Author Topic: Citizen Science and Citizen History as School and College Projects  (Read 1833 times)

navalhistory

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Hi all Citizen Scientists, Citizen Historians and plain Citizens,

It seems that not only is Citizen Science well established in the US, but has even reached down to the schools and colleges. In the UK and elsewhere, barely anyone seems to have heard of it. I would really like to see this change, so that students do some real science and history, using media they love - internet and social networking. Far more fun than sitting in just another lesson.

I've started emailing teaching institutions and science associations (UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand) along the following lines:

"Citizen Science, and now Citizen History, as a way of involving colleges and schools in cutting edge research, is well advanced in the US, but does not seem to have taken off in the UK.

I would really like to see this change, and as the .......... Association, I wonder if there is any way you could help this happen. With the challenges of teaching history, the idea of students actually working with professional historians rather than just attending another lesson, has a lot of appeal.

My particular interest is as a naval historian. The University of Oxford-based Zooniverse Programme is running a number of projects, one of which is Old Weather. This involves transcribing the log books of British and US naval vessels over the last 150 years so that the weather data can be used for climate modelling by the UK Met Office and  other institutes, and the naval information for history and genealogical researchers.

I would be happy to assist in any way I can. In the meantime, you can find out more by visiting http://www.zooniverse.org/http://www.oldweather.org/ or http://www.naval-history.net/"

So far I've had some good responses including one invite to a university and from the British Association of Science.

I have a teenage daughter at school and have emailed her head offering to talk to his staff.

If this grabs you as much as it grabs me, please see what you can do to start a revolution in education.

All best, Gordon

Janet Jaguar

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Re: Citizen Science and Citizen History as School and College Projects
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2012, 11:02:25 am »
 :)

jil

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Re: Citizen Science and Citizen History as School and College Projects
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2012, 12:01:43 pm »
At the King's College workshop on Crowd sourcing (see http://forum.oldweather.org/index.php?topic=3356.0) there was a discussion about getting schools involved. This mostly came from the Marine Lives (http://www.marinelives.org/) team as one of their members was a teacher who is also very keen to get real history into schools.

studentforever

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Re: Citizen Science and Citizen History as School and College Projects
« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2012, 12:48:50 pm »
I suspect that curriculum issues may be the real problem with schools.  I think there may be considerable scope in those courses which involve some kind of project.  With today's result driven ethos schools are increasingly unwilling to devote time to topics which won't appear on the exam paper no matter how educationally valuable they may be.  I'm keeping a look out for history teachers I can buttonhole.  If there is any interest in the Glasgow area (I hope you included the EIS in your mail) then I would be happy to help.

Kevin

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Re: Citizen Science and Citizen History as School and College Projects
« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2012, 02:26:23 pm »
And there is more than one way students can be involved: they can use the c-s project through participation OR they can help build it in some way. For instance, some students at the New Bedford Whaling Museum will be helping us cross-index a part of their logbook collection so we know which ones of the thousands we should prioritize.

By the way, it would be most helpful if we had a short-ish list of US escort ships on the Murmansk convoy route in WW2 and another for the Archanglsk campaign 1918 - Maybe this could be a student project?

Who knows how many projects will be generated by the data/information down the road?

AvastMH

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Re: Citizen Science and Citizen History as School and College Projects
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2012, 06:56:13 pm »
Gordon - I'm so sorry - I meant to find out if this might appeal to Oxford History in any way...I've lost my contact there - but I'll try to find one and see if they are interested.  Is ti possible that the folks who have shown such interest in America might understand how to make some headway over here?
Joan

navalhistory

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Re: Citizen Science and Citizen History as School and College Projects
« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2012, 09:24:53 am »
Thanks, the more contacts the merrier. Remember those often boring history lessons? Now it could be Internet and social networking for a break.

I take the point about curriculum overload, but I'm thinking as much about students going online in their spare time. Make a change from games and even more social networking.

Gordon

Janet Jaguar

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Re: Citizen Science and Citizen History as School and College Projects
« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2012, 01:22:31 pm »
My memory of being offered opportunities like this - not computerized back then at all - was all after class projects or summer classes scheduled when they wouldn't disrupt the normal schedule.  College always had special biology classes down in the Everglades or somewhere, work your butt off for a month or 6 weeks doing nothing else and get a full semester credit for the class on your record.  Art students could sign up for a summer class drawing/painting some foreign location they'd never been to before, and their grade was given the start of the next semester based on the one-person art show they had to set up for anyone to see. 

But they were indeed on the official curriculum to attract new students to their institution, with official class credits to save you from something else taken in a boring classroom.  My math profs kept grumbling they'd like to set up a statistics class in Las Vegas, but the admin of a christian college wasn't likely to allow that. :)