Revolutionising access to science and research through technology

November 13, 2013 by
Filed under: Fellowship 

The South Central Region of the RSA is holding a series of events aimed at sharing ideas about education. These events are run by and for RSA Fellows with the aims of:

  • Sharing knowledge and ideas about education
  • Meeting and networking with other Fellows
  • Clarifying existing, and provoking new, ideas for potential projects
  • Sharing information on Catalyst funding which could potentially support the growth of the ideas.

On Wednesday 6 November Karen Masters and Jennifer Gupta led a discussion on ‘Revolutionising access to science and research through technology’. This is a guest blog from Karen and Jennifer.

On a windy night in November Fellows and guests tried their hand at the Zooniverse as part of the Ideas in Education series running in the South Central region.

Zooniverse

The Zooniverse is a collection of online citizen science projects that allow anyone with an internet connection to contribute to cutting-edge research. Starting with the hugely successful Galaxy Zoo – classifying galaxies based on their shape – the diverse Zooniverse projects include identifying whale sounds and transcribing old ship logs.

In addition to Galaxy Zoo, there are currently eight other astronomy Zooniverse projects (such as Moon Zoo, Solar Stormwatch and Planet Hunters) and a suite of projects on nature and biology (such as Whale FM, Seafloor Explorer and Bat Detective). Zooniverse is also expanding into humanities projects, with projects such as Ancient Lives, exploring the lives of the ancient Greeks, and What’s the Score, helping to increase access to the Bodelian’s digitised music collections.

zooteach

The Zooniverse is experimenting with online tools to enable investigations to go further. The Galaxy Zoo Navigator is a set of in-browser tools that allow users to classify galaxies in a group and then explore these classifications in more detail. The ‘My Galaxies’ feature lets users see how their latest classifications compare to others’, illustrating the relative ease, and difficulty, of classifying different galaxies. Navigator also has tools to create simple histograms and scatter plots of various galaxy parameters, either using the galaxies classified by the group or a random sample. These plots can then be saved as an image or the data downloaded to a spreadsheet for further investigation.

Zooteach is a website where teachers and educators can share lesson plans and resources that link in with the Zooniverse projects.

Zooniverse team members and collaborators are developing a range of lesson plans for Zooteach, but support from the teaching community will be key to its success.

If you use Zooniverse projects in the classroom then please upload lesson plans, ideas, links, worksheets or comment on any existing Zooteach resources you use. Zooteach workshops for teachers are also available.

For more information: find and share lesson plans at www.zooteach.org or explore the full range of Zooniverse citizen science projects at www.zooniverse.org.

You can contact Karen and Jennifer at: team@zooniverse.org 

Book now for upcoming events in the Ideas Education series:

14 November 2013: Ideas in Education: Planning Educational Spaces, Winchester

5 December 2013: Ideas in Education: DIY higher education in the global swamp? Oxford

To find out more contact Fellowship Councillor for South Central Bethan Michael.

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