Inspiring teachers to include citizen science in their school curricula

Can an educational scenario created under the Cos4Cloud teacher training course inspire more teachers and schools apart from those designed for?

As a final part of the course Citizen Science and Environmental Education for Sustainability, which was designed and run by the Environmental Education Lab (EEL) of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (NKUA) under the framework of the Cos4Cloud project, the participants were engaged in the collaborative design of creative educational scenarios focusing on integrating Citizen Observatories tools involved in the Cos4Cloud project into their practice.

Among the most imaginative educational scenarios created was the one developed by Konstantia Galanopoulou, Vasiliki Kontou and Anna Trigatzi, which is entitled “The odours of our city and their stories. Mapping environmental odours with OdourCollect. A pilot implementation of the scenario is already taking place at the 1st General Lyceum (senior high school) of Metamorphosi (in the wider Athens area) with the pedagogical coordination of Anna Trigatzi, a Greek language and history teacher and also a PhD student in environmental education at the EEL/NKUA. The scenario aims to raise awareness in students on olfactory pollution and empower them to interdisciplinary search and a holistic appreciation of their local environments’ quality by combining citizen science and environmental education with oral environmental history. 

It is worth mentioning that this scenario has already begun its journey beyond the educational designers who created it and their school. After Anna presented the concept behind and outlined the scenario in an online Oral History scientific event for Greek teachers, Rea Makri, a language and history teacher based at the Krestena High School (in Western Greece Region) was very much interested  and asked permission to implement it with her students. The idea was to combine a course in Greek Literature with students’ direct engagement with citizen science through OdourCollect: the students read a Greek novel about lost past urban smells and odours and then compared them with existing ones (either foul or pleasant) of today and discuss about what each odour signals to us.

We are looking forward to watching all scenarios created under the Cos4Cloud training course to become incorporated in Greek school practice, but also beyond that. We aspire that such initiatives will be rated not only as good practices which expand and strengthen citizen science in Europe, but as creative synergies that inspire and enrich school-based Environmental Education and Education for Sustainability along the 17 SDGs”, says Maria Daskolia, Associate Professor at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (NKUA), PI and project manager for the NKUA, and leader of the citizen science integration in Greek schools in the Cos4Cloud framework.   

Talking about how integrating citizen science and OdourCollect in the Greek television

The two initiatives were selected by a very successful daily Greek environmental news program, “O3” of the National Broadcasting TV channel (ET3). The two teachers, Anna and Rea, were invited to talk about how they integrated citizen science and OdourCollect in these educational activities. The Cos4Cloud project was also introduced in terms of its overarching concept and its goals but also in terms of the participating citizen science observatories. It was mentioned that opening citizen science practice to the school population is one of the project’s tasks, a challenge and a promising opportunity at the same time with many benefits for all parts.

You can watch the specific excerpt of the O3 program here (in Greek):

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