The Fetal Stem Cell Debate: How High School Biology Students Separate Factual Information from Agenda on the Internet Brenda Steiger CEP 806 Internet Inquiry Report http://healthcare.zdnet.com/images/stem-cell-harvest.jpg - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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The Fetal Stem Cell Debate: How High School Biology Students Separate Factual Information from Agenda on the Internet Brenda Steiger CEP 806 Internet Inquiry Report http://healthcare.zdnet.com/images/stem-cell-harvest.jpg

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Title: The Fetal Stem Cell Debate: How High School Biology Students Separate Factual Information from Agenda on the Internet Brenda Steiger CEP 806 Internet Inquiry Report http://healthcare.zdnet.com/images/stem-cell-harvest.jpg


1
The Fetal Stem Cell Debate How High School
Biology Students Separate Factual Information
from Agenda on the InternetBrenda SteigerCEP
806 Internet Inquiry Report
http//healthcare.zdnet.com/images/stem-cell-harve
st.jpg
2
My purpose for this inquiry
  • I wanted to know more about how my students
    use the internet to form opinions and obtain
    information about science issues.

3
Internet Issues
  • According to Bruce Bertram in his article,
    Credibility of the Web Why we Need Dialectical
    Reading (2001), users of the web hold different
    perspectives on the reliability of its text.
  • Where are my students at?

4
Internet Inquiry Project Questions
  • Through online discussions with other teachers
    and my readings, I have formed three questions
    that I think will help me uncover what my
    students think about the internet as a source of
    information.

5
Question 1
  • How do high school biology students come to
    terms with conflicting information regarding
    fetal stem cells on the internet?

6
Question 2
  • Are they able to separate information
    that is more factual in nature from
    information that has some underlying agenda?

7
Question 3
  • Which criteria do they use to evaluate the
    credibility of different websites relating to
    fetal stem cells?

8
Predictions
  • How would my 21 biology students respond to the
    three questions?
  • Heres what I thought.

9
Prediction 1
  • How do high school biology students come to
    terms with conflicting information regarding
    fetal stem cells on the internet?
  • Their opinions will first be based on their
    initial feelings about the issue, regardless of
    the information the websites contain. Given
    their reliance on particular search engines, I
    then predict that a few students will want to
    look to sites for information other than the
    three that I provide.

10
Prediction 1 Background
  • Through my online discussions, I base my
    prediction on a common theme among students
  • they prefer to rely on typical sites like
    Wikipedia as a source of information
  • Websites with user-friendly formats are preferred
    over those of less familiar sites

11
Prediction 2
  • How do they separate information that is factual
    from information that has some other agenda?
  • Students will have difficulty in determining
    the underlying purposes behind any particular
    sites content.

12
Prediction 2 Background
  • My students may not yet have the skills to
    differentiate between the treasures and the
  • junk of science information on the internet.
  • The web today hides its precious treasures
    behind a greater mass of semiprecious or
    junk-grade texts.
  • --Bertram, Bruce. Digital Content The Babel of
    Cyberspace. JAAL (1999)

13
Prediction 3
  • What criteria do they use to evaluate the
    credibility of different websites
  • relating to fetal stem cells?
  • Most will have a few ideas about how to
    identify
  • a legitimate site, but will not be
    able to name more than one particular
    criteria to evaluate it.
  • Most will know what the domains .com, .org,
  • and .gov stand for, but will not have
    opinions as to legitimacy for each.

14
Prediction 3 Background Information
  • Like spoken language, technological literacy is
    continually evolving, and students will need the
    training and experience to cope with these
    changes, according to the article, Twenty-First
    Century Literacy (1998) J Flood, S.B. Heath, D
    Lapp (Eds,).
  • Are my students prepared to deal with these
    changes?

15
My Inquiry PlanProject Steps
  • www.gothamgazette.com

16
Step 1
  • I introduced basic information to the students
    regarding the biology of the stem cell to get
    them thinking.

