Mrs. Brenner’s 11th and 12th grade Anatomy and Physiology classes had the opportunity to Skype with Dr. Maarten Vanhoof, a scientist in France, through the Skype a Scientist program.

Dr. Vanhoof is a computer scientist/geographer who studies publicly available data gleaned from mobile phones and makes meaning of it. He has been studying how using data can improve the efficiency of mobility within a large city, such as Paris.

“I had my students check out his work in collecting and analyzing data,” shared Mrs. Brenner. “We worked through some data sets using CODAP (Common Online Data Analysis Platform), and then I had them submit questions for Dr. Vanhoof via the web application Socrative, and shared it with Dr. Vanhoof.”

Skype a Scientist matches scientists with classrooms around the world. Scientists Skype into the classroom for a 30-60 minute Q and A session with students that can cover the scientist’s expertise or what it’s like to be a scientist. 

The program gives students the opportunity to get to know a “real scientist.” This was Mrs. Brenner’s first time participating in the program.

“I learned from our interview with Dr. VanHoof that mobile data can be tracked from a group as large as a city and how helpful it can be,” shared AJ Moberg. “I learned how he got his Ph.D., and his research of mobile data is very interesting.”

Mrs. Brenner is hopeful to continue to participate in the Skype a Scientist program. Caspian Brenner added, “It was cool to talk to someone who’s work is a result of humanity’s development. Next, I would like to talk to a scientist who researches natural elements or the natural world in some way.”