Citizen Science for Youth: Crowdsourcing

Citizen science has been around for some time. Typically, citizen science engages citizens in acquiring or processing large quantities of data. Weather and climate patterns, phenology, and images of space and planet surfaces are examples of where the scientific community has engaged the public in the data process. The public provides data collectors and processers at a level beyond what the science community could produce, creating a workforce that can manage tedious or repetitive procedures easily learned by those outside the field. Engaging youth in a large enterprise dealing with Big Data is a wonderful experience, but the continuum of scientific opportunity can be much wider. Youth can partner with scientists and engage in their own research, leading them to their own claims about their evidence as well as the evidence that comes from the larger scientific community.

The webinar focuses on the steps in engaging youth and showcasing opportunities for citizen science that span the continuum. The conversation will focus on why youth should be involved, how to get them involved, and how youth benefit. Scientists from Iowa State University explain how they engage youth in their work, an example that can be applied across many disciplines. They will also discuss how to provide opportunities for youth in applied science fields and the various practical methods they are piloting to expand the citizen science reach for youth. We end with a list of Citizen Science Projects to fire up your imagination for how you can include crowdsourcing and citizen science in this year’s youth programming.

References & Resources: 

Public Participation in Scientific Research: Converging on Effective Design Strategies, (reformatted) by Jennifer Shirk & colleagues, 2011.

List of Citizen Science projects used by 4-H Programs across the nation, from a survey conducted Summer 2013 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and that meet their definition of Citizen Science.

Cornell Lab of Ornithology & 4-H Citizen Science Webinar, archive from June 2013 event.

National Academy of Sciences recently held a colloquium on The Science of Science Communications. Particularly wonderful was a session by Susan Fiske, Princeton University, on the elements of communication that are required for true absorption by people. The colloquium was recorded; this was day 1 about 1 hr. 45 min. into it. Go to this link and find "Watch the webcast videos"

Research on science argumentation for youth: look for the writings of Michael Ford as well as two books by Brian Hand, Questions, Claims, Evidence: The Important Place of Argument in Children’s Science Writing and Negotiating Science, the Critical Role of Inquiry, Grades 5-10

Author(s), Presenter(s): 
Laura Jesse, entomologist, Iowa State University Pest Management Program; Erika Saalau-Rojas, plant pathologist, Iowa State University Pest Management Program; Daren Mueller, agronomist, Iowa State University Pest Management Program; Jay Staker, Program Director, Extension Science, Engineering & Technology, and Associate Director of Education, Iowa Space Grant Consortium, Iowa State University, will moderate the conversation; Trudy Dunham, Research Fellow, University of Minnesota Extension Center for Youth Development.
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