Photovoice PBL.doc


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Photovoice PBL.doc

  1. 1. Listening to the Learners: Proposing the Tool of Photovoice for Engaging Students in Community-Based Socioscientific Inquiry Kristin Cook & Gayle Buck Department of Curriculum & Instruction Science Education Indiana University, W.W.Wright Education Building, 201 North Rose Avenue, Bloomington, IN 47405 4505 Michael Lane Bloomington, IN 47404 812-219-6554 Rationale for Using Photovoice as a Community-Based Socioscientific Pedagogical Tool Socioscientific Issues as Community Context As educators make efforts to advance and empower a scientifically literate citizenry while simultaneously increasing the emphasis on student voice and engagement, recommendations that science be taught as a situated, relevant, and socio-political discipline that is informed by and has implications in all learners’ lives are gaining momentum. Hodson (2003) expressed the importance of this mission when he stated:
  2. 2. Those without a basic understanding of the ways in which science and technology are impacted by, and impact upon, the physical and the sociopolitical environment will be effectively disempowered and susceptible to being seriously misled in exercising their rights within a democratic, technologically- dependent society (p. 650–651). Attempting to ground scientific knowledge in real-world situations for students, the use of socioscientific issues (SSI) seeks to encourage students to formulate a critical understanding of the interface between science, society, and technology. Discussions of issues such as deforestation, global warming, or environmental pollution to engage students in considering the consequences of scientific advancements in society serve as contexts for SSI instruction. Empowerment is a central goal of SSI instruction, as students are steered to reflect on the impact of science not only in the world around them, but also in their own moral and ethical convictions (Kolsto, 2001; Sadler & Zeidler, 2004). By contextualizing instruction in this way, SSI instruction assumes the form of real world examples that are meaningful to students or to the local community. Situating instruction in a local context, SSI hopes to offer students an opportunity to become active participants in the community and has the potential to encourage them to authentically and critically participate, and engage in understanding, caring for, and transforming the world to which they belong. Photovoice as Pedagogical Tool Empowerment is also one of the central foci of critical qualitative research. In qualitative research, the tool of “photovoice” has received attention for engaging participants in the research process. Qualitative researchers must concern themselves with ways in which knowledge is constructed from within students’ experiences. The role of a qualitative researcher is to facilitate an environment that feels safe and supportive within which participants can talk about their own experiences. Developed by Wang and Burris (1994), photovoice is a method by which researchers provide cameras for participants, whose voices are often ignored in policy-making, so that they may document issues important to them through the use of photography. Participants collaborate on the reasons for and use of their pictures and reflections to showcase relevant issues and generate dialogue with community members and policy makers who may be in a position to mobilize change. The researchers’ role in photovoice is to facilitate conversation, story-telling, and reflection on pictures taken by the participants, and then attempt to codify the emergent themes that are generated by collective discussion. Empowerment of participants is one of the key goals of the use of photovoice as a research tool: [Photovoice] enables the recording of and reflecting on problems of a group or community, promotes critical discussion of these problems, generates collective knowledge of the problems through discussion of the photographs, and finally takes action to change the problems by reaching out to those who influence or make policy (Wang, 2006). As former teachers and current university researchers, we see the potential for the research practice of photovoice to be a useful pedagogical tool with which teachers can actively engage their students in community- based socioscientific inquiry. Students’ lives in the classroom and outside of it are often directed and structured by decisions made by others. Photovoice puts cameras into the hands of students in order to address issues from their position and point-of-view. It offers teachers an insightful insider perspective into the lives of their students. Photography also offers participants new and reflective ways to perceive their own world and the science around them. The photos offer a structure to the ensuing dialogue and can serve to advance social action as the community responds to the students’ perspective and locates it in solution-generation. Those in positions of power to change the community may not reflect what change is most desired by students. Ultimately, then, students are able to participate in a process which may lead to unforeseen social change. Furthermore, a student-guided focus of scientific issues enables teachers to gain knowledge about the larger social context of the lives of their students. A Community-Based Socioscientific Inquiry on Lake Quality Using the tool of photovoice as a culminating project, we designed the following unit as a community-based inquiry which incorporated the use of probeware technology for collection of water quality data in Indiana. Hence, the standards highlighted are specific to the Indiana Science Standards (see Appendix A), which are similar to many
