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Friday, September 15, 2017

Social media helps students learn scientific argumentation better | Science Daily

University of Kansas. "Social media helps students learn scientific argumentation better: Students who took part in social media program learned better than peers who did not." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 September 2017.

Adults often bemoan the amount of time young people spend staring at a screen and browsing social media. But social media can not only be a way to teach students elements of the scientific process, those who took part in a program to learn scientific argumentation through social media learned the components of argumentation better than their peers who did not, a University of Kansas study has found.

KU researchers designed a curriculum unit to engage nearly 400 ninth-grade biology students in learning about scientific argumentation through social media use with their teachers and classmates. Argumentation is a key element of both Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core State Standards. The researchers have since authored a chapter for the book "Digital Tools and Solutions for Inquiry-Based STEM Learning," an article in the Journal of Education in Science, Environment and Health and an article in Educational Media International, a Taylor & Francis online journal outlining the study, its results and how teachers can implement similar practices in their classrooms.

The project and publications grew out of a National Science Foundation grant to KU's Center for Research on Learning. As part of the grant project, researchers worked with teachers and administrators in several urban and suburban Midwestern schools to teach students about Next Generation Science Standards for scientific argumentation, including asking questions, analyzing and interpreting data, engaging an argument from evidence, constructing explanations and obtaining, evaluating and communicating information, all via Twitter and Skype with their classmates and teachers.

The chapter and articles were collaboratively authored by Amber Rowland and Jana Craig-Hare, assistant research professors at KU's Center for Research on Learning; along with Marilyn Ault, senior research associate at CRL; James Ellis, associate professor of curriculum & teaching at KU, and Janis Bulgren, research professor at CRL.

As use of technology and social media become more commonplace in American classrooms, the researchers wanted to address ways educators can use the methods effectively. When compared with a group of students who did not take part in the project, the treatment group reported significantly higher use of social media to share scientific claims, discuss scientific phenomena, post counterarguments and/or rebuttals to others' claims, demonstrate their knowledge of science content, convince others to see their points of view and opinions about science, understand other points of view about science and to follow scientists and researchers on social media.
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Additional resources
Amber Rowland, Jana Craig-Hare, Marilyn Ault, James Ellis, Janis Bulgren. Social media: How the next generation can practice argumentation. Educational Media International, 2017; 54 (2): 99 DOI: 10.1080/09523987.2017.1362818

Source: ScienceDaily