A Collaboration to Develop Tools for Mapping and Assessing the Impact of STEM Experiences Across Different Ecologies
This Science Learning+ Planning Project will develop a prototype assessment tool (based on a mobile technology platform) to map STEM learning experiences across different learning ecologies (e.g. science centers, mass media, home environment) and to develop research questions and designs for a Phase 2 Science Learning+ proposal. The tool will focus on the impact of the learning ecologies on knowledge, interest, identity and reasoning rather than emphasize learning in a specific content area. The proposing team will develop and conduct a small scale usability study during the planning period, which will inform what is proposed in the Phase 2 research. A key focus of the planning period will be to identify and develop the theoretical constructs (i.e., outcomes) to be measured by the prototype App. As a starting point, the project will start with four of the six strands identified in Learning Science in Informal Environments (National Research Council, Bell et al., 2009): (1) interest triggered by a STEM experience; (2) understanding scientific knowledge; (3) engaging in scientific reasoning; and (4) identifying with the scientific enterprise. Discussion among the project partners during the planning process will revolve around how these strands should be measured in the Phase 2 research across ecologies. The measurement tool will assess the goal(s) that people set as they engage in STEM learning within each ecology and will measure the individuals' duration and level of engagement. The project will strive to utilize measures that: (1) are nonobtrusive; (2) are embedded in STEM experiences; (3) can be used across ecologies; (4) can be scaled for other ecologies than the ones examined in Phase 2 research; and (5) will be easy to use by researchers and practitioners.