Engaging Secondary Students in Regionally Relevant Science Topics Through Videography
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 engaging students and their teachers in studies of environmental change. Middle and high school students from low-income backgrounds and other groups underrepresented in STEM fields will participate in a summer program and a school-year program to produce videos documenting the effects of environmental changes on their lives and communities. Students will learn skills associated with recording, editing, and producing videos; they will choose topics and locations to document environmental changes; and they will create videos that include original footage of local environments and interviews with scientists, still images, and other supplementary materials needed to communicate their findings. Students will be paired with science and film graduate and undergraduate student mentors to research, film, edit, and screen their videos. All videos will be screened at a Film Festival open to the general public.
The project goals are to: a) generate and sustain interest in STEM-related fields through collaborative videography projects; b) increase student STEM workforce readiness and awareness through interactions with mentors working in STEM, science communication, and digital technology fields; and c) advance knowledge in STEM education of factors that impact student outcomes. The project will compare the outcomes of two student engagement models: an intensive one-week summer model, and a school-year model implemented over a period of 6 months. Research in this project will focus on student outcomes related to career awareness and goals, school engagement and persistence, attitudes toward science and technology, and climate science knowledge. Outcomes of the two models will be measured, and the moderating effects of demographic factors and the influence of teachers, mentors, peers, parents, and social media will be examined. Demographic information and data from surveys and assessments administered before and after program implementation will be used to compare three groups: a) participants in the summer model; b) participants in the school-year model; and c) and a demographically matched comparison group. A combination of qualitative and quantitative research methods will be used to interpret student outcomes and factors influencing those outcomes.