Consumption literacy

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Consumption literacy a new pedagogy for environmental science in higher learning
Luce, Austine A. ( author )
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Denver, CO
University of Colorado Denver
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Environmental education ( lcsh )
bibliography ( marcgt )
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non-fiction ( marcgt )


The purpose of this study is to analyze student thinking as outcomes of a consumption literacy curriculum in a general education science class. The curriculum is designed to educate students about environmental awareness through a critical investigation of student's everyday natural resource consumption. Then students further develop their thinking and findings through the production of a digital story. The environmental science lab curriculum innovations, aligned with university STEM reform agendas, include (a) more time for classroom conversation, (b) opportunities for developing a community in the classroom, (c) students everyday life experiences, and (d) a more student-centered form of expression through a digital storytelling project. This case study evaluates student thinking through a constant comparison analysis of student's (a) environmental drawings on a first day and mid-semester evaluation and (b) descriptions from three reflection assignments written through the production of a digital story. The results indicate a growth in thinking about the environment from a clean and unspoiled nature towards an environment that is characterized by natural resource overuse as a result of overconsumption fueled by consumerism, materialism, and the production of waste. Additional findings indicate (a) the presence of critical, creative, and personal forms of thinking, as well as (b) the unique path of development that students experienced in their learning about the subject matter. This research has implications for methods and styles of teaching environmental science to include (a) content that is locally situated and personally relevant, (b) approaches that encourage and allow time for class discussions as well as student participation, (c) approaches that empower students to critically and creatively theorize their own intellectual ideas (e.g. creative journaling and digital storytelling), and (d) digital storytelling as a method for facilitating cooperative, collaborative, and meaningful learning through the development and sharing of personal narratives. The conclusions of this study emphasize the power of creating learning experiences that are personally relevant, beneficial, and enjoyable for the learners as well as the instructor.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Colorado Denver. Educational leadership and innovation
Includes bibliographic references.
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School of Education and Human Development
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by Austine A. Luce.

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University of Colorado Denver
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CONSUMPTION LITERACY: A NEW PEDAGOGY FOR ENVIRONME NTAL SCIENCE IN HIGHER LEARNING by AUSTINE A. LUCE AAS, Edison Community College, 1996 B.S., Coastal Carolina University, 1999 M.S., University of Colorado at Denver, 2003 by A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Colorado in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy Educational Leadership and Innovation Program 2014




iii This thesis for the Doctor of Philosophy degree by Austine A. Luce has been approved for the Educational Leadership and Innovation Program by Manuel Luis Espinoza, Chair Bryan Shao-Chang Wee, Advisor Marty Otaez James Walsh November 21, 2014


iv Luce, Austine A. (Ph.D., Educational Leadership and Innovation) Consumption Literacy: A New Pedagogy for Environme ntal Science in Higher Learning Thesis directed by Associate Professor Bryan Shao-C hang Wee ABSTRACT The purpose of this study is to analyze student thi nking as outcomes of a consumption literacy curriculum in a general educat ion science class. The curriculum is designed to educate students about environmental aw areness through a critical investigation of student's everyday natural resourc e consumption. Then students further develop their thinking and findings through the pro duction of a digital story. The environmental science lab curriculum innovations, a ligned with university STEM reform agendas, include (a) more time for classroom conver sation, (b) opportunities for developing a community in the classroom, (c) studen ts everyday life experiences, and (d) a more student-centered form of expression through a digital storytelling project. This case study evaluates student thinking through a con stant comparison analysis of student's (a) environmental drawings on a first day and mid-s emester evaluation and (b) descriptions from three reflection assignments writ ten through the production of a digital story. The results indicate a growth in thinking a bout the environment from a clean and unspoiled nature towards an environment that is cha racterized by natural resource overuse as a result of overconsumption fueled by co nsumerism, materialism, and the production of waste. Additional findings indicate (a) the presence of critical, creative, and personal forms of thinking, as well as (b) the unique path of development that students experienced in their learning about the su bject matter. This research has implications for methods and styles of teaching env ironmental science to include (a)


v content that is locally situated and personally rel evant, (b) approaches that encourage and allow time for class discussions as well as student participation, (c) approaches that empower students to critically and creatively theor ize their own intellectual ideas (e.g. creative journaling and digital storytelling), and (d) digital storytelling as a method for facilitating cooperative, collaborative, and meanin gful learning through the development and sharing of personal narratives. The conclusion s of this study emphasize the power of creating learning experiences that are personally r elevant, beneficial, and enjoyable for the learners as well as the instructor. The form and content of this abstract are approved. I recommend its publication. Approved: Bryan Shao-Chang Wee


vi DEDICATION I dedicate this publication to: My grandmothers Mary S. Willman and Mildred Luce, for reminding me to forever follow my heart. My mother, Ardiss W. Luce, for instilling in me a love of learning and filling my life with creative thoughts. My father, Donald G. Luce, for believing in me every step of the way, encouraging me to chase my dreams without reserve, and being the best editor. My sister, Euri Luce-Mead, for helping me to see the world through others eyes and dreaming with me. My brother, Brandon Luce, for the many late night conversations wondering what it means to exist, learn, and be hum an. My children, Jace Arden Sandler, Acen Luce Sandler, and Nuvuya Marya Luce, for choosing me, trusting me, and exploring this beautiful world with me. My dear friends, Anna Dvorak and Chris Kopka, for listening to my ideas and helping me to springb oard them out into the world. My community of family and friends from Manitoulin Island, for helping to me to find my spirit again. My community of family and friends from Denver, CO, for cheering me on through my life adventure to rea ch this finish line. I am eternally grateful and inspired beyond measure with the unending abundance of your love and support. Chi Miigwetch.


vii ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The eight-year journey that I travelled, through l ife and academia, writing this dissertation, has been a powerful, enlightening, an d humbling experience. I wish to acknowledge and thank those who have helped me with this study: My instructor and advisor, Dr. Bryan Shao-Chang Wee for your meticulous approach to the methods of rese arch, the uncountable chalkboard discussions, and opening the door to ENVS 1042L. Y our commitment, through many adventures, led this research. My instructor and chair, Dr. Manuel Espinoza, for sharing your passions and philosophy of tending to the work of learning in the most human way and applying it to your guida nce in helping me to finish this dissertation. My instructor and committee member, Dr. Marty Otae z, for providing a refreshing perspective, methodologi cal expertise with digital storytelling, and the essential realit y checks. My committee member, Dr. James Walsh, for sharing the conviction that educating is a proc ess of liberating students to find their voice and speak it out loud in the wo rld. My colleagues, Erin Steiner, Ya-Wen Chang, and Chri stine Renda, for sharing your ideas and providing bountiful inte llectual nourishment. My friend and ENVS 1042L coordinator, Sue Eddleman, for cheering me on and believing in my practice of teaching. My family, Mom, Dad, Euri, Brandon, and Nana, for reading this document many times, in itÂ’s many versions, and helping me to think through what I needed to say. My children, Jace, Acen, and Nuvuya, for your patience, silliness, and love while I conq uered this. and All of the students that I have had the pleasure to work with over the years, thank you for sharing your lives and helping me to refine an appr oach to educating in a different way. Special thanks to the studentÂ’s who participated in this study, for without you, there would have been no study.


viii TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER I. INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY AND REVIEW OF THE LITERATUREÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…...Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…... 1 Introduction..Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…..Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…. 1 Study Purpose and Research QuestionsÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â….. 3 Structure of the DissertationÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…...Â… 4 Review of the LiteratureÂ….Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â… 5 The Environment, Human Development, and ConsumptionÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…. 4 Consumption Literacy Education...Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â….. 10 Educating as a Process of Human DevelopmentÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â….. 12 Educating at the UniversityÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â….. 13 Science Education at the UniversityÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â….......... ....... 15 Reform Agendas in Higher Learning Science Classrooms...Â…Â… Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…. 17 II. BACKGROUND OF THE CURRICULUM AND THEORETICA L ORIENTATIONÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…...Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â… 22 IntroductionÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…..Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…... 22 Background to the CurriculumÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…... 25 Context of the ContentÂ…...Â…Â…..Â…Â…Â…Â…...Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â….. 26 The Practice of EducatingÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…......... 29 CourseworkÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…... 31 Theoretical Orientation: The Consumption Literacy CurriculumÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â….. 32


ix The Educational PracticeÂ…Â…Â….Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…. 33 Sociopolitical ContextÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…...Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…...Â…Â… 35 The Lifebook JournalÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…..Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â….. 36 The Digital StoryÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â….. 38 Conceptual FrameworkÂ…Â….Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…...Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…... 42 III. METHODS AND PROCEDURESÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…..Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â… 46 Introduction.Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…... 46 MethodologyÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â….Â…Â…Â….. 47 Case Study MethodologyÂ…Â…Â…Â…...Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…... 48 Ethnographic MethodologyÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â….. 50 Grounded Theory AnalysisÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…... 51 MethodsÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â….... 51 Site ContextÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â….Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…. 52 Data CollectionÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…..Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…. 56 Primary ArtifactsÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…..Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â… 57 Secondary ArtifactsÂ…Â….Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…. 61 Case Study Participant SelectionÂ…Â…Â…Â…....Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â… 62 Data AnalysisÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â….. 66 IV. RESULTS AND FINDINGS OF THE STUDYÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…. 71 IntroductionÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…..Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…... 71 Evaluation Drawings........Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â… 73 Digital Story AssignmentsÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â… 78 ConclusionÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â….. 101


x Types of ThinkingÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…...Â…Â…Â…Â…. 102 Experience of the LearnerÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â… 104 V. IMPLICATIONS OF THE STUDYÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â….. 108 IntroductionÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…. 108 Materialism in the Liberal Arts CurriculumÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…. 109 Environmental Science Education in Higher LearningÂ… Â…Â… 110 Digital Storytelling in Environmental Science Instr uctionÂ…... 113 Training for Environmental Science EducatorsÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â… 115 VI. ENVS 1042L: AN AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL ACCOUNT OF TH E EXPERIENCEÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…. 120 IntroductionÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…. 120 The Lifebook and the Digital Story: An Open-Ended CurriculumÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â… ... 121 My Personal Growth as an EducatorÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â….... 126 ConclusionÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â….. 140 BIBLIOGRAPHYÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â….Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â….. 142 APPENDIX A. LIFEBOOK JOURNAL ASSIGNMENT EXAMPLESÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…. 1 47 B. SUPPLEMENTAL FIELDNOTESÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…. 155 C. ENVS 1042L SPRING 2013 SYLLABUSÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…. 1 64 D. THEMATIC FLOWCHART FOR STUDENT DESCRIPTION ANALYSISÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…. 180 E. STUDENT EVALUATIONSÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â….. 183 F. DIGITAL STORY REFLECTION ASSIGNMENTSÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…. 192


xi LIST OF TABLES TABLE 2.1 Lab Activity DescriptionsÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â… Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…. 28 2.2 Consumption Literacy Curriculum Weekly T opic ListÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…. 35 2.3 Nested Digital Story AssignmentsÂ…Â…Â…Â….Â…Â…Â… Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â… 40 3.1 ENVS 1042L Summary of Student EthnicityÂ… Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â… 53 3.2 ENVS 1042L Summary of Learner Characteri sticsÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â….. 54 3.3 Learning Description Category Definition sÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…... 63 3.4 Case Study Participant CharacteristicsÂ…Â… Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â….. 65 4.1 Evaluation Drawing CodesÂ…Â…Â…Â….Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…..Â…Â…Â…Â… Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…. 74 4.2 Drawing Codes and DescriptionsÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…..Â… Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…. 75 4.3 Themes and Coded Descriptions of Three R eflection AssignmentsÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…....... 80 4.4 Student Thinking DevelopmentsÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…...Â… Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…. 105


xii LIST OF FIGURES FIGURE 1.1 Chris JordanÂ’s Photograph, Cell Phone #2, Atlanta 2005Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…... 8 2.1 Consumption Literacy Conceptual Framewor kÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…. 43 4.1 First Day and Mid-semester Evaluation Dr awings Silver and ShoffiÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…. 76 4.2 First Day and Mid-semester Evaluation Dr awings Anna and AliceÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â….. 77 4.3 SilverÂ’s Visual TextÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â… Â…... 82 4.4 ShoffiÂ’s Visual TextÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â… Â…... 87 4.5 AnnaÂ’s Visual TextÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…. .. 93 4.6 AliceÂ’s Visual TextÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â… ... 98 6.1 Spring 2013 of Students One Word Reflect ion for the Overall Class Evaluation Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…......................... .............. 125 6.2 Six Semester of Students One Word Reflec tion for the Overall Class Evaluation.Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…......................... .............. 141


1 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY AND REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE What is necessary to change a person, is to change his awareness of himself. -Abraham Maslow Addiction -ShoffiÂ’s reflection image and word for the product research assignment Introduction Whether we make a coffee in the morning, buy grocer ies, or drive to work, there are points of natural resource consumption in each of t hese practices that tie our private lives to the environment. I flipped on the light switch, purchased fossil fuel power from the local electric company. I took a shower in my Denv er home and bought water that was harvested from a mountain stream near Dillon, Color ado. In driving to work I stopped at the Shell gas station to purchase fuel that is most likely refined from oil purchased from Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. At the grocery store I pu rchased avocados flown in from Chile and crispy red gala apples from New Zealand. Within the practice of everyday life, natural resou rces are consumed in many different ways. Each of these acts of consumption has an eff ect on the amount of resources that are consumed as well as the amount of carbon and waste that is produced. These effects are invisibly bound into our actions and go on and on w ithout notice.


2 Educators in higher learning have an opportunity to create awareness and prepare future politicians, business owners, artists, educa tors, etc., with the knowledge and literacy to design a new paradigm for lifestyles that are co nscious of the invisible world around them. Their students are inevitably also consumer s of the earthÂ’s natural resources. Our individual everyday practices influence the world o utside of our private lives in varying degrees depending on the manner in which we carry o ut our business of consuming. The urgency for a paradigm shift about our environm ental awareness is not new. However, the problem is not just in realizing the c onsequences of our actions, but it also involves a literacy to search for what we often don Â’t see and our agency to change it (Norris, 2005, p. 2). Consumers today are taught t o consume through advertisements and other forms of media. In the modern marketplace th ere is a need to develop skills that help consumers critically, creatively, and personal ly analyze the stories of consumption and effects on the environment that take place behi nd their purchases. I refer to this skill as consumption literacy. This study is about a curriculum that aims to teach students about consumption literacy; to notice their everyday actions, find th e points of natural resource use, and read the invisible stories embedded in their consumption In this dissertation I am the researcher as well as the educator. I am also a st udent, in heart and practice. Teaching others and learning for myself to love and respect the environment with all its bounty has been a life passion since I was a little girl. I b egin with a rare and brief introduction of myself because the framework of this study rests on a philosophy and style for educating, that I have developed, to learn about the environme nt through the everyday consumption of natural resources in our personal lives.


3 Study Purpose and Research Questions There are many ways that one could think about the environment, the natural resources that it provides, and how educators teach about it. In the field there are scholars that refer to environmental education, which is a term that te nds to focus on educating through going out into nature. The focus of this study is qualified as environmental science, or teaching about the environment through science. Th ere is a focus on understanding how the earth and its ecosystems and natural resources in relationship to human processes of production and consumption. I am an environmental science educator and the research contained in this document is an exploration into m y approach for teaching students about their everyday personal interactions with the envir onment. Environmental science is a discipline under the umbrella of STEM (science, tec hnology, engineering, and math). It is important to qualify that this research does not em body the entire STEM umbrella, but is merely a type of science (environmental science) of many that this acronym encompasses. This study is an exploration into the kinds of thin king that result from a general education, post-secondary, environmental science la b course. There are three assumptions that frame this study. The first is that different forms of thinking are employed in a college classroom. The second is the proposition t hat educators influence how students think about the environment through their methods o f teaching. The third is that educating about the environment and natural resource consumpt ion in the 21st century necessitates more personal, critical, and creative ways of think ing, a consumption literacy, to improve current human and environment relationships. The purpose of this study is to report on the ways that students think about the environment and natural resource consumption as out comes of an innovative


4 environmental science pedagogy. This dissertation i s a product of my curiosity as a researcher, my passion as an educator, and my desir e as a citizen to develop literacy about consumption and the effects of our consumer actions on the environment. There are three questions that guide the collection of data, the pr ocess of data analysis, and the presentation of my findings. 1. What do students communicate, through (a) the first day evaluation, (b) the midsemester evaluation, and (c) the digital story refl ection assignments, about their thinking in regards to the environment and natural resource consumption? 2. How are these descriptions of student thinking abou t the environment and natural resource consumption relevant to better understandi ng the process of educating about environmental science? 3. How can these descriptions of student thinking info rm educators on the process of learning about the environment and everyday natural resource consumption in ENVS 1042 lab? Structure of the Dissertation This dissertation includes five chapters along with appendices. Chapter 1 is an introduction to the study, a statement of the probl em, and a review of the literature. Chapter 2 provides a background of the ENVS 1042 cu rriculum development and describes the theoretical orientation of the study. Chapter 3 lays out the methodologies and context for this study. Chapter 4 presents the results and findings of the study. Last, Chapter 5 offers a discussion about the implication s of this research for future practice and research of environmental science in higher educati on.


5 Review of the Literature The Environment, Human Development, and Consumption The most striking feature of household spending in modern America is itsÂ’ sheer volume. The typical middle-to upper-middle class h ousehold occupies more than two thousand square feet of floor space, owns at le ast two cars, a couple of couches, numerous chairs, beds, and tables, a washe r and dryer, more than two televisions, a VCR, and has cable. The kitchen con tains a conventional oven, a microwave, a frost-free refrigerator, a blender, a coffee-maker, a tea kettle, a food processor, and so many pots, pans, dishes, cups and glasses, storage containers, kitchen utensils, and pieces of flatwareÂ…Elsewhere in the house are a computer and printer, telephonesÂ…vases, plates, and statuett es, photographs in frames, and knickknacks. In the bathroom are a hairdryer, a sc ale, perhaps an electric toothbrush or shaver,Â…towels, shampoos, conditioner s, face creams, and other cosmetics. The closets are stuffed with clothes an d shoes of all typesÂ…And donÂ’t forget the jewelryÂ…watches, the diamond ring,Â…bead necklaces, bracelets, and earrings, earrings, earrings (Schor, 1998, p.67). Juliet Schor goes on with this laundry list of thin gs that provide comfort and entertainment in our everyday lives. Her discussion is about the overspending that occurs to have all of these things and the buried debt cycles that Americ ans in many class categories now find themselves. In addition to the heavy burden of fin ancial debt, our desires to have all of this stuff also leads to destructive environmental and social debts with the larger global society. The facts of where we live and how we live impress huge burdens on the health and existence of the natural environment. Those deteri orations of the environment eventually come back to haunt us. This haunting happens throu gh (a) the changing climate induced by our carbon footprints and greenhouse gas emissio ns, (b) the decay of ecosystems, arable land, and food supplies through land fragmen tation from human development (Quammen, 1996; The Worldwatch Institute, 2011), as well as (c) the exhaustion of resources from our overconsumption and the conseque nces of mounting waste (Hawken, 1993; The Worldwatch Institute, 2010). There are u ndeniable limits to human


6 development and consumption. As human populations grow to cover every inch of the globe, we are experiencing the carrying capacity of these limits and finding that the environment is not the unending source of life supp ort and natural bounty originally posited at the turn of the century. Carbon dioxide is emitted into the atmosphere, eith er directly or indirectly, from everyday activities, goods, and services (Weidman a nd Minx, 2008). To put this into perspective, “airline fights account for only 3 per cent of the worldwide carbon dioxide gas emission” (Beavan, 2009, p. 73). Then, looking clo ser in the, “northern hemisphere… a single long-haul round-trip [flight] billows three tons of carbon dioxide…as much as an entire average year of driving” (p. 74). A carbon f ootprint is the personal accumulation of carbon through all of the activities, goods, and se rvices that we each participate in everyday and throughout the year. This carbon, alo ng with other greenhouse gas emissions, creates a blanket around the earth’s atm osphere, trapping heat and causing climates to change. Ecosystem decay is a picture best drawn by David Qu ammen (1996), Let’s start by imagining a fine Persian carpet and a hunting knife. The carpet is twelve by eighteen, say. That gives us 216 square feet of continuous woven material…We set about cutting the carpet into thirt y-six equal pieces, each one a rectangle two by three. Nevermind the hardwood flo or. The severing fibers release small tweaky noises, like the muted yelps o f outraged weavers. Nevermind the weavers. When we’re finished cutting we measure the individual pieces, total them up-and find that, lo, there’s still nearly 216 feet of recognizably carpet stuff. But what does it amount to? Have we got thirty-six nice Persian rugs? No. All we’re left with is thr ee dozen ragged fragments, each one worthless and commencing to come apart (p. 9). The earth’s ecosystems have become fragmented by hu man exploitation in the name of development. Originally we built farms to grow food, now farmland is being replaced by the needs of an ever-growing population through urban sprawl for parking


