Teen-Driven Open Science
By David Bild
Through the Hive Mapping Cooperative, five youth-serving organizations in Chicago have been working to develop shared systems for teens to collect, analyze, visualize, and share georeferenced data using free and open source tools for mobile data collection, data visualization, and digital mapping. With these tools, we aim to enhance cross-program, teen-driven inquiry into human ecology and urban ecosystems, and foster an open science ethos among teens. This ongoing project was partially conceived at MozFest 2013 and has been through various iterations since that time. We've been piloting a range of tools for data collection and visualization to varying degrees of success, as well as integration of Contributorship Badges using the Chicago City of Learning platform to recognize collaboration and contribution, but we've struggled to identify accessible tools for teens to actually collaborate across programs on shared inquiries.
Through this project, teens (and everyone else) will have access to flexible digital technologies and a networked system to develop, share, and contribute to inquiry projects across programs. With open access to teen-designed research protocols and data, there is the potential for youth to inspire and be inspired by their peers following divergent paths of inquiry, and enlist peers in collecting/interpreting data and developing narratives around locally-relevant issues and topics.