See Related: Science Citizen Science
  1. Brian Drayton
  2. Co-Principal Investigator
  3. The Climate Lab
  4. http://manomet.org/climatelab
  5. Manomet Inc., TERC
  1. Evan Dalton
  2. Lead Instructor
  3. The Climate Lab
  4. http://manomet.org/climatelab
  5. Manomet Inc.
  1. Abe Drayton
  2. Sr. Research Associate
  3. The Climate Lab
  4. http://manomet.org/climatelab
  5. TERC
  1. Trevor Lloyd-Evans
  2. Senior Scientist
  3. The Climate Lab
  4. http://manomet.org/climatelab
  5. Manomet Inc.
  1. Gillian Puttick
  2. Co-Principal Investigator
  3. The Climate Lab
  4. http://manomet.org/climatelab
  5. TERC
Public Discussion
  • Icon for: Brian Drayton

    Brian Drayton

    Presenter
    May 15, 2017 | 05:15 a.m.

    Welcome!  Our video gives a snapshot of where we are, 3 years into this exploratory project.  We look forward to your comments and questions about the Climate Lab, about scientist-school partnerships, about climate change education as it fits (or doesn't fit) into school curriculum — and more!

     
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  • Icon for: Claire Quimby

    Claire Quimby

    Facilitator
    May 15, 2017 | 11:03 a.m.

    Hi Brian! Thanks for sharing your work. I'm fascinated by the idea of citizen science getting the public engaged in real research, although as you say in your video, there can be challenges to using the data collected by citizen scientists. Are there any types of research projects or types of data collection that you think are really well-suited to a citizen science approach?

     
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  • Icon for: Martin Storksdieck

    Martin Storksdieck

    Director and Professor
    May 18, 2017 | 03:34 a.m.

    Interestingly, the citizen science association is holding its biannual conference right now in St. Paul. There are many in this community who would argue that the basic principles for citizen science projects that simultaneously create valid data and engaging experiences are by now well established.  Incidentally, the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine is now conducting a study on the learning potential of citizen science; while not focused on optimizing towards participant learning outcomes AND data quality, the issue will certainly come up.   Brian, I was wondering what you think about GLOBE in the context of this discussion.

     
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  • Icon for: Brian Drayton

    Brian Drayton

    Presenter
    May 18, 2017 | 04:06 a.m.

    The integration of citizen science and education is not a new idea, nor unique to the Climate Lab, of course, and there are lots of interesting studies about what works and what doesn't, from the point of view of the scientists, the students, the teachers, etc.,  [It's not new at TERC, even -- the Global Lab project from the late 1980s (and through many subsequent forms) was a very early NSF-funded project with a climate change focus, for example.  When GLOBE, a large and remarkable program came along in the 1990s, TERC got involved there, too, for quite a few years.]    The issues of integration with the curriculum, reliability and usability of data, are recurrent (or persistent, or both) in most such programs. So also are the "cultural" issues of school and scientists. As you say, the "principles" have been worked out, but there's still a lot to learn!

     
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  • Icon for: Brian Drayton

    Brian Drayton

    Presenter
    May 15, 2017 | 11:25 a.m.

    Hi, Claire, thanks for your comment!

        This video showcase has several interesting examples of citizen-science projects — for example, check out Foldit  http://stemforall2017.videohall.com/presentatio....  Citizen scientists have served as monitors around nuclear power plants, have analyzed astronomical data (such as looking for asteroids or near-earth objects), done watershed studies, and more.  And in Europe for more than a century, some governments and others have collected seasonal plant and animal data (phenology) as part of their weather forecasting, agricultural services, etc. 

          The thing is, there are a lot of big questions whose answers require many more eyes/hands/minds on than can be supplied by professional scientists.  I like to say that while Big Science instruments like the Hubble Telescope, or CERN, are necessary for answering some questions, a regional ,national,  or international network of observers is the right tool for understanding things like local and regional impacts of climate change.  Even with the explosion of such programs (go to USANPN.org, for example) , we need more people on the ground — but we also need more people using the data.    It's actually pretty easy to generate more data than can be handled!  Also, issues like data quality are time-consuming and persistent. 

