For more than a decade, The JASON Project has been taking science education to new heightsand depthsby engaging students in web-based adventures with real scientists. Launched by Dr. Ballar, the scientist who found the Titanic, the goal of the project is to get students interested in a subject they have traditionally found uninteresting.
The idea is to use real adventuresfrom underwater expeditions with aquanauts to journeys to space stations with astronautsto pique student interest in the sciences. Students see live broadcasts of the expeditions, and the scientists interact directly with them to discuss what they are investigating. A primary goal of The JASON Project is to demonstrate how science involves collaboration and to encourage such collaborations in the classroom.
JASON Online, the web-based system that coordinates the project (http://www.jasonproject.org), provides students and teachers with access to news and discussion forums in which they can communicate and share information with students around the world. Students gather information during local field investigations and later share their findings in the forums.
Prior to the live broadcasts, students and teachers prepare for the event in an cross-curriculum environment. The project provides teachers with online professional development opportunities, including some worth credits, while students engage in local field tests.
For its next expedition, dubbed “Going to Extremes: The Next Adventure,” The JASON Project will begin the new millennium with expeditions both in space, with NASA’s International Space Station, and in the sea, with the Aquarius underwater laboratory based in the Florida Keys.