D17: Guide for Educators: How to Use Multimedia Technologies to Effectively

D17: Guide for Educators:
How to Use Multimedia
Technologies to Effectively
Introduce Science Fiction in
Prepared by CARDET & partners
Project Title:
Science Fiction in Education
Project Acronym:
Project Number:
This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.
This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission
cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the
information contained therein.
Table of Contents
Abstract ....................................................................................................................... 3
Introduction ................................................................................................................. 3
Technology, Affordances, and Learning ...................................................................... 5
Affordances.............................................................................................................. 5
Technology affordances and learning ...................................................................... 6
Design and Development ............................................................................................ 8
Phase 1: Analysis .................................................................................................... 8
Phase 2: Design ...................................................................................................... 9
Phase 3: Development............................................................................................. 9
Phase 4: Implementation ....................................................................................... 10
Phase 5: Evaluation ............................................................................................... 10
Mapping Tools to Learning Tasks ............................................................................. 11
The use of video and film in education ...................................................................... 19
Using technology to introduce Science Fiction in education ..................................... 21
References ................................................................................................................ 25
This deliverable will present simple tips and guidelines explaining to educators how
to capitalize on the affordances offered by technology, film, multimedia, and Web 2.0
tools, in order to effectively introduce Science Fiction in education. In order to
achieve this, the guide is structured in the following sections:
Introduction: overview of the use of technology in the classroom
Technology affordances: affordances of tools and their importance
Design and Development: The process of designing learning activities and
mapping them to pedagogy, task, and learning outcome
Recommendations for mapping affordances, tools and Science Fiction in
List of resources and useful websites
Technology has invaded all aspects of life. A wide range of tools are available for use
at home, work, education and entertainment. Schools and teachers are asked to
integrate Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in teaching and
learning. It is often argued that technology in education will make schools more
productive and efficient, will improve teaching and learning, will provide authentic and
engaging learning experiences, and will better prepare students for the workforce
(Cuban, 2001). International organizations such as the International Society for
Technology in Education, UNESCO, and European Commission, and Centre for the
Advancement of Research and Development in Educational Technology (CARDET),
have established guides, plans, and standards for the use of ICTs in education and
Although there is dramatic growth in the availability of technology to schools,
there is a great deal of evidence that teachers do not use technology as expected
(Aldunade & Nussbaum, 2013; Cuban, 2001; NESTA, 2012). The availability of
technology is essential. Teachers are more likely to integrate ICTs into their
classrooms if they have access to adequate equipment and a solid technology
There are reasons for the limited use of technology other than the simple lack
of equipment, and these reasons will likely be extremely difficult to address. They
touch on the realities and culture of the everyday classroom and on teachers’
knowledge, skills, beliefs, and expertise. Teachers are asked to find ways to
successfully integrate ICTs in their classrooms, but often with minimal preparation
and support.
Researchers continue to struggle with the question whether technology can
improve conventional teaching and learning. The evidence is at least inconsistent.
Several research studies indicated benefits to student achievement from the use of
computers for teaching (e.g., James & Lamb, 2000; Weaver, 2000). However,
studies have also identified negative effects of computer use on student achievement
(Papanastasiou, Zembylas & Vrasidas, 2003; Ravitz, Mergendoller, & Rush, 2002).
Such mixed results suggest that the relationship between computer use and student
achievement is complex and may be changing.
A larger issue identified and discussed in several studies is that the theoretical
framework for the integration of ICT in education may not yet be well-developed, and
there are reasons to believe that ICT can distract learners if not wisely used
(Papanastasiou et al., 2003). Although early research has tended to focus on “the
computer” as an independent variable that somehow affects the learning process, it
is becoming increasingly clear that technology in and of itself does not directly
change teaching or learning. Rather, the critical element is how technology is
integrated into instruction.