    Schools bring some tools that can help, if the teachers and students take on the challenge of data quality and analysis as real learning opportunities, bringing to bear the pedagogy and standards of good science education.  The research program has be designed to make use of various kinds of data, so that citizen-collected data have authentic value, but are used to complement what the "pros" do -- for example, generating hypotheses (or possible ones) that can be worked with more formally by other members of the research team.    This also means interesting negotiations between the school world and the scientist world.  Many of these issues are familiar to both scientists and teachers around the world, but there's always more to learn in such partnerships, about how to connect/blend cultures...

     
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    Claire Quimby
  • Icon for: Claire Quimby

    Claire Quimby

    Facilitator
    May 18, 2017 | 10:05 p.m.

    Thanks Brian! This has me thinking that talking about data quality is a fantastic learning opportunity for students. Thinking about how data is collected, potential sources of error and so on is a big achievement for critical thinking. If students can do this, they'll be ahead of the game - and not just when in comes to STEM pursuits.

     
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  • Icon for: Brian Drayton

    Brian Drayton

    Presenter
    May 19, 2017 | 05:49 a.m.

    Yes-- it gets to the heart of many aspects of science as it is practiced.  Over the years, I have come across teachers here and there who have a good feeling for data, and help the students develop some instincts about working with it, and it's exciting to see the kids dig into questions of quality, relevance, reliability, and so forth-- even if they don't have a lot of mathematical tools that they can use, yet.  I think it helps to realize that it all is rooted in how the data are actually collected and recorded (or transformed).  In a way, very simple and concrete, but profound. 

     
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  • Icon for: Cyrus Shaoul

    Cyrus Shaoul

    Researcher
    May 15, 2017 | 04:24 p.m.

    Hi Brian. This looks like a fantastic project.

    One question: are there any statistical tools that citizen scientists can use to find out how noisy their data are, or how much measurement error they are seeing?

    Thanks, and best of luck.

     
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  • Icon for: Trevor Lloyd-Evans

    Trevor Lloyd-Evans

    Co-Presenter
    May 15, 2017 | 05:18 p.m.

    Hi Cyrus.  Brian has described our teaching goals well below.  As always, statistical significance depends on sample size, standard deviation and the possible (maybe probable) measurement error you refer to.  We are teaching 7th & 8th grade here so we rely more on simple visual graphics that the teachers can interpret for the students.  We then make the background papers with all the stats available to the teachers.  One advantage with any long-term citizen science project is often that even small or variable samples over many years will reveal the background significance of a trend - or not!

     
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  • Icon for: Brian Drayton

    Brian Drayton

    Presenter
    May 15, 2017 | 04:55 p.m.

    Cyrus 

        I will ask one of my colleagues to weigh in -- the Manomet scientists have been the ones doing the data quality assessments.  While you wait for that answer, however, I will say that one of the areas we've been working on is in refining the protocols, and multiplying ways to offer access to participation, in order to achieve more reliability at the most basic level — for example, that complete data sets are generated, that measurements are recorded legibly (or accurately, where digital media are possible), and so forth.  Our measurements started out rather simple, I should add!   

        In my view, a key to this level of reliability has been to make sure that the teachers understand the research program they are participating in, and can interpret it to the kids — and that they have the support of administrators to do the field work!  Of course, with middle school, the mere experience of getting out into the field is so stimulating, and the sense of participating in something that reaches beyond the school walls is so interesting, that some benefits accrue from these activities — and the value of the data are a second-order consideration.  So this has taken more attention. 

     In fact, TERC"s work has been both as curriculum developers, and as "brokers" or interpreters between school culture and scientist culture.    