  • http//www.stemcellnews.com/index/images/stemcelli
    mage.jpg

17
Step 2
  • I provided my students with the addresses of
    three websites of differing points of view.

18
  • Right to Life of Michigan (RTL)
  • http//www.rtl.org/html/stem_cell_resources/index.
    html
  • National Institute of Health (NIH)
  • http//stemcells.nih.gov/
  • Medra, Inc.
  • http//www.medra.com/index.html

19
Step 3
  • I allowed students time to browse each of the
    three websites, and then they filled out a
    questionnaire based on the three inquiry
    questions.

20
Step 4
  • I compiled questionnaire information and
    conducted follow-up interviews with a few
    representative students.

21
Student Task 1 Results
  • Students compared and contrasted the positive
    and negative aspects of fetal stem cell research
    presented on each of the three websites.
  • How did the students handle conflicted or
    perhaps de-emphasized information about fetal
    stem cell research contained on each site?

22
Task 1 ResultsTypical Student Responses
  • All of the sites had good information. Maybe
    more science should be done to figure it out.
  • Medra says that it helped people. It (fetal stem
    cell therapy) should be allowed.
  • I dont think fetuses should be killed, because
    there may be other ways to cure diseases.

23
Task 1 Results
  • Five students indicated that they werent sure
    what to do with the conflicted or de-emphasized
    information on these three sites. They spent some
    time looking up information elsewhere.

24
Task 1 Analysis
  • Some students expressed strong opinions from
    either side of the debate based on both what they
    saw on the sites and through some preconceptions
    that they held.
  • Unfortunately, they were more eager to express
    an opinion about the issue than to give an
    indication of how they arrived at it.

25
Task 1 Analysis
  • The students responded as I predicted,
    evaluating the positive and negative sides of
    stem cell use from a limited perspective.
  • This issue turned out to be new for most of
    them, so many didnt know what to think when
    presented with various sources of information.

26
Student Task 2
  • Students matched the following statements with
    what they thought would characterize each of the
    three sites

27
Task 2
  • Students chose all that applied to each of the 3
    sites
  • to make money.
  • to persuade people into thinking a certain way.
  • to simply inform people about this topic.

28
Task 2 ResultsCategorizing sites by agenda
29
Task 2 Analysis
  • All of the students indicated that the NIH
    website intended to be informative in nature. In
    my prediction, I underestimated their ability to
    notice this.

30
Task 2 Analysis
  • Most students placed the Medra, Inc website into
    all three categories. Some indicated that the
    testimonials from patients on this site made it
    particularly informative in nature.
  • The site doesnt explicitly state the costs of
    their services, yet most students recognized that
    Medra, Inc is a business. I did not predict that
    they would see this.

31
Task 2 Analysis
  • The Right to Life website elicited various
    responses, but most agreed that it was persuasive
    in nature.
  • Many students indicated that they associated
    this organization with its anti-abortion stance.

32
Student Task 3
  • Students were asked to make a list of the
    items found on a website that would indicate that
    it was a good source of information.

33
Task 3Typical Student Responses
  • How do you know a website contains factual
    information?
  • It explains things well.
  • If its like wikipedia.
  • It has lots of information.
  • It isnt selling something.
  • If it was posted by a scientist.

34
Task 3 Analysis
  • My students already have some good ideas as to
    what constitutes a reliable website.
  • When comparing the considerations listed on the
    Johns Hopkins University website, Evaluating
    Information Found on the Internet, my students
    matched a few.

35
Task 3 Analysis
  • Students already have some concept of these
    criteria
  • Authorship
  • Publishing body
  • Point of view

36
Task 3 Analysis
  • Students need reminders or instruction in these
    evaluation criteria
  • Referral to other sources
  • Verifiability
  • Currency
  • Distinguishing propaganda, misinformation, and
    disinformation

37
Emergent ideas
  • High school students have grown up with the
    web their experiences have provided them already
    with some of the tools for finding reliable
    information.
  • They still require instruction in evaluating
    science information on the web. The more they
    know about a topic, the better they get at such
    evaluations.

38
Emergent Ideas
  • In such a survey, the way a question is presented
    can determine the quality of the data collected.
  • I would like to take more time in comparing my
    results with those of my online colleagues, to
    see if my results are typical for other students.
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