By Michael Wong
The inspiration for this project stemmed from the countless conversations we had with instructors about how we might make learning science process skills more engaging for students. To our dismay, we learned that many educators struggled with teaching and facilitating discussions about science process skills. At around the same time, I was teaching a course called Science of Fictional Characters, where students are challenged to think like scientists by extrapolating from the research literature to generate hypotheses about the feasibility of fictional characters in the real world. Students were engaged, excited, and motivated. And some had even completed their semester-long project by mid-semester! Students credited this to their genuine interest in the characters they were exploring. “I get to watch my favourite shows for homework,” some students would say. Beknown to the students, this course focuses on the development of science process skills, an area in which students often find boring or unexciting. This gave me an idea. What if there was an activity that could engage students in learning about the science process? It was important to me to have student perspectives, so I worked alongside two former students in both the development and evaluation of the visual novel presented here. The process was difficult as we had never developed a visual novel before but seeing the positive feedback from our students made that entire experience worthwhile.
We are delighted to be able to share our visual novel with the wider teaching and learning community, especially with educators who struggle to incorporate discussions about science process skills into their classrooms.
Find the TLI article here.