Arizona Project WET Launches Smartphone Discovery Program in Phoenix

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Arizona Project WET is challenging families and student groups to make new discoveries about nature with the help of smartphone technology.

The project's Discovery Program, recently installed at Phoenix's Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area, encourages visitors to embark on one of four color-coded QR code journeys intended to spark questions about their local natural environment.

"We want people to explore and think through a question that starts with 'I wonder …' and then hopefully learn something new about the nature in their own community," said Kerry Schwartz, Arizona Project WET director. "The Discovery Program presents a unique opportunity for students, teachers and families to think through questions about their surroundings in a systematic, scientific way by taking advantage of a new technology."

Arizona Project WET is a program dedicated to helping teachers promote literacy in water stewardship and STEM – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – in the classroom through 21st-century professional development. The project is part of the University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences' Cooperative Extension program and the UA Water Resources Research Center.

When families or students arrive at Rio Salado, they are introduced to the Discovery Program at the park's information kiosk, which explains that each color-coded discovery journey allows visitors to act as a different kind of scientist. Once a course is chosen, visitors can download a free QR reader onto any smartphone and begin. Every discovery sign includes a question, some ideas, photos and directions to the next QR-coded sign.

Read the rest of this May 5 UANews article at the link below.

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