Citizen Science Day 2019: Add Real Scientific Research to Your Library Programming!

By cnickerson | February 14, 2019 2:18 pm

From the NIH/ National Network of Libraries of Medicine

citizen-science-day-graphic

Libraries are hubs for discovery and community engagement; imagine your library joining a real-time event with others around the world and contributing to real scientific research to speed up Alzheimer’s research! Citizen Science Day 2019 is Saturday, April 13. You and your library are invited to participate in the Stall Catchers Megathon, in which people all over the world will analyze real research data in a game format that would normally take researchers over a year to complete.

Join us for this one-hour webinar on February 20, 2019 to learn more about Citizen Science (real people doing real science), and see how your library can get on board through citizen science activities and programming at different levels. You will see how Stall Catchers works and learn about hosting the Megathon challenge, plus you will learn about finding projects and contributing to scientific research through the SciStarter Citizen Science portal. In addition, we will share a wealth of resources for planning a Citizen Science Day Megathon event and explore the exciting world of additional Citizen Science programming in your libraries.

Presenters: Darlene Cavalier, School for the Future of Innovation in Society at ASU; SciStarter, Dan Stanton, Arizona State University Library; SciStarter, and Pietro Michelucci, PhD, Executive Director, Human Computation Institute.

Class Date: Feb 20, 2019
1:00PM – 2:00PM PT

Register for the free webinar. 

Instructor(s):Kelli Ham, MLIS, Community Engagement Librarian

CATEGORIZED UNDER: citizen science day, Event

New citizen science tools database to discover and access the right instruments

By Julia Travers | February 14, 2019 12:55 pm

Citizen science (public participation in scientific research) often calls for tools you won’t find lying around the house, such as a rain gauge to record precipitation or an air quality sensor.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: tools

Learning Through Citizen Science: Enhancing Opportunities By Design

By cnickerson | February 13, 2019 12:03 am

report cover

A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine,  “Learning Through Citizen Science: Enhancing Opportunities by Design” in now available in print.

“In the last twenty years, citizen science has blossomed as a way to engage a broad range of individuals in doing science. Citizen science projects focus on, but are not limited to, nonscientists participating in the processes of scientific research, with the intended goal of advancing and using scientific knowledge. A rich range of projects extend this focus in myriad directions, and the boundaries of citizen science as a field are not clearly delineated. Citizen science involves a growing community of professional practitioners, participants, and stakeholders, and a thriving collection of projects. While citizen science is often recognized for its potential to engage the public in science, it is also uniquely positioned to support and extend participants’ learning in science.

Contemporary understandings of science learning continue to advance. Indeed, modern theories of learning recognize that science learning is complex and multifaceted. Learning is affected by factors that are individual, social, cultural, and institutional, and learning occurs in virtually any context and at every age. Current understandings of science learning also suggest that science learning extends well beyond content knowledge in a domain to include understanding of the nature and methods of science.

Learning Through Citizen Science: Enhancing Opportunities by Design discusses the potential of citizen science to support science learning and identifies promising practices and programs that exemplify the promising practices. This report also lays out a research agenda that can fill gaps in the current understanding of how citizen science can support science learning and enhance science education.”

Find highlights from the report here.

Among the authors is Darlene Cavalier, Founder of SciStarter, and Professor of Practice at the School for the Future of Innovation in Society at Arizona State University.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Citizen Science, In the News, Research

About SciStarter’s “Participant API,” used by 50+ citizen science projects (and counting)

By Darlene Cavalier | February 12, 2019 3:45 pm

I thought it would be helpful to provide a description of what SciStarter’s Participant API is and why a growing number of projects and platforms are implementing it and becoming SciStarter Affiliates in the process.

A little background. SciStarter had been “merely” a database where project scientists would add their projects and citizen scientists would find projects. As PBS, Discover, NSTA and others started embedding our Project Finder, more and more people were able to discover and engage in citizen science. As a research platform, one that imports and exports records with the GAO’s Federal Inventory of Citizen Science and Crowdsourcing database ( citizenscience.gov) and others, SciStarter is a useful tool to understand the landscape of projects and have a basic understanding of what projects people are viewing, saving, and clicking to join. But once someone clicked on a project and left our site, we had no idea of whether or not they actually engaged in the project.

Through National Science Foundation-funded research, we spent a lot of time interviewing citizen scientists and project leaders and we learned that people engage in multiple projects at any given time. We also discovered growing interest among: 1) citizen scientists who wanted to track their contributions across all their projects; 2) higher ed institutions (including Arizona State University, where I work) who wanted to translate that collective evidence into some form of accreditation; 3) classrooms and organizations (including the Girl Scouts of USA) who wanted to provide curated projects to their students/members *and* have evidence of engagement across those projects; and 4) researchers and practitioners who wanted to study the movement, barriers, and outcomes of citizen science across the landscape (this is typically analyzed in silos within a single project or platform).

