See Related: Science Informal Learning
  1. Uduak Thomas
  2. Communications Manager
  3. A conference to explore theories regarding how moral motives move people from STEM information learning to STEM-informed action
  4. https://knology.org/article/moral-motives-stem-informed-action/
  5. Knology
  1. Jena Barchas-Lichtenstein
  2. https://knology.org/person/jena-barchas-lichtenstein/
  3. Research Lead in Media; Meaningful Math Co-PI
  4. A conference to explore theories regarding how moral motives move people from STEM information learning to STEM-informed action
  5. https://knology.org/article/moral-motives-stem-informed-action/
  6. Knology
  1. John Voiklis
  2. https://knology.org/person/john-voiklis/
  3. Research Lead: Behaviors, Norms, & Processes
  4. A conference to explore theories regarding how moral motives move people from STEM information learning to STEM-informed action
  5. https://knology.org/article/moral-motives-stem-informed-action/
  6. Knology
Public Discussion

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  • Icon for: John Voiklis

    John Voiklis

    Co-Presenter
    Research Lead: Behaviors, Norms, & Processes
    May 9, 2022 | 04:12 p.m.

    Hi everyone!

    We don’t think everyone approaches STEM learning as an end in itself. Oftentimes, people learn because they need to to do something for themselves or others. 

    So we brought together different kinds of experts to start thinking about why and how people take actions informed by STEM learning. About half of the workshop was STEM storytellers who work in museums, zoos, and media. And the other half are researchers who think about “moral motives” (essentially, motivations that are connected to other people).

    In our workshop, we talked about how what we learn might be useful for helping other people in our lives. Those others might be family and friends or they might be society at large.

    We’re excited to talk to anyone who has thoughts on these questions! 

    If you’re an informal educator, in particular: What are some of the reasons people learn with you? Which ones seem to lead to more sustained interest?

    You can follow updates (and the eventual proceedings) at: 

    https://knology.org/article/moral-motives-stem-informed-action/ 

  • May 9, 2022 | 10:31 p.m.

    Love that you are tackling these complex issues while attending to a wider range of interests. Attending to the social, political, moral and other related aspects of science is rarely looked at in ways that consider the interests of individuals.  

  • Icon for: Jena Barchas-Lichtenstein

    Jena Barchas-Lichtenstein

    Co-Presenter
    Research Lead in Media; Meaningful Math Co-PI
    May 10, 2022 | 09:07 a.m.

    Our team has been trying to unpack "relevance" and "authenticity" for a while now, so we have loved getting the opportunity to bring different approaches into conversation. 

    I just checked out your video and your project sounds amazing -- I would love your thoughts on the connections between these questions in informal and formal learning spaces.

  • Icon for: George Hein

    George Hein

    Facilitator
    Professor Emeritus
    May 10, 2022 | 08:53 a.m.

    Yes, indeed, people "learn" in different ways and for different purposes.  Thank you for tackling these complex issues.  Our current situation in the US is that many people believe (i.e. think they know "truths" that are totally opposite from what others believe to be truth.)  Has your effort to discuss different reasons for "learning" provided you with any insights about how to tackle this serious problem?

  • Icon for: Jena Barchas-Lichtenstein

    Jena Barchas-Lichtenstein

    Co-Presenter
    Research Lead in Media; Meaningful Math Co-PI
    May 10, 2022 | 09:22 a.m.

    Oh, goodness, this came up in almost every conversation! Some consistent themes:

    • People have very good reasons to mistrust institutions, and empathy and attention to social positioning are key.
    • Mis-/dis-information are primarily structural problems, not individual ones.

    Some things that follow -- none of which we are the first to suggest:

    1. All questions are good questions and should be taken seriously.
    2. Credible communicators will be those who share certain kinds of lived experience, social positioning, and/or identities with the communities you're trying to reach. You can't design learning experiences FOR groups unless you design them WITH or BY those groups. (None of which is an argument for a simplistic view of identity or representation.)

    John, please weigh in! I know there's a ton that I am leaving out here...

