A partnership with young people took in Leysin American School (LAS), in Switzerland, during the European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) workshop on enhancing synergies between citizen science and education helped us in evaluating a first version of the nQuire platform. LAS is a boarding school with students coming from different backgrounds and having different native languages.
The aim of this study was to examine the usability of an early version of the platform and understand, in particular, how young people aged 16 to 18 in particular perceive technologies that support inquiry-led social science investigations.
The students decided and registered in a workshop of their choice, based on the circulated descriptionsthat informed about the study purposes. The students who joined our workshop consented to their participation on the online consent and confirmation form on the platform, prior to contributing or creating an inquiry (mission).
Outcomes revealed that there is a preference by the majority of the young participants to use mobile devices for accessing the platform. This finding emphasises the importance of mobilised learning and mobile-friendly design for engaging teenagers with inquiry-led activities. Further difficulties and suggestions mentioned by students included scaffolding (instructions), better colours and search features. These have already been communicated to designers and have been implemented in the latest version of the platform.
The study details have been presented at the 17th World Conference on Mobile and Contextual Learning (mLearn 2018). Find out more about the study here: http://oro.open.ac.uk/57620/1/proceeding_184922.pdf