Our modern world is incredibly busy and complex. There are so many new things coming our way that we can’t take them all in, let alone act on them. However, every now and then we are exposed to something new, which turns on a whole lot of light bulbs at once.
For me, it was being told about iNaturalistNZ, part of an international initiative called iNaturalist. In this blog, the first of a series, I will tell you about iNaturalistNZ and why it appeals to me as an educationalist, as a parent, and as someone simply interested in the Living World. I will also tell you about my journey so far with iNaturalistNZ, and hopefully tempt you to start using it too. My next blogs will look at the rationale for using iNaturalistNZ in formal education settings and delve deeper into iNaturalistNZ as a tool for learner agency in a globally connected world.
What is iNaturalistNZ?
iNaturalistNZ is a tool for all citizens that makes it easy for us to contribute to a living record of life in New Zealand. From the crowd-sourced data we create, scientists and environmental managers can monitor changes in biodiversity. iNaturalistNZ enables anyone with the iNaturalist smartphone app (Android or Apple) to record their observations of living things like plants, birds, and insects, and upload them to the Cloud so the iNaturalistNZ community can identify them and analyse them. It’s like iTunes in that the mobile app is used when you are out-and-about, whereas logging into your account from a bigger device like a laptop allows you to manage and organise your observations, and communicate with the iNaturalistNZ community.