  • Icon for: Dorothy Bennett

    Dorothy Bennett

    Director of Creative Pedagogy
    May 12, 2022 | 09:15 a.m.

    Jena, I think this is so true and yes this does seem to come up in every conversation!  I think the you are right that there are many good reasons people have to mistrust institutions and empathy and attention are indeed key! And also agree about the need for co-design not designing FOR the people we are trying to work with and support.  Wondering if you have any strategies or process for really creating a supportive environment for true co-design that also takes into account what people can realistically do.

     
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    Jena Barchas-Lichtenstein
  • Icon for: Jena Barchas-Lichtenstein

    Jena Barchas-Lichtenstein

    Co-Presenter
    Research Lead in Media; Meaningful Math Co-PI
    May 12, 2022 | 09:32 a.m.

    I love this question.

    In my experience, here are some (by no means all) of the things great co-design projects do well:

    • Flexibility in terms of work styles and processes -- and a recognition that figuring out ways of working takes time, and it's time well spent.
    • Openness to new directions.
    • Ensuring people are compensated for their time and effort. Sometimes this is financial, but it can also be in meaningful symbolic capital, which looks different in different contexts (e.g. co-authorship, a title like a Fellowship, release from certain kinds of work duties).
    • Valuing different forms of expertise -- especially lived experience -- beyond academic credentials. I can't say this one enough.

    For a great example, I want to wholeheartedly recommend my colleagues' co-design project (I'm one of the evaluators of this project): https://stemforall2022.videohall.com/presentati...

  • Icon for: Jena Barchas-Lichtenstein

    Jena Barchas-Lichtenstein

    Co-Presenter
    Research Lead in Media; Meaningful Math Co-PI
    May 12, 2022 | 09:33 a.m.

    Oh, and as my colleague Bennett reminds me, setting clear expectations up front and "being aware of what might be obvious to you as a researcher that isn't to everyone"

  • Icon for: Stephen Uzzo

    Stephen Uzzo

    Facilitator
    Chief Scientist
    May 10, 2022 | 09:24 a.m.

    I am intrigued by the moral versus knowledge for its own sake. Since they are, in some ways inextricable, what is the dialectic that emerges from this discourse? And how does this fit the politics of polemics that have galvanized peoples' positions on issues irrespective of the verisimilitude to what is actually going on? Also, how does this work inform or invite in those from the fringes to unravel how knowledge has evolved in their thinking about these issues? Fantastic work!

  • Icon for: John Voiklis

    John Voiklis

    Co-Presenter
    Research Lead: Behaviors, Norms, & Processes
    May 10, 2022 | 12:33 p.m.

    I'll have to return to these questions when I have a little more time. In the meantime, I wanted to clarify that we do not mean to set up an opposition between moral and intrinsic motivation. It isn't moral versus...; it is moral and curiosity, wonder, achievement, mastery.... All these things together constitute relevance--the reasons for learning. Relevance is like a musical chord, and chords have variations using different combinations of notes. Chord variants have different effects on the listener. Our complaint (if we can be said to have a complaint), is that we've been playing a broken piano, which seems to lack the keys that relate to moral motives: caring for others at various scales. The workshop was intended to explore the benefits of playing variants of relevance on a piano with all its keys--one that speaks to the full gamut of human needs and desires.

  • Icon for: Dorothy Bennett

    Dorothy Bennett

    Director of Creative Pedagogy
    May 10, 2022 | 12:46 p.m.

    The role of morality that you put forth is so connected to our work on exploring the role of narratives and empathy in engineering with young children in informal spaces. We saw in our study that when you invite children to think about who they are designing for and for what settings (without being overly prescriptive and allowing for choice), they tended to stay longer and engage in more engineering practices. In many ways your push for morality at the center of STEM is an enterprise of putting empathy at the center of STEM learning that can lead to action.  I am curious how what your participants have done to operationalize these ideas in their work? Where do you want the conversations to go next?

