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Learning in online citizen science


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Invited presentation at the European Citizen Science Association (ECSA) webinar on participation and learning in online citizen science. This presentation is based on the 'Citizen Science: Theory & Practice' journal review article found here:

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Learning in online citizen science

  1. 1. Online Citizen Science: A Systematic Review of Effects on Learning and Scientific Literacy Dr Maria Aristeidou Institute of Educational Technology The Open University @aristeidoum
  2. 2. Systematic review Published in “Citizen Science: Theory and Practice” Research questions: • RQ1: Methods capturing learning in online CitSci projects • RQ2: Learning impact in online CitSci projects Keywords: online/virtual citizen science, learning/science learning/scientific literacy (75 results) Criteria: online citizen science, learning impact, empirical research, English language Final result: 10 empirical research papers
  3. 3. Journals & Conferences that the reviewed studies were published • Journal of Science Communication • Astronomy Education Review • Journal of Research in Science Teaching • Educational Technology & Society • Public Understanding of Science • Human Computation • AERA (American Educational Research Association) Conference • ESREA (European Society for Research on the Education of Adults) Conference • International Conference on Communities and Technologies
  4. 4. Citizen Science Projects reported in the reviewed studies • Bat Detective • Penguin Watch • Seafloor explorer • Snapshot Serengeti • KRAG • iSpot • iSPEX • EveryAware • Citizen Sky • Weather-it • Old Weather • Transcribe Bentham • Planet Hunters • Galaxy Zoo • Rock Hunters • Eyewire • BOINC & BOINC AF
  5. 5. RQ1: Methods for capturing learning • Self-reported learning: • Interviews with participants • interviews with scientists • Likert scales • Questionnaires • Scientific Attitude Instrument (pre/post) • Instrument for epistemological beliefs (pre/post) • Nature of Scientific Knowledge Scale (NSKS) • Identification check (false/right) • Project questions (false/right) • Visual science quizzes • Zooniverse Astronomy Concept Survey (ZACS) (pre/post) • Log data analysis • Informal Learning in Citizen Science (ILICS) Survey • Forum interactions analysis
  6. 6. RQ2: Learning impact • Attitudes towards science: self-reporting positive impact, reinforced positive attitude, lowered self-perception, science = fun, agent-centred presence (local action groups, project promotion) • Nature of science: creativity in science, new perspective, scientific approach (phases, procedures, time, debates, failure, peer-review) • Topic-specific knowledge: more tasks = greater knowledge/more correct identifications, science vocabulary, low scores/no difference, differs by topic, public engagement techniques, material, interaction with scientists, use of external resources, project involvement. Issues with pre-post tests • Science knowledge: no relation between participation and general science knowledge, inquiry/science skills (e.g. data annotation, pattern identification, question formation) • Generic knowledge: communication, community management, digital literacy
  7. 7. Discussion • Opportunities • Digitally enabled instruments (e.g. access to log data files) • Scaffolding mechanisms (e.g. visualisations) • Digital skills • Challenges • Difficulties in using pre/post assessment (informal environment, free-choice learning, changing citizen involvement) • Alternatives to pre/post test (e.g. retrospective pre-surveys, citizens’ diaries) • Not reported: experimental studies, school settings, long-term impact