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Title: Data-Driven Science Vlogging for Connected Learning Anywhere  more » « less
Award ID(s):
2054079 2131097
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Connected science learning
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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  1. Abstract

    Social, political, and cultural complexities observed in environmental justice (EJ) communities require new forms of investigation, science teaching, and communication. Defined broadly, participatory approaches can challenge and change inequity and mistrust in science. Here, we describe Project Harvest and the partnership building and co‐generation of knowledge alongside four EJ communities in Arizona. From 2017 to 2021, Project Harvest centered learning around these communities and the participant experience drove the data sharing practice. The framework of sense‐making is used to analyze how community scientists (CS) are learning within the context of environmental pollution and (in)justice. The environmental health literacy (EHL) framework is applied to document the acquisition of skills that enable protective decision‐making and the capacity of CS to move along the EHL continuum. Using data from surveys, focus groups, and semi‐structured interviews, we are asking how did: (1) Personal connections and local relevancy fuel sense‐making? (2) Data sharing make pollution visible and connect to historical knowledge to either reinforce or modify their existing mental map around pollution? and (3) The co‐creation process build data literacy and a relationship science? Results indicate that due to the program framing, CS personally connected with, and made sense of their data based on use and experience. CS synthesized and connected their pollution history and lived experiences with their data and evaluated contaminant transport. CS saw themselves as part of the process, are taking what they learned and the evidence they helped produce to adopt protective environmental health measures and are applying these skills to new contexts. Here, co‐created science nurtured a new/renewed relationship with science. This science culture rooted in co‐creation, fosters action, trust, and supports ongoing science engagement. The science learning that stems from co‐created efforts can set the pace for social transformation and provide the foundation for structural change.

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  2. Abstract: Citizen science is an ideal vehicle for building smart and connected communities, particularly in underrepresented and urban populations. It provides the means for a community to become vested in its local ecosystem. It simultaneously engages students and schools, public and private stakeholders, educators, and scientists. It plays an essential role in empowering local communities to restore biodiversity, ecological productivity and ecosystem services. Just as citizen science is a means by which a community can help form its ecological future, citizen policymaking is the analog by which a community can help form its environmental future. The practice of policy connects the diverse disciplines necessary for informed decision-making, such as science, law, technology, economics and social sciences. The combination of science and policymaking, a staple of environmental governance, creates for student, teacher and community member a creative venue for applied learning that connects scientific discovery with civic engagement, scientific method with policy governance, and all-important STEM skills with all the above. Through a curriculum that explores the combined role of monitoring technologies, data collection and decision-making one can demonstrate the processes that harmonize STEM-based and ecological knowledge with policy priorities and environmental necessity for the greatest societal benefit. For students in particular, such lessons open the door to the interdisciplinary thinking and applied value of STEM in the professions. Just as our schools should be unrivaled training grounds for citizen science, so too should they be the hub for the applied interdisciplinary learning and skills that animate and enliven the principles of democracy and law. Key words: STEM education, citizen science, environmental restoration, smart and connected communities. 
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  3. Murphy, B. ; Roberts, K. (Ed.)
    In the summer of 2020, NSTA received the exciting news that it had received a grant from the National Science Foundation to engage in a project to help advance the field of connected STEM learning. The goal of this project was to publish resources in Connected Science Learning (CSL) that would support STEM educators in applying the latest research to the design and delivery of connected STEM learning experiences. This ebook is a culmination of this work. 
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  4. In the United States, Black and Latinx students are underrepresented in STEM courses and careers due to a dearth of culturally relevant opportunities, which in turn are connected to broader issues of social justice. Place-based environmental civic science offers potential for addressing these issues by enabling students to apply their STEM learning to mitigate local environmental problems. By civic science we refer to science in which all citizens, not just experts, engage for the public good. In this paper, we report on a study in which we followed middle-and high-school science and math classes in urban schools serving racial/ethnic minoritized students as they engaged in an innovative contextualized curriculum—a place-based civic science model in which students work with STEM community partners to address an environmental issue in their community. We draw from students’ open-ended reflections on what they learned from participating in place-based environmental civic science projects that could help their communities. Thematic analyses of reflections collected from 291 students point to beliefs in the usefulness of science to effect community change. Students articulated the science they learned or used in the project and how it could affect their community; they made references to real world applications of science in their project work and made links between STEM and civic contributions. In their own words, the majority of students noted ways that STEM was relevant to their communities now or in the future; in addition, a subset of students expressed changes in their thinking about how they personally could apply science to positively impact their communities and the ties between STEM and social justice. Analyses also point to a sense of confidence and purpose students gained from using STEM learning for their goals of community contribution. Results of this study suggest that focusing on local place as a foundation for students’ STEM learning and linking that learning to the civic contributions they can make, cultivates students’ perceptions of how they can use science to benefit their communities. Findings also suggest that engaging students in place-based civic science work provides effective foundations for nurturing STEM interest and addressing the underrepresentation of youth of color in STEM. 
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