In a study conducted by Zhao et al. (2002) to examine the conditions under
which technology innovations can be successful in the classroom researchers
selectively chose ten cases to study in detail and identified several influences on
technology integration in classrooms falling into three categories: innovator (teacher),
innovation (kind of technology project), and context (school, support, infrastructure,
etc.). The specific influences include the following: teacher technology proficiency,
the degree to which the pedagogical approach is compatible with technology,
awareness of the social and organizational culture of the school (degree to which the
teacher can handle human relationships with colleagues, administrators and support
stuff, managing logistics, and the like), the nature of the innovation and its distance
from the school culture, its distance from existing practices, and its distance from
available technology resources. Furthermore, additional influences that emerged had
to do with the degree to which the innovation depended on additional technologies
that had to be borrowed or purchased and on the help of other human resources.
Human and technological infrastructures as well as peer social support where
important for the success of the innovations.
Technology, Affordances, and Learning
For any tool to be successfully integrated in teaching and learning, we need to
consider the following three basic dimensions: its conceptual model, constraints, and
affordances (Norman, 1989). A conceptual model is a description of how the tools is
organized and operates (Johnson & Henderson, 2002). Constraints are the
restrictions the tool places on what a user can accomplish. Affordance is a term
borrowed from Gibson’s (1977, 1979) work. An affordance of a thing refers to the
properties of the thing that allow it to be used in certain ways. For example, a chair
affords sitting. Interactive television affords seeing and hearing students from miles
away and interacting with them real time. A website designed for an online class
might afford synchronous and asynchronous interaction among multiple users, the
development of communities of inquiry, and the use of collaborative learning
strategies. An online resource based on a good conceptual model that matches the
user’s model and that takes advantage of the affordances and constraints of the
Internet is likely to be usable. Video affords the presentation of stories and real-life
examples of things, processes and narratives.
Figure 2: The relationship between technology affordances and user characteristics (Conole,
Conole (2013), in discussing affordances, she argued that for Gibson,
affordances are binary, they either exist or they don’t. On the other hand, shed
discussed McGrenere and Ho (2000) who consider affordances in terms of two
dimensions, i) the ease with which an affordance can be undertaken and ii) the clarity
of the information that describes the existing affordance; each being a continuum.
They argued that “the goal of design is to first maximize the necessary affordances
and then maximize each of these dimensions” (p. 87).
Technology affordances and learning
The use of technology and media in the classroom goes back several decades. One
of the biggest advantages of Web 2.0 tools and the internet is that they allow
accessing of information at a nonlinear manner. Learners have control of the flow of
information and access to various resources. Allowing for high learner control is an
important advantage of contemporary tools.
Learners can browse, search, and
navigate through a rich hypermedia and look for specific information that will enable
them to accomplish certain tasks at their own pace. The level of learner control is
usually defined by the degree of interactivity built in the system. The assumption is
that increased interactivity will produce greater attention to the information, leading to
higher levels of understanding. Allowing learners to select material, paths, and
strategies, might not be very effective because often times learners do not have the
knowledge, and experience to select the right path. However, studies have shown
that careful design can enable learners to make the right choices.
The multimedia nature of contemporary tools allows for more senses to be
engaged, targeting multiple learning styles. Their multi-modal nature, implies that
information is stored in more than one mode. Visual, verbal, and auditory information
can be incorporated in such systems. Representation of information in multiple
modes can improve learning and retention, only when there is an overlap between
the different modalities. If for example, text and sound are representing the same
piece of information, then the likelihood of that information to be learned is increased.
This is supported by Paivio's (1986) dual code theory according to which information
can be stored in the LTM in a verbal-like mode (propositional or digital), an image-like
mode (iconic), or in a combination of the two. Representing information in both image
and verbal-like forms has the advantage of being more easily retrieved and
Another important affordance of contemporary tools is increased levels of
interaction that facilitate collaboration and communication. Collaborative activities
rely on constructivist approaches to teaching and learning, and which is in line with
new movements towards 21st century skills. The skills needed for today’s learners
are collaboration, critical thinking, communication, negotiation and authentic learning.
Furthermore more, learners can use tools and build their own games, multimedia
presentations and stories, thus practicing storytelling, as a key learning outcome.
Design and Development
The most common model for mapping technologies to learning activities and
outcomes is the ADDIE model presented below.