  3. 3. state’s required content standards. While probeware was employed to simplify measurements, such as sensors for turbidity, pH, dissolved oxygen, phosphorus, and E. Coli, any water quality test kit could be used to collect similar data. The purchase of a comprehensive water quality testing kit could be supplemented yearly; as well, a classroom set of disposable or digital cameras used for photovoice could be purchased once and then used annually by new student groups. Teachers could ask local photo-processing companies to donate their printing services, or digital pictures could be showcased on the computer. While the tool of photovoice could be used in any content area at any grade level, this unit was geared toward middle school science students. When planning for a community group discussion, we contacted the local parks and recreation department to inquire about events or gatherings at which the students could speak with interested parties. Other community contacts could include school boards, natural resource management groups, and other non-profit parties. Additional information for teachers on photovoice are presented in the appendices, such as ethical considerations, an assessment rubric for this unit, and suggestions for gathering a community group. Listening to the Lake: Bringing the Voice of Griffy Lake Nature Preserve to the Bloomington Community: A Community-Based Investigation of Lake Water Quality The Mission: Local residents are asking expert middle school scientists to take on some important tasks: 1) to identify, document, research, and propose solutions to management issues facing Griffy Lake Nature Preserve and 2) to dialogue with the Bloomington community about the health of this local water source and recreational lake area. The Itinerary: 1. Working as a water quality inspection team, you will identify what data needs to be collected about Griffy Lake and how to go about collecting that data. What information will you need? What materials will you need to collect that information? How will the data be recorded? You may want to conduct research on-line to investigate management techniques and water quality information (see Appendix B). 2. You will be traveling out to the field site of Griffy Lake Nature Preserve to research and collect data. You will be provided with laboratory materials to assist your research. As well, you will be provided with a digital camera so that you may document the lake issues you find most important. Ideas for photos include: pictures of strengths and weaknesses of the lake, things around the lake that you want to talk about or change, or simply how you see lake and its importance. See Appendix C for ethical considerations prior to taking photos. Your teacher will give you basic training on using the cameras, such as manual operation skills and photographic effects like lighting, distance, and picture composition. It may also help to go out into the community as an entire group to do a practice picture taking session. As well, before you are sent off to take pictures on your own, make a plan for when and where you will drop off the cameras to have the film developed. If using a digital camera, you can store photos on memory cards and submit them to your teacher electronically. 3. Your team will then pool your data and develop summary charts that reflect your understanding of current lake conditions and concerns. You must decide which data and photographs would be the most informative to present to the community. You will also write narratives for the photographs you took. Each team member should select one or two pictures that they want to discuss with community members. In choosing your photograph, ask yourself which ones best depict the issues you have explored. You will be asked to showcase the picture and your narrative to others and to describe it in depth, so you should choose pictures that you are comfortable sharing and talking about. For your narrative, write about what is happening in the picture, why you took the picture, and/or what it means to you. See below for ideas: • Explain what is interesting or important about this issue. • What is the issue? • Why is this an issue? • Why is this issue interesting or important? • Who is affected by this issue?
