Bringing the science to secondary and high school students with SlideWiki and STARS4ALL projects

During the months of March, April and May, a group of researchers of the Ontology Engineering Group (OEG) has brought the Citizen Science to students of secondary and high schools of the city of Zaragoza, as part of one of the educational pilots developed on the European project SlideWiki .

In sessions of two to three hours the young people have been explained what is the Citizen Science, what are the Open Data and how the Open Data portals work –in addition to its importance in relation to Science. These sessions took place in several schools in the Aragonese capital, allowing their students to approach different work tools than usual, which may define a new formative reality in the near future.

The main target of these courses has been to bring the Citizen Science over students between 13 and 16 years old. After defining several basic objectives, such as: (1) to define the concept of Citizen Science, (2) to inspect the portals of Citizen Science and Open Data, (3) to define and develop the scientific method, (4) to stimulate the formulation of hypotheses to develop Citizen Science projects, (5) to know the data that entities make available to them, and (6) to learn how to manage the available tools to verify such hypotheses; the afore mentioned researchers have been able to complete the course of Citizen Science and Open Data, explaining to students how they can develop, in a simple and dynamic way, the science and the data that it generates.

Nearly 300 students from the last years of secondary and high school have been able to benefit from the knowledge and experience of Oscar Corcho and Francisco Yedro, who have shown – and demonstrated – to the students how the scientific method can be used and, through of examples, it can be applied thanks to a good use of the data.

These formative sessions have been an agile and attractive way to bring Citizen Science and Open Data to the youngest. Thanks to the European project SlideWiki and the Open Data Portal of the City of Zaragoza, these students have learned to validate the hypotheses formulated after the application of the scientific method, using the data that institutions make available through different Open Data portals.

The collaborative platform SlideWiki, which is part of the European project of the same name, has served (a) as the basis for elaborating and showing the presentations used in the courses, as well as (b) for some schools to describe in a collaborative way the hypotheses that they used to learn and determine the application of the scientific method. In addition, during the course of each session, students have collaborated in real scientific research, using the Zooniverse Citizen Science portal, as well as one of the games developed in the context of another European project, STARS4ALL, in relation to light pollution: Night Knights.

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