Effectiveness of a child-friendly astronomy news platform for science learning – An exploratory study

Han. T. D. Tran 1 2 * , Pedro Russo 1 2, Vincent de Bakker 3
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1 Astronomy and Society, Leiden Observatory, Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands
2 Department of Science Communication and Society, Faculty of Science, Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands
3 Faculty of Science, Leiden University
* Corresponding Author
EUR J SCI MATH ED, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp. 113-128. https://doi.org/10.30935/scimath/9527
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ABSTRACT

Science education policies have promoted the role of science literacy practices, including reading, writing and reasoning with science texts, to advance inquiry-based learning in science education. Learning science through news is a promising approach. Since news provides meaningful real-life context, it stimulates the process of active questioning and learning science while fosters science literacy practices. Previous studies have reported that news improves science learning. However, they also reported some barriers to implement news as a teaching resource. The Space Scoop website is an innovative resource as it is specially designed to bring the latest astronomy news to young readers in the form of short, easy-to-understand stories. In this study, we conducted structured interviews in order to understand opinions of teachers and educators (N = 20) about Space Scoop as a teaching resource. This research also investigated the advantages and disadvantages of Space Scoop as compared to general news resources for science learning. Tests were conducted on Space Scoop articles to measure the readability of the articles. Our findings showed that Space Scoop is suitable for young children and motivates them to study science. Space Scoop has overcome the main barriers to teaching with news, namely, the advanced reading level and unreliability of information. Evidence from this exploratory study indicates that Space Scoop supports inquiry-based learning, improves science literacy skills and promotes lifelong learning. An in-depth study with expanded sample in the future would provide further evidence and understanding of how science news like Space Scoop supports science education.

CITATION

Tran, H. T. D., Russo, P., & Bakker, V. D. (2018). Effectiveness of a child-friendly astronomy news platform for science learning – An exploratory study. European Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 6(4), 113-128. https://doi.org/10.30935/scimath/9527

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