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Educators: citizen science training opportunities

Citizen science has long been talked about in terms of education and learning. There are increasing opportunities for educators to gain skills and find resources for using citizen science with youth.
Below are a few highlights of educator learning opportunities you can access online, peer-to-peer, and in person.
Please add more training options – and requests – via the comment section!

Online: For training you can take to the beach, try one of these online series.

Integrating Inquiry for Educators: Developing Student Science Practices. This self-paced, online course is designed to provide background and resources that help educators engage students in local science investigations inspired by citizen science. A free download, Investigating Evidence, is the “textbook” for this course. Designed by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s BirdSleuth team, these materials can be used with any citizen science project.  CEU credit is available.
Citizen Science Academy. Whether you are just getting your feet wet with citizen science or are ready to analyze data in your classroom, NEON’s Citizen Science Academy offers courses, modules, and tutorials that can fit your need. Although the CEU-credit courses are already underway for the summer, other online videos, guides, and resources are available for access at any time – and stay tuned for a fall training series.

Peer-to-Peer: Some of the best learning comes directly from other educators.

Want advice on which citizen science projects will best meet your audience and educational goals? Thanks to teachers from Broward County, Florida, many projects on SciStarter are now searchable by grade level and science/engineering practices. As part of district-level teacher Professional Development, Dr. Lisa Ventry Milenkovic, Science Curriculum Supervisor for Broward County Public Schools, trains STEM teachers to align projects with NGSS, science and engineering practices, and curriculum materials. In the process, teachers also rate and review the projects. Their local goal is to incorporate and extend “authentic science” (aka citizen science) projects into longer-term STEM-based literacy curriculum units that connect with grade-level science content.

This fall, SciStarter will publish more than 500 of the project ratings and reviews from educators to help make it easier for teachers to find the best project for their settings. Interested in helping? SciStarter provides the digital interface and content to help make it easy for other educators to access, rate, review, and align projects in the Project Finder.

In-person: Some projects offer true hands-on training.

The Vital Signs program of the Gulf of Maine Research Institute has many resources online to help teachers get started with Vital Signs. They also offer in-person trainings to help teachers and classrooms do more with science skills such as scientific argumentation and data analysis. The 2016 summer institutes will focus on a Change Over Time Data Investigation and invasive species management projects.
Teachers from the Upper Midwest, the University of Minnesota (UMN) Monarch Lab, and the UMN STEM Education Center are working together to engage secondary students in citizen science. In summer 2016, teachers are immersed in authentic field science with UMN scientists AND learning how they can guide students through full scientific investigations during the school-year, using established citizen science projects (eBird, the Great Sunflower Project, and the National Phenology Network) as spring-boards for authentic classroom investigations.

What educator trainings do you offer, or recommend?

For one, this list is notably short on opportunities outside of natural history, and outside of the US. Any and all suggestions are welcome in the comments section below.

One thought on “Educators: citizen science training opportunities

  • We are still in the process of designing the curriculum, but Ocean Sanctuaries, in partnership with another ocean non-profit, is planning to offer a Marine Citizen Scientist certificate sometime in 2017. I will post more information as we get closer to the final date.
    Mike Bear
    Citizen Science Project Director
    Ocean Sanctuaries
    San Diego, CA

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