation. With more recent articles like "Altered Oceans" in the L.A. Times, the issue of marine debris has emerged a significant problem.

    The topic of marine debris links many topics in Earth and marine science - the water cycle, the open ocean as a habitat, storm water runoff vs. sewer, cargo shipping and open ocean fishing.

    We seek the opportunity to connect these topics in a way that supports California Earth science curricula and highlights sources of local debris.

Projects supporting core science for Earthguide & Earthguide Online Classroom

  • The Global Warming and the Carbon Cycle

      (working title) Expand and update an existing animation about Global Warming and produce an existing concept for an animation about the Carbon Cycle. Our very old global warming animation is one of our most popular.

    Traditional funding opportunities presented themselves in other areas so this very important subject was not updated. We think this subject is still very timely and important so we seek other funding to support it.

    We propose to build two self-contained interactive animations to explain the essentials of the global warming and the carbon cycle. The cost of proposed development would be relatively high because of the effort required to distill content into its most valuable and concentrated form. Because of our unique position at Scripps, these animations can be refined with additional scientist input over time.

  • Photosynthesis and respiration, a global view

      (working title) Produce an existing concept for an animation that explains the signifcance of Photosynthesis.

    Many children and adults recall that photosynthesis is important because plants produce the oxygen that people need to breathe. But it's much more than that. Photosynthesizers or "plants" have changed the atmosphere of our planet, energized nearly every living thing on Earth, made it possible for life to venture out onto land, regulated the climate of Earth, and locked the energy we so desperately need into carbon-based fuels. Taking learning one step beyond will allow citizens to have a greater understanding of global warming and energy.

The Team

Earthguide website, people, physical reources

  • Main Earthguide website infrastructure

    We seek funding to support the needs of our central home website that many use as a compact portal to educational resources in earth, ocean and environmental sciences. Teachers and students count on our resources to be up, functional and conveniently organized. As the web evolves and browsers change, we need to update the internal construction of our website and harware. We also need to maintain current links and news items and build more efficient systems of operation.

  • Undergraduate interns

    We seek funding to support student interns - to attract creative students and to give opportunities to those with little experience on-the-job training. Our production interns are mainly digital artists, animators, web-coders and programmers.

    We have had great success with relatively unskilled students in digital animation when they come to us with strong interests and can work with us for 2-3 years. We would like to offer more opportunities for promising student with little past experience to participate.

    Women artists apply at a much lower rate than men. For a freshman or sophomore woman who has an interest in becoming a skilled digital artist, there is time to achieve marketable digital competency, even if those skills were not developed before college. We wish to encourage those students and make opportunities for them to participate.

    Our interns reflect the diversity of UCSD in key majors. Funding for undegraduate interns will help us to actively promote opportunities to underrepresented students at UCSD and possibly high school students. We would like to provide opportunities for a more diverse range of students so that it will positively impact the experience of participants and our web products.

  • System administration

    We seek funding to maintain our web server and production hardware and software. The reliable online service we provide has been one of the great benefits to students and teachers. Our resources stay put at the same address and they stay online. Over the last 8 years, we've uprgraded servers and workstations, but rarely been offline. We would like to continue the tradition by funding and providing these services.