Based largely on my political views, I developed the ‘STEPWISE’ schema – summarized here, below and in these brief and extended articles. Using this schema, educators develop lessons and activities to educate students so they can effectively investigate relationships among fields of science & technology and societies & environments (STSE) and then develop and implement research-informed & negotiated actions (RiNA) to overcome – often controversial – personal, social and/or environmental harms concerning them (e.g., as at right). To learn about effectiveness of the STEPWISE schema, graduate students, teachers and I use action research and publish findings in journals & books, etc. We have seen many successes from uses of the STEPWISE schema – such as in RiNA projects highlighted below and here. Many students reported them in three issues of JASTE (5.1; 9.1; 11.1). Our action research also has generated many educational Resources and several scholarly reports highlighted in my Resumé – including the STEPWISE book. As described below, though, we continue to learn through action research.
Sample Student RiNA Projects
With examples for each, RiNA projects fall within two broad – although co-affecting – groups:
- ‘Science’: Students’ research lead to recommendations for changes in the world; e.g., Chocolate Ethics; Fair Trade Bananas; Cosmetics Ethics; Autos & Climate; ‘Drive Thru’ Idling; Advertising; Multivitamins?; Tap v. Bottled Water;
- ‘Engineering’: Using their research, students design & develop inventions or innovations that work and promote social justice and environmental wellbeing; e.g., Candle Recycler (at left); Knapsack Holder; Parallette Stands.
Many students are unable to self-direct very ‘sophisticated’ RiNA projects without prior lessons & activities arranged by the teacher. As shown in the video linked at right, these can follow this 3-phase sequence:
- Students Reflect. e.g., students express what they and other people & groups (dis-)like about STEM products (e.g., cars);
- Teacher Teaches. e.g., the teacher directly teaches hard to discover important concepts like actor-network theory; and provides activities to apply such concepts in new situations;
- Students Practise. e.g., students design & conduct brief RiNA projects on topics of their choice, with teacher help on request.
Depending on students’ ages and developmental stages, the teacher may or may not repeat the above cycle – typically with a new topic.
Once the teacher believes students are ready, they can be asked to carry out culminating “Student-led RiNA Projects” (e.g., as above).
Since its development in 2006, the STEPWISE schema has been used for curriculum development for several primary, secondary & tertiary courses and in after-school contexts. For complex reasons, however, its ‘popularity’ tends to be limited by factors like traditional foci on teaching & learning of science knowledge and skills. So, we continue to engage in new action research. We are now, for example, exploring uses of findings from Science & Technology Studies – as illustrated at left and elaborated here.