Using various approaches, often based on the STEPWISE pedagogical schema, students - in various educational contexts - have generated wonderful research-informed and negotiated actions (RiNAs), often after some direct teacher instruction (without reference to students' projects) to address harms they perceive in STSE relationships. This page highlights some such RiNA projects - including, most recently, 'WISE' technologies that work but, also, promote social justice and environmental sustainability. For more information, contact me.
several reasons, including ages and
developmental stages of students and varying
pressures to learn specific, pre-determined
'products' of science and technology (e.g.,
laws, theories and functioning of inventions),
most of our successes in promoting student-led
RiNA projects have been in secondary school
contexts, especially for grades 9-10.
logically, many student actions - based on
their research, teachers' teaching and
social negotiations, etc. - have been educational
in nature; that is, informing viewers about
harms in STSE relationships, findings from
their secondary and primary research and
actions they recommend
to address perceived harms.
In this video, students in grade 10 in Ontario recommend more sustainable forms of transportation as ways to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and, therefore, devastation from climate change.
To do so, they mimicked a video animation style that has been used by the RSA to help popularize various speeches. For a different topic (laser eye surgery practices), as shown below, these students produced a similar video.
|There are many
etc. that people can use. for social
perhaps, emphasize public
education. Some people may have
talents, interests, etc. in role
playing. As in the video at
right, students pretend to be friends and
family sitting around a
table talking about their
relative merits of
In a similar vein, students below pretended to be different sources of water - that contained in plastic bottles and tap water - and racing against each other. This was intended to symbolize tests they performed on bottled and tap water, finding them similar in quality, but not in price! The video below that, meanwhle, involves role playing at a whole-clsass level - here featuring a climage change debate.
|Of course, it is very common for
students to be asked to prepare reports of their RiNA projects. Sometimes (or
often), these are limited to
digital reports - such
as the one attached
a drug company's hiding
of negative test
results. However, some
have asked students
and then appear
passers-by. In the
idling of vehicles
outlets. In the
research & actions
|Regardless of the form of action(s) and/or reports of them, our research suggests that a key to deeper analyses of STSE relationships and broader, more coordinated actions, is uses of actor-network theory (ANT). In the video at left, a teacher discusses how students' ANT analyses of commodities has enabled them to make use of the Trojan Horse metaphor - a technique used in marketing that prioritizes image over substance. A student's ANT-based action video about cosmetics follows.|
Among varied types of actions that students might take, an important one is to design (and, if possible, develop) a 'technology' that not only performs a useful function, but also aims to address several potential harms for wellbeing of individuals, societies and environments (WISE). Producing such 'WISE' technology designs is particularly appropriate in our present era - in that many capitalists (including companies) make large sums of money by idealizing their products/services so that consumers might be distracted from noticing many harms linked (often in hidden ways) to the products/services - such as with genetically modified salmon. A related concept is that technology design invariably involves compromises - in that a design feature can get positive and negative results, such as like plastic gas caps that can be durable, but be ecologically problematic because they are not biodegradable. With such problems in mind, a student designed a car gas cap 3D-printed with biodegradable material and, since it is non-removable, it cannot get lost and added to landfills. Other students generated WISE TechDesigns that interested them; e.g.,
To address his school's rule that school bags (e.g., backpacks) could not rest on the floor near student desks, a student designed a device made of biodegradable composite material, variations of which he tested multiple times, that could hold most school bags safely off of the floor - afixed to the edge of student desks. The holder was created with a 3D printer owned by his teacher. The student said that he had uploaded his design to the Internet, freely available to anyone wanting it.
|Candle Recycler & Holder
Particularly for those in places in the world less able to afford electricity and, related to that, candles, a student invented a candle holder that collected melted wax in a way that new candle material was added. His older also was constructed from recycled material that likely would be more available in less advantaged parts of the world. This invention, therefore, addressed both social justice and ecological sustainability goals.
A student athlete designed a durable 2 pairs of stands/holders to support wooden rods that, together, formed 2 parallettes. The stands/holders were made with the teacher's 3D printer using biodegradable material. The student tried different designs before developing pairs that worked well. He believed his parallette stands would outlast most commercially-made ones, at a much lower cost.
years of this project (since 2006), few teachers in elementary schools have taken
up our invitations to encourage
and enable students
reasons for implementation
schools were projects
by 6-th grade
students in a
in the province of
students in a
the one at
on manufacturing of
and the one