Evans, M. A., Lopez, M., Maddox, D., Drape, T., & Duke, R. (2014). Interest-driven learning among middle school youth in an out-of-school STEM studio. Journal of Science Education Technology, 23(5), 624–640. doi:10.1007/s10956-014-9490-z
In this paper, Evans, Lopez, Maddox, Drape, and Duke investigate how intentionally designed features of an out-of-school time program,Studio STEM, influenced middle school youths’ engagement in their learning. The authors took a connected learning approach, using new media to support peer interaction and engagement with an engineering design challenge in an open and flexible learning environment.
Lee, S.W-Y., Tsai, C-C., Wu, Y-T., Tsai, M-J., Liu, T-C., Hwang F-K., Chang, C-Y. (2011). Internet-based science learning: A review of journal publications. International Journal of Science Education, 33(14), 1893–1925.
The Internet now plays an important role in education. This paper reviews the current literature on Internet-based science learning environments, focusing in particular on the characteristics of learners that affect the extent of science learning. It offers a useful resource for ISE practitioners who provide online science learning.
Ryoo, J. J., Margolis, J., Lee, C. H., Sandoval, C.D.M., & Goode, J. (2013). Democratizing computer science knowledge: Transforming the face of computer science through public high school education. Learning, Media, and Technology, 38(2), 161–181.
Although computer science drives innovations that directly affect our everyday lives, few K–12 students have access to engaging and rigorous computer science learning. This article describes an effort to democratize access to computer science education through a program based on inquiry, culturally relevant curriculum, and equity-oriented pedagogy.
Sharples, M., Scanlon, E., Ainsworth, S., Anastopoulou, S., Collins, T., Crook, C., Jones, A., Kerawalla, L., Littleton, K., Mulholland, P., & O’Malley, C. (2014). Personal inquiry: Orchestrating science investigations within and beyond the classroom. Journal of the Learning Sciences. Doi: 10.1080/10508406.2014.944642
Mobile technology can be used to scaffold inquiry-based learning, enabling learners to work across settings and times, singly or in collaborative groups. It can expand learners’ opportunities to understand the nature of inquiry whilst they engage with the scientific content of a specific inquiry. This Sharples et al. paper reports on the use of the mobile computer-based inquiry toolkit nQuire. Teachers found the tool useful in helping students to make sense of data from varied settings.
DiGironimo, N. (2011). What is technology? Investigating student conceptions about the nature of technology. International Journal of Science Education, 33(10), 1337–1352.
A good understanding of the nature of technology arguably facilitates learners’ participation in a technology-rich, information-driven society. To support students’ engagement and assess their understanding, educators need a functional definition of technology. This paper offers a definition with a related framework for examining students’ understanding.
Ainsworth, S. (2006). DeFT: A conceptual framework for considering learning with multiple representations. Learning and Instruction, 16(3), 183–198.
Educators in informal science are exploring data visualization as a way to involve learners in analyzing and interpreting data. However, designing visualizations of data for learners can be challenging, especially when the visualizations show more than one type of data. The Ainsworth three-part DeFT framework can help practitioners design multiple external representations to support learning.
Habgood, M. P. J., & Ainsworth, S. E. (2011). Motivating hildren to learn effectively: Exploring the value of intrinsic integration in educational games. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 20(2), 169–206. doi:10.1080/10508406.2010.508029
The authors of this study investigated the educational potential of a digital math game called Zombie Division in an elementary classroom. Habgood & Ainsworth were interested in the effect of what they called “intrinsic integration” –linking the video game’s core mechanics of play to the educational content.
The idea is linked to the field of research called intrinsic motivation, in which the only reward is pleasure in the activity itself. The researchers argue that, while a game like MathBlaster is fun, it does not embody the mathematics lesson as an intrinsic part of game play.
Hampp, C., & Schwan, S. (2014). The role of authentic objects in museums of the history of science and technology: Findings from a visitor study. International Journal of Science Education, Part B: Communication and Public Engagement. doi:10.1080/21548455.2013.875238
Objects define museums: The collection, maintenance, and display of objects are the central functions of museum practice. But does it matter whether the objects on display are authentic? Investigators Hampp and Schwan's findings suggest that visitors learn as much from non-authentic objects as from authentic ones, but that aspects of authenticity shape visitors’ emotional experiences of museum objects.
Polman, J. L., & Gebre, E. H. (2015). Towards critical appraisal of infographics as scientific inscriptions. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 52(6), 868–893. http://doi.org/10.1002/tea.21225
As infographics and other visual forms of data become increasingly common, many educators wonder how to best integrate them into learning activities. Polman and Gebre interviewed 10 experts in science representation to understand common practices they used for selecting and interpreting infographics. The authors build on study results to generate guidelines for educators' use of infographics.
Arena, D. A., & Schwartz, D. L. (2013). Experience and explanation: Using videogames to prepare students for formal instruction in statistics. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 23(4), 538–548. doi:10.1007/s10956-013-9483-3
Formal readings and lectures are effective at delivering explanations, but the information they impart can be so densely packed and de-contextualized that students may not make full sense of the content. Arena and Schwartz found that video games have the potential to unlock the expository content delivered by lectures, textbooks, and diagrams.