Architecting Learning Continuities for Families Across Informal Science Experiences
Perin, Suzanne Marie
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By first recognizing the valuable social and scientific practices taking place within families as they learn science together across multiple, everyday settings, this dissertation addresses questions of how to design and scaffold activities that build and expand on those practices to foster a deep understanding of science, and how the aesthetic experience of learning science builds connections across educational settings. Families were invited to visit a natural history museum, an aquarium, and a place or activity of the family’s choice that they associated with science learning. Some families were asked to use a set of activities during their study visits based on the practices of science (National Research Council, 2012), which were delivered via smartphone app or on paper cards. I use design-based research, video data analysis and interaction analysis to examine how families build connections between informal science learning settings. Chapter 2 outlines the research-based design process of creating activities for families that fostered connections across multiple learning settings, regardless of the topical content of those settings. Implications of this study point to means for linking everyday family social practices such as questioning, observing, and disagreeing to the practices of science through activities that are not site-specific. The next paper delves into aesthetic experience of science learning, and I use video interaction analysis and linguistic analysis to show how notions of beauty and pleasure (and their opposites) are perfused throughout learning activity. Designing for aesthetic experience overtly – building on the sensations of enjoyment and pleasure in the learning experience – can motivate those who might feel alienated by the common conception of science as merely a dispassionate assembly of facts, discrete procedures or inaccessible theory. The third paper, a case study of a family who learns about salmon in each of the sites they visit, highlights the contributions of multiple sites of learning in an ecological view of learning. Finally, the dissertations’ conclusion highlights the broad implications for conceiving of the many varied learning settings in a community as an educational infrastructure, and reflections on using aesthetic experience for broadening participation the sciences through the design of informal environments.
- Education - Seattle