Science Literacy Tool.

Create an innovative, digital science literacy tool, to explore its potential as a user-led, self-measurement application. The tool will be used to measure and improve scientific literacy in rural areas of the United States.

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  • Custom LMS allowing staff interactively create quizzes (questions, answers, recommendations, etc.)
  • Full-blown community platform with groups for specific scientific domains, activity feeds, profiles, messaging, notifications..
  • Back-end reporting system that will allow them to run reports on individual or aggregate quiz results, including the ability to export reports to PDF and/or XLS.
  • Gamification, badges and rewards
  • Complete integration with Botworx Node.JS-based API

Working with the Institute for Learning Innovation and National Science Foundation for over a year, we developed a unique platform for measuring scientific literacy by engaging the public in a wide variety of self-led scientific activities. The platform allows users to apply scientific methodologies to everyday projects in a gamified environment that rewards progress with badges, science related products and discounts on memberships to many scientific institutions.


Background and genesis of the science literacy tool

The intent of the project is to create an innovative, digital science literacy tool, to explore its potential as a citizen-led self-measurement application. While, supporting and sustaining public science literacy is the primary goal of all formal and informal science education, what it means to be scientific literate faces scrutiny due to its superficial applicability to an individual’s everyday life or individual interests (Feinstein 2010). Indeed, as Feinstein (2010) points out, studies of science literacy have predominantly focused on the education of a person for the “good of the person” (a top-down approach), rather than the engagement of individuals in science topics as a useful exercise for both the individual as well as for science itself (a community approach). If properly conceived and properly measured, science literacy remains a worthwhile goal. Currently though, no science literacy measurement tool exists which fully captures the breadth of current conceptualizations of science literacy nor one that is capable of facilitating the development of science usefulness in an individual’s daily life. Without a widely accepted and easily administered measure of science literacy – particularly one that broadly and accurately captures the multi-dimensional, situated realities of how people cumulatively interact with science over a lifetime – we disregard the potential for engaging with individual interest in science subjects. The goal of this project is three-fold: 1) Reconceptualize, with a particular attention to the role of informal science education, the construct of science literacy; 2) Based on that reconceptualization, construct and test for validity and reliability a measure of science literacy; 3) determine if it is feasible to format this new measure of science literacy in a way that it can and will be readily utilized by the general public within free-choice learning contexts.

Hypothesis for the science literacy framework

Our initial hypothesis is that this new science literacy framework should be structured along four interacting but semi-independent domains: 1) general science knowledge; 2) self-defined areas of science knowledge and expertise; 3) attitudes and beliefs related to science; and 4) the skills and competencies necessary to participate in science-related pursuits and discussion, including measures of modes of science thinking. Each of these four domains is likely to include numerous sub-domains and associated descriptors which collectively describe the different aspects of being a scientifically literate citizen. Rather than a single, rigid, essentially dichotomous determination of science literacy – essentially yes or no, we seek to develop a tool that organizes individuals along a series of continua of literacy. A tool that most importantly, provides creates cultural value around science, providing the public with feedback about their current standing within each domain and recommendations for how to improve that standing. The tool will also raise new possibilities for evaluating public science opinion, in a way that promises to increase public engagement in science, beyond what is conventionally possible.

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