Readers of this blog may remember towards the end of the last calendar year a post I wrote about Tom Rowledge’s and my involvement in Southampton Citizen Science Project.
In our role as Digichamps we had two main strands of involvement in the project. Firstly, we created and administrated a Facebook group to allow the Citizen’s to communicate when they complete their research. Since that blog post, this group has grown in size rapidly, and now contains around half of the members of the project. If you think that not all members of the group would be using Facebook, this return is inline with expectation. Secondly, we helped facilitate sessions in the University, that constituted the training of the citizen scientists. We provided iPads and, using a piece of software called Socrative, allowed the group to give feedback on presentations, and record all this for the use of those behind the project and for research.
Anyway, the project has been progress nicely, and it was great to hear back from Professor Les Carr and Southampton City Council. About a month or so ago, myself and Tom were approached to create a site for the project, that’s primary focus would be to display the outcomes of the project to the public. We were really happy to have been asked to this, as DigiChamps, and decided to produce the site using WordPress, and a template we think looks particularly modern and striking. We liaised closely with the Council throughout production, ensuring that the materials and features they wanted were all displayed on the site. Just last week, we completed the upload of the site, which is now viewable at www.sotonpeoplespanel.org.uk. Please have a look at the site and let us know your thoughts! We have received really great feedback from the council and from those involved in the project at the University, which has been fantastic.
As a result of the site development, we now are continuing engagement with the council, with a view to restructuring and more specifically branding the site to represent an organisation called Southampton People’s Panel. This organisation allows residents of Southampton to get involved in local projects and to get their voice heard. Many who are involved in the Citizen Science project, are also involved in the People’s Panel. This again is a very exciting opportunity, as the People’s Panel is a key part of the council’s engagement with citizens, and to be given any role in shaping the online presence of this organisation is one that both Tom and I are very grateful for. We will be sure to keep you all updated on how this progresses!
Finally, I wouldn’t be a true Web Scientist if I didn’t make reference to the research currently on the site. Professor Les Carr has conducted some macro-level Twitter analysis around the subject of recycling, and has produced a number of diagrams to show the results of this. They are all viewable on the site, and it is incredibly interesting to view the discourse around recycling online, and how this differs to how recycling might be spoken about face-to-face. It also hints at the power of Twitter to be a force for good in the area of recycling, and how social media in general could be a very important tool in the council’s arsenal for dealing with the recycling problem.
If you have any questions about this, or want to get involved in the project, please get in touch with me. Thanks for reading!