Citizen science and informal learning: A brief commentary

Herodotou, Christothea (2018). Citizen science and informal learning: A brief commentary. In: Luckin, Rosemary ed. Enhancing Learning and Teaching with Technology: What the Research Says. London: UCL Institute of Education Press.



Citizen science and crowd sourcing are often used interchangeably to denote the participation of the general public in social activities or projects. The "crowd" becomes a source of information when it contributes ideas, content, or services to solve a problem, generate content, raise funds, and vote best solutions. Wikipedia ( is a crowd sourcing example where a large number of people adds or curates information online resulting in the collective creation of a considerably large encyclopaedia. Kickstarter ( is an online crowd sourcing website where people share their project ideas and request funds from the general public to implement these ideas. The term citizen science is more specific; it is used to denote the participation of the public in scientific or research projects. Members of the public volunteer to support the work of scientists by contributing data to projects initiated by professionals and research institutions. The Oxford English Dictionary (OED, 2016) defines citizen scientists as amateurs who engage in scientific work in collaboration or under the supervision of professional scientists with the aim to serve the community.

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