Phase 1: Analysis
Analyze the learning environment and learners’ existing knowledge and skills
Identify and define the learning problem/gap
Identify desirable outcomes
Identify any learning constraints
Set the timeline for the project
In any instructional setting, the audience is crucial for the design, implementation,
and success of educational programs. The target audience of the course is a
significant factor that will influence the decision as whether to deliver the course
online or face-to-face. Below are examples of some of the questions that we were
interested in answering when choosing media for teaching.
What tools do learners have access to?
Do the learners have access to computers, and the Internet?
Are the learners familiar with the use of technology?
• How experienced are they in navigating the World-Wide-Web, using electronic
mail, engaging in computer conferencing, uploading downloading files, and the
What do the learners already know about the subject matter of the course?
What are their attitudes towards the subject and the delivery medium?
We did not have access to all this information beforehand. Therefore, we used
the first three face-to-face meetings at the beginning of the course to get this
information and help every student with the use of conferencing software.
Some contents are more appropriate than others. For example, subjects that
allow for debate, discussion, and exchanging ideas are very appropriate for tools that
allow for communication, discussion and debate. In addition, it is particularly helpful
to develop a detailed content outline, which illustrates the structure of the content in a
meaningful way.
Phase 2: Design
Establish the learning objectives
Create content outlines and storyboards
Determine content and assessment instruments
Apply instructional strategies
Select technology/media to be used
The goals and learning objectives are important and will guide all subsequent stages.
These objectives need to be mapped to the state/country curricula and fit within the
schedule of teachers work. In defining learning outcomes, make sure to consult a
later section in which the revised Bloom’s taxonomy is presented, along with possible
tasks and tools. The evaluation of student performance is also an important
component and should be based on a variety of methods.
Phase 3: Development
During the development phase, educators, instructional designers and the whole
team engages in developing learning activities and lesson plans, integrating the
appropriate tools for each learning task.
The actual lesson/unit is developed
Develop content and learning materials
Develop handouts, presentations, etc.
Produce media components (e.g. website, videos, graphics)
Phase 4: Implementation
During implementation teachers actually implement parts or the whole set of learning
activities with real users.
Implement the lesson/unit and curriculum
Apply methods of delivery and testing/assessment procedures
Deliver training
Phase 5: Evaluation
Evaluation is a fundamental process for monitoring and improving the quality of any
learning intervention.
Formative and Summative Evaluation
Formative Evaluation is present in each stage of the ADDIE process
Summative Evaluation consists of tests designed for domain specific criterionrelated referenced items and providing opportunities for feedback from the
In reality, given the complexities of human learning and classroom teaching,
teachers, rarely follow the sequential path of the ADDIE model. They rather follow
multiple iterations in a circular fashion, revising, trying, and revising again, following
their gut feeling and past experience.
Mapping Tools to Learning Tasks
The most known classification of educational outcomes is the one proposed by
Bloom (1956) and his colleagues, and which was recently revised (Anderson and
Krathwohl’s, 2001). The Table below presents both classifications.
First Classification
Revised Classification
According to Bloom’s revised taxonomy, learning objectives are divided into three
areas: the cognitive, the emotional and the psychomotor. The learning objectives of
the cognitive area include the following categories: remembering, understanding,
applying, analyzing, evaluating and creating. The six levels are the taxonomy of
cognitive objectives and Bloom's revised hierarchy: the first category (remembering)
is the lower level while the sixth (creating) is the upper level and the ultimate goal.
The classification represents a continuum from lower order thinking skills to
higher order thinking skills. Churches (2008) has extended these classification to
include processes that relate to digital learning. Bower et al. (2013) presented this in
a way to illustrate the relevance according to level. (Churches’ additional digital
processes listed in italics):
Recognising, listing, describing, identifying, retrieving, naming, locating,
Bullet pointing, highlighting, bookmarking, social networking, social
bookmarking, favouriting/local bookmarking, searching, googling
comparing, explaining, exemplifying
commenting, annotating, subscribing
Implementing, carrying out, using, executing
Running, loading, playing, operating, hacking, uploading, sharing,
Comparing, organising, deconstructing, Attributing, outlining, finding,
structuring, integrating
Mashing, linking, tagging, validating, reverse-engineering, cracking
Checking, hypothesising, critiquing, experimenting, judging, testing,
detecting, monitoring
Blog/vlog commenting, reviewing, posting, moderating, collaborating,
networking, refactoring, alpha/beta testing
Designing, constructing, planning, producing, inventing, devising,
Programming, filming, animating, blogging, video blogging, mixing,
Bower, Hedberg, and Kurswara (2011) argued that a range of learning designs that
use Web 2.0 technologies can be mapped as presented in Table 1.
