ExplorMor Adult Literacy Project:
Promoting access to Science, Collections, and Literacy
Supporting literacy via hands-on lab experiences, integration of academic language, and new technologies based on a collection-based pedagogy
The ExplorMor Labs Literacy Project was initially a pilot program in partnership with the Rio Salado Southern Adult Learning center. The project served approximately 150 GED/ELL students. Currently the program serves as a community outreach initiative in partnership with the ASU Natural History collection facility.
Our programs are based on the following key concepts.
I. Scientific Process and Collaboration
1) Participants demonstrate understanding of scientific concepts such as observation skills, scientific classification, etc.
2) Participants build on prior knowledge.
3) Integration of English language acquisition with academic language.
II. Collection and Data
1) Object-based pedagogy where learning is centered around the object.
2) Students connect the concrete with the abstract via virtual and physical objects--especially beneficial for English language learners..
3) Participants conduct research and connect with online databases to gain a greater understanding of the scientific context with objects used in class.
4) An emphasis on visual literacy by working with data, charts, and graphs. 65% of the GED test involves being able to adequately understand graphs and data.
III. Creative Critical Thinking
1) Participants learn to make observations and develop hypotheses about specimen collections and their data.
1) Participants learn and engage with collections using new technologies which promote accessibility and support literacy skills.
2) Central to the program is the interest in understanding more the role virtual and physical objects have in learning and literacy. How might perceptions and the understanding of concepts be different or the same as a result of engagement with both physical and virtual objects?
V. Worldviews and Ontologies
1) Cultural and social interpretive narratives and stories serve as an important foundation for meaningful learning as students build reading, writing, and communication skills using objects as the foundation.
VI. ExplorMor Ambassadors
1) Participants serve as Biodiversity Ambassadors and scientific communicators as they share new knowledge gained by creating exhibits, or participating in outreach events. Ambassadors apply new literacies as they share with others a greater understanding of our biodiveristy, current environmental impacts on this diversity, as well as explore potential careers in the life sciences.
VII. Mentorship program
An option for participants to gain experience working one on one with an Arizona State University student or curator in a university-based natural history collection.