Crowd Sourcing Science Education

Crowd source funding for projects, initiatives and start up has grown by leaps and bounds, with over 2,667 crowd funding sites listed on crowdsourcing.org.  Crowdsourcing is growing in other industries, but has yet to have much affect on education. Although Parent /Teacher organizations have been know to raise money for individual school projects, but not all science related.

The one science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) crowdsourcing I am most familiar with is the Sierra Economic and Science Foundations TestTest Merit Scholarship programs for High School Seniors seeking STEM careers and TechTestJr designed to encourage 8th graders to take the hard math classes in high school so they are prepared to compete in TechTest when they are seniors. The scholarships are funded through crowd sourced donations from the public. 

I recently discovered another worthwhile crowd funded STEM project.  A citizen backed space science attempt to do the near impossible, reboot a scientific satellite which has completed three scientific missions, but is still transmitting a beacon, “I am here, I am here.”  Hearing the signal a group of volunteers scientist have put together a program to reboot the satellite and put in orbit between the sun and earth at L-1, The L-1  Lagrange point mark positions satellites where the combined gravitational pull of the two large masses , the sun and earth, provides precisely the centripetal force required to orbit with them. A satellite at L1 would have the same angular velocity of the earth with respect to the sun and hence it would maintain the same position with respect to the sun as seen from the earth.  

ISEE3-ICE Launched in 1978

ISEE3-ICE Launched in 1978

Once this volunteer group of scientist has re-established contact with the International Sun-Earth Explorer (ISEE-3) satellite, and it is put in a stable orbit, ISEE-3 will be an open source research platform for schools to use in STEM related courses and projects. Full details on the re-boot project can be found at Watts Up With That.

Including an opportunity to donate to the project and become part of the crowd which can point with pride to have been part of such an ambitious projects to recover and old bird and put it to a new use.  I have donated and has another member of the SESF Board of Directors.  We see a great opportunity to enhance local STEM education projects. If you know of a student interested in space, please consider making a donation also, and get them involved in this project. SESF would like to get to know them as well. (sesfoundation.steele@gmail.com

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About Russ Steele

Freelance writer and climate change blogger. Russ spent twenty years in the Air Force as a navigator specializing in electronics warfare and digital systems. After his service he was employed for sixteen years as concept developer for TRW, an aerospace and automotive company, and then was CEO of a non-profit Internet provider for 18 months. Russ's articles have appeared in Comstock's Business, Capitol Journal, Trailer Life, Monitoring Times, and Idaho Magazine.
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