7 lots, new roads, highways, and malls. In an articl e published by the New York Times Elizabeth Becker (2002) wrote about the results of a study by the American Farmland Trust. The report stated that, in the United State s, two acres of arable farmland are lost with each passing minute (Becker, 2002). The decline in farmland and the change in our clim ates have resulted in an everincreasing decline in food availability. The World watch Institute (2011) cites a statistic from the Food and Agriculture Organizatio n report stating that in our global society, “925 million people are undernourished. Th at is 98 million fewer than in 2009” (p. 3). Additionally, in the summer of 2008, the state [of Wisconsin]-and much of the U.S. Midwest-was deluged with unseasonal downpours, and large tracts of farmland were flooded. The heavy rains and flooding caused $15 billion in damages and left 24 people dead across the Midwest. Wisconsin declared a state of emergency (The Worldwatch Institute, 2011, p. 93). These changes to the environment are producing effe cts on the land and climate that we depend on for growing the food that sustains our lives. Overconsumption (using the environment’s natural re sources such as coal, oil, water, wood, etc. beyond necessity) and the consequential increase in solid waste have become invisibly entangled in the everyday practices of wh at is normal in our lives. We use natural resources when we buy a new cell phone, pur chase paper plates for a party, or get a new pair of jeans at the mall. There are resourc es used to produce these products, and there is waste created when we are done with them. The image in Figure 1 shows the effects of our consumption and waste from just cell phones in Atlanta, Georgia (Frank, 2014). Imagine the amount of cell phones discarded from the entire American populous, from each American city, each calendar year. Then think about the laundry list of


everything that each American uses and discards eve ryday. Americans are consuming natural resources and creating masses of waste at u nprecedented and unmanageable rates. Figure 1.1: Chris Jordan’s Photograph, Cell Phone #2, Atlanta 2005 The 2010 publication of surrounding the current state of Christopher Flavin write s, past halfcentury it has become a powerful driver of the inex orable increase in demand for resources and production of waste that marks our ag e xvii). Think about how many times a day we come across an someth ing that proposes to lifestyle This marketing of our desires, of which we are o ften unaware, is consumerism working at its best (Sandlin and our desire to have and purchase material goods beyond n ecessity. The decisions we make to consume are tied to our pe rsonal identities, meaning, and acceptance of these symbolic consumer representatio ns everything that each American uses and discards eve ryday. Americans are consuming natural resources and creating masses of waste at u nprecedented and unmanageable rates. Figure 1.1: Chris Jordan’s Photograph, Cell Phone #2, Atlanta 2005 of the State of the World is dedicated to the problems the current state of natural resource consumption. In the introduction s, “as consumerism has taken root in culture upon cult ure over the century it has become a powerful driver of the inex orable increase in demand for resources and production of waste that marks our ag e ” ( The Worldwatch Institute, Think about how many times a day we come across an ad luring us to buy ing that proposes to make us feel more satisfied, have beautiful skin, This marketing of our desires, of which we are o ften unaware, is consumerism (Sandlin and Milam, 2008). Consumerism drives our materialism, desire to have and purchase material goods beyond n ecessity. The decisions we make to consume are tied to our pe rsonal identities, meaning, and acceptance of these symbolic consumer representatio ns (Norris, 2005). Jean Baudrillard 8 everything that each American uses and discards eve ryday. Americans are consuming natural resources and creating masses of waste at u nprecedented and unmanageable rates. the problems In the introduction “as consumerism has taken root in culture upon cult ure over the century it has become a powerful driver of the inex orable increase in demand for The Worldwatch Institute, 2010, p ad luring us to buy beautiful skin, or a better This marketing of our desires, of which we are o ften unaware, is consumerism materialism, or The decisions we make to consume are tied to our pe rsonal identities, meaning, and (Norris, 2005). Jean Baudrillard


9 also describes these representations as signs or “e ssential abstract entities in human societies, [that] have become detached from the rea l material world around us” (Bazzul, 2012, p. 1006). The effects of our practices of co nsuming are seemingly invisible from this “real world”, or the environment and the natur al resources that they are derived from. “Consumerism thrives in this world of signs, and it is the job of advertisers to conceal the real connection to (real) things” (Bazzul, 2012, p. 1006). We “are now confronted with evidence that many of the products and activities t hat we have been taught to associate with ‘the good life’ actually undermines our health and the environment from which we survive” (Andrzejewski, Baltodano, and Symcox, 2009 p. 2). There is so much that happens behind the scenes of these everyday practices; they are not mentioned in the advertisements nor are they fo und on the labels of what we buy (Greenwood, 2010). Scholars are looking more close ly at the practices of consumption such as buying a Barbie doll (Steinberg, 2010), a M acDonald’s hamburger (Kincheloe, 2010), or skin care products (Kenway and Bullen, 20 10). These studies question the allegiances toward buying certain products, or alig ning with consumer ideologies, and propose new pedagogy for developing literacy about American consumption to confront this consumerism head-on. The idea of a new pedago gy supposes a creative and critical approach to revisit and re-evaluate how we understa nd our personal practices as well as the often-invisible driving forces and effects of t his practice on the world around us (Sandlin and McLaren, 2010). This new pedagogy is a hope, as Paulo Freire states, that Does not yet liberate the oppressed [consumer]. Bu t the revelation is a step in the right direction. Now the person who has this new u nderstanding can engage in a political struggle for the transformation of the co ncrete conditions in which the


10 oppression [of consumerism] prevails (1998/1994, p. 23). Consumption Literacy Education I believe there is a growing awareness among privi leged consumers, such as myself, of the social and ecological consequences o f consumptionÂ…Those of us who are interested in raising our awareness and mak ing conscious choices are not a monolithic or homogenous group, but a culturally an d economically diverse group of learners. Each of us seeking to learn more, and wanting to act with more complete understandingÂ…we are all somewhere on a co ntinuum between blind ignorance on the one hand, and intimate knowledge o n the other, of what kinds of people and place relationships our consumption supp orts (Greenwood, 2010, p.198). There is emerging evidence of the vast social and e cological costs embedded in our practices of consumption (Sandlin and Milam, 2008). However the resources and the know how to respond to these often invisible conseq uences are not part of what we see when we make decisions to buy or do what is normal in our lives (Greenwood, 2010, p. 195). The subject of the environment and the decon struction of American consumptive practices involve a kind of thinking and questionin g beyond knowing a correct answer. The invisibility of the environmental and social ef fects of our actions requires a development of critical and creative thinking as we ll as skills of questioning about everyday personal habits. Certainly, the intention to move toward developing environmentally literate and responsibly behaved citizens is nothing new. Howev er some researchers believe that a gap remains in our understanding of how to get ther e. In an exploration of environmental education research on the current models for develo ping behaviors Kollmuss and Agyeman (2002) found that most environmental educat ion models assume a linear process of learning. These models propose that teaching en vironmental content leads to proenvironmental attitudes, which then encourage the d evelopment of responsible and active


11 citizens. The researchers conclude that these line ar models of teaching, “might neither be feasible nor useful (p. 256).” They explain the pr oblems of complexity encompassed by a variety of personal aspects that influence behavior such as accessibility, distrust, lack of knowledge, negative or distressed environmental emo tions, locus of control, responsibility and priorities, habits, and personality traits. Additionally, there are larger aspects of social, c ultural, and political factors that also influence the development of behavior changes. Com bine this with the invisibility of natural resources in our actions it seems that educ ating about the environment cannot be based on certain and specific content. Rather, env ironmental science education about natural resource consumption needs pedagogical refo rm that engages students as freethinking, conscious citizens (Correia, Valle, D azzani, and Infante-Malachias, 2010). Educators are faced with a challenge to develop a w ay of questioning and understanding about what we do, why we choose to do it, how it af fects others, and how we can go about our business of consuming differently. Higher learning classrooms are filled with citizen s, either those that are newly independent or those that have engaged in society f or some time. These classrooms are brimming with opportunity to address these 21st century issues of human and environment relationships. Higher learning educators, working to reform pedagogy, have the possibility to contribute to the construction of a knowledgeable and literate society that posses the thinking tools to transform these issues plaguing our global society in a personal way. In developing pedagogy around consump tion literacy, educators have a window of opportunity to empower students to partic ipate in these 21st century issues of social and environmental justice through their ever yday social practice.


12 Educating as a Process of Human Development With every community, every student, every teacher, every classroom, and every school learning has the potential to be present in multiple forms. In the most basic view, maybe one could see educating and learning as two s eparate processes, not mutually exclusive, but rather coexisting in the same educat ional space and time. This study presents a view of educating about the environment that is different from the conventional view of teaching and assessing for specific learnin g outcomes. In this study learning is handled as a unique process of cognitive developmen t that happens within each studentÂ’s life, rather than as a passive linear sequence of e vents. Barbara Rogoff (1990) explains in her book Apprenticeship in Thinking that learning is, Assumed to proceed throughout the life span, with i ndividualsÂ’ ways of thinking reorganizing with successive advances in r eaching and contributing to the understanding, skills, and perspectives of thei r community. Examples of reorganization of thinking in adulthood include man aging new rolesÂ… taking on new intellectual challengesÂ…where transformation in levels of understanding can be seen; and achieving shifts in perspective where whole patterns of relationships fall into place, as in le aps of understanding of social institutions and interpersonal relationships (p.11) A view of learning in this way, sketches a process of coming to understand that happens over time, is situated in the experience of the learner, in their specific sociocultural settings. Lave and Wegner (2000) rela te to this notion of learning by looking at the context of the person, the world, and the re lationship between them, and then contextualizing learning within the activities of s ocial practice. In this study, learning is defined as a lifelong process of cognitive developm ent through experiencing, reorganizing, and rethinking, where the learner att empts to better understand themselves, and the particular sociopolitical worlds in which t hey live.


13 This study is focused on the kinds of student think ing that result from their work investigating and learning about the environment th rough the natural resource consumption in everyday life. The kinds of critica l, creative, and personal thinking (defined in the chapter 2) that students use in the creation of their digital stories provide the basis for analysis. While thinking and learnin g in this study is framed as a lifelong process of developing awareness and understanding o f our sociopolitical worlds, it seems that universities in the United States have traditi onally held a very different view. Educating at the University In the historical account of The American College & University Frederick Rudolph (1990/1962) writes at the turn of the century, While the purposes of the colonial college were not narrow, the charge was sometimes made against them that their curriculum w as stultifying, unimaginative, inadequate to the times-a veritable baggage of subj ects, methods, and attitudes almost certain to keep the student and his world at a standstill. No curriculum, whatever its merits, has been spared comparable com plaints (p.23). At the turn of the century, Thorstein Veblen (1918) a critic of the business and industrial sector influences on higher learning classrooms, wr ote that learning is, “not just training for practical work but for the work of inquiry…univ ersities have been pre-occupied with professional training and useful knowledge: all of which is conceded without argument” (p. 7). Stanley Aronowitz (2000) points out this s ame dilemma, in the present times, where universities are focused on training “a parti cular set of skills” and educating “to prepare the student to take his or her place in soc iety” (p. 1) as opposed to higher order thinking and learning. Through her research on int elligence in higher education, Patricia Albergaria-Almeida (2011) argues that higher order cognitive skills are characterized by


14 critical thinking, questioning, and creativity. Sh e states that these kinds of thinking are directly related to students’ analytical, creative, and practical abilities. While this seems to be the prevailing approach to l earning at the university within the United States, Paul Ramsden (2003) discusses the ho pe of educating beyond instruction where knowledge is viewed “as understanding” (p.6) and learning comes to be about “a qualitative change in a person’s view of reality” ( p.7). He writes about the deficiencies in the current state of inadequate teaching in the uni versity, Perhaps nadir is reached in the vision of an outsta nding scholar, standing before a class of brilliant, hand-picked first year students He or she mumbles lifelessly from a set of well-worn notes while half the class snoozes and the other makes desultory jottings… Everyone longs to get the hour over and get back to something serious… .The greatest fault of this sort of ‘teaching’ is n ot that it is inefficient or ineffective as a way of helping students to learn ( though it is that as well) but that it is a tragic waste of knowledge, experience, yout h, time, and ability (p. 6). In the 21st century, Ramsden writes with hope, that “higher ed ucation has become part of a global shift to a new way of creating and usin g knowledge…focused on solving problems and is sensitive to customer [student] nee ds” (p.1). The Colorado Commission of Higher Education (CCHE) echoes a hopeful view of learning for its’ public university system in their mission, To provide access to high-quality, affordable educa tion for all Colorado residents that is student-centered, quality driven and performance-ba sed [emphasis added]. CCHE’s primary "customers" are Colorado students an d citizens. CCHE is committed to providing the best quality education a t the best price with the best possible service for its customers ( ). While the presence and reality of this shift on the view of educating in university classrooms is debatable, certainly it has endured f or sometime. Some educational researchers and philosophers point to the industrialization of society as the power force in situating learning as an “ind ustrial factory” (Aronowitz, 2000;


15 Correia, Valle, Dazzani, and Infante-Malachias, 201 0). The industrial style of learning has benefits in efficiency for the educator. The “ classrooms are identical, their teachers utilize standard discourse, and the system itself e xpects all students to answer the same questions in the same way” (Correia, et al, p. 678) In these kinds of classrooms educators are not bogged down with the time involved in curri culum transformation. Additionally, student assessment resembles more of a checklist, c rossing out the wrong answer and leaving the correct one to be tallied. However, as Ramsden states in his argument for reforming educational practice, “understand the tru th of the proposition that good teaching, though never easy, always strenuous, and sometimes painful, is nevertheless its own reward” (p. 6). Science Education at the University Juxtaposed to Veblen’s historical account of the co lonial college, in reference to the same time period, Frederick Rudolph (1962/1990) des cribes the emerging academic climate surrounding the inquiry of science at Ameri can universities as, shaped by a tolerance for error, by a preference fo r experiment and a respect for the unknown, by an indifference to tradition and in herited truth, by a need for continuous inquiry and continuous verification. Ac ademic freedom, then, came to rest on the spirit of suspended judgment and changi ng truth that animated the laboratory or the scholar at work (p.412). While this may have been the case at the turn of th e century, a review the literature offers a much different picture in present day university science classrooms. More contentbased, rather than inquiry-based, forms of learning have endured and are dominating these educational spaces (Bazzul, 2012; Bencze and Carter 2011; Dufresne, Gerace, Leonard, Mestre, and Wenk, 1996; Wood, 2009). There may be many reasons why this style of educating is still practiced despite educational re search promoting more open and student


16 centered practices with higher orders of thinking b eyond memorizing content (Wood, 2009). A review of the literature describes a variety of r easons for the endurance of this more conventional, industrial method of teaching. Some state that often science educators are not trained in pedagogical practice and do not rece ive professional development, therefore they continue teaching in the ways that they were t aught as students themselves (Dufresne, et al, 1996; Wood, 2009). Additionally, the transf ormation towards more open and student-centered classrooms is difficult to create and educators may feel concerned about the possibility of failure, especially with the lac k of support (Bencze and Carter, 2011; Dufresne, et al, 1996). In my experience I have se en the top-down pressures for educators to focus on research over pedagogy, as well as feel ing like they need to cover an enormous amount of content and the fear of losing control of these content goals. Whatever the reason, there is a need for educators to develop techniques for encouraging student engagement in open-ended inquir y along with interpretive critical thinking in university science classrooms. I will argue for the specific benefits to developing environmental science university classro oms in this way. The state of the environment and our globalizing world necessitate t his transformation (Bazzul, 2012; Bencze and Carter, 2011). Above all else, it is wh at is better and right for our students and the potential of their learning. William Wood (200 9) lays out seven ways to think about developing science curriculums that have been shown to increase student learning gains: (a) learning must begin with the students prior kno wledge, (b) every student is a unique learner, (c) students should have frequent feedback to assess their learning, (d) students should have the opportunity to reflect on their lea rning, (e) learning should be


17 collaborative, (f) content should stimulating, emot ionally involved, and complex, and (g) students naturally progress on a continuum from nov ice to mastery in their understanding of the sciences (p. 96-97). The curriculum that I developed to teach about environmental science, as explained further in Chapter 2, is an e xample of how to incorporate these seven learning developments into practice. Reform Agendas in Higher Learning Science Classroom s There is concern among academic researchers today, that in the current generation of youth, critical thinking skills and the ability to analyze or extrapolate information across subjects is not being supported in formal learning experiences (Lord, 1999). Evidence from research conducted in a handful of university science classrooms suggests that this conventional, content oriented approach to teaching and assessment may not be advancing student skills to critically interpret course infor mation. Additionally, researchers point out the notion of student enjoyment in the learning pro cess as an element for improvement. In an exploration of four sections of undergraduate environmental science courses for non-majors, Lord compared two methods of teaching: a student-centered constructivist approach and a teacher-centered conventional lectur e approach. All four courses were taught by the researcher and covered the same infor mation, however, in the two conventional style courses the instructor gave out information for the exam through a lecture format, while in the two constructivist sty le courses the information was exchanged through group discussions and interactive conceptual mapping. Student responses on exams were evaluated to determ ine how the control and experimental groups differed in the ways that stude nts perceived course information. Students who were taught content in the constructiv ist, or interactive and collaborative,


18 approach, tended to answer interpretive, analytic, and critical thinking questions correctly over students that learned the same content in conv entional lecture format. Lord notes that students in the constructivist classroom approach d escribed the learning experience as “interesting, …a favorite class, and …made us think ”. While students from the conventional lecture approach, described the class as “hard …and focused on memorization (p. 26).” What counts as learning in the constructivist approach seems to be associated with curiosity, practice in thinking thr ough conversation, and the process of collaboration. While students in the other class s uggest a less enjoyable learning experience of remembering information given to them in the lecture. Educational researchers in civil and environmental engineering echo the need for students to learn through practice and application of inquiry skills such as decisionmaking and problem solving. Steineman (2003), an a ssociate professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology, had students evaluate her interactive course, Sustainable Urban Development, multiple times throughout the semester She then used these evaluations to get an idea of how they perceived their learning ex perience of identifying a problem on campus, developing a sustainable project concept, a nd implementing the plan. Steineman found that students described the learning process as effective, inspiring them to think more broadly, and teaching them how to go after inf ormation on their own. The results from this study suggest that students could benefit from courses that focus on a more interactive and interpretive approach to the proces s of learning. The authors note the challenges of time and energy in transforming pedag ogy from content delivery to focusing more on the creative and interactive processes of l earning.


19 An example of course reform at the University of Sa o Paulo also reveals interesting outcomes for student thinking. Researchers Correia et al. (2010) developed a framework for an entry-level undergraduate Natural Science co urse that focused on science literacy. There were several elements that characterized the curriculum: (a) a holistic understanding of the world, (b) emphasis on preserving and enhanc ing the environment, (c) the awareness of sociopolitical contexts through social and economic disparities, the worsening of poverty, hunger, ill health, illiterac y, the continuing of ecosystem deterioration, and our dependence on the environmen t to live. Students were taught to express their understanding of climate change throu gh collaborative concept maps. The results of the concept maps indicate that stude nts thought about climate change through (in descending order) consumption, public p olicy, degradation, society, and technology. While all students expressed their und erstanding as related to social, political, and economic issues, it interesting that each group came up with a different approach to exploring these issues of climate change. The rese archers conclude by stating that this curriculum “has been shown to promote scientific li teracy and, as a consequence, to nurture a more sophisticated understanding about su stainable development” (p. 685). Education researchers in higher learning advocate f or a shift in the way educators approach learning in undergraduate STEM courses. T hey cite the need “to transcend traditional disciplinary boundaries, increase the p articipation of underrepresented groups, and improve science literacy among non-majors” (Sta ge and Kinzie, 2009, p. 85). In an effort to describe what has worked in the approache s to learning in STEM programs on campuses in the United States, Stage and Kinzie eva luated three programs engaged in


20 curriculum reform of STEM courses at a small, rural Midwestern liberal arts college, a northeastern urban campus, and a northwest transfer university. In their evaluation of these programs through surve ys, interviews, focus groups, and classroom observations they found that there were p redominately six descriptions of the shift in the practice of teaching and learning. Th ese shifts included an increase in peer teaching, increased interaction with faculty, learn ing as a collaborative process, the use of active learning, a focus on authentic contexts and practical knowledge, and an increased emphasis on interdisciplinary connections. The rese archers concluded by addressing concern about balancing the appropriate time for th e process of developing thinking and understanding in new ways. Research in STEM, and specifically science, educati on within higher learning draws a sparsely populated but promising map of undergradua te experiences that give attention to learning as an active, meaningful, and enjoyable pr ocess. Often in higher education it seems that the assessment is tied to measurable out comes of specific content. Whereas the degree of individual growth in human development, w hile inevitably present, seems rarely considered. These studies suggest that current ref orm in university STEM classrooms advocate for reorienting approaches to learning tha t encourage more personally beneficial experiences to the learner. While STEM reform initi atives for changing teaching practice suggest the benefits of more critical and inquiry-b ased human forms of learning there is still need to document more examples of these alter native curriculums. This study contributes to innovative science progra m curricula and provides an example of a curriculum that aims to develop consum ption literacy through engaging students in the natural resource consumption embedd ed in their everyday lives. In chapter


21 2, I describe the consumption literacy curriculum o f ENVS 1042L and use the elements of this curriculum to theoretically and conceptually o rient the study. The results of this study, as described in chapter 4, offer an alternat ive outcome of student thinking as higher order levels of thinking through criticality and cr eativity.


