Tuesday, April 19, 2016

URSP Student Hannah Park Incorporates Citizen Science into Education Settings

My project is about citizen science and how it can be incorporated into an educational setting. Citizen science is a recently established field of science where experts of science can get help from non-experts through input of data and observations. This research matches exactly with my ultimate goals of becoming an effective secondary level biology teacher. I would like to explore a variety of ways to make science applicable to a diverse group of students. Citizen science allows science non-experts to make observations about their region and incorporate it into a large online database, so this would be a perfect way to allow students to explore the nature and process of science as well as help them understand that they can make a difference in the world.

Most of the work I actually do is on the computer. Last month I took an online course offered by the Citizen Science Academy. In this course, I got to explore a variety of citizen science projects such as CoCoRaHS, Project BudBurst, and eBird. I also got to write an educational activity and full lesson plan including two of the projects and received feedback. After the course finished, I am now moving towards seeing the big picture and what best practices there are for utilizing citizen science in the classroom. I will ultimately write a lesson plan tailored to Virginia Standards of Learning in grades 6-12.

As a student in the Bachelor’s/Accelerated Master’s program for Secondary Biology Education, I am enrolled in classes that are teaching me about pedagogy and how to incorporate aspects of it into my research. For example, one class I had last week discussed writing learning objectives and formative and summative assessments, and these are both very important components of a successful and effective lesson plan that I will ensure to ultimately work towards.