Change Makers: Crowdsolving the Energy Challenge through Cyber-Enabled Out-of-School Citizen Science Programs (Telelab)

November 5th, 2020 - December 31st, 2021 | PROJECT

Informal learning environments offer a range of educational observations. Lately, many venues have adopted livestreaming and digital archiving, both as additional access for a wider offsite audience and as alternative ways to engage the onsite audience. Students can observe animals and plants from a different continent through a live camera feed, or they can watch an online recording of a science experiment even if they missed the live demonstration. However, livestreamed or archived observations remain a mostly passive experience, offering limited interactions beyond watching the videos. One way to create more active learning opportunities from these observations is to use sensors such as thermal cameras as additional streaming devices, which transmit real-time images and data that not only reveal more about what is being observed, but also allow the audience to ask deeper questions, find answers by interacting with the data, apply science knowledge in a relevant context, and become an active participant in scientific inquiry.

This project has created Telelab, a cloud platform for livestreaming and archiving interactive observations to promote citizen science. Powered by the Internet of things (IoT), Telelab allows informal science educators to present exhibits, living organisms or ecosystems through the use of sensors and actuators. Audiences both onsite and offsite can visualize biological processes in situ, such as thermoregulation, thermogenesis, metabolism, etc., or they can investigate physics and chemistry experiments by analyzing experimental data in combination with the video stream.

This work is funded by The Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) program, which seeks to advance new approaches to and evidence-based understanding of the design and development of STEM learning opportunities for the public in informal environments; provide multiple pathways for broadening access to and engagement in STEM learning experiences; advance innovative research on and assessment of STEM learning in informal environments; and engage the public of all ages in learning STEM in informal environments.


Project Website(s)

(no project website provided)

Project Products

Telelab Project Website
Infrared Street View Project Website
2021 Poster - Telelab: Broadcast Your Scientific Discoveries

Team Members

Charles Xie, Principal Investigator, Institute for Future Intelligence
Shannon Sung, Contributor, Institute for Future Intelligence
Rundong Jiang, Contributor, Institute for Future Intelligence


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL)
Award Number: 2054079
Funding Amount: $326,104.00


Audience: General Public | Museum | ISE Professionals | Scientists
Discipline: General STEM
Resource Type: Project Descriptions | Projects
Environment Type: Citizen Science Programs | Media and Technology | Public Programs | Websites | Mobile Apps | Online Media

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This material is supported by National Science Foundation award DRL-2229061, with previous support under DRL-1612739, DRL-1842633, DRL-1212803, and DRL-0638981. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations contained within are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of NSF.

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