Using digital stories to teach communication in the science curriculum
This chapter takes a slight step back from the volume’s main focus, to consider the use of digital stories to teach communication and critical reflection in science disciplines. It describes how using digital media is helping to develop students’ communicative repertoire and fluency in a university course, and explains why teaching communication is high on the science education agenda in Australia. While science education may seem mostly about knowing facts, uncommon sense concepts, theoretical principles and how to use laboratory equipment, it is also supposed to be about developing effective communication and good citizenship. When teaching communication becomes official faculty business, serious attention needs to be paid to curriculum design. At an Australian university, students of science are expected to develop not only scientific knowledge and procedures through their degree program, but also the ability to work cooperatively, identify and solve problems, and share their knowledge and understanding of science across various media, for different purposes and with diverse audiences. University curricula also need to respond meaningfully to the fact that their student populations have rapidly and quite radically diversified, and are, at postgraduate level in particular, increasingly international. Before describing and discussing how a digital story can be used in relation to a complex set of learning needs, a bit of background on the need for a better balance in science curricula is presented.