– document and
share new items
of factual
knowledge with
a group as they
come to hand
Wikis – identify
the main
relevant to the
topic on the wiki
Image creation
– draw an
image to
represent a
concept or set
of concepts (C).
Podcasting –
listen to a
podcast of a
lecture and
attempt to recall
the main
concepts (T).
Video – watch a
video of a
process and
recall the key
stages (T).
Podcasting –
create a
describing a
process that has
been observed
Cognitive Process Dimension
Wikis –
bookmarking creation –
analyse the bookmarking
– bookmark construct an definitions – post
with facts
image that
provided by comments
relevant to a represents or peers and evaluating the
certain topic describes an provide
quality of
item of
them with factual
Podcasting – knowledge
constructive information
comments saved to the
definitions of
on how to group social
terms on an
site (D).
Blogs –
board (D).
evaluate the
factual quality
of information
on peer blogs
and post
feedback (D).
Blogs –
Wikis –
Wiki –
storytelling construct/a evaluate the
explain the
concepts and – create a
djust a
quality of peer
issues of a
story that
knowledge conceptual
topic as they exemplifies/a network so explanations
arise (C).
pplies a
that it
and make
Presentation concept (C). appropriatel alterations/sug
tools –
Video –
gestions as
represent and create a
interrelates appropriate
present the
video that
Blog –
applies the
concepts you Podcasts – evaluate the
relationships have learnt to collaborativ conceptual
of a
a concrete
ely analyse quality of peers
situation (C). an image or based on their
domain (C).
blog postings
Wikis –
and provide
explain a set
Voicethread them with
of concepts
on a wiki (C).
feedback (CC).
Mindmaps –
draw a
n of a concept
or domain
Podcasting – Blogs –
Video –
Blogs –
describe to
create a
analyse the evaluate the
your peers on portfolio
way in
process that
about the best stages of a peers/self peers have
way to
performs a described and
perform a
development process by post
process and (C).
then provide Desktop
comments feedback (D).
constructive recording – on the
feedback to create a
video page recording –
creation –
use a
ng tool to
create new
for an area
creation –
ly construct
aign that
the key
issues of a
topic of
study (CC).
a new
ng or
using a
creation –
draw a
flowchart to
explain a
new process
one another
storytelling –
observe an
and be able to
explain the
reasons for
sequence of
stages (T).
how to
perform an IT
process (C).
Video –
create a
video that
application of
process (C).
Mindmaps –
Mindmaps – Blogs –
describe own
explain own explain how
cognition using thinking
a mindmap (C). based on
theories of
to learning
thinking using changes as
a mindmap
the subject
and as a
result of
reflecting on
learning own
evaluate the
efficiency of
peer/self IT
process (C).
Video –
performance of
a kinaesthetic
process and
feedback (D).
Blogs –
a unit of
study (C).
Blogs –
evaluate the
degree to
which own
improve as a
result of selfreflection (C).
– suggest
ways of
thinking as a
Table 1 – A framework of Web 2.0 learning designs (Bower et al. 2011)
In every educational course and lesson, it is important to address a number of levels,
and not just one. The table below presents some ideas matching the level of
educational outcome, with example of task and tools/media that can support it. The
table below was informed by Bower (2011), Beetham and Sharpe (2013) and Conole
Example learning
tasks with a digital
literacy component
Develop learning
• Web design tools
• Animation building tools
• Presentation tools e.g. PowerPoint, Keynote,
• e-book building sites
• Wikis and Blogs
• Online quiz generators
Design an artifact
• Computer-aided design software e.g. Google
• Graphic design software e.g. Adobe Illustrator
• Project management tools
• Reference management tools (END note,
• Open and public data sets
• Google scholar
• Digital video camera
• Audio capture device
• Video and/or audio editing software
• Screen capture software
Design a research
Make a video, a
film, a podcast or
presentation about a
Relevant digital tools, applications and
services (examples only)
Set up an online
• Community building sites e.g. ning, elgg
• Social networks and media sharing sites e.g.