22 CHAPTER II BACKGROUND OF THE CURRICULUM AND THEORETICAL ORIENTATION The educator is of course an artist, but being an a rtist does not mean that he or she can make the profile, can shape the students. What the educator does in teaching is to make it possible for the students to become themselves. Paulo Friere (1990, p. 181) Introduction I teach a lab for a general introduction to environ mental science course (ENVS 1042L) at the University of Colorado at Denver. For the p ast five years, this curriculum has been developed to educate students about the environment through everyday natural resource consumption. The design of this curriculum, founde d in the idea of Paulo Friere (1994), is driven by the possibility that education could infl uence students to feel empowered in their ability to transform society through the criticalit y and creativity of their thinking about everyday actions. In this lab we spend the semester digging and sifti ng through everyday life experience for points of natural resource consumption. Then, students reflect on the practices of natural resource consumption that they find and, as a community, we brainstorm about the consequences of production and waste on other peopl e and places. Essentially, the points of consumption and the stories of possible effects are an infinite source of material for learning about how our lives connect to the environ ment. On the first day of the semester I tell students, a s I will remind them throughout the semester, that there is no correct or incorrect ans wer. Rather there are many ways of thinking and in this class and everyone has a right to share how they see the world that we will be investigating. Learning in ENVS 1042L is p resented as an uncertain inquiry-based


23 personal process. The lab offers class time for st udents to collaborate with their peers and interact with instructors through discussions based of real life contexts (in relationship to the environment and natural resource consumption). The ENVS 1042 lab curriculum is designed to give students the autonomy to search, q uestion, re-evaluate, challenge, and possibly (re)form their individual everyday practic es of consuming in a way that make sense to them. It is important that students are a ble to process, reflect, and share their learning with the instructor as well their peers. The first half of the semester is focused on practi cing observation, inquiry, and conversation about the natural resource consumption embedded in our lives. Students use the Lifebook assignment journal (see Appendix A for samples) to inquire into the everyday consumption of their lives, reflect on wha t they find, and share their conclusions with the class. On the first day and then again ei ght weeks later, students write an evaluation with an included drawing of the environm ent. These drawings provide evidence in regards to the developments in their th inking about the environment after the experience of completing the Lifebook journal. Then, in the second half of the semester they engag e in the development of a digital story to describe their learning through a personal narrative. The digital story, is a two to three minute video that includes (a) a person narra tion, (b) personal, copyright free images, (c) copyright free background music, as wel l as (d) a title and credits. The production process of their digital story is compri sed of a series of reflection assignments that lead students to theorize and the creatively c onstruct their digital story. StudentÂ’s digital stories are the final assessment of their l earning in ENVS 1042L. The lab curriculum is designed to give students the autonom y to search, question, re-evaluate,


24 challenge, and possibly (re) form their individual everyday practices of consuming in a way that make sense to them. The digital story ref lection assignments provide this study with evidence of the kinds of thinking that student s describe as an outcome of their learning. Analysis of the first day evaluation drawings of th e environment set a baseline for how students begin with their conceptualizations of the environment. Then, the analysis of the mid-semester drawings offer evidence for how they c onceptualize the environment after completing the assignments on natural resource cons umption in the Lifebook journal. Finally the analysis of the three digital story ref lection assignments, completed through the process of producing their digital story, offer thi s study evidence for how students describe their interpretation of the environment an d natural resource consumption. Rina Benmayor (2008) describes this process of maki ng a digital story as empowering for students “to find their voice and speak out…[to ] engage in telling stories creatively through multimedia” (pp. 189). In explaining the f ramework of her study, which looks at the creative theorizing of one student’s digital st ory process Benmayor points out that her “syllabus scaffolds the process, providing bridges between creative and intellectual production” (pp. 190). In this study the digital s tory production, as a process, provides a medium for the final reflection of their thinking a nd the basis for this study’s analysis. However, the results of student thinking are also t he outcomes of their semester work deconstructing and making sense of their everyday p ractices of natural resource consumption. I borrow from Benmayor’s position and expand upon i t recognizing the ENVS 1042L syllabus as setting the structure for the course to prompt student thinking as outlined by


25 my expectations. The theoretical orientation of th is study is supported by the structure of the syllabus and encompasses the entire ENVS 1042L curriculum through four main elements that are intentionally constructed to situ ate the process of learning: (a) the humanistic educational practice; (b) the sociopolit ical context; (c) observation, reflection, and analysis (Lifebook journal), (d) further reflec tion and theorizing (the digital story project). In this chapter, I begin with a brief background hi story of the ENVS 1042L curriculum development to show how these four elements came to be. Then, I present the studyÂ’s theoretical orientation through the four elements w hich serve two purposes: (a) to help the reader better understand the prompts that I offer t o initiate student thinking through my educating practice, the modern sociopolitical conte xt, as well as the observation and analysis assignments, and then (b) to orient the di gital story analysis of this study within the prompts and student expectations for theorizing and reflecting through the digital story project. Last, I propose a conceptual framework to visually represent the four elements of the ENVS 1042L curriculum and the personal, creativ e, critical, and action-based thinking that I wish to engage in the development of consump tion literacy. I define consumption literacy as the consumer skill of critical, creativ e, and personal analysis of the stories of consumption and effects on the environment that tak e place behind the purchase of goods and services. Background to the Curriculum The ENVS 1042 lecture and lab course was conceived, and is currently housed within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in the Geo graphy and Environmental Science Department. This course was originally created in 1994 as a general education course to


26 address the core concepts of natural resource consu mption with an interdisciplinary approach to the physical sciences. In its first in ception, the ENVS 1042 three-credit hour course and one-credit hour lab was intended for fre shman students majoring in science (Wyckoff, J., personal communication, May 10, 2010). At the time of my teaching assistant appointment, ENVS 1042 had become a gener al education science course and lab that enrolled students from diverse academic intere sts (such as education, political science, business, etc.). On the first day that I taught ENVS 1042L, I handed out a lab activity report and, in a lecture format, I gave students a brief summary of the scientific method. After instructing them on how to conduct the lab activity, I walked a round the classroom as they dropped chemicals into plastic trays and wrote their observ ations on the lab report. Forty-five minutes later, they completed and handed in their r eports then quietly walked out the door. At the end of the day, I wondered what I had taught them beyond the correct answers on those lab reports. The labs that I conducted that first semester were the remnants of the 1994 curriculum originally designed to educate futu re science majors on the strict procedural and methodological structure of scientif ic experimentation (Steiner, 2010; Wyckoff, J., personal communication, May 10, 2010). The intention for developing this curriculum came to focus on creating labs that bett er served the interests of the current student base of non-science majors, who might never take another science course (Steiner, 2010, p 18). Context of the Content The first phase of curriculum development began in the spring of 2009 when a colleague, Erin Steiner, and I began sifting throug h the 10 lab activities and eliminating


27 the ones that students expressed dislike. Our goal was to update these activities so that they would be more relevant and interesting within the context of studentÂ’s lives. Examples of the original and updated labs are descr ibed in Table 1 (as adapted from Steiner, 2010, p. 21).


28 Table 2.1: Lab Activity Descriptions. Original Lab Replacement Lab Description The Scientific Lab – This lab focused on how the scientific method works by requiring the students to develop a hypothesis about the color change that will happen when they mix the prompted chemicals. Carrying CapacityThis lab focuses on the current data about water resources, human population, global epidemics, global land erosion, and global grain supplies. The original lab only focused on the scientific method and not the connections to why this process is important to science. The replaced lab uses current data and makes students explore population dynamics and how different environmental issues affect them. Students are also required to complete an online Eco footprint that prompts them to answer questions about personal consumption. Electromagnetic RadiationThis lab looked at different wavelengths of light that originate from the sun. Students were asked to look at different types of light and draw what colors of the rainbow were seen in the spectrometer. Climate ChangeThis became a debate day where students researched a particular debate stance on the issues surrounding climate change. Students democratically pick questions to guide the debate; they do research on their own, and come prepared to engage in conversational debate. Electromagnetic radiation is an important topic that could relate back to climate change, but in the original lab there were none of these connections made for the students. The new lab is an interactive engagement where students share their knowledge and articulate a position about climate change in an alternative form.


29 Erin Steiner (2010) completed a master’s thesis aro und her research on our initial work updating the curriculum. Her work was an inquiry i nto student growth in environmental literacy through surveys and interviews. Environme ntal literacy is defined as having environmental knowledge (content knowledge) and env ironmental consciousness (being informed about our decisions regarding resource use ) (p. 1). Steiner’s research showed that students responded positively to the new topic s and that the experience of learning influenced positive trends in environmental literac y (p. 60). However she recommends that future research look at the influence of the E NVS 1042L curriculum on student actions that result from these gains in environment al literacy. The Practice of Educating After the initial content modification to include c urrent and real-life current topics such as carrying capacity, climate change, and wast e production, there was still more work to do. The next step in my development of the curr iculum was to work on the liberation of student thinking to encompass many ways of seeing, not just my own. My intention was to inspire students to think about the environment in a meaningful way. In an article dedicated to furthering the philosophy of humanisti c science education, Santos (2009) writes, “the challenge of humanistic education is n ot to give the answer, but to prepare students to reflect and select their own destiny” ( p.7). The majority of lab time was still spent completing short lab report activities with n o homework assignments and not enough time for class discussions to offer students ample space to exchange and process their own opinions. In the fall semester of 2009, a student introduced himself to the class and said, ‘I am only here because it is required (general science c redit), and I actually don’t care at all


30 about the environment.Â’ As the semester progressed I found myself dancing delicately with his opposing views in the class conversations. For example, I felt that I was arguing with this student to believe me that there is a pro blem out there with a changing climate, that it is related to how we are using the environm ent, and we need to change our ways of living. I realized that I still held a bias to per suade student thinking in an unproductive way. Something was uncomfortable with those conversation s, but I couldnÂ’t see where I aggravated the discussion to make this situation un easy. I thought that I was being very open and unbiased in my attempts to persuade him. I n a review of environmental education research Rickenson (2001) found that this inclination to change student attitudes and behaviors is quite common among environmental e ducators. Rickenson describes this as the overriding goal for most environmental progr ams and evaluation (p. 221). I realized that there is inherent bias, as well as po tential for inhibition or resistance, in teaching debatable issues as fact, such as climate change. Small amounts of time were set aside for some mini lectures on the weekly topic. However, the majority of class time came to revolve around class discussions that allowed students to speak freely about their ideas, reflect ions, and observations from their lives and course material. I made a commitment to let go of the expectation that I needed to change someoneÂ’s mind. Instead I tried to lead students t o their own conclusions. I experienced my own growth of seeing beyond my personal intentio ns to educate students to have specific ideas about the environment in hopes of ch anging their actions. Instead I tried to embody the educator that guides others to see in th eir personal and authentic way.


31 Coursework In the last phase of curriculum development I intro duced coursework that was more personal and intuitive for students to develop inqu iries and reflective analysis about the environment through consumption. I stepped away fr om teaching environmental issues and instead began to educate about the environment through the context of natural resource consumption within the practice of everyda y life. There were two improvements made during this last phase of curriculum developme nt: (a) the Lifebook journal and (b) the digital story project. The Lifebook journal reorganized the structure of t he class where students began completing assignments about their lives at home as the “lab activity” and then class time was mainly used for reflective discussion. Collect ively, these take home assignments eventually evolved into the Lifebook journal (see A ppendix A), which will be described in further detail within my discussion on the theoreti cal orientation. These assignments required students to observe their lives, reflect o n their observations, and analyze the natural resource consumption that they found embedd ed in their everyday life. So, for example, the climate change lab was replaced with a n assignment on documenting the energy consumed in the food that students eat over the course of three days. Then the issues of greenhouse gases emitted, as a product of their diets, naturally became part of the class discussion. The other major change that I made was to the final student project. Initially students had to prepare a final group power point presentati on. This evolved into the digital story project, which emphasized personal story sharing ab out their learning, as well as creative theorizing in regards to consumption in their lives Eliminating the group element of their


32 final project encouraged students to develop their own opinions about natural resource consumption as opposed to a more neutral presentati on on a predetermined topic. Additionally, this project became a course tool for facilitating students to share their voices through discussion in story sharing circles, aiding them in the development of their narratives. In this lab it is my intention to value each studen t as a unique person with his or her own opinions and milestones of learning. I cannot extinguish my passions about the environment or my desire to persuade students to de velop concerns about their actions and the environment. Through this curriculum I lead th em to re-evaluate their perspectives whatever they may be, look closely at their actions as a result of the research and realities within their lives, and then find their own sources of concern or desires for change. This new pedagogy took chains off of my student-teacher relationships. I no longer had to struggle holding on to a false sense of my ability to control the outcomes of their thinking. In this study, I hope to uncover the ways that stud ents think about the environment through natural resource consumption after a semest er of a more liberated process for educating. Theoretical Orientation: The Consumption Literacy C urriculum The ENVS1042L curriculum is designed to lead studen ts to observe, reflect, analyze, and theorize their thinking about the natural resou rce consumption within their everyday lives. The curriculum is guided by the ideas of Pa ulo Friere (1994), to facilitate students to question their everyday activities as consumers and citizens that have a role in humanely transforming our modern society. The cour se description on the syllabus presents this intention to students,


33 This lab course is designed as a creative workshop with an exploratory initiative to develop scholarship and visual-based representation s of consumption, social and environmental justice, and individual student voice s of these everyday matters. Students will examine topics of natural resource co nsumption through life investigations and lab discussions about food, wate r, energy, and urbanization. Through a storytelling approach, participants in EN VS 1042 lab will learn ethnographic strategies to identify and analyze lif e experiences of individuals and consumption cultures at local and global levels. W e will examine topics that cover land ethics, food and water security, energy improv ements, and the influence of cultures of consumption on identity. On the first day of class, students are introduced to the ENVS 1042L experience with a discussion about my expectations, as represented on the syllabus, and my philosophy of educating through everyday modern sociopolitical co ntexts. The theoretical orientation of this study, as described in this section, is laid o ut through the following four curriculum elements, in this particular order: (a) the humanis tic educational practice, (b) the sociopolitical context, (c) the Lifebook journal, a nd (d) the digital story project. The syllabus is a blueprint for the structure of these curriculum elements. It lays out the general nature of the course, the grading system, t he objectives, as well as the expectations and prompts that I offer students (see Appendix C). The Educational Practice My style for educating is driven by the idea that l earning about the environment could be liberated from persuasion and laying the heavy b urden on students to fix large-scale environmental issues on students. Instead, I try t o educate students about the environment through the possibility of literacy and modificatio n in their everyday practices of natural resource consumption. On the syllabus students are given four objectives for learning in this course: (a) to review the basics of natural re source availability, current topics in environmental and social justice that may improve u nderstandings of cultures of


34 consumption, (b) to enlist imagination, creativity, and open minds in the work of monitoring, analyzing, evaluating, and articulating everyday natural resource consumption practices, (c) to improve student skills for identi fying stories of consumption embedded within their everyday lives, and (d) to improve stu dent skills to identify, create, evaluate, and share influential narratives of consumption and everyday urban behavior. There are no tests or quizzes, but the assessment i s concerned with the quality of student thinking through reflection. Student refle ction is an important piece of the curriculum that happens through weekly photo submis sions and writing assignments, sharing of ideas through discussion, and the digita l story project. It is my intention on the syllabus to highlight the importance of discussion during class for students to exchange and share their ideas. Students are given 40 point s out of 300 for participation, or 13% of their total grade, in these discussions. Participa tion is described on the syllabus as the following, Students are expected to consistently and thoughtfu lly participate in class discussions on readings, assignments, activities, a nd multimedia presentations. Credit for participation requires that you come to class prepared to discuss and engage with assigned readings and course conversati ons. Students who are present but do not contribute their voices with influence t o class discussion are considered absent. There are two rules of engagement for class discuss ions within this lab: (a) there is no right or wrong answer and (b) there are many differ ent ways of thinking about the issues and ideas that we will be discussing. Initially th ese measures, participation points and established rules of engagement, were taken because students were not engaging in class discussions. Early on in the curriculum developmen t I incorporated the participation points into their grade. While I noticed a slight increase in participation, it was evident to me that students still seemed inhibited to speak th eir thoughts. I noticed that once I started


35 clearly addressing the validity value of their auth entic thoughts, through constantly reiterating the rules of engagement, students began to speak more openly about their findings from the Lifebook journal assignments (as discussed in The Lifebook Journal section). Sociopolitical Context The entire lab curriculum is based on the idea that in modern day society natural resource use is entangled with most, if not every, social practice. However, in many cases, the effects of our consumption are invisible layers of the costs embedded in production processes and waste. Weekly lab topics, listed in Table 2.2, are intended to cover a range of ideas about consumption that illum inate the invisibility and effects of natural resource consumption in our everyday practi ce. Table 2.2: Consumption Literacy Curriculum Weekly Topic List For example, on the first day, I introduce the kind of thinking that I wish for students to practice through the topic, thinking scientifica lly (in lieu of the scientific method activity). This way of thinking takes an action, s uch as purchasing a coffee, and works backwards to look more closely at the production pr ocess involved in creating the cup of Week Topic 1 Scientific Thinking 2 Carrying Capacity 3 Natural Resource Consumption 4 Finding Water 5 Food Systems 6 Cultures of Consumption 7 Toxic Systems and Risk Assessment 8 Spring Break 9 Energy Systems and Needs 10 Sustainable Urbanization 11 Sustainable Campus


36 coffee. The following is an excerpt from the field notes (written from an audio recording of each class and described in more detail within t he methods section) during this conversation in class (see Appendix B for the entir e fieldnote), Thinking scientifically, exploring, analyzing, obse rving, asking questions-that’s the frame that I want you to see the world this sem ester. With that in mind lets talk about consumption as I want you to see this through brainstorming what it takes to get a cup coffee from Starbucks downstairs. What do you think it takes to get a cup of coffee?’ Jack speaks up and says, the coffe e had to be grown.’ Hadi says that ‘it had to be shipped.’ I say, ‘ok good, now lets go back to growing-how was the coffee grown?’ Jack answers, ‘Trees, water.’ I describe the different processes of shade grown and fair trade and am amazed that no one knows what those words mean. I describe the process of fair trade and how typically a coffee farmer may get 10 cents a pound while it is sold for $10-14 a pound on our grocery shelves in the US. Someone whispers, ‘wow’. ‘Ok so then what ,’ I ask. Students volunteer some suggestions, about the production processes th at it has to be harvested, roasted, grinded, packed and then the whole process of selling it. [These are the more obvious pieces to the production process, I wa nt them to start thinking about what else has to happen, the infinite list of ‘what else’s that have to happen in order for us to purchase a warm cup of coffee.] I add, ‘but its not sold right from the distributer, now it has to go sit on a shelf so mewhere, in a building that has to be maintained and needs employees. Then there is t he cup, where does that come from?’ We have a conversation about the logging an d paper making process, the glue, and the printing. I say, ‘this is what I wan t you to think about-what it took to get your product made. These topics are starting points to begin the pract ice of thinking about the sociopolitical context of human and environment rel ationships. For each of the weekly topics, I demonstrate to students how to practice t his kind of thinking as it applies to water, food, energy, and urbanization. Then toward s the end of the semester we apply our new thinking to the development of sustainable solu tions for everyday urban life. The Lifebook Journal The Lifebook is a reflective journal that I printed hand-bound, and gave to students on the first day of class. The description of the Lif ebook journal on the syllabus is as follows, Throughout the semester students will be monitoring their life practices as they relate to course concepts. The journal will be a collection of thoughts through


