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Society for the Social Studies of Science
(October 2007, Montreal)

Welcome to the website for the Everyday Science and Technology Group at the University of Washington. We are a research team working as part of the Learning in Informal and Formal Environments (LIFE) Research Center, funded by the "science of learning" initiative at the National Science Foundation.

The members of this group seek to understand the details of children's everyday cognition in order to better inform how they can come to meaningfully understand science and technology. Within various everyday settings, we document how children learn through their engagement with artifacts and participation in specific social groups. We use ethnographic fieldwork, clinical interviewing, and classroom intervention studies to understand how culture and experience shape the patterns of activity that children and families engage in around science and technology, the meanings they attach to such events, and how it influences who they become. Our research currently focuses on three overlapping areas of inquiry:

  • Everyday Science: Children come to understand the living world through a complex interplay of informal and formal educational experiences. We are developing synthetic accounts of children’s development of biological understanding from their activities in and out of school (cf., folk biology). Also, because children encounter highly discrepant images of science across their activities, we are studying how children come to understand the nature and purposes of scientific inquiry and knowledge (cf., folk epistemology).
  • Digital Technologies in Youth Culture: Pervasive digital technologies—like instant messaging, videogames, and cell phones—are being increasingly interwoven into children’s everyday activities. We are documenting how such devices are influencing their social practices and development in order to better understand how children learn with and about these digital technologies.
  • Everyday Argumentation: We are documenting how children engage in and attend to argument across the settings and activities of their lives. This allows us to understand the various forms and purposes for that argumentation as well as understanding the social and cognitive competencies children demonstrate in different contexts. By examining the processes and products of everyday argument, we hope to ultimately inform how children can develop scientific argumentation practices.

The Everyday Science & Technology Group
Informing the sciences of learning with research on cognition in social contexts
Cognitive Studies in Education • University of Washington

Copyright © 2004-07 ESTG is affiliated with the LIFE Center.