diverse ways of knowing and learning (through user-selected and designed interfaces), so that users can interact with content and with one another in ways that they deem valuable. And these characteristics of new digital technologies—dialogic structure, user-direction and organization, and expansive networking of learners and resources—resonate with the values and research findings of the informal science learning community. Research on the impact of media is needed to understand how the unique features of media can support different aspects of science learning (e.g., the six strands).

Another related area worthy of further research is exploration of how learners evaluate the validity of science information from emergent media-based sources. Technologies have made it possible for almost anyone to author information about science and to make that content accessible to very broad audiences. This leaves the learner with the difficult task of deciphering the validity of information and discerning the likely sources of bias for any resource. With ever-increasing user-generated information spaces, it will be important for researchers to continue studying how learner characteristics influence their judgment of information presented through these media.


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National Research Council. (2000). How people learn: Brain, mind, experience, and school. Committee on Developments in the Science of Learning, J.D. Bransford, A.L. Brown, and R.R. Cocking (Eds.), and Committee on Learning Research and Educational Practice, M.S. Donovan, J.D. Bransford, and J.W. Pellegrino (Eds.). Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

National Research Council. (2007). Taking science to school: Learning and teaching science in grades K-8. Committee on Science Learning, K-8. R.A. Duschl, H.A. Schweingruber, and A.W. Shouse (Eds.). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

Waxman, H., Tharp, R.G., and Hilberg, R.S. (Eds.). (2004). Observational research in U.S. classrooms: New approaches for understanding cultural and linguistic diversity. New York: Cambridge University Press.

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