Date

2018

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Teaching, Learning, and Technology

First Adviser

Bodzin, Alec M.

Abstract

STEM education reform and climate change awareness are two of the United States’ most challenging educational issues. When integrated into curricula, citizen science projects have shown the ability to increase STEM interest and enhance climate change understandings in high school students. This quasi-experimental study investigated the approach of mobile learning and the authentic practice (MobiLAP) of a citizen science project and how it relates to forming STEM interest, citizen science identity, conservation and environmentally-minded STEM perceptions (CEmSTEM), mobile learning perceptions, climate change awareness and environmental stewardship in participants. The study made use of a control group (n = 44) and two treatment groups. One treatment group took part in the citizen science project with the use of mobile technologies (n = 48), while the other group used paper-based materials to take part in the project (n = 45). Utilizing a 66 item instrument and group-specific, open-ended questionnaires, this study determined that participants in both groups significantly increased interest in STEM, perceptions of CEmSTEM and citizen science identity when compared to the control group. The Non-mobile Technology (NMT) group also had a significant increase in environmental stewardship. Additional findings indicate that citizen science can create a pro-environmental ethos in participants and increase climate change understandings and that mobile technologies afford learners a personalized, accessible, engaging and efficient way to learn science and scientific principles. These findings illustrate some of the many benefits of employing citizen science projects in high school science classes.

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