Advertisement

Citizen Science, Ecojustice, and Science Education: Rethinking an Education from Nowhere

  • Michael P. MuellerEmail author
  • Deborah J. Tippins
Part of the Springer International Handbooks of Education book series (SIHE, volume 24)

Abstract

There is an emerging emphasis in science education on engaging youth in citizen science. The goals are similar to other context-sensitive pedagogical strategies such as increasing scientific knowledge and skills, understanding of the natural world, geographic awareness and ecological literacy, and ethical care for biological and physical environments. This chapter explores whether citizen science goes further with respect to citizen development. The emphasis is on how healthy communities and environments are indicative of school achievement rather than students’ scientific literacy. Different limitations for citizen science are analyzed in relation to the challenges of top-down, scientist-driven citizen science projects and bottom-up, community-centered investigative priorities for local choices and policy. Citizen science is emerging as citizens become more fully involved with their community and ecosystems, going back to the basics of civic responsibility and participatory democracy, community capitalism, and a shared sense of environmentalism. A guiding framework for citizen science cultivates the knowledge and skills needed to participate more fully in regional action and global advocacy, and how to address local situations in relation to larger global ones. This chapter takes account of the ways educators will collaborate with members of the community to effectively guide decisions, which offers promise for sharing a responsibility for democratizing science with others.