  4. 4. • Where is this issue occurring? • When did this issue become evident? • What does the future look like for this issue? You may need individual attention when writing their captions. It is a good idea to sit down one-on-one with your teacher so she/he may help you write your captions. Care will be taken by your teacher not to direct you, but rather to help you put your own ideas down on paper. 4. As a team, we will discuss our pictures and narratives together before presenting to the community. Through this discussion, your group may find certain common issues or themes are emerging. Identification of common themes may lead you to come up with some main ideas or messages that you want to communicate to the community. The SHOWED discussion can be used to generate captions, tell the story of the pictures or identify the issues and themes that emerge (“,” n.d.): • S What do you see here? • H What is really happening here? • O How does this relate to our lives? • W Why does this problem or strength exist? • E How can we become empowered about this issue? • D What can we do about it? 5. Finally, your team will present your collective ideas to the community about issues, concerns, and proposed solutions to help with managing this important lake and recreational site. Your team will showcase your photos, narratives, and summary charts to an interested and informed community group and dialogue about ways to effectively manage Griffy Lake Nature Preserve. Be sure to check the rubric to ensure that you are covering all facets of the project (see Appendix D). Conclusion Science for All Americans, a pivotal reform document, describes a scientifically literate person as one who ‘uses scientific knowledge and scientific ways of thinking for individual and social purposes’ (American Association for the Advancement of Science 1990: ix). If teachers support the notion that scientific literacy entails, at least in part, the ability of students to engage in active dialogue as they ponder evidence, apply critical thinking skills, and formulate positions on various topics- then discussions that challenge students to consider multiple views becomes central to a broader view of scientific literacy. Thus, educators trying to develop a scientifically literate citizenry who can make well-informed decisions about societal scientific issues must pay attention to pedagogy that supports this development. Active, project-based, constructivist SSI teaching where students ultimately take action in the community after studying the science content, the societal implications of technological devices and their uses, and the relevant community dimensions at play in science is a powerful tool for engaging students in building their higher order thinking, decision-making skills, and understanding of scientific knowledge. Using the tool of photovoice helps to make SSI experiences a way for students to experience empowerment by being provided opportunities to care for the environment and educate others about their perspective. References American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). (1990, 1993). Benchmarks for science literacy. New York: Oxford University Press.
  5. 5. Hodson, D. (2003). Time for action: Science education for an alternative future. International Journal of Science Education, 25, 645–670. Kolstø, S. (2001). Scientific literacy for citizenship: tools for dealing with the science dimension of controversial socioscientific issues. Science Education, 85, 291–310. Sadler, T. & Zeidler, D. (2004). The morality of socioscientific issues: Construal and resolution of genetic engineering dilemmas. Science Education, 88, 4-27. Wang, C. and Burris, M. (1994) Empowerment through photo novella: portraits of participation. Health Education Quarterly, 21, 171-186. Wang, C. (2006). Youth participation in photovoice as a strategy for community change. Journal of Community Practice, 14, 147-161. (n.d.). Retrieved June 8, 2009, from Appendix A: Standards Addressed in Unit
  6. 6. 8.1.1 Recognize that and describe how scientific knowledge is subject to modification as new information challenges prevailing theories and as a new theory leads to looking at old observations in a new way. 8.1.4 Explain why accurate record keeping, openness, and replication are essential for maintaining an investigator's credibility with other scientists and society. 8.1.7 Explain why technology issues are rarely simple and one-sided because contending groups may have different values and priorities. 8.1.8 Explain that humans help shape the future by generating knowledge, developing new technologies, and communicating ideas to others. 8.2.7 Use computers to store and retrieve information in topical, alphabetical, numerical, and keyword files and create simple files of students' own devising. 8.2.8 Participate in group discussions on scientific topics by restating or summarizing accurately what others have said, asking for clarification or elaboration, and expressing alternative positions. 8..2.8 Use tables, charts, and graphs in making arguments and claims in, for example, oral and written presentations about lab or fieldwork. 8.3.6 Understand and explain that the benefits of the Earth's resources, such as fresh water, air, soil, and trees, are finite and can be reduced by using them wastefully or by deliberately or accidentally destroying them. 8.4.8 Describe how environmental conditions affect the survival of individual organisms and how entire species may prosper in spite of the poor survivability or bad fortune of individuals. 8.7.4 Explain that as the complexity of any system increases, gaining an understanding of it depends on summaries, such as averages and ranges, and on descriptions of typical examples of that system. Appendix B: On-line Research Resources Freshwater Ecology and Pollution Fresh Water Aquatic Creatures Environmental Protection Agency: Clean Lakes Point and Non-Point Source Pollution