  • Icon for: John Voiklis

    John Voiklis

    Co-Presenter
    Research Lead: Behaviors, Norms, & Processes
    May 10, 2022 | 03:54 p.m.

    I will attempt a more elaborated answer later today, but, for now, let me say that one of the places we at Knology would like to go next is somewhere in the neighborhood of your project: helping kids to overcome between-group barriers through the benevolent act of creating software solutions with and for others. As you point out, designing for others requires perspective taking/empathy. It also requires perspective seeking about what the "other" needs and desires. In that way, those others might not seem so very other. 

  • Icon for: Dorothy Bennett

    Dorothy Bennett

    Director of Creative Pedagogy
    May 10, 2022 | 04:27 p.m.

    Really appreciate your way of calling out the need for "perspective seeking" in your post:

    "Perspective seeking about what the "other" needs and desires...[so] others might not seem so very other."  This is so very important and an interesting question to put to practitioners. How do we encourage this kind of "perspective seeking"?  Look forward to your insights.

     

  • Icon for: John Voiklis

    John Voiklis

    Co-Presenter
    Research Lead: Behaviors, Norms, & Processes
    May 10, 2022 | 05:23 p.m.

    And let's not forget perspective giving: unambiguously telling people what you need and want is another skill that kids need to develop, especially for kids who have been told repeatedly that their needs and desires don't matter

     
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    Dorothy Bennett
  • Icon for: Folashade Solomon

    Folashade Solomon

    Facilitator
    Associate Professor
    May 12, 2022 | 08:22 a.m.

    What  are your plans for analyzing and disseminating your findings? I would love to think about how this work could shape the training of future science teachers.

  • Icon for: Jena Barchas-Lichtenstein

    Jena Barchas-Lichtenstein

    Co-Presenter
    Research Lead in Media; Meaningful Math Co-PI
    May 12, 2022 | 09:10 a.m.

    Thanks for asking! We're in the process of editing the proceedings -- a collection of short (<5 page), mostly colloquial essays written by the participants individually and in various groups. They'll be fully open-access, and we're planning to share through the professional societies and networks of all participants. I'd also love to share through networks like NSTA and ISTE, although I don't know if we have direct connections to those kinds of groups. Who else would you recommend?

  • May 12, 2022 | 01:44 p.m.

    Nice research focus! I was actually thinking along these lines when considering how to motivate more girls to pursue engineering. I thought it was important for girls to consider how their needs and interests may not be represented in designs created by men. If girls understand that their participation is needed in order for products and processes that meet their needs, they may feel more of a moral imperative to pursue engineering. 

  • Icon for: Jena Barchas-Lichtenstein

    Jena Barchas-Lichtenstein

    Co-Presenter
    Research Lead in Media; Meaningful Math Co-PI
    May 13, 2022 | 09:56 a.m.

    Ooooh! I love this thought.

     
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    Jennifer Kidd
  • Icon for: John Voiklis

    John Voiklis

    Co-Presenter
    Research Lead: Behaviors, Norms, & Processes
    May 13, 2022 | 10:02 a.m.

    Hi Jennifer: The theoretical underpinnings for several of our ongoing and planned studies on science communication start with moral relevance. We've argued that speaking to moral motives provides evidence of the speaker's goodwill (benevolence). Evidence of benevolence increases trust, and increased trust opens people to the possibility that the speaker may have something valuable to communicate.

    We have some evidence from the literature that this approach can work with people who identify as Black and/or African-American. To quote from a recent proposal: "The literature on social responsibility shows that people who identify as Black and/or African-American tend to favor a collective approach to meeting the needs of the communities to which they belong (e.g., Carson 2009). This applies to choices about helping economically stressed kin (e.g., Hill, 2022), as well as to the academic and career choices of secondary school students (Uriostegui, et al., 2021), college students (McGee & Bentley, 2017), and people earning doctoral degrees (McCallum, 2017). Therefore, we hypothesize that this approach to conveying benevolence may open the door to these persistently excluded communities."

    I look forward to seeing such an approach work to "motivate more girls to pursue engineering."

     
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    Jennifer Kidd
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