Citizen Science: Connecting to Nature Through Networks

  • Brigid BarronEmail author
  • Caitlin K. Martin
  • Véronique Mertl
  • Mohamed Yassine
Part of the Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning Series book series (CULS, volume 16)


Citizen science projects represent an important example of mass collaboration at a global scale where nonscientists can contribute to science research across geographical locations. To more broadly and deeply capitalize on the potential for citizen science to invigorate inquiry-based science at school, we need to better understand how and why citizen science opportunities are taken up by particular teachers. In this chapter, we offer a framework for the analysis of conditions that influence voluntary participation in citizen science efforts. The framework is developed with empirical data from a longitudinal case study. The framework focuses on four dimensions that contributed sustained and evolving participation: (1) alignment between the citizen science opportunity with personal interests and teaching goals, (2) access to a networked community with curricular resources and a technical infrastructure, (3) an integrated indoor and outdoor classroom space that promoted place-based inquiry opportunities, and (4) a set of collaborative practices and networked opportunities that created conditions for an expanding set of partnerships. We close with a discussion of how the design of the socio-technical dimensions of citizen science efforts might be informed by both ethnographic and quantitative studies.


Mass collaboration Creative collaboration Citizen science Participation 



This work is supported by the National Science Foundation Cyberlearning program (Grant REC-1124568) and Learning in Informal and Formal Environments Science of Learning Center, a National Science Foundation-funded (Grant REC-354453) effort seeking to understand and advance human learning through a simultaneous focus on implicit, informal, and formal learning, thus cultivating generalizable interdisciplinary theories that can guide the design of effective new technologies and learning environments. We also acknowledge and thank “Mr. Paulson,” the Vital Signs staff members, and the other teachers, students, and parents who contributed their time and invaluable expertise and ideas to this work.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brigid Barron
    • 1
    Email author
  • Caitlin K. Martin
    • 1
  • Véronique Mertl
    • 1
  • Mohamed Yassine
    • 1
  1. 1.Stanford School of EducationStanfordUSA

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