Interest-driven STEM Learning among Youth through a Social Networking Site
Engaging middle school youth in STEM curricula resulting in desired conceptual changes is challenging. Furthermore, social media are identified as platforms where youth naturally congregate for sustained interaction. Studio STEM was designed as an after school programme to engage learners (ages 11–15) in design-based science inquiry within a studio environment, enhanced by social media and digital tools. In the highlighted curriculum, Save the Penguins, youth performed scientific experiments and engineering practices to design an enclosure to protect penguin-shaped ice cubes from rising temperature. Researchers tracked attendee and facilitator interactions through the social networking site, Edmodo. Results assert that youth’s understanding of science concepts was enhanced through participation in Studio STEM, evidenced through their articulation of understanding through Edmodo. Articulation remained dependent upon the amount of prompting that facilitators used within the Edmodo site as well as the availability of time set aside for students to interact with Edmodo.
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