Edmondo, Facebook
• Online conferences including MOOCs
Share solutions to a
problem online and
review and comment
• Comments and track changes in Microsoft
• Commenting function in Google Docs
• Review or comment in social media sites
• Annotation of pdf files
Evaluate online
• Google, Google Scholar and other search
• Scholarly databases and catalogues with
search facilities
• Open repositories and data archives with
search facilities
• Wiki post or other digital medium for reporting
Moderate a
• Text-based conferencing
• Video conferencing
• Collaboration environment e.g. collaborate
Edit a document
with multiple
• Wikispaces or wiki site
• Presentation software
• Collaborative authoring software e.g. Google
• Social referencing tool or shared
bookmarking e.g. delicious
Describe and apply
a method for
reaching a decision
Identify patterns in
• Decision-analysis software
• Mapping software
Debate, argue,
defend, by providing
• Dedicated data analysis software with
features such as sort, filter, formula and
• Visualization apps e.g. wordle
• Geotagging and mapping
• Open and public data sets
• Blog post or wiki page with links (internal or
• Spreadsheet or database application with
graphical outputs used as evidence
• Discussion boards
Collect and analyse
questionnaire data
• Googleforms, SurveyMonkey
• Statistical analysis software e.g. SPSS
Collect and analyse
interview data
• Video camera
• Audio capture device
• Qualitative data analysis software e.g. nVivo,
Predict and explain
what happens in a
simulation or virtual
Develop a mind-map
of a given topic or
problem space
• Simulation
• Game-based environment
• Virtual world/virtual reality environment
Demonstrate a
complex method,
practice or process
• Audio or screen capture technology e.g.
Camtasia, screencast, Audacity
• Digital video to capture a performance
• Illustration software e.g. Adobe Illustrator
• Presentation software
• Virtual world
Explore a case
study or situation
through a simulation
• Mind mapping software
• Process analytics
• Geotagging and geomapping
Game-based environment
Virtual world e.g. second life
Google Earth
Aggregate, curate or
organize materials
• Social bookmark systems e.g. delicious
• Aggregation services e.g. Tumblr, Pinterest
• Digital writing e.g. word processing, wiki post,
blog post
Reuse, repurpose
• Editing software
• Digital writing e.g. word processing, wiki post,
blog post
• Mind mapping software e.g. Cmap,
Mindmeister, XMind
• Graphical features of presentation and writing
software e.g. Prezi
• Aggregation services e.g. Tumblr, Pinterest
Understanding Mind mapping
Reproduce ideas
from one medium in
• Any digital production medium e.g. video,
audio, photographs, drawing, animation, or
multimedia e.g. web, blog post
Select search terms
to locate relevant
• Google, Google Scholar and other search
• Scholarly databases and catalogues with
search facilities
• Hashtags e.g. across Twitter, blogs, online
• Open repositories e.g. of learning resources
Organize relevant
materials through
tagging, filtering or
• Keyword tagging in media sharing sites e.g.
YouTube, SlideShare Tagging on blogs and
• Online file management sites e.g. Evernote,
Dropbox, Scrapbook
Take a quiz or poll
to test
• Electronic voting devices (with suitable
questions and feedback)
• Online quiz generated by e.g. institutional
question and test software or online quiz
generator such as Hot Potatoes
Practice writing
• Any word processing tool
• Wiki, Blog, online discussions.
Gather examples or
illustrations of a
• Wiki page with links
• Bookmarking site e.g. delicious, Digg,
• Twitterfeed
• Subscription sites/aggregators e.g. RSS
feeds, bloglines, blogger, Firefox extensions
Explore pathways
through a topic
• Interactive learning resource or virtual tutorial
• Open learning resource or repository of
• Mindmap or graphical presentation (read
Label a diagram
• Online whiteboard, collaborative
writing/drawing apps
• Diagrams to be labeled can be created in e.g.