37 visually based representations such as drawings, co llage, images as well as through reflections and raw data texts of life practice. Pl ease bring journals with you to each class meeting with the weekly assignment compl eted. LATE JOURNAL ASSIGNMENTS WILL NOT BE GRADED. Think of this as t he space to keep a record of your thinking during the semester. There are a total of 7 assignments that will collectively constitute your journal. You will also be graded on the quality of your thought in the academic and insightful thin king that you employ in your journaling. These weekly assignments follow the topics listed i n Table 2 and are meant to practice the everyday consumption of products, food, oil, wa ter, and accumulations of waste in a personal context. The seven Lifebook assignments s upport student thinking for the first half of the semester while they are practicing thei r consumption inquiry skills. The following is an excerpt from the assignment that st udents are given to explore the idea of carrying capacity as it relates to a product that t hey consume in their life, One way to explore carrying capacity in your indivi dual life is to look at the products that you purchase or use regularly (at lea st on a weekly basis). Find out what company makes the product that you choose. Wha t natural resources that are used to make your product? Who does this company e mploy and what kind of labor practices are they known for? Brainstorm and record the stories of consumption that you find. Imagine drawing that 150-square mile perimeter arou nd your home, would you still be able to enjoy your product? What would ha ve to change for your product to be produced within the 150 square mile boundary? How big would your boundary need to be to continue consuming your prod uct? Describe what you learned through your research. Summarize your thou ghts into one word and write it really big at the end of your entry. Each reflection assignment is the material that is used to introduce the weekly meeting with a round table, whole class, discussion about s tudentsÂ’ thoughts and reflections. They share their complimenting photo submission and a on e-word summary from their reflection assignment. The Lifebook assignments ar e written to dovetail into the next weekÂ’s discussion, providing material for students to share about their lives in context of


38 the content topic at hand. Embedded in this proces s is a practice of zooming in to the particulars of everyday practice and of zooming out to the larger global experience of producing and consuming resources. Essentially the Lifebook journal is a curricular medium to engage students in a semester process of recording, reflecting, assembling and reassembling information. The Digital Story This narrative project of creating digital stories complements the consumption literacy curriculum for a number of reasons. Digital stories provide a space for learners to craft their personal stories and express their own unders tanding of the course material (Gubrium and Harper, 2013, p. 149). Crafting and s haring stories about learning in the context of developing consumption literacy allows s tudents to make sense of the world through their personal experience and learn from th e experience of others (Hart, 2002). Rina Benmayor (2008) describes the use of digital s torytelling as a process of student authoring that helps them to visualize, “how theory emerges from personal experience and how theorizing is both intellectual and creative (p 200).” Marty Otanez incorporates digital storytelling into his anthropology courses at the University of Colorado at Denver. He points out that this pedagogical tool is a colla borative process that functions to demonstrate media literacy and the knowledge that h is students have about the anthropological content related to the course (Gubr ium and Harper, 2013, p. 150). In ENVS 1042 lab, I use the digital story project f or students to reflect on what they have learned about natural resource consumption in their own lives. The point to the digital story in ENVS 1042 is to encourage students after a semester of investigating natural resource consumption in the classroom and t heir social practice, to consider their


39 own process of thinking and understanding about the environment and consumption. In creating a digital story students summarize their s emester learning and tell a story that represents their current thinking in regards to wha t they know about natural resource consumption and the environment. Students are encouraged to look back through to the beginning of the semester to resurface ideas and conceptions in the process of c reating a story to describe their learning experience. The making of the story asks them to r eflectively sift through previous thinking in addition to considering other experienc es and discussions that would help them to evaluate their perceptions of the environment. Students begin to share their ideas about consumption through the story circle workshops in t he middle of the semester to help with their script development. The tables and chairs are rearranged so that everyone is sitting in a great big circle facing each other while they sha re and draft their stories with their peers and myself. This story sharing helps students to r eceive ideas for development and have the opportunity to learn perspectives from the othe r student’s stories in the class. Students begin work on their digital story project during the second half of the semester. As the semester progresses students begi n to move from the Lifebook assignments about natural resource consumption to t he task of producing their digital story. This project is worth 150 points, which is h alf of their grade. The syllabus describes this project as the following, Each student will produce a creative project focuse d on a personal encounter you had with consumption in your everyday life. The pro ject directly meets the course objective “To improve students’ skills for identify ing, creating, evaluating and disseminating narratives of consumption.” The proje ct format is a first-person visual representation (e.g. digital story) between 2-3 minutes in length that draws upon key themes in the course and presents critical self-reflection on one’s experience with consumption culture. Projects will be uploaded on the course YouTube channel and publicly screened at an onOR off-campus venue before the


40 end of the semester. The assignment is comprised of 10 activities and each activity is worth 15 points. The 10 activities are nested assignments designed t o help students to write a personal narrative, relate their own lived experiences to co urse readings, and produce a 2-3 minute narrated creative video of their thinking about a p ersonal experience. Table 2.3 is a breakdown of the nested assignments for this projec t in order of due date. Table 2.3: Nested Digital Story Assignments. Assignment Points 1 Intent Letter 15 2 Story Sharing 15 3 Story Script 15 4 First Draft 15 5 Annotated Bibliography 15 6 Audience Analysis 15 7 Companion Viewing Guide 15 8 Public Screening 15 9 Critical Review 15 10 Final Submission 15 The three assignments that are used in the analysis of this study are the intent letter, the annotated bibliography, and the companion-viewi ng guide. There are two pieces to the digital story project. The first is the proces s of digital storytelling where students work on authoring their own stories, and as Benmayor poi nts out, students, to varying degrees, theorize their experience. Then the second piece i s the product of the digital story itself that is shared through a final screening with their classmates. This study is concerned with understanding the student thinking as theorizi ng and therefore uses the components of the process to search for the ideas that student s theorize about consumption in their everyday lives. The intent letter is described in the syllabus as, A letter of intent, also referred to as a draft pro posal, outline or prospectus, is at least two full pages at a 12-point font, double-spa ced, and due at the beginning of


41 class on March 7th. The letter includes PRELIMINARY and EXPLORATORY details on project title, statement of purpose (e.g research question, problem statement, theoretical innovation), project format, course material (e.g. 2 or more DIFFERENT readings from the course that influence y our thinking about the project) that students cite and engage in the narra tive process, methodologies, media (e.g. images, background music), shot list (d escription of each photo, video except and audio track students plan to integrate i n projects, HOW and WHEN shots will be obtained), supplies and equipment nee ds, and intended audience (e.g. you, instructor, decision-maker, someone else). The letter of intent is NOT contractually binding. It is a set of initial thoug hts regarding your plan of action for your creative project. The annotated bibliography is described as, The purpose of this component of the assignment is to provide each student with new knowledge of key issues relevant to environment al science and consumption as self-reflection on one’s own views of justice-re lated issues (globally or locally) that may be used in the script development stage of the creative project. Facilitated by the journal prompts students will spend at least 10 hours [through the Lifebook] of fieldwork looking at the nitty gritty details of consumption in their own personal life. Students will find at least two peer reviewed artic les documentary style films, or other scholarly text that supports their fieldwo rk findings. For each of the readings and resources students will create an anno tation (at least 100 words each annotation) and submit an annotated bibliography wi th two or more annotations that demonstrate explicit connections of the studen t’s creative project to material assigned in the course. The companion-viewing guide is described as, A one-page, two-sided, companion-viewing guide for creative projects is due at the beginning of class on May 7. Students may consider some or all of the following as elements to include in viewing guides: one sente nce description of creative project, a short paragraph summary, three or more b ullet points that elaborate a student’s theoretical, conceptual, methodological f ramework at the basis of the creative project, discussion questions, key terms, ‘actions you can take,’ images with captions, future directions, and citations (re quired). The Lifebook journal assignments guide students th rough the process of collecting information about natural resource consumption in t heir everyday lives, reflect and analyze on what they find and then share their find ings with the class through discussion. The digital project takes students to revisit what had occurred to them through the process


42 of completing the Lifebook journal and their class conversations, reflect, and re-evaluate their findings through producing a digital story. The reflection assignments nested in the digital story project are intended to further usher students to creatively theorize about their experience of natural resource consumption in their everyday lives. Conceptual Framework The conceptual framework, see Figure 2.1, for cons umption literacy is a visualization of the consumption literacy curriculum as shown thr ough the symbol of a wheel. There is a black ring that represents the outer structure of the wheel, the syllabus. The four quadrants represent the four elements of the curric ulum: (a) the humanistic educational practice, (b) the sociopolitical context of the dis cussions, assignments, and course materials, (c) the practice of observation, reflect ion, and analysis within the Lifebook assignments, and (d) the further reflection and cre ative theorizing encouraged through the digital story assignment. Each of these elements h olds equal weight in maintaining the internal structure of the wheel.


43 Figure 2.1: Consumption Literacy Conceptual Framew ork Consumption Literacy The Humanistic Educational Practice Observation, Reflection, and Analysis: The Lifebook Further Reflection, Creative Theorizing: The Digital Story Project The Sociopolitical Context


44 The three white rings that pass through each of th e four elements are the kinds of thinking about consumption that each of these eleme nts attempts to encourage: (a) critical, (b) creative, and (c) personal. Critical thinking as considered by bell hooks, in relationship to practical wisdom is, The insistence on the interdependent nature of theo ry and fact coupled with the awareness that knowledge cannot be separated from e xperience. And ultimately there is always the awareness that knowledge rooted in experience shapes what we value and as a consequence how we know what we know as well as how we use what we know (hooks, 2010, p. 185). Using this description, critical thinking, as defin ed in this study, refers to student thinking that involves questioning into the experience of li fe practice in the pursuit of better understanding, and possibly reforming everyday acti ons. In an essay on the history, etymology, and meaning of creative thinking, Bacanli et al (2011) define this kind of thinking as, “problem so lving from a different sense. Because there is a problem and the problem cannot be solved by conventional means. Its solution requires creating new ways, or divergent thinking a nd side thinking (p 539).” For the purpose of this study I rely on the following defin ition of creative thinking, thinking that involves problem solving through forms of inquiry t hat demonstrate originality of thought. Last, personal thinking is defined as thinking abou t the course material in context of the self. Then in the center of the Consumption Literacy Fra mework is a thumbprint representing the unique nature that consumption lit eracy takes on within each students learning. Consumption literacy is the bull’s eye t arget and center of the wheel, also representing the goal of student outcome for the co nsumption literacy curriculum.


45 The methods and methodology that inform this study on student thinking about consumption literacy are described in chapter 3.


46 CHAPTER III METHODS AND PROCEDURES ‘ The way I think about all of this is that it is nev er-ending. It is so hard for us to know everything about what we do, let alone find everyth ing out about what we do. Every time I look I keep finding that there is more.’ -ENVS 1042L Student Quote (class conversation on fo od systems; FN 5, ln 34-37) Introduction Framed as an exploration into student thinking, thi s research is embedded in the student experience in a lab as part of a general ed ucation environmental science course. The methods and analysis of this research construct the stories of learning as described by four individuals enrolled in my 2013-spring section of ENVS 1042 lab course on Thursday afternoons. The use of student’s qualitat ive descriptions of learning is intended to better understand student thinking about the env ironment and consumption as a result of the learning process over the course of this one se mester. A series of classroom discussions, homework assignm ents, and a final digital story project are designed to promote consumption literac y through thinking critically and creatively in a personal context. The style of ped agogy, sociopolitical context of the content, and course assignments are the primary ele ments of the curriculum, as described in chapter 2. The final project, the production of a personal digital story, is used as a medium to encourage further reflection and creative theorizing (Benmayor, 2008) about student’s self-literacy in regards to the personal experience learning about natural resource consumption. The research in this work is founded in my desire t o know what students learn from the consumption literacy curriculum and thinking ab out the environment in a personal


47 way. The questions that guide this research are int ended to help better understand the kinds of thinking that students develop as a result of this curriculum. 1. What do students communicate through the first day evaluation, the mid-semester evaluation, and the digital story reflection assign ments about their thinking in regards to the environment and natural resource con sumption? 2. How are these descriptions of student thinking abou t the environment and natural resource consumption relevant? 3. How can these descriptions of student thinking info rm educators on the process of learning about natural resource consumption in ENVS 1042 lab? This chapter provides a detailed description of thi s research through a discussion of: (a) what, why, and how the methodologies are employ ed to gain an authentic understanding of student thinking, (b) the Spring 2 013 section 4 of ENVS1042L and student context that form the learning experience, in addition to (c) the process of case study participant selection, information collection and data analysis. Methodology Drawing from three qualitative methodologies, this research is organically rooted in the words that students describe as their thinking in ENVS 1042L. A case study design is the general organization of this work aimed at unde rstanding student thinking from four participant perspectives. The ethnographic dimensio n of this research guides the collection of data from course artifacts (e.g. student work an d evaluations). The base of data collected for analysis are the (a) first day and mi d-semester evaluations and (b) the reflection assignments from the digital story proce ss of production. This data is used to


48 make claims and generate themes about student learn ing. The analysis borrows from a grounded theory approach of constant comparison to stay close to studentsÂ’ original words throughout the process of data analysis. The work in this dissertation is an evaluation, from a student perspective, of a curriculum designe d to help student focus on their own learning about natural resource consumption and the environment. These methodologies each have a necessary function to better understand student voices about the ENVS 1042L learning experience. Case Study Methodology A case study methodology is used to organize this s tudy through the exploratory nature of the questions and the contemporary real-l ife context (Yin, 2009). The case study design is a detailed and descriptive analysis of fo ur individual cases of student thinking. Each case study is a unit of analysis, which offers a particular learning experience that occurred during my spring section of ENVS 1042L. Rather than looking for specific outcomes learning (e.g. content knowledge), this research is interested in student thinking that dev eloped as a result of the learning experience over the semester. Traditionally a view of learners as active and engaged participants in the learning process has been large ly neglected in the research and practice of teaching about the environment (Payne, 1998 and Rickenson, 1999; as cited in Rickenson, 2001). Rather, scholars have focused on the effect of educational treatments with environmental learning on certain desired know ledge, attitude, and behavior changes (Rickenson, 2001). The bedrock of this research are the descriptions t hat students produce as active learners participating in the learning process of E NVS 1042L. These questions are


49 important to explore so educators and researchers c an appreciate students as active agents of their learning rather than the common view of st udents as passive subjects of our teaching. Students are consumers and citizens in t heir lives so it is important to prepare them for making decisions in a world that is charac terized by the oppressive and invisible consequences of globalization and access to technol ogy (Santos, 2009). This research demonstrates strengths associated wit h the case study methodology by virtue of the exploration into the authentic studen t voices about their thinking. The qualitative method of evaluating student work on th eir digital stories, as employed in this study, is a valuable angle for better understanding student thinking as products of their learning. Student reflections inform the research questions about learning and curriculum improvement as opposed to quantitative surveys of l earning assessment from tests. It is important to highlight that the intention is not to highlight these case studies as generalizable to all environmental science programs in higher learning. Rather the purpose is to produce detailed descriptions of stud ent thinking that occurred as a result of the process of learning in ENVS 1042L. The questio ns, context, and disposition of this case study aim to contribute to the body of environ mental science education research, within STEM higher learning programs, by demonstrat ing forms of teaching and learning beyond content recitation. The goal of this study i s to represent outcomes of learning that are possible from a pedagogy that focuses on libera ting student academic work through developing personal, critical, and creative forms o f thinking.


50 Ethnographic Methodology Ethnographic methodology is a reflexive search for understanding evolving questions about human daily life. In attempting to capture t he nature of some particular social phenomena (Denzin & Lincoln, 1994, p. 248), ethnogr aphic research, Involves the application of the full range of metho ds available to any researcher in a way that is obvious to common sense, is close to the way we all make sense of the world around us in our daily lives, and yet can be scientifically rigorous and systematic at the same time (OÂ’Reilly, 2005, p. 1). Within an ethnographic methodology the methods are focused on gathering descriptions from a variety of artifacts and partic ipant observation field notes (Creswell, 1998, p. 183). Ethnographers rely on employing a f amily of methods to collect information and reflexively sift and organize the d ata that they then evolve into meaning as categories emerge organically to tell the resear ch story (OÂ’Reilly, 2005, p. 176). This research employs an ethnographic approach to the co llection and organization of data through participant observation, field notes, and u tilizing artifacts from the course (student work) as methods to produce a description of the EN VS 1042L experience. These methods inform the research questions which focus o n the lived experiences of students within the course. The various artifacts that make up data collection are: (a) first day and mid-semester evaluations and (b) digital story prod uction associated assignments. The concern of this research is with data that desc ribes thinking as students work through the process of producing their digital stor y. The primary information is sourced from the three assignments that are nested within t he digital story project. These three assignments (as described in chapter 2) are (a) the intent letter, (b) the companion-viewing guide, and (c) the annotated bibliography. The rem aining artifacts, the first day and mid-


51 semester evaluations, are used secondarily, after d ata analysis, during the writing process to support and add context to the learning stories that emerge (Creswell, 1998). Grounded Theory Analysis A grounded theory methodology, as employed in this work, sets up the structure for analysis. Glaser and Strauss (2012) describe an app roach to grounded theory called constant comparison where theory is constructed thr ough analysis by comparing and rechecking the data. It involves assigning descrip tive codes to the text of research artifacts, also called open coding. Then the next step of axial coding is a search through the codes for salient categories based on combining common ideas. The last phase in the constant comparison approach, selective coding, is where categories are selected and organized to present a story or theory from the ana lysis. The purpose of using a grounded theory analysis wit h this work is to reflexively develop a theory, as it grows out of the analysis, about student thinking as a result of the learning process in ENVS 1042L. This research begi ns with a goal of qualitatively understanding student thinking in ENVS 1042L in reg ards to developing theory around the process of teaching and learning within STEM hi gher learning. Specifically I am interested in theorizing about how students perceiv e their own learning about the environment, through everyday consumption, as a res ult of their work on the Lifebook assignments and then producing a digital story. Th e theory that grew from this research about student learning is described in Chapter 5. Methods The methods employed for this research are chosen f or their potential to shed light on the kinds of thinking that students described in my spring 2013 section of ENVS 1042L.


52 This section discusses the ENVS 1042L site context, student context, and participantobserver context to paint the backdrop of this stud y for the reader. In addition the course artifacts collected for the study data and how they are used is described in detail. The last sections include details about the case study parti cipant selection process, and the data analysis procedures that are used to highlight stud ent thinking in the spring 2013 semester of ENVS 1042L. Site Context ENVS 1042L Context The ENVS 1042 course is a four-credit hour undergra duate course at the University of Colorado at Denver offered through the College of L iberal Arts and Sciences Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences. The cours e has a three credit-hour lecture component and a one credit-hour lab component. Duri ng the fall of 2008, my first semester as a teaching assistant (TA), ENVS 1042 wa s enrolling close to 120 students in the lecture course. During the spring 2013 semeste r (January-May) there were two sections 100 students in each lecture course. This course runs for sixteen weeks from the end of January through the middle of May. Each lab section typically enrolls up to 25 student s each; in spring 2013 there were seven lab sections. New TAÂ’s typically teach one s ection but may teach two sections, as they get experienced. In the spring of 2013 there were five TAÂ’s teaching the lab sections. Even with a general course outline, TAÂ’s are able t o make changes to the lab curriculum in order to emphasize their area of expertise and pers onal interests. For example, my particular interest in the environmental and human effects of everyday natural resource consumption led to this particular version of the l ab. In other words, no two lab sections


53 are the same (both within and across years). Stude nts enrolled in ENVS 1042 come from many different academic disciplines (e.g. anthropol ogy, education, business, etc.) to satisfy one of their required four-credit hour gene ral education science courses. Student Context. This particular 2013 spring section of ENVS 1042L e nrolled 24 students, split evenly by gender (12 females, 12 males). Table 3.1 is a de scription of the ethnicity of these students. On the first day evaluation students ans wered the following questions to describe themselves: (a) How do you see yourself as a learner?, (b) How do you see yourself as a subject interacting, or not, with the environment?, and (c) What do you desire to know or gain from this course? Table 3.2 shows a summary of the information that the ENVS 1042L community shared about themselv es in their first day evaluations. Table 3.1: ENVS 1042L Summary of Student Ethnicity Ethnicity Female Male White 9 3 Middle Eastern 7 Chinese 1 Asian American 1 Hispanic 3


54 Table 3.2: ENVS 1042L Summary of Learner Character istics Student Characteristics Number of Students As a LearnerÂ… Visual 11 Seek interesting information 8 Experiential 7 Hands-on 4 Not Reading 2 Community 1 Audio 1 Observation 1 Subject Interacting with the EnvironmentÂ… ItÂ’s in everything I do 5 IÂ’m part of it negatively and positively 5 Somewhat interacting 4 I negatively impact it 2 I donÂ’t interact 2 I influence it but am not part of it 2 Desire to know or gain from this classÂ… Know more 18 Improvement strategy for the environment 8 The world beyond me 3 How everything interacts 4 Credit 2 My impact on the environment 1 Lab experience 1 Practical information 1 A good grade 1 Know real examples 1 *Note: Sometimes a single student responded to more than one characteristic; three students did not attend and complete an evaluation on the first day.


