Online citizen science: An effective way of engaging young people with science or not?

Speaker: Thea Herodotou, IET

Title: Online citizen science: An effective way of engaging young people with science or not?

Abstract: LEARN Citizen Science is an international, 4-year NSF/Welcome-funded project aiming to identify how science learning can become more accessible and productive to young people, by examining online and field-based citizen science programmes at three Natural History Museums in London, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Over the last 3 years, researchers from the Institute of Educational Technology (IET) have been evaluating the impact of online citizen science programmes on young people, in two citizen science platforms Zooniverse and iNaturalist. In this presentation, findings from the Zooniverse platform are presented and discussed. Data were collected from 64 surveys, 39 interviews and over 200 log files, pointing to diverse forms of participant demographics, participation and learning.

Bio: Dr Christothea Herodotou is a Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) at the Open University, UK. She has extensive expertise in the evidence-based design and evaluation of technologies for learning (online platforms, mobile applications, digital games) through innovative research methodologies including learning analytics. She holds funding from the National Science Foundation, Wellcome, and ESRC to improve the design of online citizen science platforms and make science learning more accessible and productive to young people. She is the academic lead of nQuire – a citizen science platform developed in partnership with the BBC that aims to engage the public in all the stages of scientific research. She is the PI of the UKRI funded project EduCS that aims to develop citizen science capacity in large organisations. Also, she holds funding from eSTEeM (co-I) to improve the accuracy of predictive learning analytics of at risk students, as measured by OU Analyse. She coordinated the evaluation of the Early Alert Indicators project, a university-wide initiative that assessed predictive learning analytics interventions and their impact on students’ performance and attainment; the project has received multiple awards for research impact and excellence in teaching. She is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA) and an Honorary Associate of UCL. She received her Ph.D. degree in Digital Games and Psychology from the University College London (UCL) and her MSc in Education, Technology, and Society from the University of Bristol (with Distinction).

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