Research Partnership: University of Saskatchewan, Canada. Dr. Paula MacDowell

To this day, there is a lack of clarity on the definition of scientific literacy or what it means to be scientifically literate.  Referring to the 2007 Handbook of Research on Science Education, Roberts and Osborne discussed the attributes of a scientifically literate person as one who: 1) has a breadth of scientific knowledge and understanding, 2) develops an ability to apply that knowledge and understanding towards oneself and society, and more importantly, 3) innovates solutions to solve current global challenges. These objective attributes are labelled as Visions I and II and scientific education and research paradigms stem from a Cartesian dualistic view of the world where there is a divide between object and subject. Objective interpretations of the world perpetuate human/non-human, nature/culture, and heart/mind perspectives to reinforce a human-centric view of the world.  This divide contributes to the continual de-humanizing on how science is taught and learned.  Our work proposes a third Vision of scientific literacy to include concepts of relationality (stemming from indigenous ontology and post-humanist theories). Our work seeks to eliminate human-created boundaries in science education to move towards an embodied STEM education which places equal importance on the relational connection between the scientist/student and what is being learned.  We will discuss how collaborative story making and immersive storytelling through virtual reality (VR) experiences can enhance, enable and nurture a relational connection by initiating emotions to build respectful relationships between humans and more-than-humans/nature. 


If you are interested in more information, please email me at pctan[at], or Quincy Wang at Quincy_wang[at]