55 Participant-Observer Context. The spring 2013 semester marked my eleventh and fin al semester teaching ENVS 1042L and my ninth semester working with digital st ories as a final project. As described in chapter 2, I had learned a lot from my students in becoming an educator. Three main milestones for me are that (a) students are more en gaged when I teach context that relates to their everyday lives, (b) students appreciate mo re open formats for learning where conversation was encouraged instead of a more tradi tional lecture and test format, and last (c) students appreciate coming up with their own co nclusions over feeling persuaded to have a certain view about the environment. All of these milestones, together, also helped me to better develop relationships with my students which almost synergistically improved their enthusiasm for engaging in the class In regards to the digital story specifically, the m ost important milestone for me was learning how much more productive student work is w ith simple articulated expectations. In the first semester the only expectation that I o ffered students for producing their digital story was the value of points on the syllabus. Thi s last semester I had the added help from borrowing syllabus components from my mentor, Marty Otanez, Assistant Professor Department of Anthropology at the University of Col orado at Denver. These syllabus components organized not only the grade evaluation of the digital story but also functioned to scaffold the process through a series of mini assignments. Each of these assignments marked a milestone in the process of pr oducing their digital story that encouraged students to continue working on their st ory ideas. This semester students produced the highest quality of digital stories tha t I had experienced in relationship to the


56 previous years. This process of scaffolding the pr oduction process in this way also helped myself to organize the facilitation of the process. By the fall semester of 2012 I had completed writin g the Lifebook and used that as well to scaffold the process of educating students to think about natural resource consumption in their everyday lives. This also hel ped me to present students with a clear picture of expectations for the assignments during the first half of the semester. The syllabus and the Lifebook course tools greatly help ed me to organize the process of learning in ENVS 1042L for students. I was the educator, and therefore a participant, wo rking with students and their learning during the semester to develop the content and assignments throughout the course. As the researcher I observed students, re corded, and catalogued the events of the class meetings through the fieldnotes. However, my thought process as educator and researcher was also recorded within the fieldnotes and memos, which helped me to navigate and construct my role as the participant-o bserver. The fieldnotes and memos are described in more detail within the data collection section. Data Collection The primary sources of data for this study are (a) the first day and mid-semester student evaluations and (b) the three assignments a ssociated with the production of studentsÂ’ digital story projects. The first day an d mid-semester evaluations provide information about how students think about the envi ronment on the first day as compared with their thinking about the environment eight wee ks into the semester. This data is used to represent student thinking in regards to the env ironment on the first day of class and then eight weeks later.


57 There are three nested assignments from the last pa rt of the semester that describe studentÂ’s further thinking about the environment an d consumption through the production of a digital story. These assignments are (a) the intent letter, (b) the companion-viewing guide, and (c) the annotated bibliography. Addition ally the participant-observer fieldnotes provide contextual support for describing the frame work through the style of pedagogy in chapter 2. These primary and secondary artifacts a re described in this section. Primary Artifacts Evaluations The two student evaluations, first day and mid-seme ster, provide data about student thinking related to the environment. Students comp lete the first day evaluation to see how they start out the semester and progress to the mid dle of the semester with their thinking about the environment. These two artifacts also de scribe a student perspective of themselves as learners as well as their expectation s, used to describe the student context in this chapter, and experiences with the ENVS 1042L p edagogy, used in the discussion of implications in chapter 5. First day evaluations are handed out to students as they walk in to class. It is a handwritten and photocopied sheet with three questi ons on the front (as described in the methods sections): (a) how do you see yourself as a learner, (b) how do you see yourself as a subject interacting, or not, with the environm ent, (c) What do you desire to know or gain from this course? On the back of the evaluati on, the paper is blank and students are asked to draw a picture that represents how they se e the environment. Drawings have been used as representations for analysis of mental models of the environment (Moseley, 2010) as well as to determine student conceptualiza tions of land use (Wee, Harbor, and


58 Shepardson, 2009). This study uses student drawing s to determine their initial conceptualizations of the environment on the first day and then again eight weeks later to see if there are changes to how students view the e nvironment. In the middle of the semester, on April 4th, as students walked into the lab room, I handed them a blank piece of copy paper and asked t hem to fill out the front side with their words describing what they think about this c lass so far. The intention is to leave the evaluation open so that their thoughts arenÂ’t restr icted by a prompt (See Appendix B, ln 26 Document 10, Fieldnote 8). They are then asked t o flip over the evaluation and draw how they see the environment (ln 15-16 Document 10, Fieldnote 8). One student asked me to tell him what I saw in his drawing, I voiced my interpretation of his drawing and he explained his picture differe ntly to me. I had the same conversation with another student about his drawing. I realized that my interpretation of their drawings without a description contrasted with their thinkin g. As students finish their drawings, I tasked them to write a brief explanation for why th ey drew the environment the way they did (ln 15-16 Document 10, Fieldnote 8). There are three ways that the information in these two evaluations are applied to understanding student thinking. First, the compari son between the first day and midsemester drawings provides evidence for how these c ase study participants each thought about the environment. Second, the answers to the questions on the first day provide contextual information about students in the class as a whole as well as individual case study participantÂ’s views of learning and the envir onment. Last, the text of the midsemester evaluation is a glimpse into student think ing about the class, environment, and/or consumption.


59 Digital Story Project While students begin working on their digital story assignment during eight weeks into the semester, preparation for this project begins o n the second day of class. Starting the second day and then continuing through each class m eeting I reserve time to show at least one digital story. Through my experience working w ith this project, students appreciate viewing many examples of digital stories to prepare them to create their own. Sometimes the digital stories that I chose to screen were not related to course content and instead were used to highlight artistic abilities such as stop m otion, use of music, or use of black space to highlight the narrative. Then I also used ENVS 1042 student digital stories created from previous semesters to demonstrate how passed s tudents used the project to describe their learning. A class wiki, built for the digital story project on the university course homepage (Blackboard) functions to help students organize an d share assignments about their story. These online, web-based technologies have gained su pport in college classrooms as tools to support student collaboration and active learnin g (Hazari, North, and Moreland, 2009). Students posted and shared their assignments for th e digital story production on the course wiki, in Blackboard. This gave students the opport unity to share their ideas and browse other student stories as they were developing. First, students are required to write a letter of i ntent to describe their initial story ideas in a one-page document. Then, over the next two we eks, they write a 200-word script narrative of their story idea. Over the last few w eeks of the semester, students are required to share their stories with the larger class in a s tory circle. A story circle is where the entire class forms into a large round circle and each stud ent shares their story idea through


60 reading the first draft of their story script. Oth er students engage in their idea by contributing ideas for their story development and giving constructive feedback (e.g. how they could add more detail to their story). Once t he script is ready, students then proceed to the video production phase of creating their sto ry. This involves (a) recording their narrative, (b) developing a title, (c) choosing and /or creating images and sound, and (d) compiling everything into one document with video p roduction software. Throughout the semester students are provided with opportunities a nd materials to develop this unique skill set so that they can express their thinking u sing a digital story. They share their stories with peers in a story circ le, receive ideas for development, and learn perspectives from the other studentÂ’s stories in the class. The digital story is a student-centered project that is assigned with the intention of providing students with the time and space to think through their own process o f learning and elaborate on their understanding about consumption. StudentsÂ’ final draft videos are screened with the class on the last day of semester. The final production is turned in with two addition al assignments, a companionviewing guide and an annotated bibliography. The c ompanion-viewing guide is a handout that students create to share during their video sc reening. It is a one-page detailed description of what their story is about, any helpf ul information for the audience, and further questions, about the environment and consum ption, that this story prompted the student to consider. The annotated bibliography is a compilation of two academic sources that helped students think about the themes of thei r story narratives. It is assigned for the purpose of ascribing scholarly evidence to the deve lopment of the students thinking. Each


61 citation is required to have a paragraph about how this source influenced their thinking. These are also turned in on the last day of class. There are two main ways that the data from the digi tal story project is used. First, the primary data are the three nested assignments: (a) letter of intent, (b) companion viewing guide, and (c) annotated bibliography. These text documents, as used in the analysis, are descriptions of student thinking about consumption and the environment as they work on the production of their digital story. The context of these documents provide the primary evidence for student thinking in this study because they represent the culmination of student thinking as a result of their semester work In addition these documents provide the background thinking and theorizing that student s consider as they develop the creative production of their digital story narrative. The final digital story is used in the case study p articipant selection process to understand salient themes about how members of the class described their learning in ENVS 1042L. Exactly how studentsÂ’ digital stories functioned to help the participant selection process is explained in the case particip ant section. Secondary Artifacts Participant-Observer Fieldnotes. The participant-observer fieldnotes are documents t hat record the events and conversations that occurred each week during class meetings. Most weeks, I audio recorded 120 minutes of each class using an iPhone and most fieldnotes are written as transcriptions of these audio recordings. There ar e two days during the semester that an audio recording did not happen and the fieldnote wa s instead written immediately after the class meeting. Each fieldnote consists of the foll owing sections: (a) date of lab meeting,


62 (b) site context, (c) a site observation, and (d) a summary of events and concluding thoughts. Before each and after each class meeting, a paragra ph or two of descriptive notes was written. These notes describe my instructor intent ions for the week, our work from the previous week, and any other data about student lea rning that surfaced as the lab meeting played out that week. This data set the context fr om my participant-observer perspective for the plan of classroom activities and the progre ssion of educating about consumption during each lab meeting. These fieldnotes and memo s are a rich source for supporting the data analysis of student thinking about the environ ment and consumption because they holds the details of events of student thinking thr oughout the semester. Case Study Participant Selection The case study participants were selected based on the following. First, the digital stories were screened and categorized by how studen ts conceptualized their thinking about consumption. To develop the categories, I reviewed each digital story searching for the main topic of the studentÂ’s narrative. For example one student shared a story about Caress body soap and her new understanding of this product that she had used for a long time. I related her story narrative to her thinkin g about consuming a specific product. These kinds of learning descriptions were then orga nized into five categories based on the themes that emerged in the studentsÂ’ digital storie s. The categories from a zoomed in perspective (e.g. specific product) to the larger s cale, zoomed out perspective (e.g. systems thinking) are: (a) consuming products, (b) everyday life activity, (c) resource prioritization, (d) empowering self and others, and (e) environment and modern life systems. Table 3.3 describes these categories in further det ail.


63 Table 3.3: Learning Description Category Definitio ns Learning Description Category Category Definition Number of Digital Stories in Category Consuming Products Understanding more about specific products in their lives such as Caress body soap, a new Apple computer, or Nestle water bottles. 5 Everyday Life Activity Moving from the periphery to see what everyday life activities actually mean in terms of resource consumption. Examples include driving to school, wasting electricity, using water, eating vegetarian and throwing away plastic dishes. 7 Resource Prioritization Questioning shopping habits such as purchasing TVs or clothes verses buying life essentials. 2 Empowering Self and Others Developing ideas to empower themselves and others such as supporting the Compost Auraria program, more positive perspective towards gardening, and creating a resource share on campus. 4 Environment and Modern Life Systems Reflections of their personal lives in the context of the larger world. Some examples include seeing the environment in everything, trying to grasp population growth in suburbia, and the invisibility of information in the media. 5


64 Next, a student was chosen from each category to re present the spectrum of types of thinking, that students describe in their digital s tories, about consumption and the environment. Students were selected if they: (a) c ompleted the first day and mid-semester evaluations, (b) turned in all three of their neste d digital story assignments, and (c) produced a complete digital story that fulfilled th e requirements stated on the syllabus. There were five students initially chosen however d uring analysis the cases were paired down to four primarily due to time constraints. Th e case study participant that is not included had the least amount of information in the text documents used for analysis. In other words, the selection criteria were based on c ompletion of all course requirements and data collection procedures. The case study participants were given pseudonyms s o that they could not be identified (as per institutional review board regul ations). Table 3.4 is a description of the information that each case study participant shared about themselves on the first day evaluation, in addition to general student characte ristics as well as the learning description category for his/her digital story.


65 Table 3.4: Case Study Participant Characteristics Characteristic Silver Anna Alice Shoffi Gender F F F M Ethnicity Hispanic White Hispanic Middle Eastern Academic Year First Year Second Year Fifth Year Second Year Academic Major Education Education Political Science Business Learner Type Visual, Hands-on, experiential, not reader Visual, seeks interesting information Visual, audio, experiential learner Visual, Observational Subject Interacting with Environment Somewhat interacting Somewhat interacting In everything I do Somewhat interacting Desire to Learn Know more information, improvement strategies Know more information, real examples Know more information, meanings and discourse, academic context of environmentalism Know more information, improvement strategies, how everything interacts Digital Story Learning Category Resource prioritization Environment and modern systems Consuming products Everyday life activity In citing ethnicity as Hispanic, Middle-eastern, or White I recognize and want to state that these very general categories do not adequatel y provide information about family history. For example, the term Hispanic often incl udes races of Spanish American, Spanish, Cuban American, Native American, Mexican, Mexican American, South American, and Central American decent. The terms M iddle-Eastern and White also hold the same issues of generalization.


66 Data Analysis More human forms of data such as those collected in this study have a close relationship with inductive, iterative, flexible, a nd meticulous methods of analysis. In an effort to maintain rigor and validity with coding, categorizing, and theory or assertion making, each detail of information is carefully con sidered through each of the three stages of analysis (Creswell 1998; Glaser and Strauss, 201 2; Saldana, 2013, p.36). The data for this study are woven through the stages of analysis to mold them into coded data. The data are then drawn into categories, themes, and as sertions to describe student thinking. The secondary sources of data will be used reflexiv ely, as needed, to support, confirm, and question the themes that arise from data analysis a s well as while writing the results and findings of the study. The chief motivation of this project is the desire to understand what students communicate as their thinking in ENVS 1042L over a semester of learning about the environment and consumption. The analysis of this study is informed and directed by the study questions concerning student descriptions of their learning and the relevance of their descriptions. The research questions were revisited over the whol e period of data collection and analysis to stay focused on the purposes and direct ion of this study. Additionally, during analysis I continually returned to the original stu dent descriptions in the text of the original artifacts to keep my researcher interpreta tions to a minimum. I cannot deny that the process of analysis employed in this work is a subjective journey through extrapolating the primary information into thematic conclusions.


67 An important function of the analysis for this rese arch is the intention to develop coded data and thematic categories that are directl y derived from original student descriptions, with the understanding that researche r interpretations are inevitable. Revisiting the original documents helps the researc her to constantly question researcher bias through researcher interpretation of studentsÂ’ thoughts in summaries (chunking information), codes (initial categorizing), and sal ient theme building (final stages of categorizing). Through this particular analysis, t he text is reread many times and the codes are revised multiple times to develop salient themes based mostly on the original thoughts and words of the case study participants. The final round of analysis consisted of revisiting around in the development of flowcharts to describe each participantÂ’s matrix of thinking about the environment and consumption. This process of analysis is a grounded theory metho dology that is described by the following three steps: (a) open coding (initial sum marizing, coding and chunking), (b) axial coding (initial categorizing of salient theme s), and (c) selective coding (final categorizing of major salient themes). The approac h taken is termed constant comparison and in this study refers to the reflexive method of working through the analysis between the original artifacts, the coded materials, and am ong primary and secondary data while writing the results (Creswell, 1998; Glaser & Strau ss, 2012). As part of my deliberate approach to analysis, I have included a detailed de scription of each stage of the analytical process. Step One: Open-Coding. The open-coding process started with organizing the primary data in the text documents. Each document was placed in a transpare nt document holder then filed in a


68 three-ring binder by time of completion and case st udy participant. Then using fine point sharpie pens I summarized each piece of text on all of the documents. I then went through and assigned the initial set of codes to each of th e summaries. For example, on Shoffi’s companion-viewing guide he writes, “Also, I mention ed in my story how our university is helping us to distinguish between recyclable produc ts and non-recyclable containers for each type.” The original code that was assigned to this text was TWASr/u/e, which meant thinking about waste with the sub code recycling/university/educating. Step Two: Axial-Coding. This axial-coding stage took me back through the da ta summaries in my attempt to try and lump categories of codes. For example the code TWASr/u/e was lumped under the category Thinking about waste. While revisiting the original text and comparing co des, I realized that in some of the summaries I had includ ed my thoughts in ways that was not necessarily described by the student. In rereading the questions, I was reminded that this research is about student thinking; in it’s most au thentic and genuine voice. I made note of the initial dominant categories that had surface d across participant thinking: (a) consumption, (b) materialism, (c) perspective, (d) sustainability, (e) natural resource use, (f) waste, (g) consumerism, (h) external costs, (i) environmental thinking, (j) self and pedagogy. Then I erased the initial summaries and codes written in sharpie and started the process all over again. I summarized the text for the second round with the students’ original thoughts by writing shortened version of their actual words fro m the text. This round of coding is color-coded to represent the dominant categories th at surfaced in the open-coding stage. Then each code with its associated summary was orga nized into tables by artifact as well


69 as by each case study participant. While entering the codes and associated summaries into the code tables, the coded data was rechecked with the original information and revised for bias and clarity as needed. To use the same ex ample from ShoffiÂ’s companionviewing guide, TWASr/u/e became TWASuniv/edu/rec so that the codes would be easier for me to read and recognize with words straight fr om the studentsÂ’ text. Step Three: Selective-Coding. This last stage of coding, again, involved the proc ess of rereading the text and summaries to check back and further to organize the salient categories into relating dominant themes. The tables of codes for each case study participant was printed, cut into separate pieces, and reassembled based on associati ng the codes with dominant themes. The codes were then glued to a piece of poster boar d for each participant based on the semester timeline of the code and thematic category The codes were again revised and handwritten on the paper cutouts to preserve to the development of each code revision. As I worked with the data in this form, four dominant themes surfaced: (a) self as a learner, (b) classroom pedagogy, (c) environmental thinking, and (d) types of consumption thinking. The dominant sub-themes for consumption thinking were (a) materialism, (b) perception, (c) consumerism, (d) waste, (e) overcon sumption, (f) unequal distribution, and (e) wealthy American culture. The themes, self as a learner and classroom pedagogy along with their associated codes, are used to answ er the question about what these descriptions of student thinking tell educators abo ut the experience of learning in ENVS 1042L. In the final stage of data analysis the four domina nt themes were organized by each case study participant and organized into flowchart s with Webinspiration Pro online


70 software ( The flo wcharts are color-coded with the kinds of thinking about consumption, by due date, t o show the development of student thinking from the initial intent letter to the fina l submissions of the annotated bibliography and companion-viewing guide. A second flowchart de scribes the kinds of environmental thinking based on the first day and mid-semester dr awings from each participantÂ’s evaluation (See APEENDIX D for examples of the flow charts).


71 CHAPTER IV RESULTS AND FINDINGS OF THE STUDY “I came into this class just wanting to get a scien ce credit out of the way, but I had no idea I would develop such an interest in environmen tal science…Being able to see my own contribution to the world’s garbage, water use, and electricity use has put into perspective what 7 billion of us are doing to the planet.” -ENVS 1042L student response on mid-semester evalua tion Introduction This study is concerned with the outcomes of studen t thinking about the environment and natural resource consumption after a semester e xperience of learning with the consumption literacy curriculum (described in chapt er 2). In this chapter I address Research Question 1, concerning the kinds of studen t thinking about the environment and consumption and Research Question 2, concerning the relevance of student thinking about the environment and consumption. The results represent a slice of student thinking f rom the perspectives of four case study participants. Each participant developed a f inal digital story project that fit into four of the five different categories of learning: (a) c onsuming products (Alice), (b) resource prioritization (Silver), (c) everyday life activity (Shoffi), and (d) environment and modern systems (Anna) (further described in chapter 3). A fifth case study participant, representing the empowering self and others learnin g description category, was not included in the study due to insufficient informati on (as described in Chapter 3). The learning description categories are derived from th e different kinds of thinking about consumption that students from the class as a whole represented as the main topic of their digital story. Each of these four case study parti cipants was chosen to illustrate studentthinking possibilities from each category.


72 First, I will discuss the drawing evaluation analys is, which situates student thinking about the environment (a) on the first day of class and then (b) eight weeks later during the middle of the semester for all four case study part icipants. The evaluations provide studentsÂ’ visual representations on their views of how they see the environment. Then, I report on the digital story analysis, organ ized in a case-by-case manner. To provide additional context to the student thinking analysis and results I also include (a) a brief introduction to the case study participant (s ee Appendix E for complete first day evaluations) (b) a summary of the digital story, (c ) a sample of visual text from the digital story (representing the main topic of their narrati ve), (d) the digital story title, and (e) the final script for each case study participant. I di scuss the themes that emerged through the constant comparison analysis of (a) the first day a nd mid-semester evaluation drawings, (b) the three nested digital story assignments; the intent letter (IL), the annotated bibliography (AB), and the companion viewing guide (CVG) (see Appendix F for copies of these text documents), and (a) the kinds of pers onal, critical, and creative thinking evidenced from their work (as defined in chapter 2) The digital story analysis provides evidence for student thinking, in regards to natura l resource consumption, as it occurred in the creative theorizing assignments from the middle of the semester (IL) to the end of the semester (AB and CVG). Last, I address the findings of the study and high light the key points from the analysis and results through commonalities and diff erences in student thinking. These ideas are then related to possible influential elem ents of the consumption literacy curriculum.


