Secret Life of Dolphins
The Chicago Zoological Society, in partnership with the Mote Marine Lab, hired us to develop a standalone software application for high school students to investigate the behavior of dolphins in the wild and in zoo settings, using authentic data collected by scientists. The software needed to:
- Support student investigation of a variety of dolphin data, including geographically mapped sightings, biometrics, fin photos, and signature whistles.
- Allow learners to perform custom queries and create subgroups of dolphins.
- Support multiple modes of interaction with the data, including maps, Venn Diagrams, scatter plots, bar charts, time graphs, and data tables.
- Support ongoing development of new curricular investigations within the tool.
- Be cross-platform.
We designed and developed standalone, cross-platform RealBasic application that integrated a supportive investigation environment, data investigation and analysis tools, and an open-architecture for activity authoring.
- Designed a supportive investigation interface that integrated instructions, investigation tips, and a hypothesis/findings journal with the ability to browse, search, and analyze data.
- Invented a data browser that provided students with access to trait data for 500 dolphins and 100 sightings, and the ability to cross-reference between the two.
- Created a "natural language" search tool that allowed students to construct plain-English Boolean searches in order to define subsets of dolphins.
- Developed a suite of analysis tools that allowed learners to visualize their subsets according to the needs of each investigation, including Venn Diagrams, scatter plots, bar charts, time graphs, sightings maps, and data tables.
- Created a curriculum customization tool to allow customization by zoo staff and teachers