Citizen Science definition
Citizen science (CS) is a research approach in which scientific knowledge is gained by individuals who do not work professionally in the relevant scientific field. This collaboration is often realised in collaboration with or under the direction of professional scientists and scientific institutions (OED 2014).
The first objective of Citizen Science is to generate new knowledge. However, a successful CS project also include educational and societal goals like awareness and engagement.
The Pedagogical Sailboat and Citizen Science
ASE developed the concept of the Pedagogical Sailboat in order to laying solid foundations for the development of Citizen Science projects for students of secondary schools in the frame of the protection of the marine environment.
The primary challenge in Citizen Science projects (CS projects), is to produce reliable knowledge from data collected by non-professional scientists (secondary school students).
The CS project designer should identify valid learning methods that allow measuring the learning outcomes.
Within the Pedagogical Sailboat project we recomend to use the competence-based approach. The competence-based approach is a valuable method to design and conduct effective and consistent citizen science training and education. Let’s provide four reasons:
- The competence approach is a state-of-the-art training method that is aligned to explicit, measurable and transferable learning objectives and outcomes (Allen, 2001) ;
- the competence approach focuses on skill mastery not knowledge acquisition. According to PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment), competence is more than just knowledge and skills. It involves the ability to meet complex demands, by drawing upon and mobilising psychosocial resources (including skills and attitudes) in a particular context (PISA, 2005) . In other words this approach answers to the question “How well must it be done?”;
- it eases the possibility of delivering a certificate recognising the level of competence. This might be useful for the re-engagement of participants to new CS projects.
- furthermore, the competence approach offers future potential for a harmonization of the citizen science training.
The statements above are the reason why the first deliverable of the Pedagogical Sailboat project is to build a competence framework.
The competence framework of the pedagogical sailboat is a catalogue listing the competencies that the Pedagogical Sailboat targets and links them to the official secondary education curricula.
Allen, C. (2001). Competencies (Measurable Characteristics). Recommendation of the HR- XML consortium.
Bonney, R. (2009). Public participation in scientific research: defining the field and assessing its potential for informal science education. Washington, D.C.: CAISE.
Jennifer L. Shirk et al. (2012). Public Participation in Scientific Research: a Framework for Deliberate Design. Ecology and Society, 17(2), 29-48.
O’Sullivan, N. (2014). Teaching and learning in competency-based education. 5th conference on e-learning.
PISA. (2005). The definition and selection of key competencies. Retrieved from http://www.oecd.org/pisa/35070367.pdf.
Stoof, e. (2007). Educational Technology Research and Development, 55(4), 347-368.
OED. (2014). Citizen science definition - Oxford English Dictionary
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