Students Are Naturals with Photos – Now Give 'Em Voice

I'm really excited about a research tool I discovered while setting up a project involving informal science education. It's called "photovoice." It's a qualitative method whereby participants take pictures of settings interesting or important to them and then describe or write about what's meaningful. The method has been used in public health ethnographies, such as the smoking habits of new fathers. Recently, it has surged with the prevalence of smart phones, no doubt. Lots of pockets have cameras in them.

I think middle schoolers, high schoolers, and college students would be naturals. In a recent study, Behrendt & Machtmes used photovoice to evaluate student learning on a field trip. Check it out. I'd be interested to know what uses you find, what successes and pitfalls you encounter. Drop me a line.

Get Involved in Citizen Science, Spread Your Wings

Lately I've been hearing about citizen science, ways that people like you and I can get involved with science projects on the internet. That prospect is intriguing. It's an opportunity to explore interests or hobbies beyond our professional lives. There's iNaturalist, a site to share your observations of plants and animals, and for my town you can add sightings at the Austin Science and Nature Center. At zooniverse, you can help scientists analyze data about bat behavior in the wild, one NSF-funded project among many others. Perhaps, you have students or know teachers who would be interested in one of the projects. I'd like to hear what ways you find to get involved.

Sustainability and The NGSS


Here’s an article I think is worth your time. In the January 2015 issue of Science Education, Feinstein & Kirchgasler analyze how the concept of sustainability figures in The NGSS. Check it out.

Sustainability in Science Education? How the Next Generation Science Standards Approach Sustainability, and Why It Matters

I think you’ll find the analysis and implications spot on. Take a look and let us know what you think.