Citizen Science in Learning & Education

This is the working website for ECSA's Working Group on Learning and Education. Anyone is welcome to visit it, but please recognize that it is built for internal communication. We'll craft a more public-friendly website in due time. If you'd like to join our group or just listen in on the conversation, please fill out the form on the "Join Us" page.

Our current campaign is to solicit recommendations for citizen science projects that are specifically useful in the classroom and in outside learning. If you have any experience with using CS in those capacities, please let us know on the form "Survey of CS projects" Thank you!

About ECSA

The European Citizen Science Association (ECSA) is a non-profit association set up to encourage the growth of the Citizen Science movement in Europe in order to enhance the participation of the general public in scientific processes, mainly by initiating and supporting citizen science projects as well as performing research on citizen science. To learn more about ECSA, visit our main website: ecsa.citizen-science.net

ECSA's Working Group on Learning and Education gathers school and higher education teachers; educators from museums, community spaces and after-school activities; educational researchers; scientists; and other communities interested in developing the informal learning and educational aspects of their citizen science projects.

Purpose for the working group:

  1. Build a strong international research base on learning in citizen science, connecting it more clearly to wider educational research;
  2. Engender stronger relationships between research and practice (Edwards et al., draft);
  3. Connect practitioners (e.g. school teachers, museum educators, scientists) interested in the learning and educational aspects of citizen science.

The working group focuses on supporting, researching and evaluating learning and education in citizen science. This includes:

  • Encouraging citizen science as a culture of lifelong learning;
  • Providing guidance to citizen science teams on the development and evaluation of educational opportunities in their citizen science projects;
  • Developing participatory evaluation methods;
  • Supporting capacity development in the research and practice of learning through citizen science;
  • Building a network of citizen science researchers and practitioners interested in learning and education;
  • Promoting educational opportunities in citizen science projects, for example, by offering training for scientists or connecting with the outreach goals of their research.

We distinguish four main spaces where learning and education may happen through citizen science:

  1. Educational institutions (Schools, K-12 and higher)
  2. Museums and similar out-of-school learning environments (zoos, nature parks, etc);
  3. Home/community (makerspaces, public labs, local communities, families, etc)
  4. Scientific research centres.

These projects can happen both in real life (IRL) and purely online - or in mixed ways. The most interesting projects might happen at the borders between these spaces…