73 Evaluation Drawings The analysis of the drawing surveys revealed simila rities and differences in the themes that describe the ways each case study parti cipant viewed the environment, both on the first day as well as on their the mid-semest er evaluation. While the drawings were depictions of different scenes, Shoffi, Silver, and Anna had similar representations of their thinking about the environment on the first day. E ach of these drawings represents the environment as the code description, pure nature. This code represents only characteristics associated with nature as unspoiled and clean (no human presence). AnnaÂ’s also included the recycling code because she added the recycling symbol in her drawing. AliceÂ’s drawing, on the other hand, inclu ded codes of pure nature the global nature and destroyed natu re. She also included representations of human pres ence through natural resource consumption (see Table 4.1 for codes and descriptions; see Figure 4.1 for the analysis themes; see Figure 4.2 for Silver and ShoffiÂ’s drawings; see Figure 4.3 for Anna and AliceÂ’s drawings).


74 Table 4.1: Evaluation Drawing Codes Student First Day Evaluation Mid semester Evaluation Silver Pure Nature Original Thought, Pure Nature vs. Destroyed Nature, Unhealthy Nature Shoffi Pure Nature Original Thought, Pure Nature vs. Destroyed Nature, Feelings of Dislike, Human Production, Pollution Anna Pure Nature, Recycling Low Natural Resource Use, Happy Pure Nature, Human Content, Clean and Diverse Environment vs. Natural Resource Overuse, Destroyed Nature, Pollution Alice Pure Nature, Entire Earth, Seven Continents, Natural Resource Consumption, Destroyed Nature (Repeated Codes) Pure Nature, Entire Earth, Seven Continents, Natural Resource Consumption, Destroyed Nature (New Codes) Unequal Distribution, Unsustainable Path, Unhealthy Humans, Consumerism, Mass Exploitation, Mass Extinction


75 Table 4.2: Drawing Codes and Descriptions Code Description Example of Coded Material PN Pure Nature Trees, sunshine, birds DN Destroyed Nature Trees falling, black clouds NRC Natural Resource Consumption Gas pipeline NROU Natural Resource Overuse Capacity over limit NRBU Natural Resource Balanced Use Words written NRLU Natural Resource Low Use Under capacity limit POLL Pollution Waste from factory into river HPN Happy Pure Nature Happy fish HC Human Content Guy with sunglasses HP Human Production Factory PP Production Process Arrows from Africa, Asia, to North America CN Changing Nature Polar bears eating each other UH Unhealthy Humans Humans puking GG Global Geography Seven continents GN Global Nature Entire earth CON Consumerism People with stuff in shopping bags USUS Unsustainability Word written EXP Exploitation Word written UD Unequal Distribution Word written


Figure 4.1 : First day and mid : First day and mid -semester evaluation d rawings Silver and Shoffi 76 rawings Silver and Shoffi


Figure 4.2 : First day and mid : First day and mid -semester evaluation d rawings Anna and Alice 77 rawings Anna and Alice


78 The drawings on Silver and ShoffiÂ’s mid-semester ev aluations show similarities in their views of the environment. SilverÂ’s drawing in cludes her new view of the environment as destroyed nature juxtaposed to her original thinking that it was pure nature ShoffiÂ’s drawing represents a new view of destroyed nature with elements of pure nature However, his drawing also includes the presence of human production and pollution (see Figure 4.2 for Silver and ShoffiÂ’s drawings). AnnaÂ’s mid-semester drawing includes codes representing natural resource overuse pollution and destroyed nature She juxtaposes this to drawing representations of balanced natural resource use that includes happy pure nature human content and low natural resource use AliceÂ’s drawing represents her original thinking about the environment, as well as including the codes production process changing nature unhealthy humans unequal distribution exploitation consumerism and unsustainability (see Figure 4.3 for Anna and AliceÂ’s drawings). Digital Story Assignments In this section I report on the analysis of the th ree reflection assignments that each of these case study participants completed during the process of producing their digital story. The themes and the corresponding code descriptions that were drawn from the analysis of the assignments describe student thinking about the environment and natural resource consumption (see Table 4.2 for a list of the themes and example descriptions). I also report on the kinds of personal, creative, and crit ical thinking that is evidenced from student work producing their digital story. In looking for personal thinking I search for stud ent attempts to relate course material to their personal experience with natural resource consumption. For creative thinking, I


79 look for evidence of unique and divergent thinking. Specifically, I am interested in looking for evidence of the creation new theories a bout natural resource consumption that go beyond studentsÂ’ initial references to the pure nature, destruction of nature, pollution, and recycling. Finally, evidence of critical thinki ng involves attempts at literacy in questioning the experience of life practice to bett er understand and possibly reform or change everyday actions. I also look for thinking that address and challenge some kind of sociopolitical struggle that they find in their liv es with proposed solutions.


80 Table 4.3: Themes and Coded Descriptions of Three Reflection Assignments Theme Code Theme Example of Coded Description OCON Overconsumption He describes his thinking that humans are currently using more natural resources that the planet has available (Shoffi) WAC Wealthy American Culture She describes the wealthy as having absence of thou ght about their carbon footprint (Anna) PER Perspective She describes perception as a conce pt that resonated with her from the Nacirema course reading (Alice WAS Waste He describes his personal habit of wastin g napkins (Shoffi) CON Consumerism She describes her inner struggle be tween social pressures of consuming and feeling guilty about the external costs of consuming (Alice) MAT Materialism She describes that she sees America ns as being more focused on earning more money and owning more material goods than other things (Silver) SUS Sustainability She describes learning about thr ifty ethics and wondering about the future of the world depending o n them (Alice) UD Unequal Distribution He describes his feeling that poor people might hav e bad feelings towards rich people because of the une qual distribution of resources (Shoffi)


81 Silver Biography. Silver is a first year student, who grew up in Den ver, and is interested in studying education to become a teacher. She describes herse lf as a visual, hands-on learner that learns best by doing it herself or watching someone else do it rather reading about it. In the beginning of the class Silver wrote that the en vironment is “a beautiful thing that helps me to stay sane.” Silver describes her desire to l earn in the lab as, “anything environmental, and how I can improve the environmen t with little habit changes.” Digital story. The narrative of Silver’s digital story is told th rough her inquiry, after looking more closely at an experience shopping with her sister, into the prioritization of her financial resources to the different activities of her life ( e.g. shopping verses food). The story is about how materialism has become a prevalent trend in American society. This digital story is in the resource prioritization learning description category, as stated in chapte r 3. The title of Silver’s story is Prevalent Trend and the sample of her visual text is a picture clip of the fast motion video that she uses as the imagery for her digital story (Figure 4.4). The script of her digital story follows.


Figure 4.3 : SilverÂ’s Visual Text Before this class, I never really paid much attenti on to how materialistic our society in America has become. I always looked for ward to going to the mall to get a new pair of jeans or maybe some cute shoes. T hen after wa film The Story of S tuff become the prevalent trend in our society. Just ch eck out the constant growing fixation on earning more money and owning The next day I was visiting my sister and we were a t the mall and she saw this adorable little Dooney and Burke purse with a gold shoulder strap. She started to debate whether she wanted to buy this cute purse or save her money to purchase her groceries f or the week. Because I had seen believe that she would even think about choosing be tween a purseÂ… and food. Crazy thing is, that I probably would have thought nothing of it if it werenÂ’t for this class. I later started go to the mall and buy all this stuff that I really didnÂ’t need. I wanted that cute top at the mall and I wanted Absolutely, not. We all want m ore stuff. And most of the time most of this stuff isnÂ’t even remotely necessary. I realized I needed to change and reduce my over lifestyle. I have slowly started to make changes i n the way I spend my money, especially when I go to the mall. : SilverÂ’s Visual Text Before this class, I never really paid much attenti on to how materialistic our society in America has become. I always looked for ward to going to the mall to get a new pair of jeans or maybe some cute shoes. T hen after wa tching the short tuff in class, I began to think about it more Materialism has become the prevalent trend in our society. Just ch eck out the constant growing fixation on earning more money and owning more material goods. The next day I was visiting my sister and we were a t the mall and she saw this adorable little Dooney and Burke purse with a gold shoulder strap. She started to debate whether she wanted to buy this cute purse or save her money to purchase or the week. Because I had seen The Story of of Stuff believe that she would even think about choosing be tween a purseÂ… and food. Crazy thing is, that I probably would have thought nothing of it if it werenÂ’t for this class. I later started to realize that I would do the same exact things. I would go to the mall and buy all this stuff that I really didnÂ’t need. I wanted that cute top wanted those adorable shoes. But did I really need them? ore stuff. And most of the time most of this stuff isnÂ’t even remotely necessary. I realized I needed to change and reduce my over lifestyle. I have slowly started to make changes i n the way I spend my money, especially when I go to the mall. 82 Before this class, I never really paid much attenti on to how materialistic our society in America has become. I always looked for ward to going to the mall to tching the short Materialism has become the prevalent trend in our society. Just ch eck out the constant growing The next day I was visiting my sister and we were a t the mall and she saw this adorable little Dooney and Burke purse with a gold shoulder strap. She started to debate whether she wanted to buy this cute purse or save her money to purchase The Story of of Stuff I couldnÂ’t believe that she would even think about choosing be tween a purseÂ… and food. Crazy thing is, that I probably would have thought nothing of it if it werenÂ’t for to realize that I would do the same exact things. I would go to the mall and buy all this stuff that I really didnÂ’t need. I wanted that cute top those adorable shoes. But did I really need them? ore stuff. And most of the time most of this stuff isnÂ’t even remotely necessary. I realized I needed to change and reduce my over -consuming lifestyle. I have slowly started to make changes i n the way I spend my money,


83 I ask myself, why do I want this and do I really ne ed it? It’s an extremely hard change to make. It’ll take a lot of will power, bu t I will continue to do my best to try to reduce my over-consuming lifestyle as much a s possible. Intent letter results. In the analysis of Silver’s intent letter the them es that emerged were (a) perspective and (b) materialism. Her thinking about perspective involves her critical examination of society’s proposal of beauty, especially for women, as influenced by materialism (specifically products that make skin beautiful). Silver challenges this notion of beauty and creatively considers her own perception as havi ng to do with things that aren’t bought (specifically social relationships). Silver points out her interest in the topics of ma terialism and laziness then critically questions these constructs as invisible environment al issues, In this laboratory we have covered many different t opics about our environment but the two topics that grabbed my attention were, how materialistic and lazy our nation has become. What I plan to do for my creati ve project is to outline and speak about those two words and what I have noticed that I do, which can be perfectly described by those two words (see Appendi x F, Silver’s Intent Letter). Silver critically examines her personal habits for laziness and materialism and describes feeling the need to re-evaluate how they operate in her life. In her critical examination of laziness, Silver describes this construct as fuelin g materialism and challenges that these issues are something that people need to be bring f orward and discussed, “My purposes for doing my creative project on these two words ar e to inform others of this issue and get the audience thinking.” Annotated bibliography and companion viewing guide results. The analysis of Silver’s annotated bibliography an d companion-viewing guide revealed similar themes of materialism and the deve lopment of consumerism. Through


84 Silver’s critical inquiry into American culture, sh e describes, “Materialism has become a prevalent trend in our society. Some are more focu sed on earning more money and owning more material goods than other things” (see Appendix F Silver’s CVG). Silver describes critically examining materialism as resul ting from listening to others’ stories in the class, “My realization of my own struggle was i ntroduced to me by seeing others struggle with their very own over consuming lifesty les” (see Appendix F Silver’s CVG). This examination helped Silver to challenge the pre sence of overconsumption in her own life. Silver points out a personal struggle with o verconsumption, “Not everything we buy is unnecessary but most of the time the things I wo uld buy was stuff I didn’t need. I wasn’t comfortable admitting that I had an overcons umption problem” (see Appendix F Silver’s AB). Silver describes feeling like she sho uld reduce her shopping habits of purchasing mostly unnecessary stuff, “through this I have recognized that I need to reduce my over consuming lifestyle as much as possible” (s ee Appendix F Silver’s CVG). In critically inquiring into the power forces of c onsumerism, Silver points to the media and stores as influencing our desires to consume mo re unnecessary stuff, “we are also told subconsciously to over consume with everything that is shown to us on television and even, sometimes the store themselves” (see Appendix F Silver’s CVG). In her critical examination of the media and stores Silver states t hat there should be some kind of regulation to limit overconsumption and these influ ences on our habits. Silver also describes thinking about how shopping is related to the increasing amounts of waste produced and wonders what other kinds of positive e ffects could result from a reduction in overconsumption.


85 Learner thumbprint. Silver began the semester thinking about the envir onment as pure nature, describing it as something beautiful that helps to keep her sanit y. On the mid-semester evaluation Silver modified her view and drew the environment a s destroyed. In the beginning of her story development on the intent letter, SilverÂ’s id eas about consumption largely revolved around materialism and the influence of society on our perspectives of what constitutes beauty. As Silver completed her final assignments for the digital story project, her views of materialism and perception grew to relate to the cu lture of American consumerism. Silver extends these views to her own habits of over consu ming and uncomfortably admits to her own struggles with this through her purchases of un necessary stuff. The final version of SilverÂ’s digital story is a fast motion video of pe ople moving about the mall. In the script Silver describes surprise after listening to her si ster debate on whether to buy a purse or food with a limited budget, We were at the mall and she saw this adorable litt le Dooney and Burke purse with a gold shoulder strap. She started to debate wheth er she wanted to buy this cute purse or save money to purchase her groceries for t he weekÂ…Crazy thing is, I would probably have thought nothing of it if it wer enÂ’t for this class. I later started to realize I would do the same exact things. Then, Silver writes, We all want more stuff. And most of the time most of this stuff isnÂ’t even remotely necessary. I realized I needed to change and reduce my over-consuming lifestyle. I have slowly started to make changes i n the way I spend my money when I go to the mall. I ask myself, why do I want this and do I really need it? ItÂ’s an extremely hard change to make.


86 In the end of her coursework, Silver showed her thi nking about consumption as embedded in our desires to spend our money having unnecessar y things, as influenced by the sociopolitical world. Silver shows personal forms of thinking through (a ) relating personal perceptions of beauty as opposed to the ones that are fueled by ma terialism, (b) examining personal shopping habits and overconsumption as fueled by ma terialism and laziness, and (c) through personal appropriation of money. Silver cr eatively theorizes about (a) stifling the materialism in everyday life by finding beauty in t hings that aren’t bought and (b) reducing overconsumption by eliminating the unneces sary purchases. Critical thinking is demonstrated through Silver’s (a) critical examinat ion of beauty, (b) critical examination of American materialism and laziness operating with in everyday life, (c) challenging materialism and laziness as invisible environmental issues, (d) questioning a shopping experience at the mall and personal practices of pu rchasing unnecessary products. Shoffi. Biography. Shoffi is a second year student in the University of Colorado School of Business, who grew up in Saudi Arabia. English is a second lang uage that he has been learning for two years; Arabic is his primary language. Shoffi desc ribes himself as a visual and observational learner stating that, “I see myself a s interested in learning new things that can be beneficial to me in the future.” On the fir st day Shoffi described viewing himself as, “somewhat interacting with the environment.” S hoffi also wrote that he expects, “to learn about the environment and how it’s affected b y people, and how we can treat the environment better than we do now.”


Digital story. Shoffi’s story is told through resources are being wasted realization, Shoffi makes a decision to story is in the everyday life activity 3. The title of this story is see Figure 4.5, the script of the Figure 4.4: Shoffi’s Visual On a Thursday night after area right away when decision. Let me first tell you about person. My trash container want to take the time to interesting class called Taking this class taught environment because our even burned. On the other because throwing products product. told through personal waste habits. The story is about how natural being wasted through throwing away so m any plastic dishes. makes a decision to start washing dishes to reduce waste everyday life activity learning description category as described in chapter of this story is Plastic Dishes Th e visual text is an image of Shoffi’s script of the digital story follows. Visual Text after a long day in school, I went to the storage in I arrived home because I was about to make about myself. When it comes to washing dishes, container is full of many things, but mostly plastic dishes. to wash regular dishes. My name is Shoffi and I’m called “Environmental science”. taught me that trash can cause a huge pollution our trash gets buried in specific areas, thrown in other hand, trash can lead to an overuse of natural products away will lead to the production of more 87 about how natural any plastic dishes. After this waste This digital as described in chapter e visual text is an image of Shoffi’s house, in the kitchen an important dishes, I’m a lazy dishes. I don’t I’m taking this pollution in the the ocean, or natural resources more of that

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88 So, I made an important decision, I know this decis ion is gonna be painful, but the environment is worth this pain. My decision is to s top buying plastic dishes and start washing regular dishes and use less napkins i n order to reduce my daily trash amount. I will also look for recycle containers to throw any recyclable products I have. Our university does a good job when it comes to recycling because we can find a recycle container anywhere on campus. So, lets all put our hands together to create a cle an and sustainable environment with less trash and less use of natural resources i nstead of overusing it, because the next generation has the right to use their share of the natural resources as we did. Intent letter results. In the analysis for Shoffi’s intent letter, overco nsumption emerged as a dominant theme as related to the subthemes, (a) waste and (b ) sustainability. In a critical examination about how natural resources are being i ncreasingly depleted Shoffi states, “Throwing away a lot of recyclable products will af fect the environment because companies will have to produce more of it, which me ans using more natural resources” (see Appendix F Shoffi’s IL). Shoffi goes on to d escribe, “We can imagine how much trash we are throwing now due to the rapid increase in shopping rates.” Through a critical analysis of the effects of increased waste Shoffi p oints out the need for trash trucks to haul the waste which then fills the landfills and pollut es the land. Shoffi critically analyzes his personal overconsum ption and resulting waste. He states “I plan to make a story that shows how much trash I have been throwing away for several years, which are mostly napkins and plastic dishes” (see Appendix F Shoffi’s IL). In a further explanation Shoffi critically examines a pe rsonal struggle with laziness in not wanting to wash and reuse dishes. In relating waste to sustainability Shoffi challen ges these wasteful habits of not recycling and therefore not conserving resources, recycling products will have a huge role in reducin g the amount of natural resources used in producing new products, and we mu st work hard to keep natural

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89 resources around as long as possible because it’s r eally difficult to live without them (see Appendix F Shoffi’s IL). In creatively theorizing solutions to decrease the amount of waste and natural resource use Shoffi describes the need to increase recycling and spread awareness about what products to recycle. In the intent letter Shoffi cites a st atistic, from the Environmental Protection Agency, about the amount and constitution of US sol id waste describing our waste habits as a phenomenon driving our overuse of natural reso urces. Shoffi states, I will include a recommendation [in the digital sto ry] in order to reduce the amount of trash that we throw away. This recommendation i s simply reading more and educate ourselves about products that can be recycl ed, because I believe that many people don’t realize how many products can be recyc led (see Appendix F Shoffi’s IL). Annotated bibliography and companion-viewing guide results. The analysis of the annotated bibliography and com panion-viewing guide assignments revealed Shoffi’s continuation of the ideas present ed in the intent letter about overconsumption through waste and sustainability. Themes of consumerism and unequal distribution of natural resources emerge as well. Shoffi discusses a video shown in class, The Story of Stuff, and describes critically thinking about how, “products are made to be thrown away in a short time to keep [us] shopping for stuff” (see Appendix F Shoffi’s AB). Then Shoffi critically examines societal habits in this cycle of consumerism, “I re alized that we have to slow down on shopping in order to reduce our trash” (see Appendi x F Shoffi’s AB). Shoffi critically questions literacy about recycling in asking the qu estions, “What are the products that can be recycled? And how can they be recycled? What is the process of recycling used products, and what are the natural resources used i n the recycling process? (see Appendix F Shoffi’s CVG)” He expresses his personal concern about the overuse and eventual

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90 extinction of some of the natural resources. In ex amining the notion of unequal distribution in relationship to food, he discusses his creative ideas for sustainability as the possibility of sharing and redistributing food to t he poor. Learner thumbprint. Shoffi begins the semester with a view of the envi ronment as pure nature and describes feeling that he somewhat interacts with t he environment. He did not explain more about what exactly he means by “somewhat inter acting” but I wonder if he was thinking about everyday natural resource consumptio n. On his mid-term evaluation he describes, “This class has helped me a lot with my knowledge about the environment because it has encouraged me to think about the pro ducts that we use and buy constantly (see Appendix C).” It seems that this kind of thin king about everyday natural resource consumption is new to him. His drawing on the midsemester evaluation also indicates that he grew to understand the environment as inclu ding the process of human production through his representation of a factory and nature destroyed. His thinking on the intent letter demonstrates the he began to see consumption of products as having effects on the overuse of natura l resources and issues of mounting solid waste. He relates this to his personal life and th e amount of waste he produces through his actions of laziness in purchasing as throwing away disposable napkins and dishes. These were also prevalent in his work at the end of the s emester and formed the main topic of his digital story, When it comes to washing dishes, I am a lazy person My trash container is full of many things, but mostly plastic dishes...trash c an lead to an overuse of natural resources because throwing products away wi ll lead to the production of more of that product.

