Harnessing Popular Media for Science Learning and Critical Literacy

Project Number
OER 05/12 TKS

Project Duration
July 2012 - February 2014


This study aims to examine how students make connections between academic science and what they learned through the media. The purpose for studying this connection is to find ways in enriching students' learning experiences of science in terms of better student engagement and learning in authentic contexts. The study includes an ethnographic component to investigate what youths in Singapore know and feel about science through their exposure and access to everyday media. This ethnographic investigation will be carried out in conjunction with a curricular intervention, which will be implemented in a classroom setting in Singapore. Informed by the pedagogy of multiliteracies, the curricular intervention will involve students comparing school-based science texts with multimedia artifacts of their personal interests. This entails drawing students' out-of-school media into the classroom environment so as to provide a meaningful context and immersion of their lifeworld experiences. Based on the students' selection of media, instruction will be designed and implemented to help them connect their out-of-school media with the science curriculum. At the same time, analysis of the intervention will inform our understanding of how students navigate the various discourses and representations about science they encounter in and out of school. Although science learning through out-of-school media has been researched for several years, the field has been largely defined by a narrow view of media and informal learning. This study utilises advanced theories and rigorous analytical frameworks developed from the emerging fields of new literacies, multiliteracies and multimodality. At the same time, few existing studies have integrated the theories from these fields within the domain of informal science education. Therefore, the cross-fertilisation of theoretical ideas in conjunction with a practical operationalisation in the local context would potentially contribute to both theory building and classroom practice.

Funding Source

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