Keywords

Citizen science Community development Ecojustice Environmentalism Literacy 

References

  1. Aikenhead, G. S. (2006). Science education for everyday life: Evidence-based practice. New York: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
  2. American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). (1993). Benchmarks for science literacy: Project 2061. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Aslaksen, J., & Myhr, A. I. (2007). “The worth of a wildflower”: Precautionary perspectives on the environmental risk of GMOs. Ecological Economics, 60, 489–497.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Banks, D. L., Elser, M., & Saltz, C. (2005). Analysis of the K–12 component of the Central Arizona-Phoenix long-term ecological research (CAP LTER) project 1998 to 2002. Environmental Education Research, 11, 649–663.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Berry, W. (2000). Life is a miracle: An essay against the modern superstition. Washington, DC: Counterpoint.Google Scholar
  6. Bowers, C. A. (2006). Revitalizing the commons: Cultural and educational sites of resistance and affirmation. Lanham, MD: Lexington BooksGoogle Scholar
  7. Brewer, C. A. (2002). Conservation education partnerships in schoolyard laboratories: A call back to action. Conservation Biology, 16, 577–579.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Brewer, C. A., & Gross, L. J. (2003). Training ecologists to think with uncertainty in mind. Ecology, 84, 1412–1414.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Brossard, D., Lewenstein, B., & Bonney, R. (2005). Scientific knowledge and attitude change: The impact of a citizen science project. International Journal of Science Education, 27, 1099–1121.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Boyd, S. F. (2001). Sustainable communities and the future of community movements. National Civic Review, 90, 385–390.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Canfield, D. E., Brown, C. D., Bachmann, R. W., & Hoyer, M. V. (2002). Volunteer lake monitoring: Testing the reliability of data collected by the Florida LAKEWATCH program. Lake and Reservoir Management, 18(1), 1–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Chopyak, J. (2001). Citizen participation and democracy: Examples in science and technology. National Civic Review, 90, 375–383.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Citizen Science Toolkit Conference. (2008). What is this, “citizen science”? Retrieved October 7, 2008, from www.citizenscience.org/conference
  14. Droege, S. (2007, June). Just because you paid them doesn’t mean their data are better. Paper presented at the Citizen Science Toolkit Conference, Ithaca, NY.Google Scholar
  15. Eisenhart, M., Finkel, E., & Marion, S. F. (1996). Creating the conditions for scientific literacy: A re-examination. American Educational Research Journal, 33, 261–295.Google Scholar
  16. Engel, S. R., & Voshell, J. R. (2002). Volunteer biological monitoring: Can it accurately assess the ecological condition of streams? American Entomologist, 48(3), 164–177.Google Scholar
  17. Ely, E. (2008). Volunteer monitoring & the democratization of science. The Volunteer Monitor, 19(1), 1–5.Google Scholar
  18. Elser, M., Musheno, B., & Saltz, C. (2003). Backyard ecology. Science Teacher, 70(5), 44–45.Google Scholar
  19. Evans, C., Abrams, E., Reitsma, R., Roux, K., Salmonsen, L., & Marra, P. P. (2005). The neighborhood nestwatch program: Participant outcomes of a citizen-science ecological research project. Conservation Biology, 19, 589–594.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Fogleman, T., & Curran, M.C. (2008). How accurate are student-collected data? Science Teacher, 75(4), 30–35.Google Scholar
  21. Fore, L. S., Paulsen, K., O’Laughlin, K. (2001). Assessing the performance of volunteers in monitoring streams. Freshwater Biology, 46(1), 109–123.Google Scholar
  22. Fusco, D. (2001). Creating relevant science education through urban planning and gardening. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 38, 860–877.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hogan, K. (2002). Pitfalls of community-based learning: How power dynamics limit adolescents’ trajectories of growth and participation. Teachers College Record, 104, 586–624.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hurd, P. D. (1998). Scientific literacy: New minds for a changing world. Science Education, 82, 407–416.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Jenkins, E. W. (1999). School science, citizenship and the public understanding of science. International Journal of Science Education, 21, 703–710.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Jenkins, E. W. (2006). School science and citizenship: Whose science and whose citizenship? The Curriculum Journal, 17, 197–211.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Jones, K., & Colby, J. (2001). Healthy communities: Beyond civic virtue. National Civic Review, 90, 363–373.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Jordan, R., Singer, F., Vaughan, J., Berkowitz, A. (2009). What should every citizen know about ecology? Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 7, 495–500.Google Scholar
  29. Kahne, J. E., & Sporte, S. E. (2008). Developing citizens: The impact of civic learning opportunities on students’ commitment to civic participation. American Education Research Journal, 45, 738–766.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Kitchens, R. (2008). Community capitalism: Going back to basics to revitalize cities. National Civic Review, 97(2), 38–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Kozol, J. (2005). The shame of the nation: The restoration of apartheid schooling in America. New York: Three Rivers Press.Google Scholar
  32. Mueller, M. P. (2008a). Ecojustice as ecological literacy is much more than being “green!” Educational Studies, 44, 155–166.Google Scholar
  33. Mueller, M. P. (2009). Educational Reflections on the “Ecological Crisis”: EcoJustice, Environmentalism, and Sustainability. Science & Education, 18(8), 1031–1055Google Scholar
  34. Mueller, M. P., & Bentley, M. L. (2007). Beyond the “decorated landscapes” of educational reform: Toward landscapes of pluralism in science education. Science Education, 91, 321–338.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Mueller, M. P., & Valderrama, P. (2006). Crater appeal. Science Teacher, 73(5), 22–25.Google Scholar
  36. National Center for Education Statistics (2007). Digest for Education Statistics. Institute of Education Sciences. Retrieved on October 27, 2011 from http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/­pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2008022.
  37. National Center for Educational Statistics (2008). Highlights from TIMSS 2007: Mathematics and science achievement of US fourth- and eighth – Grade students in an international context. Washington, DC: United States Department of Education.Google Scholar
  38. National Research Council (NRC). (1996). National Science education Standards. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  39. National Research Council (NRC). (2007). Status of pollinators in North America. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  40. Nichols, S., Tippins, D., Morano, L., Bilbao, P., & Barcenal, T. (2006). Community-based science education research: Narratives from a Filipino barangay. In G. Spindler & L. Hammond (Eds.), Innovations in educational ethnography: Theory, methods and results (pp. 345–377). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  41. Our Shared Forests Program. (2009). The State Botanical Garden of Georgia. Retrieved on May 7, 2009, from www.oursharedforests.org/
  42. Phillips, A. L. (2008). Of sunflowers and citizens. American Scientist, 96, 375–376.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Roth, W. M., & Calabrese Barton, A. (2004). Rethinking scientific literacy. New York: RoutledgeFalmer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Roth, W. M., & Lee, S. (2004). Science education as/for participation in the community. Science Education, 88, 263–291.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Tippins, D. J. (2008, October). Exploring discourses of relevance for the 21st century: A movement towards citizen science. Paper presented at the International Academic Conference of Indigenous Science and Mathematics Education (translated in Mandarin), National Taitung University, Taitung, Taiwan.Google Scholar
  46. Trumbull, D. J., Bonney, R., Bascom, D., & Cabral, A. (2000). Thinking scientifically during participation in a citizen-science project. Science Education, 84, 265–275.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Trumbull, D. J., Bonney, R., & Grudens-Schuck, N. (2005). Developing materials to promote inquiry: Lessons learned. Science Education, 89(6), 879–900.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Wilson, E. O. (2006). The creation: An appeal to save life on earth. New York: W.W. Norton.Google Scholar
  49. Woody, T. (1931). The educational views of Benjamin Franklin. New York: McGraw-Hill Book.Google Scholar
  50. Youniss, J., & Yates, J. (1997). Community service and social responsibility in youth. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Mathematics and Science EducationUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA

Personalised recommendations