Citizen science in Opole secondary schools

Zdjęcie nagłówkowe otwierające podstronę: Citizen science in Opole secondary schools

On June 16, 2023, the conference Citizen Science for schools in the city of Opole was held in Collegium Civitas of the University of Opole. 

The meeting summed up the work of pupils from three Opole secondary schools. In the summer semester of the 2022/2023, the pupils worked on scientific mini projects they initiated. There were three schools involved in this edition: Secondary School No. 3 with the tutor Arkadiusz Wickiewicz, Secondary School No. 6 with the tutor Roma Kwiecińska, and Secondary School No. 8 with the tutor Wioletta Barczak.

This year's edition of the project, the third conducted as a part of the FORTHEM Lab Multilingualism in School and Higher Education, and the second under the auspices of the Opole City Hall, was carried out by academics from the Institute of Linguistics (Faculty of Philology) and the Chair of Sociology (Faculty of Social Sciences). The theme of this year's edition was "Social determinants of linguistic and non-linguistic communication (including media)”. The pupils worked for the entire semester under the supervision of eight University of Opole students with various backgrounds (e.g., linguistics, philology, sociology, psychology and speech therapy). The students conducted workshops and consultations and provided substantive support at every stage of the projects, motivating pupils to take on additional activities. Marta Wacławczyk, Oliwia Doszczak, and Kamila Styś worked with Secondary School No. 6, Wiktoria Borgul and Natalia Orlik with Secondary School No. 8, and Żaneta Rojek, Kacper Kozdraś, and Katarzyna Preuhs with Secondary School No. 3. Katarzyna Preuhs was also this year’s coordinator of all the students’ work, and she co-organized the final conference.

The conference began with a speech by the Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Philology, Dr Małgorzata Adams-Tukiendorf and the Head of the Department of Education of the Opole City Hall, Aleksander Iszczuk, whose help and encouragement were key to the implementation of the project. The Mayor of Opole also showed support, delegating Michał Kramarz to represent the municipality in the conference. Prof. Katarzyna Molek-Kozakowska, the project’s coordinator, spoke about the cooperation of European Universities in FORTHEM, while Marcin Deutschmann explained the idea of citizen science and its value from the perspective of social involvement.

In their presentations, pupils showed a very broad and creative understanding of the subject of communication from a social perspective, as well as the maturity in approaching contemporary communication problems. In total, 14 mini projects were presented. They dealt with such topics as communications within chosen religious groups, the impact of online learning on pupils’ use of language and media, the role of teachers’ messages in motivating pupils to study, the well-being of youth in the context of social media usage, the public announcements of the city’s cultural institutions, and advertisements in the public spaces of Opole.

We want to congratulate all the pupils, students and teachers who were involved in the project. We wish them further school and academic successes. Above all, we want them to use the skills they mastered through citizen science for their own personal and professional development. We also would like to thank the Mayor of Opole, the Head of the Department of Education, and all the individuals involved in organizing the event.

Text by Katarzyna Molek-Kozakowska, Katarzyna Preuhs