Active, problem-based learing, citizen science and teen science cafe

Showcase Forums Teen Science Cafe Workshop Discussion 2015 Active, problem-based learing, citizen science and teen science cafe

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    Lawrence Norris

    Problem Based Learning (PBL) is a research based learning method. In PBL students are encouraged to solve problems, both theoretical and practical, which are set in a real world framework. The problems are often complex and open-ended, requiring real thought and enquiry. The students work together in small groups supported by a staff facilitator. A PBL approach means that students take a greater part in their own learning.

    Citizen Science refers to the general public’s active engagement in and contribution to scientific research. Participants provide experimental data and facilities for researchers, conduct basic analyses, raise new questions and co-create a new scientific culture. While adding value, citizen scientists acquire new learning and skills, and deeper understanding of the scientific work1. There are dozens if not hundreds of citizen science projects available to teen and adult participation ranging from physics and astronomy, to ecology, economics, ornithology, political science, and zoology.

    Citizen science projects are more than collecting data: they are about raising awareness, building capacity, and strengthening communities. The open and participatory culture of citizen science has gained momentum thanks to broadband access as citizen science projects conducted via web technologies can yield massive virtual collaborations1. More recently citizen science has been even more accelerated by pervasive computing, which current teens are all over.

    PBL and citizen science can be combined in the TSC framework to provide the teens with venues to make authentic constributions to scientific knowledge. Indeed we expect of our students that participate in citizen science that they not only to analyze data, but understand where it came from, why and how it was collected, provide insight and new ideas on that front end, and likewise to the interpretation on the back end. We want them not not only be participants in the science, but owners of the science. We therefore envison occasions when the students are the ones presenting new scientific knowledge to visiting professional scientists in a true scientific exchange if not collaboration.

    Lawrence Norris

    One possible activity for the TSCN, where each site can participate separately and/or collaboratively with each other, is the Pulsar Search Collaboratory,

    ( is likely very much an expert on this project.

    Nicole Gugliucci

    Good call! I’ve actually worked with several of the staff, as I did some of my graduate work in Green Bank. It’s an amazing project that allows high school students to search through pulsar survey data, and several students have made discoveries with the project. If anyone is interested in more information, I can certainly get you in touch with those in charge.

    Ann Boes

    It would be helpful to have a page on the TSC site with links to various Citizen Science projects that might align with Cafe topics, along with commenting capability where TSC site coordinators could share their teen’s experience with a given project.

    Lawrence Norris

    This site is informative

    There is the Citizen Science Association, as well as similar associations in the UK and Australia that are active on Twitter.

    This link has a lot of good resources,

    Michelle Hall

    There are some really wonderful citizen science projects out there and some citizens have been able to make real discoveries. But, the reality of most of the projects is that citizens contribute or maybe even verify data, but too many projects have little or no opportunities for analysis. This is an issue that many projects are struggling with. There are over 200 citizen science projects, but too few have the citizens doing anything more than gathering data or verifying data.

    EBird is a successful project that has opportunities for citizens to contribute and to do their own research. Zooniverse has some space related ones also. Is anyone besides Nicole and I involved in a citizen science project now?

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