Promoting 21st Century Science Technology-Enhanced Learning Across Formal and Informal Environments
This project investigates the relationship between middle school students’ information technology skills, their success in an inquiry ocean science curriculum designed to target those skills, and their understanding of the new characteristics of 21st century science. It is concerned with the design of a curriculum and its impact on students of high compared with low digital literacy. It also examines student engagement with the various curriculum elements and their progress with conceptual understanding of science topics, belief and understandings about the nature of science, and growth of digital literacy skills. The project creates new measurement techniques for understanding the relationship between technology skills that students bring with them to the classroom, the science curriculum they encounter, their understandings of the nature of science, and their "digital literacy." The project intends to develop a digital skills assessment tool to capture student action in collaborating with virtual environments, using social information, and developing skills with computing. The investigators will conduct an analysis of video and audio recordings of student interviews, classroom observations, and field-trip conversations of students. The analysis will draw associations between class-based learning and field trip-based learning. The study will measure changes in students' epistemic commitment to learning science and science careers as intended by the ITEST program; that is, do the students increase their belief that they are capable of learning the science material as it is found in nature and presented in class.