“This is my thing!”: Middle years students’ engagement and learning using digital resources
AbstractIt is widely acknowledged that multimodal digital texts support student engagement with ideas, knowledge and new forms of literate practice. With this in mind, an interdisciplinary team at The University of Melbourne collaborated to create a digitalresource – The Venom Patrol website – to teach scientific concepts about Australia’s venomous animals to middle years students (Years 5-9). The website’s development was a response to students’ increasing use of digital texts and technologies, and the need to develop students’ skills around being ‘multiliterate’. An inquiry-based pedagogy sought to encourage interactive learning and to enhance student development of scientific literacy. This article reports the findings of a pilot study that investigated student and teacher responses to the functionality and appropriateness of the digital resource for teaching scientific literacy, and for engaging students with the science-based content. The study revealed different teacher approaches to using the digital resource in the classroom, with varying levels of success. It also found the students to be critical and insightful users of digital texts who welcomed both the choices offered by the non-linear structure of the resource and the opportunity this research afforded for their voices to be heard around texts and contexts for learning.
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