Taking Citizen Science to Schools (TCSS)
A century ago, John Dewey pointed out that connecting school and society is the essence of meaningful learning. In the context of the 21st century networked society, new and exciting opportunities to use technologies such as Web 2.0, social networking platforms, mobile phones, web communities, and the internet-of-things provide the opportunity to fulfill a cutting edge version of Dewey’s vision. Taking Citizen Science to School (TCSS) capitalizes on affordances of the networked society to break boundaries between traditional silos — students, citizens, and scientists; formal and informal learning; science and data literacies; classrooms and out-of-school environments; physical and online spaces; educational researchers and practitioners; science and science-education. Specifically, by engaging students within citizen science projects, this initiative aims to elucidate how breaking boundaries between traditional silos fosters meaningful STEM learning. Taking Citizen Science to School is guided by three mutually-enriching goals. These include: (1) Developing and substantiating a conceptual framework of meaningful STEM learning through student engagement in citizen science. (2) Generating principled practical knowledge through a network of research-practice partnerships that build school capacity for sustaining the innovation. (3) Engaging middle and high school students in real and ongoing scientific endeavors through technology-enhanced learning environments.