Research Question 2: What insight into their affective perception of the
video exchange will students’ comments provide?
In the two main studies, students’ comments in the category of appreciation indicate that they enjoyed the method and valued the experts’
efforts. Especially noteworthy is some students’ wish to continue the
exchange further; such willingness to repeat can be interpreted as a
strong indicator for motivation (cf. Sansone & Morgan, 1992). Meeting this wish, a project-based approach could be tested in which student groups work on their questions and answers over the course of
several weeks while keeping a learning journal, for example. The feasibility of this idea of course depends on the individual experts.
In contrast to the oncology and cell biology projects, the HIV
expert was rooted in the social sciences. Although a direct comparison
between curricular topics is inappropriate due to different participants, it can be said that a remarkable number of comments attested
to high emotional involvement (e.g., calling the exchange “touching”
and “thought-provoking”). Thus, such an interdisciplinary approach
seemed especially effective in illustrating the real-life relevance of
Limitations & Directions for Further Research
In this first attempt at an expert video exchange model, we
focused on its methodology, organizational feasibility, and students’ immediate perceptions. Now that the general model could
be established, further research is indicated to elucidate its effects
on students. It might be worth investigating if the exchange can
influence students’ perception of the variety of professions and
personalities in the natural sciences. Stereotypical depictions of
scientists as middle-aged, bespectacled men in lab coats still dominate the media and most students’ minds (Christidou et al.,
2010). Salonen et al. (2017) suggest that direct interactions with
actual scientists might be the most effective method to deconstruct such stereotypes, and the exchange model seems well
suited for contributing to this matter. Further, a longitudinal analysis could show whether the exchange influences students’
sub-ject-specific motivation for biology and (in the case of ELLs)
English. Also, the concept might be expanded by having students
conduct independent research for which the expert provides professional advice. Numerous citizen science projects that can be
found online offer ideas on different curricular topics. Moreover,
we suggest that the exchange model might be adapted to other
subjects (e.g., social sciences or arts).
Educational Implications & Conclusion
We present a method to give secondary students personal insight
into science-related careers. Students’ comments attested to an emotionally positive perception of the project. The exchange thus enables
ELLs to practice English as the language of science in an engaging
context. Conducting expert exchanges on different curricular topics
can therefore provide a new perspective on the content of science
courses, which is relevant to both ELLs and native English-speaking
students. The method’s efficiency depends on a number of arrangements and preparations that impose considerable time requirements
on the teacher. However, we observed that these demands lessened
with repeated implementation of the model, so we believe that in
the long term they are eventually outweighed by the authentic and
purposeful interaction that students experience.
We are grateful to teachers, students, and experts who participated
in the exchange projects. There is no potential conflict of interest to
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THE AMERICAN BIOLOGY TEACHER VOLUME 81, NO. 3, MARCH 2019