All of these would depend on our ability to know whether someone participated in a project, which project, and how frequently.

scistarter-affiliate

To this end, the National Science Foundation provided support for SciStarter, in collaboration with ASU and NC State University, to create digital tools (we call them ” SciStarter Affiliate Tools”) that center around a “Participant API”. More than 60+ projects and platforms now use the affiliate tools to record and share “events” from their website and app and transmit the reports to SciStarter.

The “event” is a contribution. This might be an observation shared through the app or website, or it might be an online classification, depending on the project. For apps that have multiple projects or protocols, each event report includes the project or protocol ID. This does not interrupt the user’s experience. This information only takes into account SciStarter users.  The API uses safe, encrypted methods so the project can easily check to see if a citizen scientist who is contributing to their project is a SciStarter user. We don’t see or save emails, nor do the projects using the API.  We adhere to the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) laws. We are transparent on our end and we ask projects to include a visible confirmation message for anyone coming from SciStarter. We clarify this process on a stand-alone cookies page, and, if someone requests that we remove their SciStarter profile, we delete all historic data as well.

This enables projects that use the API to understand what other projects their anonymized participants (from SciStarter) view, save, join and contribute to, in addition to their project. This enables citizen scientists to have evidence of their contributions across projects and platforms. This enables teachers, scout leaders, and other facilitators to support their members’ progress and have evidence of participation (including the frequency of participation).

By way of a few examples:Girl Scouts USA customized a portal on SciStarter and selected a handful of projects that fit their criteria for their Outdoor STEM badge: Think Like a Citizen Scientist. Troop leaders are directed to the portal on SciStarter where they view information on the curated projects. They select and assign projects to their troops. As the troops contribute to the projects–even if they contribute through apps or other websites–their contributions are credited in their dashboard and shared with their troop leader who can then award badges once the girls completed the assignment. Girl Scouts USA has an administrative level analytics dashboard on SciStarter so they can gain a better understanding of engagement, retention, attrition, and interest levels at the troop and council levels. They use this information to improve their Outdoor STEM badge programs.

Broward County School District in FL, NC State University, and a host of corporate volunteer programs customized similar portals on SciStarter and their communities reap the same benefits of easily discovering curated, vetted projects aligned with their interests and locations (including those that use the Participant API), and producing evidence of engagement across projects. This data is so valuable to project owners and organizational partners because it provides quantifiable analytics to help them understand the effectiveness of their program and to help them better understand and respond to the needs of their communities.

We are building something similar for the NOAA-funded project led by the Museum of Science (https://www.mos.org/press/pressreleases/Museum-of-Science-Awarded-NOAA-Grant )  to engage diverse groups of participants at 28 science centers around the United States in active learning and resilience planning around heat waves, sea level rise, extreme precipitation, and drought.  This project also hinges on the use of the affiliate tools so we can report out information on engagement levels and whether or not this approach leads to ongoing engagement in citizen science (and, if so, in what types of projects).

SciStarter and ASU (with support from the Institute for Museum and Library Services) recently launched similar programs and portals with public libraries through the development of Citizen Science Kits for loan through libraries. We provide tools for projects that require or can be enhanced through the use of sensors or tools/instruments. The projects currently featured in the kits, use the Affiliate Tools.  The research centers around our ability to support libraries as community hubs for citizen science and the Participant API enables us to learn whether or not participants 1) engage in projects, 2) sustain engagement and, if so, in what types of projects.

NSF recently provided SciStarter additional support to host a SciStarter Affiliate Tools workshop at the Citizen Science Association conference on 3/12 in North Carolina. At the workshop, we will onboard dozens of additional projects to support their integration of the Participant API. (NSF Abstract #1845241 “Practitioner Workshop for Deploying SciStarter Affiliate Tools to Support Strategic STEM Learning”). 

Taken together, these efforts help scale participation, measure outcomes, and lay the groundwork for accreditation.

Are you a project leader or platform developer interested in becoming a SciStarter Affiliate? Are you an organization interested in customizing a portal on SciStarter to engage your community in curated projects and access critical analytics to understand engagement levels? Contact info@SciStarter.com to let us know.

Cheers!

Darlene Cavalier

CATEGORIZED UNDER: In the News

What’s not to LOVE about Citizen Science?

By lshell | February 10, 2019 3:57 pm

ScienceConversationHeartAdvance research about heart health, early childhood development, animal lifespans, and more.

Then, mark your calendars! Citizen Science Day is April 13. Sign up to join the global Megathon and help us accelerate research on Alzheimer’s! Participate from home or join a team at a local library.

Librarians: Check out the free Citizen Science Day webinars featured below. Then register your library if you’d like to get involved in Citizen Science Day 2019.