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91 Shoffi describes himself as trapped in the cycle of conceived obsolescence, a concept highlighted in The Story of Stuff video. In discussing this concept, Shoffi points o ut that the manufacture of disposable products perpetuate u s to keep buying more, and therefore, use more natural resources. Then in the digital st ory Shoffi makes a statement that he is going to make a change, So, I made an important decision, I know this decis ion is gonna be painful, but the environment is worth the pain. My decision is to stop buying plastic dishes and start washing regular dishes and use less napki ns in order to reduce my daily trash amount. In the end of the semester, Shoffi’s thinking is do minated by the themes overconsumption, waste, and consumerism, with minor thoughts about t he unequal distribution of natural resources (e.g., food). Shoffi’s personal thinking is best represented thr ough considering the contents and effects of personal waste habits. In a critical ex amination of personal waste (e.g., napkins and plastic dishes) Shoffi challenges the consumeri st notion of conceived obsolescence, taking a stand to change personal waste habits and starting to washing reusable dishes. Shoffi demonstrates critical thinking in wondering about the consequences of natural resources used in the process of recycling. Recycl ing is commonly held as a sustainable act, yet in probing deeper Shoffi wonders about the consequences as well. Anna. Biography. Anna is a second year student who is interested in studying education to become a teacher. She describes herself as a visual learner and states, “I enjoy learning things that I can apply to real life and my teaching.” On the fi rst day, in response to how Anna sees

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92 herself as a subject interacting with the environme nt by writing, “I am not as interactive as I would like to be…I see the environment as constan tly changing.” Anna also wrote that, “I want to learn more about environmental current e vents and what some of the jargon I hear everyday really means. I also want to see exa mples for what we learn about.” Digital story. Anna’s story is told through her experience on a y acht with a wealthy uncle and the realization the wasteful use of resources is embedd ed in the practice everyday habits. This digital story is focused on the disparity between t he amounts of resources Anna uses everyday and the far greater amount that the extrem ely wealthy are able to use without regard to the resulting carbon footprint. The titl e of this digital story is, Resource Use Among the Wealthy, and is falls in the environment and modern systems learning description category, as described in chapter 3. T he visual text shared from Anna’s digital story is of the wealthy uncle’s yacht that she trav elled on during a family trip. Anna also used this image for the Lifebook photo reflection a ssignment concerned with hidden water use.

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Figure 4.5 : AnnaÂ’s Visual Text Recently, I went on a trip to the Virgin Island the rare 1% category of Americans who makes million s of dollars each year and was kind enough to take me and my family on a trip that was far more extravagant than I ever could have imagined or hoped to afford at any poi trip, we took my uncles yacht to tour the islands a nd I was shocked to see the amount of waste we went through when cost was not a factor. For the first couple of days, I tried to remember the classes I am takin g and to do things like water bottles instead of going through 2 or 3 a day like every one else. However, as time went by it was harder to remember being sus tainable when resources were available to me in abundance at all times. The biggest shock to me on this trip (especi habits) was to see the amount of material that was consumed by the people we saw on the trip who were even wealthier than my uncle. The last night that we spent in a marina at St. Thomas we saw this yacht in the pho to c yacht was the 10th largest boat in the world and was privately owned a t 400 ft. in size. Because of boating laws, only 12 for pleasure with a crew of 40 gallons and took 3 days to fuel because they would have to fly in more fuel each day. All I could think of were the people out there that I know who can barely afford a car let alone fill even one 15 What this experience h more than just college students or environmental wo rkers care about the environment but to make the wealthy, the people who suck up so many of our resources, care as well. Living the life of the we that the environmental issues we face must be addre ssed not only as a way to be more cost affective but on a deeper level as well. We need to see that whether we have millions of dollars or hardly any at all, Eart h has a li resources, whether we as people do or not. : AnnaÂ’s Visual Text Recently, I went on a trip to the Virgin Island s with my uncle. My uncle fits into the rare 1% category of Americans who makes million s of dollars each year and was kind enough to take me and my family on a trip that was far more extravagant than I ever could have imagined or hoped to afford at any poi nt in my life. On the trip, we took my uncles yacht to tour the islands a nd I was shocked to see the amount of waste we went through when cost was not a factor. For the first couple of days, I tried to remember the classes I am takin g and to do things like water bottles instead of going through 2 or 3 a day like every one else. However, as time went by it was harder to remember being sus tainable when resources were available to me in abundance at all times. The biggest shock to me on this trip (especi ally through my guilt of my wasteful habits) was to see the amount of material that was consumed by the people we saw on the trip who were even wealthier than my uncle. The last night that we spent in a marina at St. Thomas we saw this yacht in the pho to c alled the Rising Sun. this largest boat in the world and was privately owned a t 400 ft. in size. Because of boating laws, only 12 15 people were permitted to use this boat for pleasure with a crew of 40 -50. The gas tank for a yacht like this was 150,000 gallons and took 3 days to fuel because they would have to fly in more fuel each day. All I could think of were the people out there that I know who can barely afford a car let alone fill even one 15 -gallon gas tank. What this experience h ad me thinking was that awareness has to be spread to make more than just college students or environmental wo rkers care about the environment but to make the wealthy, the people who suck up so many of our resources, care as well. Living the life of the we althy for a week made me realize that the environmental issues we face must be addre ssed not only as a way to be more cost affective but on a deeper level as well. We need to see that whether we have millions of dollars or hardly any at all, Eart h has a li mited amount of resources, whether we as people do or not. 93 s with my uncle. My uncle fits into the rare 1% category of Americans who makes million s of dollars each year and was kind enough to take me and my family on a trip that was far more extravagant nt in my life. On the trip, we took my uncles yacht to tour the islands a nd I was shocked to see the amount of waste we went through when cost was not a factor. For the first couple of days, I tried to remember the classes I am takin g and to do things like reuse water bottles instead of going through 2 or 3 a day like every one else. However, as time went by it was harder to remember being sus tainable when resources were ally through my guilt of my wasteful habits) was to see the amount of material that was consumed by the people we saw on the trip who were even wealthier than my uncle. The last night that we spent in alled the Rising Sun. this largest boat in the world and was privately owned a t 400 ft. in 15 people were permitted to use this boat this was 150,000 gallons and took 3 days to fuel because they would have to fly in more fuel each day. All I could think of were the people out there that I know who can barely ad me thinking was that awareness has to be spread to make more than just college students or environmental wo rkers care about the environment but to make the wealthy, the people who suck up so many of our althy for a week made me realize that the environmental issues we face must be addre ssed not only as a way to be more cost affective but on a deeper level as well. We need to see that whether we mited amount of

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94 It has been hard for me to reflect upon this becaus e I do not want to come across as someone who has an abundance of resources at my fin gertips because this week was a rare experience for me and I realized it was one that could not go unshared. As we go into our separate career fields, we need t o always keep in mind the resources we are using, how they may be affecting o ther people and to realize that there is not an unlimited amount of any product. IÂ’ m not saying that anyone here will wind up buying anything that compares to being as environmentally draining Rising Sun but it is inevitable that we all will pu rchase and use resources that we do not truly need but if we are conscious of those decisions and try to make less of them we can all make some kind of a difference. IL results. In the analysis of AnnaÂ’s intent letter, the main themes that emerged were of waste and sustainability, as they related to the elementary c lassroom. Anna describes noticing large amounts of paper wasted and desiring to find creati ve ways to raise awareness about waste reduction through engagement, not preaching. Howev er, about half way through the process of developing the story narrative Anna deci ded to switch directions and change her story idea. AB and CVG results. AnnaÂ’s new idea is based on the experience from a family trip and is reflected in the analysis of her annotated bibliography and companio n-viewing guide assignments. Within AnnaÂ’s thinking on these assignments the themes tha t emerged were (a) wealthy American culture, with the subtheme perception and (b) overc onsumption. The subtheme perception emerged through AnnaÂ’s description of her new perce ption in thinking about the wealthy

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95 uncle’s lifestyle. Anna states, “I have always bee n in awe of the wealth my uncle has had growing up, but this class, through the readings, v ideos, and discussions, made me much more aware of my surroundings on our last trip” (se e Appendix F Anna’s CVG). In thinking about the wealthy American culture, An na describes the small population of the extremely wealthy in relation the large amou nt of resources that they use. Anna critically reflects on the amount of resources weal thy Americans use for recreational purposes (e.g., boating) in relation to the resourc es available to small countries (e.g., the Virgin Islands) that are often visited during such recreation. Anna also describes thinking about the lives of wealthy Americans as the opposit e of simple and using resources without regard to their carbon footprint. The people I saw did not even put their carbon foot print in their minds at all, and a lot of these extremely wealthy people could not app reciate the simple things in life, such as a sunset, unless it was off of their multimillion dollar yacht or from their resort (see Appendix F Anna’s AB). In thinking about overconsumption, Anna describes her personal feeling of being influenced by desire, “Because the boat water was n ot cold, I found myself drinking from small plastic Fiji water bottles; sometimes I would use 3-4 a day! Once I realized what I was doing simply to have colder water I was appalle d at my wastefulness… ” (see Appendix F Anna’s CVG). Anna also discusses a desi re to make changes to use and waste less but feels the implications of her change is insignificant, “I tried to use a little less once I realized what I was doing, but I couldn ’t help but to notice the waste that those around me were making without even realizing it” (s ee Appendix F Anna’s CVG). The external effects on the planet of personal choices to consume are pointed out in Anna’s reflections as well. In thinking critically about the origins of personal food consumption, i.e. the long travels it undergoes before the food is consumed, as she wonders, “why our

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96 food is so centralized in places that may be extrem ely far away from the end destination of where it is consumed” (see Appendix F Anna’s AB). The theme perception emerged through Anna’s description of a new perception in t hinking about the wealthy uncle’s lifestyle as a result of her learning in ENVS 1042L Learner thumbprint. Like Silver and Shoffi, Anna began with a view of the environment as pure nature. In a description of the environment, Anna states that she isn’t as interactive with it as she would like to be and that the environment is consta ntly changing. Again, as with Shoffi, it seems that Anna doesn’t see the environment as rela ted to the natural resource consumption in the practice of everyday actions. A nna draws representations of natural resource use on the mid-semester drawing of the env ironment but still does not explicitly state anywhere that it is related to everyday pract ice. Anna chose to change her story from the original i dea of raising awareness (i.e. sustainability) about classroom waste to thinking a bout overconsumption and perception largely in relationship to natural resource use amo ng the wealthy American culture. Anna’s story idea demonstrates thinking about natur al resource consumption through personal habits and the desire to consume a cold bo ttle of water. She also demonstrates thinking about natural resources as embedded in her diet through the far away origins of food. There are personal forms of thinking within Anna’s descriptions of (a) bottled water consumption, (b) her diet, and (c) her perception o f the wealthy uncle’s lifestyle. While representations for creative thinking about finding struggles or problems and developing solutions seem to be weak in Anna’s case, there is evidence of critical thinking. First, this

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97 is demonstrated through the descriptions of an expe rience on a family trip and Anna’s perspective re-evaluation of the wealthy uncle’s li festyle. Anna also demonstrates critical thinking about bottled water consumption. Alice. Biography. Alice is a fifth year student, who grew up in Denv er, and is interested in studying political science and community action. Alice desc ribes herself as a visual and audio learner who “does well with hands-on (kinesthetic l earning).” On the first day she wrote that she sees herself as a subject interacting with the environment, “As a part of everything. I interact with the environment everyd ay and I try to give back as much as I take-but need to increase my ‘give back.’” Alice d esires to learn, “anything and everything! I want to specifically gain a vocabula ry/discourse to discuss environmental science. I have an idea about what environmentalis m means to me, but I would like to explore that more on an academic platform.” Digital story. This digital story is told through Alice’s purchase of a new apple computer. The story is about the struggle between knowing invisible cos ts of our natural resource consumption and the social status of having a new computer, as well as questioning the necessity of consuming the products that we do. Alice’s digital story is titled, Invisible______: What goes into the things we buy., and is in the consuming products learning description category, as described in chapter 3. The visual te xt from Alice’s digital story is an image of the new mac computer with an embedded image of a woman assembling a computer in a foreign country.

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Figure 4.6 : Alice’s Visual Text I bought another computer. anyone else but myself class, there are so many Invisible byproducts. all of the things that I asked myself, “Do you “No, not most of them.” condo. I did not need the wheeling capability required. honest with myself and The way our socioeconomic fancy things we buy. grandparents and with things. What is wrong or buying some clothes still usable, but yet an things to replace our perfectly did “do” enough to be I feel like the whole cycle the very thing that is leading correct it soon. My instead, to arouse some maybe we should be able things. This idea can manifest ….or….. by growing : Alice’s Visual Text computer. I love it and regret it everyday. I didn't myself when making this purchase. As we have learned many external costs that are invisible in our Invisible people. Invisible trash. So I started thinking I buy on a daily, weekly, monthly, and on an annual you REALLY need these things to survive?” My them.” I did not need the fancy computer or TV that the SUV that I drive around on the paved roads required. Why did I buy these things then? I had and realize that it was mainly for status. socioeconomic status in this world works is based on The value of thrift is something that is associated with people who did not “do” enough to be able to with using a perfectly good TV that may be large clothes that someone else may have worn first. These overwhelming large amount of us go out and get perfectly good things because other people will know able to buy these things. cycle is completely unsustainable and dangerous leading us down an un-returnable path to nothing message is not intended to make people feel some realization that if we can afford to buy “things,” able to invest in the future of all living things by manifest itself in reusing “old things” that others have our own food seasonally so that we don’t 98 didn't think about learned in this consumption. thinking about annual basis. I My answer was that inhabit my roads with no four had to really be on how many associated with our to have fancy large and bulky, These things are get new fancy know that we dangerous in fact, it is nothing if we do not feel guilty, but “things,” then by not buying have discarded, have to rely

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99 entirely on consumerism to feed ourselves or our fa milies. Whatever little steps we can take toward a more ethical lifestyle, the bette r off future generations will be in the global community. IL results. In the analysis of Alice’s intent letter the theme s that emerged are (a) perception and (b) consumerism. Alice expresses seeing outside he r worldview and finding perception as a concept that resonated with her. She sees this a s tied to consumption, social status, social value, and the external costs of consuming. The idea of consumerism emerges through Alice’s critical thinking about waste and t he invisible byproducts, beings, and consequences from her choices to consume technology Alice also describes the relationship of her consumer decisions, I am constantly having this inner struggle with wan ting to buy things so that my peers and colleagues know that I am up to date with what is going on in the world, and feeling bad about all the external costs associ ated with my purchases. There are so many people, animals, and environments “behi nd the scenes” that are affected by a choice that I make thousands of miles away – and it is all invisible to me (see Appendix F Alice’s IL). AB and CVG results. In the analysis of her annotated bibliography and companion-viewing guide Alice’s thinking again is represented by (a) perception, (b ) consumerism, and (c) sustainability. Alice’s thinking about perception is described as s eeing outside of her worldview and feeling like this has become an important topic for her. The critical thinking process from a course reading is demonstrated as Alice wonders h ow American culture might look from the outside and the external costs of her purchases I think this article resonated with me so well beca use it really made me take a look at how we live, and what people of a different back ground, looking in from the outside, might observe about us. From this thought process I began thinking about all of the invisible and external costs from a diff erent perspective (see Appendix F, Alice’s AB).

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100 Alice also demonstrates critical thinking about her consumer choices as influenced by materialism and the consequential feelings of guilt from this overconsumption. In thinking creatively about solutions to materialism and overconsumption, Alice wonders about not buying and developing thrifty ethics, Have you ever thought about not buying something, b esides a car, that isn’t brand new? The ethic of thrift is one of the most valuab le things that I learned in this class, do you think the future of the world depends on it? (see Appendix F, Alice’s CVG) Alice describes feeling hopeless but also feels tha t it is important to raise awareness, because a change in perception is important to the future of sustainability. Learner thumbprint. Alice began the semester thinking about the enviro nment as connected to everything she does. She wrote that she takes and gives back to the environment everyday. The midsemester evaluation indicates that Alice’s thinking grew to include more of systems view in thinking about the effects of consumerism, the u nequal distribution of resources, processes of production, changing nature, exploitat ion, unhealthy humans, and unsustainability. Consumerism, processes of produc tion, and exploitation were also evident from the thinking on Alice’s intent letter with her struggle between the social pressures of purchasing technology and feeling guil ty knowing the invisible external consequences of these cosumptive decisions. She w rites in her story script, I bought another computer. I love it and regret it everyday. I didn’t think about anyone but myself when making this purchase. As we have learned in this class, there are so many external costs that are invisible in our consumption. Invisible byproducts. Invisible people. Invisible trash. S o I started thinking about all of the things that I buy on a daily, weekly, monthly, and on an annual basis. I asked myself, “Do you REALLY need these things to survive ?”

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101 She describes thinking about reorienting her persp ective of materialism and social pressures towards the proposition of not needing th ings and not buying. She writes in her script, The way our socioeconomic status in this world work s is based on how many things we buy. The value of thrift is something th at is associated with our grandparents and with people who did not “do” enoug h to be able to have fancy things. What is wrong with using a perfectly good TV that may be large and bulky, or buying some clothes that someone else may have worn first. Alice is questioning the forces of materialism and voicing her idea to challenge social value and consumerism through pushing back and enga ging in a different way, with a different perspective of not needing to have things Alice demonstrates thinking personally through (a) her decisions to purchase technology and (b) the re-evaluation of her persona l perspective. She also demonstrates creative thinking through recognizing of the conseq uences from her purchases of technology and thinking about the ways that she can try to push back on materialism through becoming thrifty. The critical thinking is apparent in her questioning of the purchase of technology that she made. Alice asked the questions why did I do this and critically reasoned the influence of the forces of materialism and social status. Then she wonders about changing this habitual feeling of the need to buy new things. Conclusion In this discussion, I focus on the relevance of tw o main findings about student thinking in ENVS 1042L: (a) this curriculum did seem to enco urage students to think about the environment and consumption in personal, creative a nd critical; sociopolitical and emotional; as well as action-motivated ways, and (b ) each student unraveled a unique experience of learning to think about the environme nt and natural resource consumption.

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102 Types of Thinking Critical, Creative, and Personal. Albeit, with varying degrees, each student demonst rated thinking about the environment through natural resource consumption in personal, critical, and creative ways. In the process of producing their digital story, st udents were encouraged to describe their learning through a personal story. The outcomes of their thinking show that they chose to describe their natural resource consumption through personal habits such as purchasing a computer, shopping at the mall, going on a family t rip with a wealthy uncle, and throwing away plastic dishes. The reflection assignments encouraged students to relate their thinking in creative and critical ways. Students demonstrated this kind of thinking through critically analyzing the production processes, external costs, and invisible byproducts involved in their consumption and waste. They critically inquired in to the influence of materialism and social value perspectives on their actions as consu mers. The digital story project also facilitated students to creatively theorize solutio ns around the problems they found associated with their overconsumption. Students de veloped ideas (a) to reduce waste and natural resource use through eliminating lazy habit s and (b) to decrease consumption through questioning necessity along with the develo pment thrifty habits. Sociopolitical and Emotional. Students demonstrated relating the course material and their thinking to sociopolitical aspects through the larger systems perspective of a ctions in their lives of (a) purchasing technology, (b) contributing to the increase of sol id waste, (c) the heavy burden of wealthy lifestyles, and (d) over-consuming at the mall. Ad ditionally these sociopolitical contexts

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103 of thinking cultivated emotions such as (a) appall in realizing the amount of waste, (b) discomfort in admitting over-consumptive tendencies (c) difficulty in making the habit change to waste less, and (d) guilt in buying techn ology. The sociopolitical context was intentional in the curriculum through investigating the practice within everyday habits. The emotions that students felt were also encourag ed through developing a narrative that is embedded in the digital story project. How ever, it is important to note that the curriculum itself does not function to intentionall y produce feelings of guilt, discomfort, and appall. Rather these emotions were fostered th rough student investigations of their everyday life practice, which are reflected on thro ughout the semester and then focused in the production of a digital story. In this way stu dents are not taught to feel a certain way about the environment as relates to their behavior, or everyday practice, but they instead they arrive at their authentic emotions through per sonal discoveries from the Lifebook assignments. Action-Motivated. The action component seems to be the quest for the holy grail of environmental education. Changing habits is complex business and difficult, if at all possible. However there is evidence that two students, Shoffi and Sil ver, evaluated the impacts of their life practice on the environment and decided to modify s pecific behaviors through (a) not buying things at the mall (Silver) and (b) commenci ng to wash dishes in lieu of throwing away plastic ones (Shoffi). The other two cases, w hile no explicit action change was stated, pointed out changes in their perspective to act differently. Both described intentions to consume less either through developin g thrifty ethics (Alice) or just becoming more aware (Anna).

