Examining the effects of technology-infused issue investigations on high school students' environmental and ocean literacies
Brian J. Plankis, University of Houston, United States
University of Houston . Awarded
The purpose of the study was to examine the effects of technology-infused issue investigations on high school students' environmental and ocean literacies. This study explored the effects of a new educational enrichment program termed Connecting the Ocean, Reefs, Aquariums, Literacy, and Stewardship (CORALS) on high school science students. The study utilized a mixed methods approach combining a quantitative quasi-experimental pre-post test design with qualitative case studies.
The CORALS program is a new educational program that combines materials based on the Investigating and Evaluating Environmental Issues and Actions (IEEIA) curriculum program with the digital storytelling process. Over an 18-week period four high school science teachers and their approximately 169 students investigated environmental issues impacting coral reefs through the IEEIA framework. An additional approximately 224 students, taught by the same teachers, were the control group exposed to standard curriculum.
Students' environmental literacy was measured through the Secondary School Environmental Literacy Instrument (SSELI) and students' ocean literacy was measured through the Students' Ocean Literacy Viewpoints and Engagement (SOLVE) instrument. Two classrooms were selected as case studies and examined through classroom observations and student and teacher interviews.
The results indicated the CORALS program increased the knowledge of ecological principles, knowledge of environmental problems/issues, and environmental attitudes components of environmental literacy for the experimental group students. For ocean literacy, the experimental group students' scores increased for knowledge of ocean literacy principles, ability to identify oceanic environmental problems, and attitudes concerning the ocean.
The SSELI measure of Responsible Environmental Behaviors (REB) was found to be significant for the interaction of teacher and class type (experimental or control). The students for Teachers A and B reported a statistically significant increase in the self-reported REB subscales of ecomanagement and consumer/economic action. This indicates the students reported an increase in the REBs they could change within their lifestyles.
This study provides baseline data in an area where few quality studies exist to date. Recommendations for practice and administration of the research study instruments are explored. Recommendations for further research include CORALS program modifications, revising the instruments utilized, and what areas of students' environmental and ocean literacies warrant further exploration.
Plankis, B.J. Examining the effects of technology-infused issue investigations on high school students' environmental and ocean literacies. Ph.D. thesis, University of Houston.
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