Andrew Wierl

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Return to: ETAP 623 Fall 2020 (Zhang) | Mini Course Home[[1]]

About Me

I received my Bachelor's degree in Adolescent Education and Biology from SUNY Oneonta. I am an aspiring science teacher and I hold a certification in Biology 7-12 with the Middle School General Science extension.


My Topic and Purpose

The mini-course is being designed to focus on the implementation of literacy skills and effective scientific research skills at the high school level. Literacy often gets overlooked in the science classroom and it is essential to the success of each student for them to build science literacy. It is also important for students to learn how to conduct research to help support their writing. Students are often lacking in this area and science class presents a great opportunity for students to learn the difference between scholarly articles and opinion based articles. This course can be modified to fit middle school students and some aspects can be used with elementary students, but the main focus is high school. In my teaching I have noticed that students in ninth and tenth grade still do not know how to tell the difference between scholarly articles and opinion based articles. Students have access to information at their fingertips, and with that access the participants look up everything and often take the first article as fact without researching any further. Digital literacy skills will help the learner differentiate between fact based articles that should be used for scientific research and opinion based articles that can offer interesting perspectives but need to be researched further in order to determine its validity.

The learning outcomes I hope participants to achieve:

  • The participant can effectively analyze scientific articles.
  • The participant can decipher scholarly peer-reviewed research from opinion based news articles.
  • The participant will gain an understanding of digital literacies and the confidence to introduce lessons that involve scientific research.

Needs Assessment

1. Instructional Problem

Both students and teachers exist in a technologically driven world and the incorporation of new technology activities have the ability to enhance lessons, but teachers need provide students with the tools to navigate the digital world we are in. Digital Literacy comes in many forms and each provides a necessary skill for navigating technology and making the most out of each lesson. The focus of this mini-course is to learn how to best provide the necessary digital literacy skills for proper scientific research. Students come into high school with a vast knowledge of technology due to the widespread use of devices like cell phones, tablets, computers and video game systems. Students have been exposed to technology long enough that they tend to pick up new skills fairly easily, but many of those skills are not considered useful for academics and scholarly research. When conducting research, the skills digital literacy skills they possess may not help them to understand the difference between scholarly articles and opinion based articles. Through the use of familiar technology teachers may be able to scaffold instruction to help students learn how to better conduct research. This will involve a deeper level of reading skills that not all students may possess, so there are difficulties that must be dealt with, but upon successful completion of the mini-course teachers should be able to research at a level that would be acceptable for college and have the skills to teach students effective research strategies.

2. What is to be Learned

Educators will learn how to critically analyze scientific research and use those skills to find ways to effectively teach digital literacy to students.

3. The Learners

The intended learners for this mini-course are current educators in K-12 environments. Learners should be looking to enhance their understanding of digital literacy and how it relates to academic research. Learners should be able to use technology for research and understand basic office programs, Google classroom programs and be inclined to add additional services to their repertoire. The instructional activities will assist pre-service and current teachers and will focus more on the high school and middle school level, but is applicable to all grade level educators.

4. Learner Analysis

Participants taking this course include educators and administrators working with and teaching children in grades K-12. Participants will have varying degrees of familiarity with digital literacy and scholarly research concepts in addition to varying technological skills.

Analysis of the Learner and Context

The intended learners for this mini-course are current educators in K-12 environments. Learners should be looking to enhance their understanding of digital literacy and how it relates to academic research. Upon Successful completion of this course, participants will gain an understanding of how to critically analyze digital media, including written articles, audio and video sources. Participants will then be able to model effective use in their own classrooms.

Performance-Based Objectives

After completion of this course participants will:

  • Understand aspects of research and how to read scholarly articles.
  • Be able to differentiate between scholarly articles and news/opinion based articles.
  • Define digital literacy and give examples.
  • Explain where different types of research are applicable
  • Explain and demonstrate research strategies.
  • Demonstrate how to critically analyze scientific articles.
  • Create an authentic research based project using extensive literacy practices that shows how it could be scaffolded for student use in the classroom.

"There is general agreement that authentic tasks provide real world relevance and personal meaning to the learner, although issues of what constitutes authenticity and how to design authentic learning tasks are still emerging." (Kierney 2006)

Effective Critical Digital Media Literacy (DML) analysis requires skills that are laid out by Botturi (2019):

  1. Make responsible choices and access information by locating and sharing materials and comprehending information and ideas.
  2. Analyze messages in a variety of forms by identifying the author, purpose and point of view, and evaluating the quality and credibility of the content.
  3. Create content in a variety of forms, making use of language, images, sound, and new digital tools and technologies.
  4. Reflect on one’s own conduct and communication behavior by applying social responsibility and ethical principles.
  5. Take social action by working individually and collaboratively to share knowledge and solve problems in the family, workplace and community, and by participating as a member of a community

Task Analysis

Unit 1: Why is research important?

  1. The learner will explain why research is conducted in different contexts.
  2. The Learner will analyze aspects of research.

Unit 2: How do you read a scholarly article?

  1. The learner will compare and contrast between scholarly article and news/opinion based article.
  2. The learner will describe the major components of a research paper.
  3. The learner will explain the purpose of each section in a scholarly article.
  4. The learner will understand and demonstrate techniques for active reading to more easily and better understand articles.

Unit 3: What types of digital sources are available and how can you evaluate them?

  1. The learner will define different types of digital media sources.
  2. The learner will understand appropriate application of various sources.
  3. The learner will compare and contrast different media sources.
  4. The learner will demonstrate proper techniques for critically analyzing source material.

Unit 4: How can the skills learned transfer to students in the classroom?

  1. The learner will evaluate how 21st century research skills are needed to prepare students for 21st century jobs.
  2. The learner will reflect on the research strategies and understand how to apply them to the classroom.
  3. The learner will take a self-assessment to evaluate how much they have learned from this mini-course

Curriculum Map


References and Resources

Larson, M. B. and Lockee, B. B. (2020). Streamlined ID: A Practical Guide to Instructional Design (2nd edition). New York, NY: Routledge. (ISBN-13: 978-0815366706)

Botturi, L., (2019). Digital and media literacy in pre-service teacher education. Nordic Journal of Digital Literacy. Vol. 14, No. 3–4-2019, p. 147–163. ISSN Online: 1891-943X. Retrieved from

Cunningham, April and Hannon, Richard (2013) "Reinforcing College Reading Strategies in the Library Classroom," LOEX Quarterly: Vol. 40 : Iss. 1 , Article 4. Available at:

Margy MacMillan and Allison Mackenzie. Strategies for Integrating Information Literacy and Academic Literacy: Helping Undergraduate Students Make the Most of Scholarly Articles." Proceedings of the IATUL Conferences. Paper 16.