Literacy today involves not only text, but also image and screen literacy. American young people live in a world of music, video games, computer interaction, and fast-paced action movies. They are found to be ‘in their environment’ when surrounded by cutting-edge technology. Studies indicate that multi-processing such as listening to music, talking on a cell phone, and using the computer simultaneously is the norm for most youths in America[i]. Rather than trying to separate students from their preferred environment in order to teach them, the NanoKids instructional design incorporates many aspects of a young person’s daily experience. It uses popular multi-media as a hook to deliver complex science content in an attempt to make the content come alive and to generate dialogue and progressive learning.
The results from the 2004-2005 student preference and usability surveys in the exbanded beta-testing indicate the following:
95% of the students said they were confident that they could learn the basic concepts taught in the NanoKids materials.
78% of the students said that they were confident they could understand the most complex information presented using the NanoKids materials.
77% of the students said that the NanoKids helped them to understand at least one thing that they found difficult to learn.
75% of the students preferred using the NanoKids materials rather than reading to learn about atoms and molecules.
82% of the students said that using the NanoKids materials made learning science more interesting.
83% of the students said that they enjoyed using the NanoKids materials.
72% of the students said that if given a choice, they would choose to learn more about science by using the NanoKids materials.
79% of the students said that they liked using the interactive workbook to review information about nanotechnology.
76% of the students said that they usually find it more interesting to study subjects using computer technology.
[i] Brown, J.S., Growing Up Digital, How the Web Changes Work, Education, and the Ways People Learn, Change, March/April 2000