Viz prof’s project to determine if storytelling aids science learning

Sharon Lynn Chu

Researchers will learn if the storytelling prowess of fourth-grade students aids their understanding of science concepts in a National Science Foundation project led by Sharon Lynn Chu, Texas A&M assistant professor of visualization.

In the two-year, $174,989 project, the students will use “smart” watches to make voice recordings about science concepts that are present in and applicable to their everyday lives. Students will then edit the recordings into fuller narratives in an online application and present them to their instructor.

Project-based quizzes, interviews, self-report questionnaires, and video analysis will be used to assess whether and how the creating the narratives enhances students' science learning and their motivation to study science, said Chu.

She will compare the assessments with those from a class taught without the recorded narratives approach.

The project, which will take place in schools with a high percentage of students from populations typically underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and math fields, could also provide other benefits to participating students and educators, said Chu.

“In addition to sharpening their language arts learning and supporting their engagement and interest in STEM topics, students in the study will get feedback from their teacher regarding misconceptions they have about science,” she said. “The project will also help teachers learn what classroom procedures are most relevant and meaningful to students and provide guidelines and frameworks for wearables to support science learning,” said Chu.

posted September 30, 2016