Digital technology to support students' socio-scientific reasoning about environmental issues

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2013

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Digital work environment Socially Acute Questions International Cross-cultural approaches Critical thinking


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Olivier Morin et al., « Digital technology to support students' socio-scientific reasoning about environmental issues », Hyper Article en Ligne - Sciences de l'Homme et de la Société, ID : 10.1080/00219266.2013.821748


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Abstract En

Scientific expertise and outcomes often give rise to controversy. An educational response that equips students to take part in such discussions is the teaching of Socially Acute Questions (SAQs). With SAQs, the understanding of uncertainty, risk and how knowledge is developed, is central. We explore the way in which students from different disciplines and different continents are brought together via a digital platform to explore SAQs about environmental issues (a green algae outbreak linked to release of fertilizers along the coast of Brittany, the construction of a desalination plant near Melbourne to produce fresh water, and the changes in meat consumption on a global scale, with regard to population projections in 2050). We have developed frameworks for looking at the quality of the collective reasoning and at the nature of students’ interactions, so that we analyze the organization of the learning communities and the building of collegial expertise. Our results show that interdisciplinary discussions – especially on an international scale – foster the understanding of complex situations. In this paper, we discuss the modalities of one didactic scenario to enhance critical thinking and collaborative work, and to provide space for learners to support argumentation.

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