Integrating STEM and Digital Literacies with Adolescents

Saturday, July 1, 2017 to Sunday, June 30, 2019
Resource Type:
Project Descriptions | Projects
Environment Type: 
Media and Technology, Public Programs, Afterschool Programs
Middle School Children (11-13) | Administration/Leadership/Policymakers | Educators/Teachers | Museum/ISE Professionals | Evaluators | Learning Researchers
Art, music, and theater | Climate | Ecology, forestry, and agriculture | Education and learning science | Health and medicine | Social science and psychology
University of Miami

As part of its overall effort to enhance learning in informal environments, the Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) program, seeks to advance new approaches to, and evidence-based understanding of, the design and development of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning in informal environments. This includes providing multiple pathways for broadening access to and engagement in STEM learning experiences, advancing innovative research on and assessment of STEM learning in informal environments, and developing understandings of deeper learning by participants. In alignment with these aims, the STEM + Digital Literacies (STEM+L) project will investigate science fiction as an effective mechanism to attract and immerse adolescents (ages 10-13) from diverse cultural backgrounds in environmental and human health content and socio-scientific issues. This work is particularly novel, as the current knowledge base is limited, and largely addresses the high school level. Therefore, the results of the proposed effort could yield important findings regarding the feasibility of this activity as an effective platform for science learning and engagement for younger students. As such, STEM+L would not only advance knowledge in the field but would also contribute to a growing AISL portfolio on digital literacy and learning.

STEM+L is an early stage Innovations in Development project that will engage thirty middle school students in out of school time experiences. Over a twenty-four-week period, students will work collaboratively in groups in-person and online with their peers and field experts to design, develop, and produce STEM content rich, multimedia science fictions. The in-person learning experiences will take place on the University of Miami campus during the summer and academic year. Culminating activities include student presentations online and at a local Science Fiction Festival. The research component will employ an iterative, design-based approach. Four research questions will be explored: (a) How do students learn science concepts and multimodal digital literacies through participating in the STEM+L Academy? (b) How do students change their views in STEM related subject matter and in pursuing STEM related careers? (c) How do students participate in the STEM+L Academy? (d) How do we best support students' participation and learning of STEM+L in face-to-face and online environments? Data collection methods include video records, student-generated artifacts, online surveys, embedded assessments, interviews, and multimodal reflections. Comparative case analysis and a mixed methods approach will be employed. A rigorous evaluation will be conducted by a critical external review board. Inclusive and innovative dissemination strategies will ensure that the results of the research and program reach a broad range of audiences including both informal and formal STEM and literacy educators and researchers, learning scientists, local communities, and policy makers through national and international conference presentations, journal publications, Web2.0 resources, and community outreach activities.

Funding Program: 
Award Number: 
Funding Amount: 

Team Members

Ji ShenJi ShenPrincipal Investigator
Blaine SmithBlaine SmithCo-Principal Investigator

Request to Edit a Resource

If you would like to edit a resource, please use this form to submit your request.