Do you find identifying scientific phenomena more interesting than collecting them? If so, Zooniverse is for you. A citizen science portal, this site uses regular people on individual computers and mobile devices to help scientists with research projects.
You could choose to help with taxonomy by transcribing historical identification tags and field notebooks or with archaeology by transcribing diaries and official records. Look through images and videos to tell researchers where to focus their attention, whether it's of the sun, pinpointing solar flares; of Antarctica, identifying penguins; or of ocean water, hunting for plankton. At the time of publication, there were nearly 40 projects accepting volunteer assistance, and new projects begin regularly.
Get started by creating an account. While you can use the site without one, you'll be able to keep track of which projects you've worked on and earn badges if you do. After that, click on the Projects tab, which gives you summaries of all the research projects currently underway. Once you've found one that sounds interesting, click on Get Started under the description.
Each project is unique, based on its researchers' needs, but is similar in its set-up. While most projects are housed under the Zooniverse url, others have a unique url, but still fall under the umbrella of the site. Use the tabs at the top of the project homepage to explore more in-depth what participants are being asked to do, and, when you're ready to begin, make sure you pay attention to the tutorial, which will guide you through the tools and instructions. It will include what to do if you aren't certain about what you're looking at, if you're confused about the instructions, and how to let project leaders know if there seems something wrong with the image.
Citizen science is a fantastic way for students to quickly and easily feel like they're contributing to the venture of science, and Zooniverse offers a way for you to do that in nearly every field of science.
Under the About tab, you'll find a section called Education, which offers suggestions for ways to use the site with your students, including lesson plans, blog posts about how educators have brought the site into their classroom, and a forum for teachers to interact with each other and share their experiences.
Research using data from Zooniverse projects has been published in a variety of journals, including The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, The Journal of Wildlife Management, Astronomy Education Review, Scientific Data, The Astrophysical Journal, and The American Meteorological Society Journal.
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