     
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  • Icon for: Heidi Carlone

    Heidi Carlone

    Facilitator
    May 15, 2017 | 09:42 p.m.

    Brian,

    Exciting project! The video communicated the main components and purposes of the program very well. Do you have any data about the youths’ and teachers’ meanings of this program? In other words, do they see science differently as a result of their participation? Themselves as science literate? How many schools are you working with? How are teachers involved? 

     
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  • Icon for: Brian Drayton

    Brian Drayton

    Presenter
    May 16, 2017 | 05:47 a.m.

    Thanks, Heidi, 

        We have presently about 15 teachers involved, from 6 schools in New England and a couple in California (who will "come on line" next fall). The number has changed from year to year for a variety of reasons, most of them having to do with pressures on the teachers (e.g., teachers being assigned different classes, competition for time from other school programs).  It's one reason why we have been experimenting with the "schools as satellite field stations" idea, according to which we provide a variety of ways to participate, but in return the teachers commit to contributing specific data sets, with clear information about how the data will fit into the research program.  This has helped.

          We have not taken data on changed ideas about what science is, nor about the students (or teachers) as science learners, but that's something we can explore as we come to the end of this school year, and I'll bring the idea to our next team meeting!

     

     
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  • Icon for: Heidi Carlone

    Heidi Carlone

    Facilitator
    May 16, 2017 | 08:02 p.m.

    Brian-- I agree-- it is very difficult to sustain this kind of innovative instruction, given the multiple pressures on schools. However, I think your team's idea to allow schools to engage at different levels of commitment is a great one. We've found, in our work, that there are always a few "rock star" teachers who just blossom with these kinds of projects. I would love to provide your video to my science methods students and MEd students as a model for integrating authentic citizen science into school curriculum. 

     
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  • Icon for: Brian Drayton

    Brian Drayton

    Presenter
    May 17, 2017 | 05:32 a.m.

    Thanks, Heidi, this is encouraging.  If you use the video (and I hope you do!)  you might want also to show them our "Selector" which,  although it is still under construction, teachers have found useful.  

    https://external-wiki.terc.edu/display/BAC/Project+Selector

    And let me know if you need more info for your students.

     
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    Heidi Carlone
  • Icon for: Mavreen Rose Tuvilla

    Mavreen Rose Tuvilla

    Graduate Student
    May 16, 2017 | 05:40 a.m.

    Wow! Your project is fascinating. Towards the end of your video you mentioned that you are trying to adapt the project to other learners. Can you tell us more about that? Thanks!

     
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  • Icon for: Brian Drayton

    Brian Drayton

    Presenter
    May 16, 2017 | 05:51 a.m.

    Well, it's something we're thinking through right now.  We have had some interest from high school teachers, and from informal ed institutions (such as nature centers), possibly for adult visitors as well as young people.   As you can see from our (prototype)  "project selector"  (URL below) specific data sets could easily be identified which could be collected by such participants over time, and contributed to the overall, growing data set.   So this is something we're examining for the future.  Thanks for the question!

    https://external-wiki.terc.edu/display/BAC/Project+Selector

     
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  • Icon for: Sarah Garlick

    Sarah Garlick

    Facilitator
    May 16, 2017 | 10:06 a.m.

    Hi Brian and Trevor, thank you for sharing your project! I'd love to hear more about the role of the scientist(s) in the project. What is their role and time commitment? 

     
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  • Icon for: Brian Drayton

    Brian Drayton

    Presenter
    May 17, 2017 | 05:43 a.m.

