Monday, November 30, 2015

Welcome to myObservations!

Hello and welcome to my newest adventure.  As you can see if you check back through other blogs I have started, I have a blogging theme (without even trying!)  Everything that I feel compelled to write centers around my observations of the world around me.  Sometimes this is the physical world and the environment I live in.  Sometimes my observations are of the people and organizations I work with.  This newest blog will combine both my observations of the natural world and my insights and trials in the endeavor of product development and marketing for myObservatory.  I am up for the challenges ahead and looking forward to expanding my professional horizons.  And to be frank, what is better than working with interesting people and projects, going on field trips, playing with data and sharing my experiences with students?  NOTHING!

I started working with myObservatory almost four years ago.  I decided to pilot the use of myObservatory, then called the Innisfree Observatory Web Portal, with middle school students for my master's thesis.  This was my first time doing real educational research and my first time working with the online data management system that would give rise to myObservatory as it is today.  Through that experience I saw glimpses of the value of using myObservatory in education.

In the last three years so much has changed with myObservatory including the name.  As I discuss myObs with potential partners I always say, "myObservatory is an online database management system."  But that hardly describes the power and complexity of the data environment.  Through this blog I hope to share some stories of how truly unique and useful myObservatory is for teachers, students and a variety of organizations.

The last three years have seen a lot of changes in my life as well.  We welcomed our second son only two months after I completed my master's degree and 130 page thesis paper.  Since then I have been working as a stay-at-home mom of two active and fun-loving boys while doing some tutoring on the side for sanity and gas money.  I also "work vicariously" through my husband, a USGS scientist, talking data and drawing spreadsheets on the garage floor.  Tutoring led to other opportunities teaching at Cape Cod Community College and meeting some key science and education networkers on the Cape.  When I was asked to come back to myObservatory as a consultant for education I jumped at the chance.  This would allow me to work from home and work in the field.  I can get to know the education players in my community.  And most importantly I can be involved in a product I see as valuable and important for education and beyond.

Now I am working with myObservatory to refine our product for education and to get the word out.  I have made partnerships with organizations here on Cape Cod including Waquoit Bay Estuarine Research Reserve, The Lawrence School (Falmouth, MA Grades 7 and 8), Sturgis Charter School, the Sandwich STEM Academy, the Thornton Burgess Society and the Sandwich Department of Natural Resources.  We are hoping to expand into other organizations on the Cape and beyond...if only I had 80 more hours a week to work on this!

This blog, half journal/half product information, will provide a space to share stories and examples.  I hope that you will enjoy reading the journey as much as I am enjoying the journey itself.
 Welcome to myObservations!