Citizen Science in the Introductory Classroom


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Presented this advocacy of Citizen Science at Teaching and Learning with Technology Conference (Fort Collins, CO) on 16 May 2011.

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Citizen Science in the Introductory Classroom

  1. 1. Suzanne T. Metlay, Ph.D. Instructor, Astronomy & Geology Front Range Community College <ul><li>Citizen Science in the Introductory Classroom </li></ul> Teaching and Learning with Technology Conference Fort Collins, CO – 16 May 2011
  2. 2. What is Citizen Science? <ul><li>Students/volunteers/amateurs with </li></ul><ul><li> little to no prior experience or training </li></ul><ul><li>Assist professional scientists in real research </li></ul><ul><li>Gather data and/or provide analysis of </li></ul><ul><li>actual data and/or images </li></ul><ul><li>In virtual world: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Participants go to website for </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> data/images to analyze </li></ul></ul><ul><li>In real world: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Participants record/obtain data outside </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> in their own local environments to </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> share with project leaders </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Hanny Van Arkel; Photo credit: Edd Edmondson Hanny’s Voorwerp; Photo credit: NASA/ESA/Hubble Space Telescope <ul><li>GalaxyZoo: </li></ul><ul><li>2007: Hanny Van Arkel discovers a Voorwerp </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>2009: The “Peas Corp” & Green Pea galaxies </li></ul><ul><li>2010: > 250,000 volunteers worldwide </li></ul>Green Pea Galaxies; Photo Credit: Carolin Cardamone/Sloan Digital Sky Survey SETI@Home: 1999: Volunteers run SETI data as screensavers Illustration: Callan Bentley Old News?
  4. 4. Citizen Science Sites Abound Investing in the deliberate benefits of distributed thinking
  5. 5. Mobile Phone with GPS + Photos + Notes = Data! Page credit: Eric Graham, CENS (UCLA)
  6. 6. Applications Within A Domain - Biodiversity Page credit: Bill Gail, Microsoft Inventory Validation Nature Mapping - UW Systematic Monitoring Picture Post - UNH Habitat Management Fire Alert System – Conservation International Invasive Species ID What’s Invasive! App - UCLA Detailed Assessment Coral Reef Habitat Mapping – U Queensland Forest Inventory World Forest Observatory - RFF Tool Validation Yaqui Valley Wheat Farming - Stanford Event Detection Air Twitter – Washington U
  7. 7. “ All first-year students will participate in this non-credit bearing program during their first year at Bard. Citizen Science was created to introduce students to the practice of the scientific method and promotion of scientific literacy . This program aims to expand student understanding of concepts and processes required for personal decision making and participation in civic and cultural affairs .” “ Th e most terrifying problem in American university education is the profound lack of scientific literacy … while we ’v e found ways to educate scientists in the humanities, the reverse has never really happened.” Leon Botstein, President, Bard College ( Citizen Science Requirement at Bard College Roger Hiemstra & Ralph Brockett (1994) “ From behaviorism to humanism…” http://www-distance. syr . edu/sdlhuman .html
  8. 8. Americans are in midst of “Radical Individualism” <ul><li>Popular trends to : </li></ul><ul><li>Decentralize </li></ul><ul><li>Do It Yourself (DIY) </li></ul><ul><li>Distrust authority </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Less desire for professionals </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Populist social movements : </li></ul><ul><li>Politics: Tea Party, Coffee Party </li></ul><ul><li>Music: Home recording studios, GarageBand </li></ul>Socio-Economic Benefits of Citizen Scientists <ul><li>Unpaid vs. paid labor (complements but does not dislocate workforce) </li></ul><ul><li>Education (science literacy, computer literacy, transferable skills) </li></ul><ul><li>Public engagement in civic affairs (greater engagement in local issues) </li></ul><ul><li>Community development (shared goals, cultural science as valued part of </li></ul><ul><li>knowledge-based economy, development of online communities ) </li></ul><ul><li>Observational/computer technology increasingly available and affordable </li></ul><ul><li>Volunteers are often professionals in other fields; unpaid does not mean unskilled </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>(1) Lines are blurring between amateur and professional </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Amateurs do actual science, education, journalism </li></ul></ul><ul><li>(2) Science bloggers/podcasters </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Counter misinformation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Squash rumors, verify reality </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Informal education </li></ul></ul><ul><li>(3) Drivers of economic or political change </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Environmental concerns </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Increased productivity in era of budget cuts </li></ul></ul><ul><li>How can YOU engage with YOUR communities? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Virtual </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Actual </li></ul></ul>Preparing Students for Life after Your Course
  10. 10. Questions? Comments? Thank you! [email_address] 303-678-3855 (faculty support)
  11. 11. Walk-through Suzanne’s favorite Citizen Science sites Excellent summary of astronomy, earth science, ecology and biology sites: MoonZoo: Planet Hunters: Old Weather: Picture Post: Project BudBurst: http://www. scienceforcitizens .net/