In Proceedings of Interaction Design and Children (2012) Bremen, Germany.
Children often report that school science is boring and abstract.
For this reason, we have developed Life-relevant Learning
(LRL) environments to help learners understand the relevance
that scientific thinking, processes, and experimentation can have
in their everyday lives. In this paper, we detail findings that aim to
increase our understanding of the ways in which technology can
support learners' scientific practice and their personal meaning in
LRL through the integration of two mobile apps into an LRL
environment. Our analysis of the artifacts created in these systems
show that technology must strike a balance between structured
scaffolds and flexible personal design to support learners’
scientifically meaningful experiences. Our data suggests that
integration of media forms and mobile technology can provide
creative ways for learners to express their scientific thinking,
make artifacts of their personally meaningful experiences, and
individualize artifacts in scientifically meaningful ways.