Call for Teachers!!

Planet Stewards is looking for 20 high school teachers from around the United States to participate in the first pilot launch of Planet Stewards in the spring of 2013. This is a project of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and 3D GameLab to provide high school students the opportunity to earn up to 15 NOAA-certified career pathway badges. The student’s use 3D GameLab, a quest-based learning platform, to complete quests using NOAA educational materials. They can earn experience points, awards, achievements, and badges, as they engage in an active, hands-on, inquiry-based learning program aligned with the new K-12 Science Education Framework.

A student participating in Planet Stewards will be able to take on the identity of a Space Weather Scientist, Hurricane Hunter, Storm Chaser, Fisheries Biologist, Coral Reef Ecologist, Marine Biologist, Coastal Manager, Hydrologist, Ecologist, Cartographer, Physical Oceanographer, Vulcanologist, Climate Modeler, Paleoclimatologist, and Climate Scientist.

Teachers will be required to participate in a two-week asynchronous training program in the first two weeks of November in order to prepare their class for questing in the fallowing spring. Students will be able to quest all semester long, or a portion of the semester, as determined by each teacher. Participating teachers will receive a small stipend, and also receive a NOAA Certified Teacher Badge. If you are interested and would like more information, see

Don’t miss out! This is going to be a great experience for both teachers and students! Applications are due September 15th 2012.
Post by: Kodi Sims


First Draft of the Instructional Designers’ Planning

Recently, the Planet Stewards grant team met up on conference call to review the first draft of the instructional designers’ planning.  You can see it here: The post includes Popplets, Planning Roadmaps, ideas about all the badges, and more! Leave us a comment if you have any suggestions.

A big day for OBI badges at NOAA

On July 19-20th, the Planet Stewards team came together for a chance to collaborate as a group at NOAA‘s National Headquarters in Maryland. Each day of meetings was lined up and timed to perfection.

July 19th Agenda
9:00  Introductions, Games and Team Builders
9:30  The Big Picture
The changing paradigm, death of the grade book, quest-based learning, a few outcomes (Chris)
3D GameLab features, badging ecosystem (Lisa)
10:45 Critical Questions
1:00  Topic Tree
2:45  Reward template

The second day was a little more complicated. There was a total of 14 people working together, five of them flying in from around the country. Everyone worked very well together, and some great concepts were formed with the pairing of ideas and knowledge.

July 20th Agenda
9:00 Introductions
9:15 Review topic tree, allowable resources, review new Science Standards/Framework
10:00 Review the tools of translation (flow chart/road map) send off to work
1:00 NOAA Badges Pitch (5 min), identify commonalities across group
2:00 Continue to flesh out roadmap and popplet
3:00 Next Steps/Schedule/Future Meetings

The professionals that were present he first day were the NOAA experts, and the founders of 3D GameLab, Lisa Dawley and Chris Haskel. Each of the NOAA employees specialized in a certain subject area. The roles of each person in Planet Stewards had to do with their area specialty:

Peg Steffen – National Ocean Service
Bruce Moravchik- National Ocean Service
Judy Koepsell – National Weather Service
Ron Gird – National Weather Service
Molly Harrison – National Marine Fisheries Service
Steve Storck – Office of Education
Lisa Dawley – GoGo Labs
Chris Haskell – Boise State

Unfortunately these NOAA experts weren’t able to join us, but are still very involved in the creation of Planet Stewards.

Frank Niepold – National Climate Office
Paulo Maurin – National Ocean Service (Corals)
Atziri Ibanez – National Ocean Service (NERRS)

The second day the instructional design team joined the group. This is when the creativity started to fly. Each technical designer was paired up with a NOAA expert to discuss and design specific quests, along with finding enough resources to fill each quest.

Here is a list of the IDs that joined us on the 20th:

Dr. Beth Wellman
Will Ober
Mel Goodwin
Lucas Gillispie
Jennifer Laughlin

While creating, collaborating, and discussing the Planet Stewards design, the Team will be keeping the public up to date on the progress the group is making, and the processes they are using.

Throughout the two days of meetings some great moments were caught on camera.

Ron Gird is explaining to his group the ideas he has for the Weather and Atmosphere Badge.

Mel Goodwin is explaining to the Team his and Bruce Moravchik’s ideas regarding he Oceans and Coasts Badge.

Judith Koepsell is describing her teams goals regarding the Weather and Atmosphere Badge.

Jennifer Laughlin listens intently as her badge group discusses the logistics of the Weather and Atmosphere badge.

Molly Harrison giggles as her badge partner WIll Ober puts a spin on the Planet Stewards Marine Life Badge.

Steve Storck shows the Planet Stewards team a computer generated model him and his badge partner Lucas Gillispie designed for the Freshwater Habitats Badge.

Lucas Gilispie joyfully collaborates with his badge partner, Steve Storck, regarding the Freshwater Badge.

Bruce Moravchik explains the concepts him and Mel Goodwin came up with concerning the Ocean and Coasts Badge.

Lisa Dawley presents the badge system to the Planet Stewards team. She and Chris Haskell designed the system.

Beth Wellman researches sources for the Weather and Atmosphere badge.

Chris Haskell, Lisa Dawley, and Peg Steffen happily discuss the Planet Stewards badge system design.

Chris Haskell and Lisa Dawley momentarily goof around while discussing the operations of Planet Stewards.

All in all, each person was very open minded and invested in the creation of this game platform and NOAA badges. This is an incredible team that has come together to work on Planet Stewards. Each and everyone of the Team is knowledgeable, has ideas, and together they work successfully.

