Part of performing field experiments in real classrooms requires developing learning materials. I created and authored an engaging comic for 9th grade biology students to learn about Accountable Talk discussion moves for a field experiment.
On a snowy day in December, I removed one side of a box and covered the inside of the box with white paper. This improvised light box reflected the light that bounced off the snow, providing some delightfully evenly lit photographs to be taken. I posed the three Lego figurines I purchased from eBay in a variety of orientations and photographed them with my DSLR camera. Post-processing involved raising the light levels & saturation, as well as cropping and scaling to appropriate dimensions. I used Adobe Illustrator to create the frames, talk bubbles, text, etc. for the comic. The font I used is called "My-E-Go".
The script was based off of a lesson immediately prior to the one we were designing our experiment around, in which the ninth graders learned that an egg is like a large model of a cell, mimicking its structure and semi-permeability. The students took the comic home the day before our in-class experiment, and the teacher was pleasantly surprised that all the students had read it! This later lead the research group to generate more materials involving Jerome, Maria, and Steve. Combining educational content with fun presentations is a great way to engage students in their learning.
This comic was used in the following experiments, among others:
Dyke, G., Howley, I., Adamson, D., Kumar, R., & Rose, C. P. (2013). Towards academically productive talk supported by conversational agents. In Productive multivocality in the analysis of group interactions (pp. 459-476). Springer US.
Dyke, G., Adamson, D., Howley, I., & Rose, C. P. (2013). Enhancing scientific reasoning and discussion with conversational agents. Learning Technologies, IEEE Transactions on, 6(3), 240-247.