Fostering Equitable Science through Parental Involvement and Technology
Fourteen teachers and 1400 immigrant and minority middle school students and parents from urban schools in Minnesota will participate social learning environment activities to increase parental and/or familial involvement in science education.
This project will advance efforts of the Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) program to better understand and promote practices that increase students' motivations and capacities to pursue careers in fields of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) by examining the relationship between science learning and STEM career interest outcomes for students, and racial minority and immigrant parental involvement via a technology-enhanced social learning environment (SLE). The project will use an SLE, Flipgrid (flipgrid.com), to help mediate the achievement gap by increasing familial involvement in science education. We will also support middle school science teachers in using knowledge shared by parents in the Flipgrid environment in rigorous and culturally responsive science instruction. The work intends to accomplish three major goals: (1) enhance the science learning, attitudes, and engagement of racial minority and immigrant students through technology-rich experiences; (2) create meaningful science teacher, student, and parent/family partnerships centered on academics; and (3) increase the science education involvement of racial minority and immigrant parents.
The project work will take place in two middle schools that exemplify the persistent science achievement gap in Minnesota. It will include a summer teacher professional development institute, ongoing parent-teacher workshops, and iterative cycles of enactment, assessment, and refinement to inform design of the Flipgrid activities, assessments. and professional development supports. The research will employ a between-subjects, mixed methods design with random assignment at the class level to investigate its main research questions and meet project goals. Data sources include parent reports (interviews, surveys, parent-teacher workshop artifacts) and documented practices (SLE responses) to identify effective features of the SLE activities and the created cultural space for increasing racial minority and immigrant parental involvement. Evidence of the ways in which science teachers incorporate SLE activities in their classrooms will also be documented. Changes in student learning will be evaluated through project designed assessments using the Knowledge Integration Framework as guidance for measuring students understanding of concepts and phenomena targeted in the SLE activities. Through these activities, the project has potential to advance current understanding of parental involvement and transform how people think about reducing science education inequality and improving STEM career interest for minority and immigrant students.