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Ruth Krumhansl is an expert in curriculum development, education research, Earth science, science teaching, and applied science. As Founder of the Oceans of Data Institute, an initiative dedicated to fostering data literacy and transforming science education to support student entry into a world of Big Data, her work has a special focus on the design of Internet-based tools that bring authentic scientific data into K–16 classrooms.
Krumhansl leads research that is advancing the field's knowledge of how students learn to work with data and is drawing upon findings to design innovative instructional resources that help teachers foster students' data literacy, build their capacity to work with complex datasets, and support their mastery of essential tools and techniques. She is the principal investigator of the National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded Ocean Tracks College Edition study. (Read a blog post by Krumhansl about the Oceans of Data Institute and the importance of teaching data literacy to high school students.)
In collaboration with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Krumhansl led a multidisciplinary review of studies and expert opinion and developed guidelines for the development of educational electronic interfaces to large scientific data infrastructures. The guidelines, described in the report Visualizing Oceans of Data, are being instantiated in the Ocean Tracks project, which has developed an interactive website to provide students with access to near real-time and archival data from electronically tagged marine animals, drifting buoys, and Earth-orbiting satellites, along with web-based data visualization and analysis tools.
Krumhansl is lead author of EDC Earth Science, a full-year Earth science course for high school stressing rigorous, inquiry-oriented learning, which was published by LAB-AIDS in 2014. In collaboration with SRI International and NASA, she contributed to the design of websites that allow teachers to access NASA’s remotely sensed Earth observation mission data. She is currently working with the Gulf of Maine Research Institute on the NASA-funded Real World, Real Science project, which will bring climate data to fifth- and sixth-grade students via interactive exhibits and classroom activities.
Before joining EDC, Krumhansl was a high school science teacher and department coordinator, a chief scientist and senior project manager in environmental consulting on Superfund sites, and a petroleum exploration geologist. Her career in applied science immersed her in the search for patterns in complex geospatial data, providing a foundation for her current interest and work in preparing students to live in a data-intensive world.