  7. 7. National Park Service Inventory (includes water quality reports on Great Lakes) Great Lakes Network Hoosier Riverwatch Appendix C: Data Table for Water Quality Testing Water Quality Measures Test Acceptable Prediction Trial 1 Trial 2 Trial 3 Average Range E. Coli Turbidity Phosphorus Secchi Disk
  8. 8. pH Dissolved Oxygen Biological Oxygen Demand Ammonia Calcium Chlorine Nitrogen
  9. 9. Appendix D: Ethical Considerations for Photovoice adapted from “,” (n.d.) - Privacy Discuss with students the need to get permission before taking someone's picture. One option is to use photo release forms in which youth obtain written permission from a subject before taking their picture. Privacy can also be respected by taking pictures in such a way that the identity of the people in the photograph is not clear, for example by taking pictures from far away, or by blurring out faces after the picture is developed. - Safety It is important to orient group members towards safety measures when taking pictures. As a general rule youth should not take a photograph if they feel the situation is uncertain or potentially dangerous. - Misrepresentation Discuss with the youth the use of photography as a tool for documenting the reality of their communities, and the importance of not misrepresenting individuals or issues. - Ownership Photographs should be considered the property of the photographer. Youth should get personal copies of all their pictures. Written consent should be obtained from the youth for the use of any pictures that will be displayed to others outside of the project. - Direction/suggestion As a facilitator, take care not to direct youth towards photography of a particular subject area or issue. - Disempowerment Asking youth to document the realities of their communities has the potential to be disempowering if it is not done with a focus on giving youth a voice to speak out about issues in their lives. Even if tangible social change is not possible, ensure that the project ends on a note of empowerment and celebration
  10. 10. Appendix E: Rubric to Assess Water Quality Unit Adapted from: The Lake Lingo: Nutrients ground water aquatic plants water table point-source pollution Microbes non-point source pollution Runoff Infiltration Erosion Nitrate Phosphate pH acid Acidic/ alkaline dissolved oxygen Sedimentation invasive species-plants native species-plants Watershed macroinvertebrates Salinity Pollution/pollutants surface water Eutrophication Turbidity stream bed Thermocline
  11. 11. Rubric for Presentation of Lake Investigation NAME: DATE: MASTER PROFESSIONAL APPRENTICE INTERN SCORE Who, what, where, when, why, how Answers the basic Answers the basic Answers three of answered with questions of who, questions of who, the six basic supporting what, when, where, what, when, where, questions of who, empirical why, how with SUPPORT information- facts, supporting why, how. what, when, where, why, how. research, statistics, information- or quotes. examples, or quotes. Presents a single Presents a single Presents the issue Explanation of issue with thorough issue with adequate with adequate issue needs more explanation of explanation of explanation. information. CONTENT** associated concerns associated concerns and influences. and influences. Presents issue from Presents issue from Presents the issue Presents the COVERAGE more than three three or more from two issue from one viewpoints. viewpoints. viewpoints. viewpoint. Provides information that clarifies Provides information CLARITY viewpoints, attitudes, that clarifies Provides adequate Provides minimal and involvement viewpoints, attitudes, information of the coverage of the and involvement issue that suggests topic. beyond the average additional insights. coverage to that communicate communicate additional insight. additional insights. ORGANIZATION Includes an Includes an Includes a good Includes a weak engaging adequate introduction. introduction. introduction. introduction. Uses and cites three Uses and cites two Uses and cites one Uses and cites one SOURCES or more print and Internet sources. print and Internet sources print and print or Internet source. Internet source. Uses words, spelling, Uses words, spelling, Uses words, spelling, Uses words, spelling and punctuation and punctuation and punctuation and punctuation, G.U.M. accurately and accurately and accurately and accurately and (Grammar, Usage, Mechanics) correctly with no correctly with correctly with no correctly with two errors. no errors. errors. or more errors. Effectively uses Effectively uses Sentence structure Sentence structure STYLE advanced sentence structure and sentence structure and vocabulary. and vocabulary are and vocabulary are unclear two or more correct. vocabulary. times.
  12. 12. ** Content should include a presentation of the following: Water quality data in charts or tables, written interpretations of the data, use of unit vocabulary, and recommendations for improving the lake’s water quality. COMMENTS: . 12
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