Teens, technology, and teaching science: A case study in media literacy, science literacy, and student-authored hypermedia
Timothy Edward Bajkiewicz, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, United States
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill . Awarded
Media and science literacy are newer educational and philosophical movements concerned with members of the public adopting a critical attitude toward information while using critical thinking skills. The growing availability of multimedia computers in most schools, the continued efforts to introduce the educational philosophy of constructivism into classrooms, and the learning theories of Lev Vygotsky have contributed to a new student learning activity incorporating multimedia and the Internet: student-authored hypermedia, or student-built web pages.
This qualitative case study involved 35 high school science students from a medium-sized city in the southeastern United States who each constructed media—either a brochure or a web page—as part of an end-of-the-year Biology II project. Research questions investigated: (1) how students would perceive the construction of media; (2) how they would incorporate science concepts; (3) if perceptions would differ based on some students receiving a media literacy lesson; (4) if Vygotskian learning theories provide useful frameworks for analysis of the students' perceptions; and (5) how the major goals of media and science literacy would emerge during analysis. The study used four data collection efforts: (1) eight gender-specific student focus groups; (2) a media and technology use student survey; (3) in-depth teacher interviews; and (4) participant observation. Half the students were also given a media literacy lesson. The student focus group data were the main focus of analysis, with the other methods providing context and informing the analysis.
Qualitative analysis of the student focus group data revealed three major conceptual categories: (1) Personal involvement; (2) “Navigating” information; and (3) Considering others. In general, students expressed an investment in their media creation (the brochure or the web page); the ability to handle and discern relevant information; and the realization that their media creation would have an audience who would consider their media and them as the author. Data from these categories were incorporated into a data organizational tool to help represent relationships among the concepts, and a theoretical model posited relationships among the student focus group data, Vygotskian learning theory, and the major goals of media and science literacy. Implications and future research are discussed.
Bajkiewicz, T.E. Teens, technology, and teaching science: A case study in media literacy, science literacy, and student-authored hypermedia. Ph.D. thesis, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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