Author Archive

Introducing SciStarter 2.0; built with you in mind.

By September 19th, 2017 at 10:03 pm | Comment

You spoke, we listened. So come on over and check out the new SciStarter, your source for real science you can do! We feature more than 1600 current opportunities for you (yup, you!) to advance scientific research, locally or globally.

Help scientists and community leaders monitor the quality of water, air and soil near you. Learn how to report levels of light pollution, a serious issue affecting sleeping and nesting habits of wildlife (not to mention it’s the reason you probably can’t see the Milky Way!). Or help Alzheimer’s researchers analyze real brain blood flow movies and simply click an image to record when blood vessels are stalled.

With support from the National Science Foundation and others, and your feedback, we’ve created new features for participants, projects owners, and researchers. We hope you like your dashboard, for example, where you can bookmark, join, or track your contributions to projects and events of interest to you, connect with scientists, find other participants, and so much more.

Will you kindly fill out your profile then complete this survey to let us know what you think about the new features?

Your feedback will help us understand where we need to put our efforts next in order to support your interests and needs in citizen science.

Cheers!

The SciStarter Team

Want more citizen science? Check out SciStarter’s Project Finder! With 1600+ citizen science projects spanning every field of research, task and age group, there’s something for everyone!

Categories: Citizen Science

IMLS support will help public libraries serve as community hubs for citizen science

By September 6th, 2017 at 9:59 am | Comment

Please note: If you run a project that requires participants to use low cost (under $300) tools not commonly found around the house (rain gauge, sensor, telescope, water testing kit, clip on magnifying lens, recording device, bulk printed materials, etc), and this lack of access to the tools is creating a barrier to entry for your would-be-participants, please email darlene@scistarter.com. Thanks to support from IMLS, we will soon begin to evaluate the characteristics of projects and tools relative to the interests and capacities of communities and librarians, to understand ideal factors for creating and sustaining citizen science toolkits in libraries and supporting libraries as community hubs for citizen science.  If you’d like your project and tools to be considered for this new program, please send me an email. Thank you.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services announced 49 grants to institutions totaling $10,216,923. The awards are made through the FY 2017 second cycle of the National Leadership Grants for Libraries Program and the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program.

“We are delighted to announce today’s grant recipients whose projects are designed to have lasting benefits for the library and archives fields,” said IMLS Director Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew. “These grants highlight how IMLS helps steer the nation’s investments in libraries and ensure that librarians are equipped to provide citizens access to the information, resources, and services they want and need.”

National Leadership Grants for Libraries support projects that address challenges faced by the library and archives fields and that have the potential to advance library and archival practice with new tools, research findings, models, services, or alliances that can be widely replicated.

One of the funded projects (IMLS LG-95-17-0158-17) will support public libraries as community hubs for citizen science through a toolkit of citizen science resources by Arizona State University, in partnership with Arizona State Library, NISE Net, and SciStarter .

The team will develop a field-tested, replicable, low-cost toolkit of citizen science resources for public libraries. The project team of librarians, citizen science experts, informal STEM educators, practitioners, and scientists, will: 1) develop and evaluate citizen science toolkits that will be available for and through the public library partners; 2) create associated resources to train, support, and communicate with librarians and citizen scientists; and 3) work with stakeholders to create a plan to scale the model to interested libraries, statewide then nationally. The project will leverage SciStarter, an online community that brings together science researchers and citizen scientists, with a database of over 1,600 citizen science projects, several requiring tools and instruments that may be made more accessible through the new pilot lending libraries. Summative evaluation will assess the library staffs’ knowledge of citizen science, their capacities, and sense of self-efficacy in engaging patrons in citizen science activities, and will also measure the extent of patrons’ participation in citizen science as a result of the library programming.

Visit the IMLS website for more information about the National Leadership Grants for Libraries program.

Want to Help Shape the Future? Get Involved With Science—No Ph.D. Required. (Slate.com)

By September 6th, 2017 at 9:24 am | Comment

Here’s an excerpt from a piece I coauthored with Jay Lloyd, my colleague at Arizona State University’s School for the Future of Innovation in Society.

D. CAVALIER & J. LLOYD
Want to Help Shape the Future? Get Involved With Science—No Ph.D. Required.

Imagining what the world will be like in a decade or two can feel like flipping through a catalog of dystopian visions rooted in today’s dismaying headlines. Will smartphones make our children depressed and lonely? Are we on the brink of making the world nearly uninhabitable for humans? Will hacking and cyberterrorism lead to real-world warfare? Can bioterrorists use precision gene-editing to kill millions of people? Will technological innovations produce mass unemployment?

That many of these anxieties are connected to scientific advances and technological breakthroughs is no coincidence. The forces of science and technology that drive large parts of today’s economy catalyze vast social changes. Innovations emerge from corporations, universities, and laboratories that are remote from most people’s everyday experiences. Understanding them often requires specialized knowledge and training. And while these innovations can be enormously beneficial, they often come with tradeoffs. For example, social media platforms offer greater connectedness, but they can also allow information to be weaponized as a tool of asymmetric warfare.

 It can sometimes feel like professional researchers and technologists are pushing us into a future that may not be one we envision for ourselves and our communities. Technological innovation can feel more like a natural disaster than the result of human decisions if youstruggle to make a living or deal with toxic electronics waste. We fear losing control, ceding our agency to algorithms and tech companies and research scientists.
One way to help alleviate some of the concerns is greater public involvement in scientific research and technological innovation—no Ph.D. required.  Read the full article here.

