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Constructing “Authentic” Science: Results from a University/High School Collaboration Integrating Digital Storytelling and Social Networking

Abstract

This study explores the implications of a redesign of a college course that entailed a new partnership between a college neuroscience classroom and a high school. In this course, the college students engaged in original research projects which included conducting brain surgery and behavioural tests on rats. They used digital storytelling and social networking to communicate with high school students and were visited by the students during the semester. The aims of the redesign were to align the course with science conducted in the field and to provide opportunities to disseminate scientific knowledge through emerging technologies. This study investigates the impact of these innovations on the college and high school students’ perceptions of authentic science, including their relationship with science-centred communities. We found that these collaborative tools increased college students’ perceptions that authentic science entailed communication with the general public, in addition to supporting prior perceptions of the importance of conducting experiments and presenting results to experts. In addition, the view of science as high-status knowledge was attenuated as students integrated non-formal communication practices into presentations, showing the backstage process of learning, incorporating music and youth discourse styles, and displaying emotional engagement. An impact of these hybrid presentation approaches was an increase in the high school students’ perceptions of the accessibility of laboratory science. We discuss how the use of technologies that are familiar to youth, such as iPads, social networking sites, and multimedia presentations, has the potential to prioritize students’ voices and promote a more inclusive view of science.

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Notes

  1. Student names have been changed.

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Olitsky, S., Becker, E.A., Jayo, I. et al. Constructing “Authentic” Science: Results from a University/High School Collaboration Integrating Digital Storytelling and Social Networking. Res Sci Educ 50, 505–528 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11165-018-9699-6

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Keywords

  • Science education
  • K-20 partnerships
  • Authenticity
  • Education reform
  • Professional community
  • Digital storytelling
  • Learning technologies
  • Science communication