    Hi, Sarah,  

        Trevor and Evan will really need to be the ones to answer, but I can make a start.  Since the Climate Lab project originated in a relationship between the Manomet center and a local teacher (who volunteers at the banding lab), the scientists have been deeply engaged.  They reached out to TERC when it seemed that an educational partner might be helpful. Manomet has taken the lead on designing the science research & methods, and in visiting schools and helping in field work.  (The TERC team are all ecologists, so in addition to designing activities and the ed research, we have collaborated in other aspects as well).  After all, the focus is on developing an educational/scientific relationship between schools and scientists-- and the scientists' engagement is motivating for both the teachers and students.   The scientists have spent a lot of time also revisiting field sites to verify aspects of the schools' data collection, writing up newsletters to keep the teachers informed, and workign with TERC to offer webinars to the teachers. The project has gotten a lot done on a small budget, I think!  Manomet has had a long history of outreach to schools, and this stance is key -- many scientists who are excited about citizen science don't have the experience that helps them blance the imperatives of their research program (necessarily central for them) with the work and priority that come with an educational enterprise.

     
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    Sarah Garlick
  • Icon for: Donna Charlevoix

    Donna Charlevoix

    Program Director
    May 17, 2017 | 11:16 a.m.

    Thanks for a great overview video. I'm wondering if you have plans for sustainability of the program, beyond the award. Can you share what you are thinking in terms of the long-term?

     
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  • Icon for: Brian Drayton

    Brian Drayton

    Presenter
    May 17, 2017 | 11:25 a.m.

    Sustainability is our current quest.  We are planning to seek additional NSF funding, but for the longer term we will be seeking local support, as we build out the "satellite field station" metaphor (and its reality).  

        We also feel that we are converging on a model that we hope to write up and make available for other similar partnerships around the country, perhaps with some coaching from our team. 

    Suggestions welcome!

     

     
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    Donna Charlevoix
  • Icon for: Donna Charlevoix

    Donna Charlevoix

    Program Director
    May 17, 2017 | 11:32 a.m.

    I appreciate that! Are you familiar with The GLOBE Program? They do something similar but internationally and more broadly Earth System Science. You have much more focused resources and curricular support for teachers but there might be some potential for collaboration. GLOBE is funded by NASA and has "Partners" in almost every US state, as well as membership in over 100 countries. 

     
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  • Icon for: Brian Drayton

    Brian Drayton

    Presenter
    May 18, 2017 | 04:42 a.m.

    Yes I am aware of GLOBE -- it's hard not to be!  It's a remarkable program, and of course there are important simililarities with the Climate Lab, and with many other programs. (The International Biological Program is one important precursor, and some classic phenology projects, like lilac phenology, were developed for, or widely disseminated through the IBP).  Our "satellite field station" approach represents a somewhat different, place-based model, with (we hope!) different affordances and opportunities. And challenges. 

     
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  • Icon for: John Anderson

    John Anderson

    Informal Educator
    May 19, 2017 | 01:22 p.m.

    Hi Brian - Great project.  A general question for many of our projects is, "what tools or approaches could help create introductions among educators and scientists in ways that good work - such as happening with The Climate Lab - becomes standard practice?" One network that has been facilitating cross-disciplinary relationships for more than a decade is the "New England Ocean Sciences Education Collaborative" (http://www.neosec.dreamhosters.com/). I imagine a future in which participation in outdoor citizen science and habitat restoration projects is as common as participation in youth soccer and online gaming.  There are multiple benefits for learning, physical health, mental health and building social ties (social capital).  How can our various projects be leveraged and scaled to create such a future?

     
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  • Icon for: Brian Drayton

    Brian Drayton

    Presenter
    May 19, 2017 | 01:57 p.m.

    Hey John, 

       I've been aware of NEOSEC for the past few years (thanks to Billy Spitzer and some folks at the Seacoast Science Center in Portsmouth).  I wonder whether it's time for such groups in NE to get together and think about alliance/collaboration/mutual reinforcement...
       I for sure agree that such experiences ought to be common and "taken for granted" parts of science education and community life — and I've often wanted to help teachers see themselves in a continuum from learners to professional scientists -- a science community that is both learning and doing science, with lots of  mutual exchange.  

        Maybe we should get together and think about how to move the conversation forward???

     

     
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