Supporting citizen inquiry: An investigation of Moon rock

Eloy David Villasclaras-Fernandez, Mike Sharples, Simon Kelley, Eileen Scanlon

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Citizen inquiry is an innovative way for non-professionals to engage in practical scientific activities, in which they take the role of self-regulated scientists in informal learning contexts. This type of activity has similarities to inquiry-based learning and to citizen science, but also important differences. To understand the challenges of supporting citizen inquiry, a prototype system and activity has been developed: the Moon Rock Explorer. Based on the nQuire Toolkit, this offers people without geology expertise an open investigation into authentic specimens of Moon rock, using a Virtual Microscope. The Moon Rock Explorer inquiry has been evaluated in an informal learning context with PhD students from the Open University. Results of the evaluation raise issues related to motivation and interaction between inquiry participants. They also provide evidence that the integration of scientific tools was successful and that the nQuire Toolkit is suitable to deploy and enact citizen inquiries.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationScaling Up Learning for Sustained Impact - 8th European Conference on Technology Enhanced Learning, EC-TEL 2013, Proceedings
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 9 Sep 2013
Event8th European Conference on Technology Enhanced Learning, EC-TEL 2013 - Paphos, Cyprus
Duration: 17 Sep 201321 Sep 2013

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume8095 LNCS
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference8th European Conference on Technology Enhanced Learning, EC-TEL 2013


  • Citizen inquiry
  • Informal learning
  • nQuire
  • Science learning


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