CIRCL perspectives offer a window into the different worlds of various stakeholders in the cyberlearning community — what drives their work, what they need to be successful, and what they think the community should be doing. Share your perspective.
How did you get started in cyberlearning?
TPT/Twin Cities Public Television has been creating multimedia and online experience for over 20 years, linked to our TV series Newton’s Apple, DragonflyTV, SciGirls, and documentaries for NOVA. We recently launched a digital portal for middle school science, Sparticl, which offers a curated collection of the best STEM sites on the web, including games, videos, articles, profiles of scientists (including young scientists in our Science Fair section) and hands-on activities.
What is unique about your work?
Virtually all of our online projects have ties to PBS video content. The SciGirls website was the first COPPA-compliant social network on PBS Kids, and promotes transmedia storytelling, where visitors can create their own montages about the science and engineering experiences presented on the TV series. (See Pick’M Stick’M). Our online projects are public, free, typically user focused, and committed to supporting informal science education, anytime anywhere, lifelong learning.
What would you like policy makers (e.g., Congress) to know about your work?
Informal science learning – i.e. learning science outside of school – is where much if not most learning happens. Science and engineering competitions, science exhibits in museums, and afterschool STEM programs provide important avenues for learning, yet media – TV, radio, and online media – reach orders of magnitude more participants with learning experience that research has shown produce significant, positive STEM learning outcomes. We would like policymakers to understand that an investment in STEM media will provide high return on investment in the public understanding of science in America.
What should the cyberlearning community be doing?
In addition to the cutting-edge investigations of technology-enhanced learning and learning games, the cyberlearning community should seek to understand how the rising trend of ubiquitous social media can contribute to learning. As document by many recent studies and publications, the use of social media by youth is growing at a breathtaking rate. Yet, at present, there are relatively few investigations of social media and learning in the NSF’s Cyberlearning portfolio.
What are you looking for?
On behalf of TPT/ Twin Cities Public Television and both our SciGirls series and Sparticl platform, we are seeking research partners to help us investigate questions about how children learn from both narrative media and online experiences, especially the contributions that social media activities make to learning. Please contact Richard Hudson, email@example.com.