Christina M. Gardner

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As science educators, we want all learners to see the relevance of science to their lives and the world in which they live. Achieving this goal, however, has proven to be a difficult endeavor. Many learners see science as useful only in school, and they face difficulties connecting science to the real world and to their own interests and goals. In our(More)
Learners need to see the relevance of their learning in their everyday lives and activities in order to understand and value the importance of learning. To do this, they need rich experiences that promote such learning and mental model building. So how can we promote substantial learning in everyday, informal environments from real world practices and(More)
How can we promote the kinds of reflection needed for deep and lasting learning and the development of disposition toward scientific reasoning in the context of an informal learning community? In our research, we've discovered that learners have a greater appreciation of what they are learning when we give them the goal of helping others outside their(More)
In this paper, we present an evaluation of the role that software played in promoting collaborative scientific participation in a learning community driven by learners' interests and goals. In our analysis of an out-of-school learning environment we designed and implemented to promote scientific engagement, we found that the software was not always at the(More)
The goal of my dissertation research is to track learning (e.g., developing capabilities, understanding, and participation) in an informal after school cooking and science learning environment designed based on constructivist theories of and approaches to learning. I seek to understand what factors contribute to and prohibit learning. I am taking four(More)
Informal exchanges in workplace settings often occur at communal artifacts that encourage self-motivated interaction in a community. This phenomenon, the water cooler effect, is the resulting combination of the " space " augmented by the communal artifact and the " place " influenced by the activity that occurs here (Harrison & Dourish, 1996). We claim that(More)
Creating communities of practice among children has been easier in informal athletics than it has been in other areas, but some think it is essential for helping children to gain identities as learners and practitioners of serious thinking. Essential to creating a community of practice is the ability to collaborate and communicate together. Collaborating(More)
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