Audubon Park in New Orleans is one of Uptown's premier gems, the preferred picnic and recreation locale for generations of locals. As concerns about the environment grow, however, it's crucial the next generation of New Orleanians understand the importance of protecting this natural sanctuary.
Aimée K. Thomas and James Wee of Loyola University of New Orleans are working to instill a love of nature in local children, using the power of technology—specifically, the iPad.
Thomas and Wee are science professors at Loyola University, with Thomas teaching environmental studies and Wee focusing on microbiology. Both professors are developing a children's iPad app that will act as Audubon Park's digital counterpart. The app will introduce the fun and magic of science to children in grades K-12, teaching them basic biology and environmental science concepts that comply with state curriculum standards. The two professors modeled the app after another of Dr. Thomas' creations, the "Go to Lake Thoreau" app that she designed for the Lake Thoreau Environmental Center in Mississippi two years ago.
Thomas, along with her colleague, Kristy Halverston, first dreamed of an environmental studies app for kids while still working at the University of Southern Mississippi.
"Our idea was to give kids something they are comfortable using and put them outside to learn about nature and grasp science concepts," said Thomas via email.
Thomas applied and received a National Science Foundation "Informal Science Education" grant, which encourages the development of practical, engaging learning material for children…
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