The Technion – MadaTech Citizen Science Lab

A Collaboration between MadaTech — Israel National Museum of Science, Technology, and Space and The Faculty of Education in Science and Technology, Technion 

Established in 2020, The Technion – MadaTech Citizen Science Lab aim is to connect science education and public engagement with science with local communities’ needs and interests. This initiative was established thanks to the generous and inspiring support of Oscar Davis. Our goal is to become a hub for citizen science in communities and in schools. We do so through participatory educational and leisure activities. Through the practice of science, we aim to strengthen the connections between the Faculty of Education in Science and Technology at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, MadaTech  – Israel National Museum of Science Technology and Space , and local communities.

The Citizen Science Lab is situated on the MadaTech grounds in an urban neighborhood in Haifa, and enjoys the technical and design support of MadaTech professionals as well as its innovative “FabLab” facilities. 

 Our Vision and Agenda

Citizen science is an exciting and emerging type of public participation in research – it refers to the co-creation of knowledge by scientists and non-scientists who work together to advance research. Citizen science projects extend across various scientific disciplines from ecology and astrophysics to biochemistry and the humanities. Citizen science has the potential to make science more inclusive and relevant and to advance public engagement with science. At the individual level, it provides scientists with access to new methods of data collection and data analysis at grand scales, and to participants, it offers civic empowerment, educational outcomes and the enjoyment of being part of a scientific endeavor.

 Partnerships

One of our leading partners is the “Taking Citizen Science to School” Center (TCSS) a joint endeavor of the Technion and Haifa university, funded by ISF and the Ministry of Education. The TCSS center brings about changes in the ways science is taught in schools, and attracts attention and interest from Technion scientists, STEM leading teachers and decision makers.

The Citizen Lab aspires to build upon the valuable collaborations forged in TCSS, and to develop new ones with Technion researchers, schools (participating in the “The Classroom as a Platform for Community Engagement with Food Production and Science” project) and NGOs such as The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI).

We strive to support scientists in their involvement in public engagement events through evidenced-based science communication training and guidance.

 The Team 

Yael Barel-Ben David is the director of the Citizen Science Lab. She holds a B.Sc. in Biology and Philosophy from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, a M.Sc (cum laude) and Ph.D in science communication from the Faculty of Education in Science and Technology at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. Yael’s research focused on science communication training for scientists and how they affect their motivations, perception of professional identity and skills, and how the public interacts with the products of these trainings as a way to examine the success of these trainings. Her practical science communication experience includes guiding, supervising and developing programs at the Bloomfield Science Museum in Jerusalem, hosting a recurring segment on a TV science show, and judging the FameLab international competition. She teaches science communication workshops and is regularly invited to lecture in teachers’ professional development and undergraduate courses, as well as international workshops.

Hani Swirski is the director of the Citizen Science Lab. She holds a B.Sc. (cum laude) and M.Ed. in Physics Education and Ph.D in science education from the Faculty of Education in Science and Technology at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. Hani’s research focused on students’ interest in science using questions that students bring up in formal and informal environments. In addition, her study examined which resource of questions may be useful for teachers and decision makers in order to integrate the student voice into the science curriculum. Her vast practical experience includes teaching science at an elementary school in the northern part of Israel, and training teachers to use ICT tools in teaching while maximizing their pedagogical value. During the last two years, Hani is a member of the “Taking Citizen Science to School” Center (TCSS) and leading an innovative citizen science project “Sleep: a Third of Our Life”.

 Ayelet Baram-Tsabari is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Education in Science and Technology at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology and head of the “Applied Science Communication” research group. She founded the Israeli Science Communication Conference series, and serves as an elected member of the scientific committee of the Public Communication of Science and Technology Network (PCST), which aims to improve science communication worldwide. She is a member of the Advisory Board for the US National Academy of Sciences’  LabX  public engagement program, was elected member of the Israel Young Academy (2016-2020), and served as Chairwoman of its Communication Committee. She is also a member of the Israeli Centers of Research Excellence (I-CORE) on “Learning in a Networked Society” and “Taking Citizen Science to School,” among other professional activities. Her research focuses on bridging science education and science communication scholarship, identifying people’s interests in science, building on people’s authentic interests in science to teach and communicate science in more meaningful and personally relevant ways, and supporting scientists in becoming effective science communicators.

Tali TalProf. Tali Tal is the head of the informal science and environmental education research group at the Faculty of Education in Science and Technology. She received her Ph.D from the Technion, in 1998 and had completed post-doc at the University of Michigan. Since 2000, she’s a faculty member at the Technion. Her research focuses on learning science in informal settings, inquiry-based learning, environmental education and learning with socioscientific issues. Tali has published over 60 papers in prestigious research journals such as JRST, Science Education, Environmental Education Research and the International Journal of Science Education, and numerous book chapters that deal with her topics of interest. She served as an associate editor and as editorial board member of numerous journals. Currently, prof. Tal is the President of NARST, A Worldwide Organization for Promoting Science Education through Research. She is the chair of the Ministry of Education Professional Committee of Environmental Sciences and one of the PIs of TCSS – Taking Citizen Science to School research center funded by the Israel Science Foundation and the Ministry of Education.

Yossi Ani – Madatech General Director.

MADATEC