STEPWISE-based Teacher Resources

Students Acting for All

This is a website (linked at right) developed by our team of teachers and researchers that provides teachers with video-based suggestions and downloadable resources for educating students so that they may, eventually, self-direct research-informed & negotiated social actions (RiNA) to overcome harms in relationships among fields of science & technology and societies & environments (STSE). Although these resources were designed for uses in distance education contexts, teachers also may choose to use them in face-to-face teaching and learning situations.

Science Education for Civic Action

As a companion to STEPWISE-informed resources on my website, such as Students Acting for All (above), one of our teams of teachers and researchers produced Science Education for Civic Action (linked at right) – a downloadable document containing unit plans made by teachers and individual resources that teachers can use to arrange lessons and student activities that may educate students so they may eventually self-direct research-informed & negotiated social actions to overcome harms they determine in relationships among fields of science & technology and societies & environments (STSE).

School-based JASTE Issues

JASTE is an open-access, community-reviewed, journal promoting civic engagement to promote social justice & environmental sustainability through science & technology education. Three of its issues (5.1; 9.1; 11.1) feature articles by students about their STEPWISE-informed RiNA projects, along with articles by teachers & researchers. Students’ articles, for instance, can be very useful as exemplars of RiNA projects – but, also, as objects for further project work.

Ban the Dust!

This downloadable graphic novel (linked to the graphic at right) tells a story of a case in which citizens in Québec City, Canada, investigated and acted to overcome perceived heavy metal dust pollution. For using it in educational contexts, we provide a downloadable document containing teaching & learning suggestions, here. These resources are advertised through a summary video below. We are grateful to Veronique Lalande & Louis Duchesne, citizens highlighted here, and Dr. Chantal Pouliot (Laval U), who studied their work, for their support.

Skills Apprenticeship Resources

This downloadable resource (linked at right) contains a set of ‘classroom-ready’ teaching & learning materials to help students to develop expertise, confidence & motivation for student-led science inquiry (e.g., experiment & study design) and technology design (e.g., about compromises in design) aligned with the schema for science & technology in the graphic below. Note that this older (c1990) resource should be adapted to use STSE issues as bases for learning skills.

STSE Commodity Cards

Based on constructivist learning theory, learners construct unique attitudes, skills & knowledge (ASK) by combining information in stimuli (e.g., speech, textures, sounds) with ASK they possess in their minds & bodies because of previous experiences. Showing students pictures (or just words) of common for-profit products &/or services like those at right, for example, can get them to become conscious of their often-subconscious pre-instructional ASK and, if necessary, make them available for re-construction. To ensure students do not try to tell teachers what they think teachers want to hear, etc., questions about the products/services should be divergent – e.g., What do you like & dislike about the item and why? – allowing for many possibilities, even if they differ from ASK of professionals. Elaboration of uses of such pictures, with more examples, is given here.

STSE Issue Comics/Cartoons

The STEPWISE curriculum & pedagogical framework is intended to educate students so they are willing & able to self-direct research-informed & negotiated actions (RiNAs) to overcome harms in STSE relationships. Many such harms, though, are controversial – with people disagreeing for reasons such as their different socio-political views (e.g., @Political Compass). Because such views, etc. often are, according to constructivist learning theory, sub-conscious, educators are urged to ask students to ‘express’ (e.g., in speech, images, text, etc.) them so they are made conscious and available for possible change when new information becomes available (e.g., through teaching). An approach that may appeal to many students is to ask them to analyze & evaluate, etc. comics or cartoons that may – like the one at right and those here – lead students to explore and perhaps change their views about science and technology.

STSE Commodity Actant Arrays

Based on actor-network theory, for-profit commodities (e.g., drones) are part of much larger networks of living, non-living & symbolic entities (‘actants’). Because pairs of actants co-affect each other, each actant in the network shares characteristics – to different degrees – of other actants in the network. Indeed, some actants often are so powerful that they align most others in common goals, forming sub-networks called dispositifs. Students can be introduced to networks in which commodities are embedded by the teacher – which appears necessary because such networks often are hidden from citizens. One way to do so is by showing students commodity actant arrays, which have some information; stimulating students to can carry out research to learn more about the commodity and suggest and/or take actions to overcome related harms they perceive. Elaboration of uses, with more examples, of such arrays is provided here.

Multi-Actant Documentaries

Multi-Actant Documentaries (MADs) are summaries – based on actor-network theory – of several living and non-living actants that we suggest are associated with particular for-profit products or services of science and technology. As shown at right, for example, we have provided – in separate Prezi™ cells – text, graphics and videos of actants like activists, corn, medical doctors, etc. for fast & manufactured foods. After reviewing a MAD, students could suggest ways different actants link with other actants to form sub-networks (dispositifs) that support or oppose the commodity. They could, then, carry out RiNA projects to further investigate the commodity and develop and take social actions to overcome harms they determine in the dispositif. Links to 12 other MADs are provided here.

Evaluating STSE Action Statements

The main goal of the STEPWISE pedagogy is to encourage and enable learners to develop & implement personal & social actions that may help overcome harms in STSE relationships. Possible actions are, of course, controversial and varied – depending, for instance, on a person’s political perspectives (e.g., Political Compass). And, based on constructivist learning theory, people’s views on actions – like much else – are subconscious. So, to help learners to consider alternative actions, educators are urged to first ask learners to evaluate, with reasons, possible actions. Through elaborations and several examples provided here, teachers can ask students to play a card exchange game to explore and evaluate various and controversial action suggestions.

Nature of Science Card Exchange Game

Extents to which and characteristics of implementation of STEPWISE appear to depend largely on teachers’ & students’ conceptions (‘views’) of the nature of science (NoS). Among ways this can be studied (and perhaps changed), Loving’s (1991) Scientific Theory Profile (STP) – shown at right – appears to work well. Although connections between it and the Political Compass could be explored, it seems that people who support Naturalist-Antirealist views and Left-Libertarianism might believe that scientists’ topics & methods often are affected by culture, economics, politics, etc. and that conclusions may not always align with reality – and that such views would, in turn, encourage and enable them to critique STSE relationships and develop and take research-informed & negotiated socio-political actions, often in opposition to authorities, to overcome harms they determine. To help students explore NoS views, teachers can engage them in the NoS card exchange game – as explained, with examples, here.

Graduate Course Literature Summaries

With reference to the graphic at right, particularly for my teaching in graduate studies at OISE, but also for my main science teacher education course (Science & Technology in Context), summaries of publications that I found relevant to each course are linked below: