When looking all of the different options for websites that help students construct and communicate knowledge, I was blown away by the opportunities available to engage students with research that scientists are conducting around the world. One of the websites that really interested me that I’m looking forward to trying with my class is the Expedition around the Canada (https://canadac3.ca/en/expedition/) for the 150th anniversary. This is an incredible opportunity for students to connect so many facets of science with Canada. I can see how this endeavor could be tied into multiple grade levels in the curriculum. As the expedition travels through 6 ecozones, sciencitsts will conduct research to share with Canadians, talk to local communities, and discuss ways to protect the environment in live forums.
At schools we have environmental committees that allow students and staff to discuss ways to protect their environment. This is also a topic that comes up in class discussions in social studies and science. Involving a group of students in this kind of activity gives them the opportunity to discover what the regions are really like…at the present time. Rather than just reading about them in a textbook (that’s probably out of date) students can see the different ecosystems, ongoing methods of environmental protection.
According to Carraher (1985) the presence of physical items acts as a facilitating factor in allows students to understand a particular concept. There are ample opportunities through exploring the arctic that will allow students to connect and see first-hand how experiments are being conducted and how reconciliation is being undertaken in the Aboriginal communities.
In Yoon et al (2011) it was observed that digital augmentation resulted in increased levels of interest and engagement. Opportunities to provide experiences outside of the classroom environment through educational technologies can assist in the development of conceptual knowledge (Yoon et al, 2011). Students are then able to apply real world examples to their skillset in the areas of collecting data, making predictions, drawing conclusions, and theorizing about different phenomena. Sometimes just providing digital augmentation alone can provide huge gains even with no other scaffolds according to Yoon et al (2011). I wonder how educators can ensure that students challenge themselves when participating in digital augmentation? Would creating their own learning objectives translate into more engagement?
- Yoon, S. A., Elinich, K., Wang, J., Steinmeier, C., & Tucker, S. (2012). Using augmented reality and knowledge-building scaffolds to improve learning in a science museum. International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning, 7(4), 519-541. doi:10.1007/s11412-012-9156-x
- Carraher, T. N., Carraher, D. W., & Dias Schliemann, A. (1985). Mathematics in the streets and in schools. The British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 3(1), 21.