Post by: Kodi Sims

A Student’s Perspective

Kodi Sims PictureHello! My name is Kodi, and I will be blogging for the new Planet Stewards: Personalized Learning in 3D GameLab. So here is a little bit about me, I am currently a junior at Boise State University with a major in Environmental Studies. I plan on getting a Doctorate in this subject field. As a profession I would love to work for NOAA and for my focus to be on the oceans. I would do anything from coral studies to oil disaster cleanups. There is something about the ocean that draws me toward it. In fact, at the age of 11 years old I received my Scuba Diving license. I have traveled to many places and have seen some incredible things from the perspective of a fish, and what an incredible feeling that is! To be one with the ocean is soothing and it feels natural for me.

After graduating from High School in 2009, I had a huge dilemma on my hands. What was I going to do for the rest of my life? I racked my brain and realized that throughout the years the one thing, education wise, that I really cared about and that intrigued me was the environment. Many of my friends have gotten into degrees that they didn’t like, or didn’t interest them, but I never felt the way they did about Environmental Studies. It’s hard to think about a career when your only 18 years old, but if you can figure out what your most passionate about college will go by a lot quicker. I have taken over 30 credits relating directly to my major and each and every class has been interesting, and has lead me to believe that this is what I will do for the rest of my life.  I have built up a huge passion to help protect and educate people on environmental issues, and to show them how they can help.

I can’t even begin to tell you how important education is. I had always planned on going to college, but after 3 years of being a full time student I was surprised how much I have learned, grown, and expanded my mind and ideas. Parents and teachers always gave lectures while I was in high school, and I really never paid attention to what they were saying, I was going to college anyways right? Come to find out, they weren’t wrong about the importance of education. Through education we can change the world! People can’t pull together and change something if they don’t even know about it.

I am really excited to be joining the bloggers and followers on here. To get involved with NOAA and the education of students is quite exciting. My ultimate goal in life is to make the world a healthier place not just for humans but for all living things. The pathway it doing this is through education that is why 3D GameLab is very important to me. I would encourage everyone out there to take one baby step at a time, and help with the education of others.

Planet Stewards: Wouldn’t it be cool if..?

Planet Stewards imageChris Haskell and I like to joke that a lot of our ideas start out with a “Wouldn’t it be cool if…”  If we offer a gaming camp to teens, if we use quests as pedagogy, if we had a quest tracker tool to monitor progress on quests?  And thus the birth of 3D GameLab.

Then along comes the DML Badges for Lifelong Learning Competition.  Wouldn’t it be cool if NOAA would pair up with us to do quests in 3D GameLab?  If those quests led to the award of a badge?  If those badges represented NOAA career pathways (non-traditional) instead of content grouped around clusters (traditional)?  And if students could choose which badges to work on based on their own interest (personalized learning)?

All those “ifs” came true, and Planet Stewards is now in progress!  We feel so fortunate to be teamed up with the great folks at NOAA.

Project Objectives

  1. Introduce and motivate high school students to career pathways in the five NOAA science areas
  2. Design three career pathways in each of five NOAA science areas
  3. Integrate Mozilla OBI badging capability
  4. Offer OBI badges for both NOAA certified teachers (who train in this content), and NOAA certified specialists in each of the career pathways (students)
  5. Integrate new Science Framework standards and assessments (8 scientific and engineering practices)
  6. Design ID training, and train instructional designers to create master set of curriculum
  7. Design teacher training, and train teachers to create customized quest groups for their students
  8. Improve the learning analytics
  9. Improve the data visualization
  10. Implement with students and evaluate in real-time
  11. Work in partnership with school and organizational partners


  • Phase 1 (April-July 2012):  Planning & Design (instructional, graphic)
  • Phase 2 (July-Oct. 2012):  Teacher Training & Analytics Design, Mozilla coding (badge design)
  • Phase 3 (Oct-Dec 2012):  Teacher Training & Evaluation Planning, coding
  • Phase 4 (Jan-March 2013):  Student Piloting & Evaluation

Who’s Who

  • Peg Steffen, education coordinator NOAA National Ocean Service, and brainchild of the Planet Stewards curriculum
  • Lisa Dawley & Chris Haskell, co-inventors of 3D GameLab, and professors at Boise State University
  • Alark Joshi & Andy Hung, professors at Boise State helping us improve learning analytics and real-time data visualization

What’s Up?

Peg has pulled her working group together at NOAA, and we’ve had one large group meeting to begin looking at the “topic tree,” or exactly what content/standards NOAA recommends we cover in each career badge.  We had a great time thinking about careers, the types of learning activities students might engage in, and just how radical it is to learn content through real-world application that might lead to a new career in life.  Very inspiring stuff!

On the learning analytics side, we’ve set up our new analytic server, Andy & Chris are working on the KPIs to refine our data collection, and Alark shared some examples of data visualizations he’s exploring with the different data sets.  On the left are some examples of data visualization examples we discussed this week.

Next, we firm up our instructional designers on the project, and begin a one-week asynchronous training inside 3D GameLab.  Since we’ve previously focused on training teachers to design quests in the platform, this part is easy.  Later in June, we meet at NOAA to plan the overall scope our master set of curriculum, quest pathways and badges.

We’re currently hiring the graphic designer to pull together the badges.  This week on our call with Sunny Lee from Mozilla, she used the word “flair” to discuss the overall look of the badges–loved this!  And she also gave us Badges Resource Decision Map!  If you are new to badges and want to learn more, check it out, a very creative and useful tool.

So let’s all keep asking those “wouldn’t it be cool ifs,” know no boundaries, and continue to push it forward!   We’ll continue to post project updates here: