Abstract # 13241 Poster # 103:

Scheduled for Thursday, August 9, 2018 06:00 PM-08:00 PM: (Chula Vista ) Poster Presentation


VIRTUAL FIELDWORK: THE USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA TO COMMUNICATE SCIENCE TO ELEMENTARY SCHOOL CHILDREN

A. Coleman, M. Baker, T. Ryan and P. Afonso
Rhode Island College, Anthropology Department, Providence, RI 02908-1991, USA
line
     Using cell phones and social media, we took elementary school students on a virtual field project, chronicling our research on free-ranging capuchin monkeys (Cebus capucinus) in Costa Rica. We identified four elementary school teachers in Providence, Rhode Island with whom we could share a field research experience. Our educational messages were: 1. Do not feed wild animals, 2. Keep wild animals away from trash, and 3. Do not pet wildlife. While in Costa Rica we planned to skype into the classrooms for real time interaction, but we were unable to get a steady signal for live feeds. We resolved the problem by creating a private Facebook group for uploading videos and photos documenting the research project. We posted puzzle pictures such as “Can you find the bird?” and “Whose tracks are these?” We included images of other animals, plants, our cabin, and foods we were eating. The elementary students were introduced to basic scientific concepts, the process of a research project, and information about animals. When we returned to Providence, we visited their classes to talk with them about what they learned, played a game, and closed the circle on the experience. Although not formally assessed, we found that the school children enjoyed the experience and they seemed to understand the educational concepts.