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The Research Problem The idea of this research came from our observations and educational experience in developing the adolescents’ scientific knowledge and skills. We saw that students didn’t like the process of scientific research. They take it for abstraction, given in a very complex language. They do not understand how it is done in practice.
So we wanted to make an experiment, where students may have the opportunity to understand and feel what "big science" is. We also tried to assess their involvement, productivity and self-esteem in this practice. Our past data showed that students who are interested in literature and languages face a "technological barrier", when they use computer tools to collect and process data in their research exercises. In our case, we tried to turn this barrier into a motivational springboard.
Background We followed the researches who wrote about the problems in explaining the principles of fundamental science at school. In 2016, we upgraded a series of Russian school textbooks on humanitarian subjects. In these textbooks we found the deficit of the digital literacy and the research competence. We also saw the disbalance between the need for using IT for data processing in humanitarian field and the lack of didactical tools for teaching students confident research behavior. We understand that the research skills development mainly takes place today in K-12 STEM education. Following this, we underline the importance of building these skills also in humanitarian empirical studies with IT-instruments . In our research we use the «Kolb cycle» methodology and see the theoretical knowledge being simulated in and combined with the practice of its application. We also share the Swanson’s idea that simulation training involves the creation of physical and social reality model. So, students, doing research training, can work both individually and in groups . Developing this concept, we tried to fill in the gap between a usual practice of the short single research exercises and involving students into a long research program.
Innovative Approach The research competences we feel important are presented on the slide • the ethics of humanitarian research; • empirical research methods; • methods of human behavior observation; • interviewing, questioning; • digital tools for collecting and recording data; • primary processing of statistical data .
We did our case in 2019 at the Sirius Educational Center, that is aimed to work with Russian children who are talented in science, mathematics, art, sport and literature. Our aim was to involve the students, specialized in creative writing and literature into using computer-data processing for cross-cultural collaborative research. We worked with 100 schoolchildren aged 14-16 from 56 regions of Russia. There six research teams, conducting research exercise in 10 academic hours. We gave each student the social and IT tools for the full study cycle. Every student had a personal laptop equipped with useful set of software. Each student had to provide at least 2 online interviews with adults from two generations about classical Russian poetry and their own reader’s experience. Every interview was transcribed, coded and sent to Google-form. In total our students conducted 214 interviews with their parents, grand-parents or family friends. The central didactic line of the project was to help everyone, following the same research plan. Each team also could add some interview questions to the initial frame. The list of students’ social and digital literacy skills for the project is shown on the slide: - record verbal responses and extra-linguistic observations during the interview process. - enter data into the shared Google-form - unload data in tables using the necessary filters and formulas - process the original statistics - do content analysis of data in text form and semantic analysis of texts - discuss the results of the study within the micro group, collect facts to support or refute the agreed hypotheses - prepare a presentation of the results of the study for the final conference.
New Results 1. According to our observations, over 75% of students had great difficulty, understanding how a statement can be turned into a hypothesis or research question. 2. It was more difficult for most students to seek help with substantive issues than technical ones. 3. About 20% had very poor initial self-organization skills when working with a computer. 4. Only 6% followed the link with a QR code, provided by their tutors. The rest of the group had no idea about this service and needed a full step-by-step verbal guidance.
5. When we made a quick computer visualization of statistical results, we assumed that all students experienced an emotional “scientific impact”. They were impressed, how the data fragments, received by each student, made a full research picture. It helped them to refine a hypothesis, see initial correlations and make competent conclusions. At the end of the module we did the feedback session with printed questionnaires for semantic analysis of the students’ responses. We had 100 responses, consisting of short phrases. The total number of semantic data was 1,053 words, of which 328 are significant. The distribution of the most frequent meaningful words is given оn the slide.
The feedback data shows that: Slide 9 (Table) The most frequent words can be attributed to the development of teamwork skills. Other words describe skills in the field of computer technology. - students strongly valued their experience in research collaboration and teamwork skills development. - most of them want to continue doing such projects in their schools if given a chance - all students appreciated peer-to-peer learning experience in the project. We also tested and improved this project later in 2020 under the conditions of «covid-19 distant-learning regulations».
Comparative evaluation We compared our findings with those of other researchers. Vossen, Henze, Rippe and others in 2018 observed how secondary school students did engineering research and technical activities. This helped us to work with schoolchildren interested in literature and creative writing. Robertson saw "scientific collaboration" as a discovery for students. We have "expanded" this vision and got very useful feedback. Bjørkvold T. and Blikstad-Balas M. recently wrote about the “students’ own research question”. Our findings show that it is strongly connected to students’ motivation in digital literacy and data processing skills.
At the end of my presentation I want to express my gratitude to St. Petersburg State University, Sirius Educational Center and Vladimir Potanin Foundation for cooperation and support in our research.
22 окт 2020 → 24 окт 2020
The Frontiers in Education 2020: Education for a Sustainable Future