Becoming Community Science Experts in Green Energy Technologies
In this white paper we describe youth engagement in cyber-rich science in a community setting, involving both knowledge/practice development and identity work through scientifically rigorous, culturally responsive, and generative activities. This model for youth engagement, which we refer to as the “becoming community science experts model” (CSE model) is grounded in critically-oriented sociocultural perspectives on learning which challenge traditional notions of expertise, and accounts for the ways in which the complex relationships between science, community/place and self frame science learning and engagement. Using longitudinal case study data of urban youth from lower-income and African American backgrounds who have participated in a community-oriented informal science program (GET City), we describe the model and suggest pathways towards CSE development in informal learning environments. We further use longitudinal data to make a case that this kind of engagement in science fosters science literacy as called for in current science education frameworks.