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Hidi, S., & Renninger, K. A. (2006). The four-phase model of interest development. Educational Psychologist, 41(2), 111–127.

A growing body of research explores the ways that science learning experiences can develop people’s interest in science. In this article, the researchers provide a framework for conceptualizing interest in four phases: triggered situational interest; maintained situational interest; emerging individual interest; and well-developed individual interest. They claim that interest is often conceptualized as a characteristic that a person either has or doesn’t have and that educators could benefit from thinking more about how to stimulate interest. This paper has a review of the literature on interest, as well as an examination of alternative models of interest.


Nasir, N. S., & McKinney de Royston, M. (2013). Power, identity, and mathematical practices outside and inside school. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 44(1), 264–287.

This article discusses intellectual activities in African American culture that privilege mathematical thinking. The mathematical thinking in these activities is often not valued in the classroom. The authors argue for a shift from a deficit view of the cultural activities of non-dominant groups to an additive perspective that values the cultural wealth of these groups and uses that wealth to support student identity and learning.


Bohnert, A., Fredricks, J., and Randall, E. (2010). Capturing unique dimensions of youth organized activity involvement: Theoretical and methodological considerations. Review of Educational Research, 80(4), 576–610.

This study reviews the literature regarding current approaches to measuring participation in organized out-of-school-time (OST) activity settings and their effects on learners. The paper examines learners’ participation in terms of the dimensions of breadth, intensity, duration, and engagement, discussing the theoretical foundations and methodological approaches for each. The researchers note the dialectical nature of each of these dimensions. For example, participation is likely to become more intense (frequent and lengthy) as it endures over time, and as it endures over time it is more likely to intensify. This study provides a comprehensive overview of relevant measurement issues and approaches.


Devine-Wright, P., Devine-Wright, H., & Fleming, P. (2004). Situational influences upon children’s beliefs about global warming and energy. Environmental Education Research, 10(4), 493–506.

This study highlights the ways in which individuals’ beliefs and their perceptions of self-efficacy can affect their attitudes toward global climate change. Individuals with personal philosophies favoring active cooperation and participation seem more likely to see the value in taking action to fight climate change.


Hudicourt-Barnes, J. (2003). The use of argumentation in Haitian Creole science classrooms. Harvard Educational Review, 73(1), 73–93.

This article uses critical ethnography and analysis of student talk to refute claims that Haitian children are less than fully engaged in science classrooms. Josiane Hudicourt-Barnes provides examples from a bilingual science classroom to explain cultural differences in language and in students’ understanding of scientific argumentation. Hudicourt-Barnes posits that the Creole talk style of bay odyans is naturally scientific because it uses logic in argumentation. Ultimately, Hudicourt-Barnes proposes, cultural ways of thinking and speaking are good bases for science talk, particularly for argumentation.


Xu, J., Coats, L., & Davidson, M. (2012). Promoting student interest in science: The perspectives of exemplary African American teachers. American Educational Research Journal, 49(1), 124–154.

This study investigated what exemplary African American science teachers do to develop interest in science among low-income African American elementary students. The researchers found three interrelated approaches:
1) Having a genuine interest—in science, in teaching, and in students’ lives
2) Scaffolding students’ interest in science
3) Offering multiple standpoints—many ways for students to engage


Barton, A. C., & Tan, E. (2010). 'It changed our lives': Activism, science, and greening the community. Canadian Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Education, 10(3), 207–222.

In this article, researchers report on the ways that middle school students positioned themselves as agents of change in their community by using the results of their research into local scientific phenomena and advocating for environmental reforms. This article might be of interest to ISE educators who are exploring how their programs can support the emergence of positive science learning identities in their youth participants.


Lai, B., Slota, S. & Medin, D. (2012). "Our Princess Is in Another Castle. A Review of Trends in Serious Gaming for Education. Review of Educational Research, 82(296), 295-299.

Do video games have positive impacts on the academic K–12 curriculum? A literature review of more than 300 research articles finds minimal evidence that video games have any positive effects on mathematics and science achievement. From a situated-learning perspective, however, games may afford other benefits that measures on test scores do not record.


Barron, B. (2006). Interest and self-sustained learning as catalysts of development: A learning ecology perspective. Human Development, 49, 193–224.

The researcher of this study presents definitive arguments for the need to move beyond a “school-centric” approach to studying how people learn. Citing ecological perspectives on learning, this paper claims that for an understanding of how people develop interests, participation, and fluency in a given domain, it is necessary to first examine how these interests are developed and nurtured across time and settings. The researcher provides three case studies of teens who familiarized themselves with electronic technologies, each of them following different pathways, all of which spanned multiple settings and opportunities. The informal sector is sometimes designated as a niche where children can become interested, while school is the place where they can develop their expertise. This paper illustrates that the nature of interest and expertise development is very complicated, and the ISE sector can spark, sustain, and strengthen interest and expertise.


Whitmarsh, L. (2009). What’s in a name? Commonalities and differences in public understanding of “climate change” and “global warming.” Public Understanding of Science 18(4), 401–420. doi:10.1177/0963662506073088

At first glance, public knowledge of climate science appears encouraging. When prompted, most people can correctly identify some of the contributors to climate change. But they are much less likely to do so when they are not shown a checklist of possible causes. This study examined public understanding of two commonly used terms: “global warming” and “climate change.” The findings have important implications for informal science educators seeking to develop effective programmes and exhibitions on climate science.




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