Designing and Using Social Media for Childrens’ Science Learning

How can we design and use social media with children? It’s a complex issue that is less explored in the research literature (for a myriad of reasons related to policy, safety, convenience etc.). Add onto that the complexity of “learning” science; how could we use social media to promote science learning for children?

I’m really excited to share our paper, which will be presented at the CSCW 2014 Conference in February, called “Selfies for Science”. It’s a case study of our 2-year design process of a social media app for kids called ScienceKit, and how new types of collaborative learning configurations can happen when we implement it in an informal science program.

Check out the paper here.

School Libraries as Learning Labs

I’m happy to share some exciting recent news.  First, an article I co-authored with colleagues (Dr. Subramaniam, Dr. Fleischmann, and Dr. Druin) here at the iSchool was just recently accepted to The Library Quarterly.  In it, we outline a framework to think about how school library settings can be ideal places to promote science, technology, engineering, and math learning.  We think there is particular promise to think about school libraries as hybrid spaces, where students can link their everyday interests to STEM ideas.  We also see great promise in school librarians as technology-integrators and leaders for media-enhanced learning.  [see publications]

Second, this work sets the stage for a recent NSF grant we received to explore how to use science-fiction based storytelling, social network sites, and school libraries to pique student interests in STEM and help them identify as potential scientists.  We’re still getting things started, but I’m excited to share more as we go.  At the moment, I’m quite inspired by Brian David Johnson’s idea of Science Fiction Prototyping. [more on the project page].