Initial Publication Date: December 12, 2013

EarthCube Education End-User Workshop

March 4-5, 2013
UCSD Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Robert Paine Scripps Forum
8610 Kennel Way
La Jolla, CA 92037

Workshop Findings


Workshop Overview & Goals

EarthCube is an NSF initiative to develop a national cyberinfrastructure which will give researchers and students easy access to earth data and models, in a way that will catalyze and facilitate interdisciplinary thinking and systems thinking, across institutional, spatial, temporal, and mode of inquiry (experimental/observational/modelling) boundaries. EarthCube is in the dreaming and planning stage right now, and is about to move into a design phase. As input into the design of EarthCube, NSF is sponsoring a series of "end-user workshops," in which groups of potential EarthCube users are being asked to define and articulate the needs of their communities. 

The education end-users' workshop is scheduled for March 4 and 5, at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, in La Jolla, California. We are inviting an interesting mix of innovative scientist-educators, employers who wish to hire data-savvy graduates, data-providers who wish to have students and teachers among their user-communities, and technologists who can help us envision the tools and capabilities we may have available for teaching in the future. The focus is on undergraduate education, because this population is simultaneously the pipeline for the data-intensive workforce, future teachers, future leaders of business and industry, and future scientists. This is one of a series of End-User workshops; others are described here.

Workshop goals are:


  • To build EarthCube in such a way that will bring the power of learning through Earth data and models within reach of novices
  • To use EarthCube to educate future geoscientists who will be unprecedentedly facile with data and models, and "native speakers" of interdisciplinary systems.


Questions we will be grappling with include:

  • What should a data-savvy undergraduate earth or environmental science major know, understand, and be able to do upon graduation, in other words, what are our learning goals and learning performances?
  • What types of learning experiences could move undergraduates towards these learning goals, and what technology do we need in order to craft such learning experiences?
  • Imagine trying to create a new kind of undergraduate, someone who is a "native systems thinker," someone whose thinking ranges readily from discipline to discipline, from model to field to lab, across spatial and temporal scales, using digital cognitive tools as effortlessly as I ride a bicycle or drive a car. Could we do this? And if so, how?

Workshop Conveners

  • Kim Kastens (; Education Development Center)
  • Ruth Krumhansl (; Education Development Center)
  • Cheryl Peach (; UCSD Scripps Institution of Oceanography)


This workshop was funded by the National Science Foundation through grants GEO13-13866 and GEO13-13870 and was co-sponsored by the National Association of Geoscience Teachers. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.



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