Cheers!
The SciStarter Team

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Citizen Science

Nature: American Spring LIVE, premieres April 29 on PBS. #citizenscience

By cnickerson | February 1, 2019 2:05 pm
PBS TV Show Graphic

https://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/american-spring-live-about/17104/

Spring is one of nature’s greatest performances – a time of rebirth, renewed energy and dramatic transformations. For three consecutive nights, Monday, April 29 – Wednesday, May 1 at 8:00 p.m. ET on PBS, Nature: American Spring LIVE presents the change from winter to spring in real time from iconic locations across America. The series will include a mix of live and pre-taped footage highlighting some of the most pivotal events in nature’s calendar. A diverse group of researchers and citizen scientists will investigate how a wide range of organisms respond to the change of seasons. They will share their insights into the natural world, reveal new technologies that make their discoveries possible and encourage audiences to join the adventure of science.

To encourage citizen science participation during the broadcast and beyond, Nature: American Spring LIVE has partnered with the Celebrate Urban Birds and Bird Cams projects (Cornell Lab of Ornithology), The Great Sunflower Project (San Francisco State University), The Monarch Larva Monitoring Project (University of Minnesota Monarch Lab), Track-a-Lilac with Nature’s Notebook (USA National Phenology Network), SciStarter (School for the Future of Innovation in Society at Arizona State University),Next Avenue (Twin Cities PBS), and the National Park Service.

Read more on PBS.org .

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Citizen Science, Event, In the News

Rams vs. Patriots: Citizen Science Projects with the Science Cheerleaders

By lshell | January 29, 2019 2:05 pm

We’re highlighting five citizen science projects to celebrate the Super Bowl! In this newsletter, we’re also featuring the Science Cheerleaders: current and former NFL and NBA cheerleaders pursuing science careers.

These SciCheers hail from L.A. and Boston.

Our editors included a project for all the fans traveling to Atlanta for the big game!

Cheers!
The SciStarter Team

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Citizen Science

Learning Through Citizen Science: Enhancing Opportunities By Design

By cnickerson | January 29, 2019 8:53 am

citsci nas report coverA new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine,  “Learning Through Citizen Science: Enhancing Opportunities by Design” in now available in print. 

In the last twenty years, citizen science has blossomed as a way to engage a broad range of individuals in doing science. Citizen science projects focus on, but are not limited to, nonscientists participating in the processes of scientific research, with the intended goal of advancing and using scientific knowledge. A rich range of projects extend this focus in myriad directions, and the boundaries of citizen science as a field are not clearly delineated. Citizen science involves a growing community of professional practitioners, participants, and stakeholders, and a thriving collection of projects. While citizen science is often recognized for its potential to engage the public in science, it is also uniquely positioned to support and extend participants’ learning in science.

Contemporary understandings of science learning continue to advance. Indeed, modern theories of learning recognize that science learning is complex and multifaceted. Learning is affected by factors that are individual, social, cultural, and institutional, and learning occurs in virtually any context and at every age. Current understandings of science learning also suggest that science learning extends well beyond content knowledge in a domain to include understanding of the nature and methods of science.

Learning Through Citizen Science: Enhancing Opportunities by Design discusses the potential of citizen science to support science learning and identifies promising practices and programs that exemplify the promising practices. This report also lays out a research agenda that can fill gaps in the current understanding of how citizen science can support science learning and enhance science education.

Find highlights from the report here .

Among the authors is Darlene Cavalier, Founder of SciStarter, and Professor of Practice at the School for the Future of Innovation in Society at Arizona State University.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Classroom, Education, Research

Starting a Citizen Science Club at a University

By Guest | January 25, 2019 7:39 pm

 

image2

Why Start a Club?

Creating a citizen science student organization is a great way to build community both on campus and in your local community. Citizen science provides a platform for peers to share their individual interests and passions while working together on unique projects. Citizen science student organizations are able to give members an incredible sense of camaraderie through plenty of fun and exciting opportunities.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Citizen Science, Classroom, Education

Libraries – Coming Soon to a Citizen Science Conference Near You!

By Guest | January 16, 2019 10:45 am

If you are a fan of public libraries (and I’m assuming everyone is a fan of public libraries), I’ve got some exciting news for you!  Citizen Science practitioners and public libraries have been taking a good look at each other and finding ways of partnering to the mutual benefit of both.  If you are attending CitSci2019, March 13-17 in Raleigh, you will have an opportunity to hear a variety of perspectives from leaders, and to contribute to the ongoing discussion, at the Building capacity for partnership-centric community and citizen science in libraries Symposium.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Citizen Science, Event
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Citizen Science Salon, brought to you by SciStarter, is where science enthusiasts can join forces with top researchers. We'll feature weekly collaborative, crowdsourced, and DIY research projects that relate to what you're reading about in Discover, so you can take science into your own hands. You can also find us on Facebook and Twitter.
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