Adobe Flash, Hot Potatoes, some question
and test software
Make a recording,
upload and tag it
Take a quiz or poll
to answer factual
Digital audio device
Digital video or stills camera
Media sharing site e.g. Flickr, Vimeo
Media repository
Electronic voting devices (with suitable
questions and feedback)
Online quiz generated by institutional
question and test software
Open learning repository e.g. OCW,
institutional VLE with podcasts
Identify and
download a video,
podcast, online
tutorial or lecture
Locate online
resources using
given terms/criteria
or from a known
Practice a basic skill
or process in a
• Google, Google Scholar and other search
• Scholarly databases and catalogues
• Open repositories e.g. of learning resources
Virtual world
Games – based environment
Haptic environment
The use of video and film in education
Since its invention, the moving image has played a very important role in education
and entertainment. Because of its visual nature and mass appeal, film has been very
influential in shaping public opinion, and influencing culture. The use of film and video
in education goes back several decades. Film and video can help develop the
literacy skills of students and allow them to experience worlds they will not be able
otherwise to do. Film and media are parts of culture and kids should learn to use
them, critic them, deconstruct them and develop critical media literacy skills at
school. Using film and video in the curriculum can help kids become more critical
viewers and consumers and producers of media messages.
Koumi (2006) argues that video presents many advantages for teaching and
learning which can be classified in three main categories.
Assisting learning and skills development by:
1. Composite pictures (e.g. split screen)
2. Animated diagrams and exploring processes
3. Visual metaphor/symbolism and analogy
4. Modelling a process by simplifying certain aspects
5. Illustrating concepts with real world examples
6. Condensing time by editing real time and presenting abbreviated versions
7. Juxtaposition of contrasting examples to illustrate differences
8. Narrative strength of video and film which is rich in visual and auditory
9. Demonstration of skills by experts in various sectors including vocational
education, crafts, and argumentation
Providing vicarious experiences by presenting otherwise inaccessible sites and
1. Dynamic pictorial change or movement
2. Places (dangerous, overseas locations, etc.)
3. Viewpoints e.g. aerial, close up
4. Technical processes or equipment
5. 3D objects
6. Slow and fast motion
7. People and animals interacting in real or fictional ways
8. One-off or rare events
9. Chronological sequence and duration
10. Resources and material for viewers to analyze
11. Staged events for complex experiments or dramatized enactments
Nurturing (motivation and feelings):
1. Stimulate interest to learn
2. Provoke viewers to act
3. Motivate them to use a strategy by showing its success
4. Alleviate isolation by showing live video feed of teacher in remote areas
5. Impact/change attitudes
6. Reassure and help build confidence
7. Provide authentic learning opportunities by showing application of processes
and tools in solving real world problems (Koumi, 2006 p. 3-4).
Film and video can help develop the literacy skills of students and allow them to
experience worlds they will not be able otherwise to do. Film and media are parts of
culture and kids should learn to use them, critic them, deconstruct them and develop
critical media literacy skills at school. Using film and video in the curriculum can help
kids become more critical viewers and consumers and producers of media
messages. Some possible ways of using film in the classroom are:
Encourage kids to develop film clubs in schools to view and discuss films
Select films that match curricula objectives and use them as introduction to the
lesson and themes to be discussed
Design activities which will engage kids in producing films and videos for
specific purposes.
Using technology to introduce Science Fiction in education
Technology tools are one way to expose children to engaged learning. Indeed,
as researchers have begun to understand more about the situations in which
students learn best, they have found that “the structure and resources of traditional
classrooms” are often inadequate and that “technology – when used effectively – can
enable ways of teaching that are much better matched to how children learn”
(Roschelle et al., 2000, p.79).
With the advent of the Internet and the multiple formats that can be
communicated over the World Wide Web, we now have several new and exciting
ways to present information. The Web allows the incorporation of animation, moving
pictures, and sound into lessons, which extends our abilities to present materials that
encourage student interaction with the subject matter. Pictures and animations help
bring to life scientific principles, and multimedia allows students to take a more active
role in learning: they can watch experiments in action, see microorganisms up close,
and use a mouse or keyboard to navigate images, simulations and interactive
material. One of the advantages of using multimedia is to convey information quickly
and effectively to all students – and keep them interested in learning (Savage and
Vogel, 1996).
