On October 19th, the Research Council’s programme for Research and Innovation in the educational sector (FINNUT), granted financial support to the project “ArtsApp: How technology affects motivation and interest in learning of biological species”. The project will receive funding for the next three years. The project is led by Professor John-Arvid Grytnes from BIO in Bergen. Collaborators in the project are bioCEED, SLATE (Science of Learning and Technology), UiS, and Centre for Science Education (UiB). The project has sought funding to further develop the already existing app ArtsApp by 1) developing a new app specifically designed for children, 2) researching the learning effect and motivation effect of the app and 3) disseminating results and the app itself, to other research communities, the school sector and to the general public.
In today’s ArtsApp there are identification keys for sedges, ferns and fern allies, and carabid beetles. Through collaboration with Institute for Marine Research, University of Tromsø, and other biologists in the project, the goal is to include other identification keys for marine and terrestrial species. Furthermore, the project will develop machine learning technology to capture images of species and identify them.
The project will hire a postdoc to conduct research on the learning effect of the app. The postdoc will work with Ulrich Dettweiler, a natural science teacher at UiS, and Åge Diseth, Professor of Educational Studies at UiB. Moreover, the research team will conduct a systematic review of the available research on the field, conduct randomized control trials, action research, and field studies. Both quantitative and qualitative methods will be used to understand which processes contribute to learning and which do not. The goal at the end of the project is that ArtsApp will be an educational tool that can be used by both biologists and nature enthusiasts, and that it is engaging, motivational and didactic.