Teaching Systems Thinking to 4th and 5th Graders Using Environmental Dashboard Display Technology
Tackling complex environmental challenges requires the capacity to understand how relationships and interactions between parts result in dynamic behavior of whole systems. There has been convincing research that these “systems thinking” skills can be learned. However, there is little research on methods for teaching these skills to children or assessing their impact. The Environmental Dashboard is a technology that uses “sociotechnical” feedback–information feedback designed to affect thought and behavior. Environmental Dashboard (ED) combines real-time information on community resource use with images and words that reflect pro-environmental actions of community members. Prior research indicates that ED supports the development of systems thinking in adults. To assess its impact on children, the technology was installed in a primary school and children were passively exposed to ED displays. This resulted in no measurable impact on systems thinking skills. The next stage of this research examined the impact of actively integrating ED into lessons on electricity in 4th and 5th grade. This active integration enhanced both content-related systems thinking skills and content retention.
Clark Shane, J.E. Petersen, C.M. Frantz, D. Roose, J. Ginn, and D.R. Daneri. 2017. “Teaching Systems Thinking to 4th and 5th Graders Using Environmental Dashboard Display Technology.” PLoS One 12(4): 1-11.
Public Library of Science
Age groups, Analysis of variance, Children, Cognitive psychology