Using data-intensive media to promote science education
What this course aims to address:
- How to teach students struggling with interpreting and using scientific documents (Charts, Graphs, etc.)
- The role of data intensive media in science literacy
- Selecting data intensive media that will engage students
- Creating lessons centered around the interpretation and creation of data intensive media
If you find that these are important aspects to your science classroom, then this course may be beneficial for you as a current or future science educator.
One of the most important aspects of science is being able to interpret scientific media, analyze it, and create it to further a scientific claim or investigation. As a Biology teacher, I have found that many students struggle with interpreting scientific media that this course will refer to as "data intensive." This can include histograms, line graphs, charts, and diagrams/visualizations. Without the ability to interpret these types of documents, it is likely that students will struggle to succeed in achieving mastery in science classes. This course is designed to give participants strategies to help their students interpret these types of media, analyze them, and create them. It will also give educators the opportunity to create lessons that include data intensive media. Doing this will help students become scientifically literate because in order to achieve this students must be able to read, use, interpret, and create data intensive media.
This course is designed for secondary (grades 7-12) science teachers, but the content could also be applied to younger students as well. The course will be completely online, with participants viewing and interacting with the material through the course page. Due to this, participants must have internet access and be familiar with navigating the internet. There will be four units in this course which will scaffold up to having the learner create their own lesson that includes data intensive media. The lesson at the end will also have students collecting information that can be displayed in a particular scientific media document.
Media literacy is a topic that is becoming more common and prominent in education. Many educators have heard of, or experienced first hand, the benefits of integrating media literacy into the classroom content. While there are resources on how to help students analyze pictures, videos, and perspective writings, there are not as many resources dedicated to analyzing and using scientific documents to further students' understanding of content. Just like other disciplines, science has a unique set of skills that one must acquire in order to be considered scientifically literate. In science it is crucial that students are able to interpret and use charts, data tables, graphs, and diagrams. While it may seem intuitive for many how to read a graph or chart, I have found that students sometimes have a hard time using these documents because they have never been taught skills to specifically interpret this kind of data. While you might be thinking "isn't this a reading comprehension or math deficiency problem?" the truth is there are techniques we can use as educators to help students work through these data intensive media documents. Besides skills to teach students how to interpret these documents, there are ways in which we can facilitate the creation of data and documents that are relevant to the student in order to enhance their understanding.
- Define and give examples of scientific literacy
- Identify appropriate data-intensive documents to include in daily lessons
- Explain the benefit of data-intensive documents in regards to critical thinking.
- Identify strategies to teach students data interpretation skills.
- Create an assignment where students analyze and produce scientific media documents.