Citizen Science has been recently defined by the Socientize FP7 project by a “general public engagement in scientific research activities when citizens actively contribute to science either with their intellectual effort or surrounding knowledge or with their tools and resources” .
In this project, we considered students as central actors of the scientific research, being able to decide or to influence on several aspects such as the definition of the research experiment, the protocol used for data collection, the way to report results and the knowledge transfer to the community.
Students' participation and motivation were strongly increased when they played the role of citizen scientists. The close contact with researchers, the perception of their ability to solve important issues for the community, and their empowerment as true owners of the project results play a key role in the observed successful implementation of Citizen Science at schools.
Want to introduce Citizen Science in your school? Please consult the Citizen Science Toolkit for Teachers
RRI has been introduced in the citizen science course toolkit for teachers following:
The students involved in the co-creation process of citizen science experiments are fully immersed in a research process, which is students-centred. They will have to get used with collaborative work as they will have to work in small groups and collectively as a whole converge on a unique experimental design. They will thus experience by themselves what a collaborative participation in a research process entails.
The Citizen Science co-creation sessions are totally non-conventional as they are not implying any conventional contents nor conventional learning contexts. At the beginning of each session, the classroom structure is totally changed, in order to provide some spaces to favour the work by subgroups. The sessions are totally based on the students’ inputs and unconventional materials like post-its, “thermometers”, canvas or mind-maps are used, thus boosting the students’ motivation.
More information on RRI 10 Ideas: https://zenodo.org/record/1303805#.W1H_03jdhF0
Citizen Science contents are based on the following innovative educational tools
Hands-on activities. Several activities included the creation of hand-made canvas, the most noteworthy example being the conceptual scheme of the experiment. These hands-on activities also potentiated the creativity and artistic skills of the students.
Inquiry based learning. The inquiry based learning and especially the “Open Inquiry” methodology was introduced in all steps of the co-creation process, through some open questions such as “Who am I?”, “What are my concerns?”, “Which research questions can I formulated?”, etc. This methodology was combined with the work in small groups of 4 to 6 students, which potentiated the team working abilities of the students and enhanced mutual learning.