ScienceBEAT IS AN INTERDISCIPLINARY INITIATIVE TO INCREASE THE UNDERSTANDING OF CLIMATE CHANGE THROUGH CORE OBJECTIVES FOR WRITING INFORMATIONAL TEXTS.
To pursue these goals, high school students in earth science classrooms use interactive modules to explore data, predictions, and effects of climate change. At the same time, "reporters" in English and journalism classes investigate earth science topics discussed in their school then produce text and multimedia "reports" to explain facts about climate change. Six climate change modules are developed collaboratively with teachers and the next generation of digital users.
ScienceBEAT REPORTERS RESEARCH AND WRITE EXPLANATIONS ABOUT COMPLEX INFORMATION FOR DIFFERENT TYPES OF DIGITAL AUDIENCES.
Reporters use mobile devices to:
• Produce effective "explanatory" photos
• Conduct focused video interviews
• Distill data into the most important information
• Visualize complex concepts with simple charts
• Assemble multimedia with text to communicate
the science related to climate change
LEARNING OUTCOMES PURSUE THE DEVELOPMENT, APPLICATION, AND TESTING OF NEW SKILLS TO PRODUCE DIGITAL CONTENT.
Current research suggests that we should strive to produce content for at least three types of digital audiences. They are: (1) Quick scanners, (2) Motivated seekers, and (3) Engaged readers. To inform all three, an emerging P-I-C-K model for multimedia (Yaros, 2006) synthesizes a foundation of traditional writing skills (e.g. structure, grammar, syntax, etc.) with the four cognitive concepts for maximum engagement with digital content. The key concepts are: Personalization, Interactivity and Coherence/Contiguity of text with media while minimizing cognitive "Kick-outs" (things that terminate user engagement with the content). Since scanners and seekers may not have the time or interest to consume pages of text, complex graphics, and long videos, we hypothesize that content structured in the P-I-C-K format can simultaneously communicate varying levels of useful information to the three types of audiences. Students who learn and practice these P-I-C-K composition skills will emerge as better writers and media communicators as they prepare for college, future careers and a rapidly changing digital world.
ScienceBEAT PROPOSES A MUTUALLY BENEFICIAL PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN THE UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND AND HIGH SCHOOLS.
Researchers from the Colleges of Journalism and Education plus the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences are partnering with interested teachers of earth science, English and/or journalism at participating high schools. All of the modules, classroom activities and writing assignments will be designed with iterative feedback from teachers. The primary research question is whether interactive modules enhance understanding of climate change in both science classes and English/journalism classes. (1) Student engagement with and learning of climate science, (2) Common CORE literacies in earth science and (3) Common CORE writing competencies for informational texts with media.
FUNDING WOULD SUPPORT TEACHER TRAINING AND INTERACTIVE MODULES FOR MOBILE DEVICES.
ScienceBEAT is designed to supplement existing lessons in the curriculum, not replace them. The student-produced and peer-reviewed ScienceBEAT stories are posted on an easy to use web site, which can be transferred to the school at the project's conclusion.
REPORTERS RECEIVE AUDIENCE FEEDBACK ON THEIR WRITING.
After the student reporters reflect, revise and post their climate stories, several audiences review it. Teachers, peers in the "covered" science classes, parents, and even professionals review the news and provide the student reporters with additional feedback.