- Year 2022
- NSF Noyce Award # 1758325
- First Name Lynn
- Last Name Hodge
- Discipline Other:Education and Equity
Chris Monaghan & Allie Whitaker, University of Tennessee
There is a STEM achievement gap between rural schools and urban/suburban schools. Research literature informs us that students in rural schools are less likely to attend college, and less likely to major in STEM fields if they do attend college. In addition, equitable STEM experiences and resources are often unavailable to students in rural communities due to students’ physical distance from metropolitan areas and uneven residential Internet availability. The digital story creates awareness of the achievement gap and highlights supports and strategies that leverage student and community assets to narrow that gap. With this knowledge, teachers can know that there needs to be open communication and a positive learning environment where students can receive personalized guidance and support.
How can rural schools leverage their unique opportunities for student STEM achievement?What are planned supports to develop a positive learning environment for students with invisible disabilities?
Digital Storytelling is an effective way to approach research questions to tell a collective of ideas on how to approach equity in the classroom. The process of creating a digital story forces storytellers to choose a topic that can be appropriately conveyed to a particular audience, with electronic elements, in the time available. Many people find that piecing together a coherent narrative is considerably more difficult than they thought, and students not comfortable producing original work are likely to find themselves simply modeling their efforts on digital stories they have come across. For digital storytelling to be an important component of higher education, it must provide what other tools lack, including an effective integration of technology with learning, an emotional connection to content, and increased ease of sharing content. The tide will shift toward infusing digital stories with stronger, more thoroughly developed narratives. Techniques not available through other forms, such as interactive and nonlinear means of sharing a story, may become increasingly important.
This is a way for students to expand their knowledge and give students an influential voice among peers and their community, perhaps to inspire change and create awareness. The outcome would increase critical thinking on the topics of the digital stories to inform students and their communities about culturally relevant topics in their classroom.
Broader Impacts: the project opened an opportunity with a local elementary/middle school principal who wants to help develop a STEM preparation pipeline from her school to the high school. A district librarian reached out asking for assistance in hosting PD for his schools and wants to brainstorm additional ways to build STEM experiences into the local libraries.