Some of the overall advantages of the use of multimedia as part of the curriculum
Visually demonstrate scientific ideas and concepts
Instill a sense of wonder and excitement in students about the world
around them
Present local, relevant case studies
Provide examples of real people practicing science
Generate student interest in science careers
Offer current research, theories and perspectives on a topic
Connect students with faraway or inaccessible places
Promote 21st century skills, including critical thinking, problem solving and
communication skills
Provide a common experience shared by all students
Among the educational advantages of multimedia one can identify:
Easiness in use/access
Visual impact
Diversity of the possibilities/contexts of use for educational purposes
Learning by doing (instead of simply watching)
Science Fiction: Theoretical Perspectives
Science fiction is literature, as opposed to expositions of theories, facts, abstractions,
and probabilities. Science fiction is a narrative vehicle by which reality (a hypothetical
reality of course) is experienced vicariously in the form of a story with drama,
characters, plot, and concrete settings. There is a clear difference between reading
and thinking about a theory, a set of predictions, or a hypothetical future scenario,
and reading and thinking about a story where these predictions are realized in the
context of drama, unique characters, and an unfolding plot. These are different
modes of consciousness. In literature, the reader feels the scenario and participates
vicariously in the action, the tension, and the drama. (Thomas Lombardo,
Multidisciplinary and Interdisciplinary Approaches to Futures Education, Journal of
Futures Studies, June 2010, 14(4): 121 - 134).
Science fiction has its theoretical roots in narrative, a form of scientific text, most
common in everyday discourse. As Avraamidou (2009) described,
Our lives are told and represented through narratives; history is of itself
a narrative, albeit contested and with plural accounts; literature is the
embodiment of
narrative with it classic genres of romance, irony, tragedy, and comedy; others
that economics is enriched by the narrativist perspective, as our law and the
sciences.(p. 1986).
The necessary component of narrative (e.g., science fiction stories) according to
Avraamidou (2009) are presented below:
Murmann and Avraamidou (2013) argued about the role of narrative in science
Narrative is considered our main form of communication and has been studied
and represented in a number of disciplines, such as education, sociology,
human psychology, philosophy, history, fiction, film, and others. It is our main
form of discourse and present in the life of children from a very young age (p.
Various researchers have argued about the value and significant role of narrative as
a tool to communicate scientific ideas, and more generally, science to the public
(Avraamidou, 2009; Murmann & Avraamidou, 2013, Montgomery, 1996; Norris et al.,
2005). According to these researchers narratives (e.g., science fiction) hold great
potential for nurturing student interest and enhancing student motivation for
engagement in learning. Some of the advantages that science fiction has to offer, as
summarized by Conle (2003) are the following: advances in understanding (e.g.,
productive meaning making as the result of narrative encounters); increased
intepretive competence (e.g., competence in finding multiple interpretations of a
particular phenomenon or event); richer practice repertoires (e.g., narrative
repertoires that become part of one’s personal practical knowledge); changes in life
(e.g., autobiographical narratives cause changes in personal lives); and visions
gained (e.g., moral modelling agendas).
As a review of the literature indicates science fiction provides an empowering
learning tool and an excellent resource that makes science more attractive. In
addition, science fiction can be used to support students’ understandings about the
nature of science and the work of scientists, given its potential to portray scientists’
characteristics and the environments in which they work.
Using technology to support the introduction of Science Fiction in Education
Some practical suggestions on how to use technology to support the introduction of
Science Fiction in education are provided below.
Selecting some commercial movies, looking for ways to take educational
advantage of them, and focusing on the audiovisual language to realize if this
movie is able to communicate with the students.
Focusing on the scientific content presented on scenes in the movie.
Focusing on the way the scientific knowledge is presented, checking for
possible mistakes and to think how the science can be contextualized in the
science classroom.
Select and editing short sequences more suitable for use in the teaching and
learning of science.
Using these episodes to organize classroom’s activities based on selected
episodes of the movie as a cultural tool to contextualize the scientific content
and motivate students in science classes.
Movies proposed
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