At CHI recently I met with Michael Gubbels who is a graduate student in the Human-Computer Interaction Lab, University of Maryland. Michael and his colleagues are working on SINQ: Scientific INQuiry Learning using Social Media. This is exciting work. Promoting the process of scientific inquiry in this manner is aligned with the PISA study’s Green at 15.
The authors describe a
great need to design technology supports that can capture a person’s natural inquiry as it occurs in everyday life while also guiding them to learn formal scientific inquiry skills as they explore these personal interests. Social media offers the unique prospect of combining technology and human interaction to support such activities while engaging with a network of peers
The prototype SINQ captures young people’s natural questions as they occur in the world, and aggregates the distributed, social participation of participants in ways that scaffolds learning about scientific inquiry practices.
Gubbels and co describe how they used a partcipatory design approach (ie getting children to help with the design) that saw a progression from instructions describing what makes a “scientific question” to one of smaller chunks of prompted reflection.