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Identifying the Factors Leading to Success: How an Innovative Science Curriculum Cultivates Student Motivation
ARTICLE

Journal of Science Education and Technology Volume 25, Number 3, ISSN 1059-0145

Abstract

"PlantingScience" is an award-winning program recognized for its innovation and use of computer-supported scientist mentoring. Science learners work on inquiry-based experiments in their classrooms and communicate asynchronously with practicing plant scientist-mentors about the projects. The purpose of this study was to identify specific factors contributing to the program's effectiveness in engaging students. Using multiple data sources, grounded theory (Strauss and Corbin in "Basics of qualitative research." Sage, Newbury Park, 1990) was used to develop a conceptual model identifying the central phenomenon, causal conditions, intervening conditions, strategies, contexts, and student outcomes of the project. Student motivation was determined to be the central phenomenon explaining the success of the program, with student empowerment, online mentor interaction, and authenticity of the scientific experiences serving as causal conditions. Teachers contributed to student motivation by giving students more freedom, challenging students to take projects deeper, encouraging, and scaffolding. Scientists contributed to student motivation by providing explanations, asking questions, encouraging, and offering themselves as partners in the inquiry process. Several positive student outcomes of the program were uncovered and included increased positivity, greater willingness to take projects deeper, better understanding of scientific concepts, and greater commitments to collaboration. The findings of this study provide relevant information on how to develop curriculum, use technology, and train practitioners and mentors to utilize strategies and actions that improve learners' motivation to engage in authentic science in the classroom.

Citation

Scogin, S.C. (2016). Identifying the Factors Leading to Success: How an Innovative Science Curriculum Cultivates Student Motivation. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 25(3), 375-393. Retrieved July 21, 2019 from .

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