Categories: In the News

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A new, national “Think Like a Citizen Scientist” Girl Scouts journey!

By July 25th, 2017 at 9:38 pm | Comment

girl scouts citizen science scistarter badge
A new Think Like a Citizen Scientist Girl Scouts journey was released this morning in collaboration with SciStarter as part of the Girl Scouts of USA’s announcement that it is adding 23 new badges related to science, technology, engineering, math and the outdoors. Girl Scouts can now earn badges through activities like programming robots, citizen science, designing model race cars, writing code and going on environmentally conscious camping trips. The Girl Scouts of the USA, founded in 1912, created these badges in collaboration with organizations like Code.org, SciStarter, GoldieBlox and the Society of Women Engineers.
Here’s more information on the Think Like a Citizen Scientist Journey
Here’s more information on the Girl Scouts’ STEM initiatives
“Girl Scouts is thrilled to collaborate with SciStarter on new citizen science programming, which will allow girls around the country to substantively contribute to and impact research that professional scientists are conducting,” said GSUSA CEO Sylvia Acevedo. “Connecting Girl Scouts with SciStarter’s enriching platform further enhances our engaging and comprehensive STEM programming. Girls who participate in the ‘Think Like a Citizen Scientist’ series will be fully immersed in the scientific process—some for the first time―as well as gain a broadened understanding that science is for everyone.”
“Girl Scout programs inspire and support girls to take action on an issue, and make their efforts sustainable,” said Darlene Cavalier, Founder of SciStarter and Professor of Practice at Arizona State University. “We are excited to help mobilize Girl Scouts across the country to advance scientific research while applying new SciStarter 2.0 analytics tools so the Girl Scouts of the USA can understand what types of citizen science projects appeal to girls, and use that information to continue to offer even more relevant and impactful STEM programming for girls.”
Girls will earn their badges by completing one of seven citizen science projects with the option of continuing their Journey with their choice of 30 additional, vetted projects featured on SciStarter. The selected projects exemplify ways citizen science can engage people of all ages to advance scientific research. The projects use clear protocols, and simple tools and instruments, making them accessible for Girl Scout troops and leaders across the country. The seven projects get girls engaged in science in the outdoors in a new, unique way.  Finally, the projects integrate SciStarter affiliate tools, making it possible for the Girl Scouts to use SciStarter’s analytics to understand what types of projects attract, engage, and sustain involvement among girls. The seven projects are:
Stream Selfie, Ant Picnic, Project Squirrel, iSeeChange, NASA GLOBE Observer, Nature’s Notebook, Globe at Night.
The “Think Like a Citizen Scientist” Journey—a form of Girl Scout programming that includes several troop meetings dedicated to the topic—begins in a Girl Scout troop and online with SciStarter. A troop learns how to make and share careful observations to contribute to research efforts. Next, the troop decides how to take action: they discuss the scientific research they’ve done and identify a related problem, come up with a creative and sustainable solution, put a team plan into action, and document their project on SciStarter. The girls have now earned an award for completing the “Think Like a Citizen Scientist” Journey!
If you manage a project you’d like us to consider for the “additional projects” or future Journeys, please add it to the SciStarter project finder and email GirlScouts@SciStarter.com to indicate your interest.
Our goal at SciStarter is to help as many people as possible discover and participate in awesome projects!
Now…please go encourage your favorite Girl Scout to begin her journey to Think Like A Citizen Scientist!

Categories: girl scouts

Tags: ,

Shark Week: A feeding frenzy for citizen scientists!

By July 21st, 2017 at 12:22 pm | Comment

Sink your teeth into these projects!

Photo: Shark Count

The Discovery Channel kicks off Shark Week in three days, when we’ll will find out if Michael Phelps is faster than a shark! Not quite up for racing a shark yourself? You can still celebrate Shark Week by getting involved in one of the many citizen science projects that study and protect sharks. Below, we’ve highlighted five projects we think you’ll love. In some cases, you can even participate from the comfort of home. Find more projects and events on SciStarter, to do now or bookmark for later. Remember to update your profile before August 15th to unlock access to a special prize!

Cheers!
The SciStarter Team

eShark
eShark
Calling all divers and snorkelers! You have valuable information to share because you can census areas that fishers can’t. Help track how shark and ray populations have changed.
Location: Global

SharkBase
SharkBase
Even if you’ve never seen a shark in the wild, you can still contribute to SharkBase by submitting sightings that you see in the news or on the internet. Your observations will help track sharks’ global population changes.
Location: Global. Online.

New England Basking Shark and Ocean Sunfish Project
Help monitor basking shark and ocean sunfish in New England waters by sending in your photos from the seas!
Location: New England, USA

Credit_ Kelli Shaw
Sevengill Shark Identification 
Scuba divers are needed to help monitor sevengill sharks as they return each year to San Diego, CA and South Africa. Share your photos which will be analyzed online, using a pattern recognition system.
Location: San Diego, CA; South Africa 

ELMO South African Elasmobranch Monitoring
Collect data on South African sharks, skates, rays and chimaera sightings as well as their eggcases along the South African coastline. Whether you are a snorkeler, diver, swimmer, skipper, angler or a beachwalker, you can assist by reporting your sighting or reports you’ve seen in the news.
Location: Mozambique Republic, South Africa

Discover more summertime citizen on the SciStarter Calendar. Needed: 1,000 skilled photographers to help create the Eclipse MegaMovie on August 21Want more citizen science? Check out SciStarter’s Project Finder! With 1100+ citizen science projects spanning every field of research, task and age group, there’s something for everyone!