SciPADS conducts research on “doing science as discourse-in-interaction” within the group of 8 to 12 year old students (n=300) from Luxembourg fundamental schools and the European school 2. Drawing on findings from the Codi-Scile-A project (2008-2011), the study expands the DICA research framework towards technology-enhanced inquiry with mobile devices and creative blending of student-created data collections with existing media content.
The project is supplying classes with ipads and a secure internal cloud service. The mobile technologies facilitate open learning situations and student-led inquiries within the classroom and beyond. As tablet computers are equipped with various sensors, they allow to collect, treat and visualise a broad range of data. Web 2.0 applications permit to combine these data with media content from print or digital sources. The cloud service facilitates to comfortably share all kind of data between students and teachers. It also encourages children disseminate their final productions to a closed or public audience.
The analytical lens is directed towards the situated ways in which students make sense of science phenomena through creative inquiry practices and by drawing upon material, digital and semiotic tools (written & oral) in multilingual contexts. More precisely, the research explores how mobile devices and web 2.0 tools mediate the understanding of scientific phenomena and the genesis of scientific thinking.
A core concern deals with processes of creativity, critical thinking, communication and collaboration among the students. Hence, it investigates to what extent interactive technologies are stimulating children to explore phenomena through personal/negotiated ways, to be creative and transform the culturally pre-given information into collaborative knowledge artefacts. These creative processes take place through apparent (“at hand”) and emergent (“developed”) discourse-in-interaction practices, features and formats with regard to the students’ repertoires from outside and inside school. Regarding our prior research findings, the multilingual, -media and -modal quality of these processes are of specific interest in terms of a) “doing science” and b) learning as such.
To achieve this goal, students’ classroom inquiries are recorded once per trimester for two consecutive school years. The research team also has a closer look at the “student created content”, that students store on the school-internal cloud. Following the encouraging results achieved during the project “Codi-Scile-A” (2008-2011), children record their own inquiry efforts with the ipads and comment on their personal approaches. These data will inform us about their evolving scientific thinking skills, depending on both their epistemic beliefs and investigative skills. They will also document their interactions with others and the semiotic tools-in-use in the elementary science classroom. All these data enlarge the DICA-lab database with reliable data about student’s specific ways of “doing science”.
For basic and applied research purposes, it is relevant how and to what extent idiosyncratic ways of thinking and acting come into being, are dialogically taken into account by other participants and might be tackled for further improvement through teachers or peers. The context-sensitive methodological framework provides ecologically valid insights into the culturally mediated fundaments of scientific reasoning, technology-enhanced information structuring in discourse-in-interaction. The research is emphasizing their micro-development and their enactment within multilingual learning contexts at a sensitive age.
The project supports teachers with f2f and online training (web 2.0 learning tools). It investigates changes in their teaching and assessment practices across the project time.