Clegg, T., Bonsignore, E., Yip, J., Gelderblom, H., Kuhn, A., Valenstein, T., Lewittes, C., Druin, A. (January 2012)
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.