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104 I feel this is a significant finding because resea rch has found that everyday practices, or behaviors, are difficult to change (Kollmus & Ag yeman, 2002). This is also something that Steiner (2010) pointed out for the future impl ications of her masterÂ’s research in ENVS 1042L. There is a need for research to look a t the development of student actions as a result of this course. These findings suggest that this curriculum did influence behavior change in two of the four case study parti cipants lives. Experience of the Learner Evidence from these findings paints a picture of fo ur journeys in coming to think about the environment and natural resource consumpt ion. Three of the students began the semester thinking about the environment as pure nat ure while the fourth started with a view much more complex. As the semester progressed so did their thinking, in divergent ways, about the environment and natural resource co nsumption. Each case study participant found a unique path in the development of their thinking over the semester. They also showed a pattern of linking and branching out from previous ideas as they elaborated on their reflections about natural resou rce consumption, (Table 4.3).

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105 Table 4.4: Student Thinking Developments Participant First Day Drawing (Environment) Mid-semester Drawing (Environment) Intent Letter (Consumption) Annotated Bib/ Companion Viewing Guide (Consumption) Silver PN DN MAT, PER MAT, CON Shoffi PN DN, PP, POLL WAS, OCON, SUS WAS, OCON, SUS, CON, UD Anna PN, REC DN, NROU, PN, NRLU WAS, SUS WAC, CON, PER Alice DN, PN, NRC, GG, GN DN, PN, NRC, GG, GN, CON, UD, UH, EXP, USUS PER, INV, CON CON, SUS *Drawing codes described in chapter 4, Table 4.1; Digital story theme codes described in chapter 4, Table 4.2; PN (pure nature), DN (destroy ed nature), REC (recycling), NRC (natural resource consumption), GG (global geograph y), GN (global nature), PP (production process), POLL (pollution), NROU (natur al resource overuse), NRLU (natural resource low use), CON (consumption), UD ( unequal distribution), UH (unhealthy humans), EXP (exploitation), USUS (unsus tainability), MAT (materialism), PER (perception), WAS (waste), OCON (overconsumptio n), SUS (sustainability), INV (invisible effects), WAC (wealthy American culture) I find it interesting that while the same themes o f thinking (such as waste, overconsumption, materialism, and consumerism) were woven through the four case studies, each participant interpreted them differen tly. The conceptual framework for this study proposes a view of the curriculum as four par ts of a wheel and the unique learner thumbprint of consumption literacy at the center. This makes sense, because as the center of the framework symbolizes, each student is a uniq ue person with a life history, a lifestyle, and life choices that separates him/her from his/her peers. Each student has a life experience that highlights different pieces of the puzzle about natural resource consumption, such as (a) waste through plastic dish es or wealthy lifestyles and (b) overconsumption through shopping at the mall or pur chasing a computer.

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106 The findings of this study also highlight certain aspects of thinking as common such as (a) the purchase of unnecessary products, (b) the d esire to push back against materialism and consumerism, as well as (c) thinking about the invisible consequences from our consuming habits. While this is certainly gratifyi ng, as an environmental science educator, to see it is definitely not a surprise. The coffee cup activity from the first day (as discussed in chapter two) sets the stage for the co ntinued practice of thinking backwards from our everyday actions to consume. The video th at I show, The story of stuff course readings (such as No Impact Man Critical Pedagogies of Consumption “Body Ritual Among the Nacirema”), as well as class discussions and assignments (such as recording their waste and food origins) are all intentional p ieces of the curriculum to help students visualize these invisible stories and unquestioned perceptions underling our everyday natural resource consumption. Another important invisible story that came out of student thinking is in regards to the social issues that are created by our consumption. On the CVG Alice looks at the exploitation of labor hidden behind the things we b uy. She writes, “what goes into the things we buy? Who are the people, communities, an d environments, that are affected so that we can have out things?” (see Appendix F, Alic e’s CVG) Shoffi also describes thinking about the social issues of resource distri bution and sharing with the poor. On the AB Shoffi writes, “instead of just throwing food aw ay, I would rather give it to poor people myself because they deserve to have a clean and healthy food, not picked up from the trash” (see Appendix F, Shoffi’s AB). This chapter presented the results and findings fo r the study concerning the evidence and relevance of student thinking in regar ds to the environment and

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107 consumption. In Chapter 5, I address the implicati ons of these findings in regards to educational practice and suggestions for future res earch.

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108 CHAPTER V IMPLICATIONS OF THE STUDY “Digital stories…really challenged my ability to cr eate something that connected a huge concept to me There was so much room for creativity that I fee l like I honestly and sincerely learned something about myself.” -EVNS 1042L Student response on the course evaluati on Introduction In this chapter I address research question 3, conc erning the implications for educators about the learning outcomes from this ENVS 1042L ex perience. Additionally, I discuss the implications for future research in environment al science laboratory courses. In addressing the implications for future educators an d research, I focus on four overarching questions: (a) Where does our preoccupation with ma terialism in a resource-strapped world fit into a liberal arts education in the 21st century? (b) What do these findings mean for environmental science education in higher learn ing? (c) What do these finding suggest for current and future roles of digital storytellin g in higher learning environmental science instruction? and (d) What sorts of training should environmental science educators receive? Materialism in the Liberal Arts Curriculum The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the Uni versity of Colorado at Denver is guided by the following mission, “to foster acad emic excellence, to create and impart knowledge critical to a modern society and a global economy [emphasis added], and to ensure the acquisition of skills essential for prof essional careers and graduate study” ( ). In this modern time of globalization and enviro nmental destruction, it is important that as citizens we begin to read t he science of our actions. This literacy is derived in our ability to deconstruct what cannot n ecessarily be seen in the moment.

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109 Literacy in this way is about reading the signs of what is probably happening as consequences of our actions. This kind of reading is often difficult, guilt-ridden, uncomfortable, and appalling. What we find that we are participating in is often not what we want to hear resulting from our seemingly simple desires to have things in our lives. This skill of reading, through our preoccupation wi th materialism, is vital knowledge to have in this modern time of our globalizing society It is critical, if we are to improve our destructi ve and exhaustive use of natural resources, that citizens become aware of how to change everyday social practice. While government and industry need to be held accountable there is much improvement to be done within each of our personal lives. While thes e large institutions surely have an impact, so do we. As consumers we have the have power to learn abou t the relationships between what we do, how we do it, and the places an d people that our actions impart consequence. Every student participates in this gl obalizing system. Every teacher participates in this globalizing system. The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and envi ronmental science classrooms have the opportunity to participate as well through inno vative instruction uniting the fourwalled classroom with the busy world outside. Ther e is possibility in many ways to connect students to course material that is relevan t and critical to their citizenship in the global world through natural resource consumption. The consumption curriculum is a natural tie in with the experiential learning focus that is already promoted at the University of Colorado at Denver, not only in environmental sc ience classrooms, but other disciplines across campus as well.

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110 Environmental Science Education in Higher Learning These findings have many implications for environm ental science education in higher learning. In this section I will first address the implications from ENVS 1042L student feedback about the course and the multitude of less ons I received through their comments as an educator. Then, the notion of apolitical vs. political learning in the venture of teaching about natural resource consumption in envi ronmental science college classrooms is addressed. On the mid-semester evaluations each participant described their thinking about the class. Alice writes that she enjoyed the class and was surprised that the lab was interactive, self-exploratory, and meaningful. She enjoyed (a) exploring the global world beyond herself, (b) thinking about how others live, are suffering, and try to be sustainable, (c) the outdoor activities, and (d) the in-class gr oup work. She describes the class videos that I showed during my mini-lectures as VERY impac tful in influencing her change in perspective. In describing the digital story proje ct she says that it was a growing experience that helped her tap into her creativity when she thought she barely had any. Silver writes that she genuinely enjoyed the class and coming every week. She feels that she learned many things and has been able to u se what she learned in the practice of her personal life. Her expectations were different from the lab she experienced, thinking that there would be lots of work and strict deadlin es but she enjoyed the group work, the assignments, and at the mid-semester was excited to start her digital story project. Anna writes that she appreciated the freedom of th inking about their stories and in the Lifebook assignments because it made learning feel more real than traditional assignments. She enjoyed (a) the reflection assign ments, (b) the story examples because

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111 they were interesting, (c) the video clips because they helped her visualize the big picture, (d) the outside activities, and (e) the instructor availability because I could help her whenever she needed it. Shoffi writes that this lab taught him beneficial environmental knowledge. He learned (a) about the products that he buys and uses consta ntly, (b) that overconsumption and the purchase of unnecessary products are related to was te problems as well as supply and demand, and (c) about the hidden consequences of oi l embedded in the transportation of our products we buy as well as the water hidden beh ind what we consume. The individuals showcased in the research walked a way from the experience of ENVS 1042L with their own set of new knowledge that they worked to learn over the semester with me. Future environmental science educators ca n learn from these student descriptions in several ways. First that each stud ent learns differently, they are unique and individual human beings with separate interests, an d they appreciate the freedom of empowerment with critical, personal, and creative l earning. Second, that students enjoy interaction over lecture. In discussion, they are able to share ideas and learn from each other, deconstruct what they know, and then rebuild new conceptions of their own. Third, that students find real contexts of environmental h appenings (I often used videos from YouTube and other internet sources) much more inter esting than learning about general environmental issues or topics from a sterile textb ook. Information from the real world is not only interesting, but it is relevant to decisio ns that they are faced with everyday. Last, students enjoy the process observing, analyzing, an d constructing their own stories of understanding their very social and political world s.

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112 Juxtaposed to the notion of a disengaged textbook, Paulo Freire writes of teaching as a human act. As educators we are not sterile beings without beliefs or convictions, certainly something beyond knowledge acquisition has inspired us to stand in front of the classroom. Freire writes (2000/1998), There is no theory of socio-political transformatio n that moves me if it is not grounded in an understanding of the human person as a maker of history and as one made by history. If it does not respect men an d women as beings of decision, rupture, option. As ethical beings who in their et hicality are capable of being unethical, of transgressing into ethical code indis pensible for human livingÂ…I am a conditioned being capable of going beyond my own conditioning (p115-116). As educators, we are human and so are our students. The content and skills involved in learning to be consumption literate are not apolitical, neither are our students. The beauty about being human is the ability to have passions, emotions, and convictions that inspire us to think and act in the world. Dev eloping consumption literacy in environmental science classrooms requires that educ ating and learning be handled as the human, and therefore political, acts that they are. Handling content as political engages students to reflect and think critically, creativel y, and personally in their venture of understanding the world. The ENVS 1042L was framed in way that intentionally engaged students in a political way. As the instructor, in an honest pro posal, I made my political viewpoints visible alongside a proposal of the information fro m multiple angles. On the first day and continuing throughout the semester, as mentioned in Chapter two, students were told that every opinion has a place in this lab there is no r ight or wrong way to think about these topics. This is an important measure to build the trust needed with students so they feel comfortable expressing their views, which may or ma y not align with mine. In the past, it was my experience that studentsÂ’ felt inhibited to speak without continually reminding

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113 them that it is ok to have different opinions. It was often further iterated that these differing views often provide a deep material conte nt benefit to the lab that could not be present without the genuine expressions from each a nd every student. The Lifebook journal and the digital story project were given as assignments for students to express their ideas and honor their fre edom of speech in this lab. Students were encouraged through the Lifebook journal to sea rch through their personal lives and find places where their consumption might conflict with their morals about natural resource use, human labor, or environmental impact. In the introduction of the digital story project students were encouraged to come up w ith a personal struggle they found over the semester and create a narrative to symboli ze what they found. These assignments required students to politically express their view points in a personal, critical, and creative context. Digital Storytelling in Environmental Science Instr uction Digital storytelling engages students in the author ship of their own stories. In the process they collaborate with their peers and inter act with the instructor in personal ways that are often absent from college classrooms. Rin a Benmayor describes the process of producing digital stories in her classroom, While I do not ask my students to articulate new theory, I have seen the multimedia process enhance their understanding of w hat it means to theorize their own identities ‘from the flesh’. That is to use th eir ‘situated knowledge’ – through speaking about, reflecting on, and analyzing their lived experience – to produce new social/cultural/historical understandings. I c onceptualize digital storytelling and theorizing, then, as an active learning process that engages the cultural assets, experiences and funds of knowledge that students br ing to the classroom. It is also a self-reflexive and recursive process that helps s tudents to make important intellectual (theorizing) and personally transforma tive moves…(p. 189).

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114 This tool of self-authorship breaks the conventiona l stigma of competition in the classroom and encourages collaboration through shar ing in ways that help students to construct new understandings of their sociopolitica l worlds. Good stories are inherently ridden with the context of real life. Digital storytelling helps students to bridge the course content into th eir personal lives. Through the reflective practice of story development they are able to revi sit their constructions of the world and mature their understanding. In the environmental science classroom, situating t he final project in the production of a digital story has many benefits for the outcomes of learning. This kind of assignment facilitates higher order thinking through the refle ction, analysis, and critical thinking involved in building a meaningful story from the co urse content. In environmental science courses specifically, this medium provides students with a space to reflect on their capacity to move their intellectual thinking into s pecific actions within their lives. With the move toward online and flipped courses, di gital storytelling is a promising method for students to share and collaborate thinki ng through virtual spaces such as Blackboard and ecollege. Online educators have use d digital stories in these online platforms to create a human social presence of the instructor through utilizing stories to facilitate introductions. Digital stories have als o been used in these online environments (a) in lieu of presentations or writing essays, (b) to teach others about course content, (c) to summarize readings or lessons, (d) to illustrate student understanding or apply theory to professional related work, (e) explore conceptions and misconceptions of topics, and (f) to empower students to creatively express their ideas and perceptions (Dunlap & Lowenthal, 2010).

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115 The nested assignments of the digital story project can be posted and shared for peer feedback on course websites, wikiÂ’s, or blogs. Stu dents in ENVS 1042L posted the assignments on Blackboard as a communal place to sh are in the development of their stories. Students read each otherÂ’s stories on Bla ckboard and then worked collaboratively to give ideas and feedback during the process of fi ne-tuning their narratives and producing the digital story video. In this way students were able to work together in a spirit of cooperative reflection to understand how they each perceived course content in relation to their classmates. The finished product of the digi tal story was also posted online and then screened in class providing students the opportunit y to celebrate the growth in their ideas, conceptions or misconceptions, along with reflectio ns of the environment and everyday consumption. Training for Environmental Science Educators The process of opening, transforming, and politiciz ing this curriculum happened over a period of about four years. It took a lot of tim e and energy, it was stressful, and in the end rewarding. Through the development of the Life book journal and the digital story project I have grown in my understanding of who I a m as an educator. I could not have done this alone (without my colleagues), and it cou ld not have happened without my studentsÂ’ feedback. Every semester, beyond the institutional evaluation I asked students to write their own separate evaluation for me. This feedback helped m e to see what worked for students, what they wanted more of, and what I should take ou t of the curriculum. Over the years I learned that students desire (a) interactive classr ooms where they have the opportunity to speak their mind, (b) personal interactions with me (the instructor), and (c) enjoyed the

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116 process of learning to develop skills for consumpti on literacy. I also learned that students, in general, seem to feel inhibited about their crea tivity, but once they break through they enjoy creating. In this section I will describe th e classroom challenges and kinds of training that would be helpful for graduate student s employed as teaching assistants, as well as full-time faculty, who teach courses like E NVS. Interactive Classrooms That Encourage Free Speech. The biggest lesson for the development of interacti ve, free speech classrooms for me was learning the technique of facilitating student discourse. Often, a few students that spoke a lot dominated discussion, and then the rest would sit and listen. The other problem was my tendency to direct the conversation, which resulted in stifling studentsÂ’ voices. I learned, that in developing interactive and free conversation space in my classroom, I had to let go and let students take control of the conversation. Often this meant that the topic would move away from what I had intended. Ho wever, I found that if I encouraged their thinking in this way they would be more likel y to continue participating. Another technique to create this free and interactive atmos phere was through arranging the desks in a larger circle and keeping a regular schedule of b locking off time for discussion. For example, every week the first 45 minutes of class w as dedicated to student sharing about their life observations, and sharing was mandatory. The first week I had to go clockwise around the circle to make sure everyone spoke but e ventually they started to voluntarily participate, even the previously shy students. Tra ining that helps instructors facilitate student conversations to be open-ended would help d evelop better instruction for consumption literacy curriculums.

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117 Personal Interactions Between Student and Instructo r. Naturally, I tend to be a very down to earth and pe rsonal individual. However in the academic environment I have often felt pressured to maintain a stricter level of professionalism. Learning to negotiate this barrie r was an important step for me in fostering better relationships with students. Whil e, it was important to maintain some threads of professionalism so that students wouldnÂ’ t walk all over me, I found that breaking down some of the traditional barriers was helpful. I maintained professionalism in my expectations and I broke down a bit through m y forms of communication. I found that students appreciate course communicati ons that are easy for them. The technology of texting and Facebook over email, I fo und, are great ways to stay in touch with students. Students began texting me if they h ad a question, and appreciated the immediate response. I would also get texts that tr affic was bad-but they were on their way. Or frantic messages on the last day of class that their digital story file was too big to email. These forms of technology are what students are already using to communicate everyday and utilizing them in the classroom serves the purpose of not only developing a personal interaction and connection but also conven ience. Training instructors to develop more convenient and technologically update modes of communication as well as maintaining professional barriers would be helpful to developing better teacher-student relationships. Developing Consumption Literacy Skills. Working with literacy as a course objective is very different from more conventional methods of content delivery. The aim is to develop a skill of thinking and questioning that is inherently an uncertain process. The consumptio n literacy framework, described in

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118 chapter, proved to be an excellent way to organize learning for literacy. The four dimensions of the curriculum (the Lifebook, the dig ital story project, the sociopolitical context, and the humanistic practice) worked well t o help students think in personal, creative, and critical ways about the environment. The structure laid out in the syllabus, as I describe in further detail within chapter 6, w as a key component to the positive learning outcomes that students described in their digital stories. Training for the consumption literacy curriculum s hould focus on instructor development of positive encouragement, humility, an d flexible elements of instruction. It is important to positively encourage students to de velop critical questions about their consumption. Sometimes the student knows more than the instructorthese moments are opportunities to build student confidence in their knowledge and ability through humble recognition. There is no controlling how students come to their conclusions about course content, maybe guiding or steering the content matt er they consider, but not decisively controlling the exact path of their thinking. Inst ructors must take caution not to manipulate studentsÂ’ paths of inquiry into inhibiti on and risk stifling their imagination to deliver what is potentially possible. If instructors are to successfully teach students to inquire about consumption literacy, they must be masters at it themselves. Mastering t his skill for educating about literacy involves training instructors how to question consu mption (e.g. the coffee cup exercise). Additionally, training should help instructors lear n to find quality examples to share with students in class. These examples need to be const antly updated, relevant to the topics discussed, and from real people, real situations in the world.

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119 Breaking Through To Students Creative Talents. Developing creativity is a crucial piece to this cu rriculum of consumption literacy. I have found that students are often very inhibited w ith their creative talents. Especially in science, but across most disciplines this is not a talent or skill that is developed. However, I am a firm believer that we are all artists – some just have worked on their skills more than others. Training for this would need to include developing the instructor’s creative abilities through emphasis on openness and uncertainty. In b ecoming an artist we must let go of expectations for specificity and work towards diver gent and diversity of thought, ideas, and applications to learning. Within the curriculu m of ENVS 1042L this manifested in many different ways. For example, classroom activi ties included a day where small groups drew visual representations of their thinkin g on the campus sidewalks with colored chalk. Another example of a classroom activity was a day where students were given an art challenge. They came up with innovative ideas about sustainability over a period of two weeks and then had one hour of class time to co nstruct a visual representation of their idea from a variety of found objects, hot glue, and paint. The sketchbook style of the Lifebook (and encouragement for students to reflect through collage, photography, drawing, etc. in addition to writing) is another ex ample where creativity was encouraged in the classroom. The digital story project is ano ther important creative project in ENVS 1042L. Instructors must be able to facilitate vari ous kinds of creative reflection, interaction, and action to encourage students to de velop these kinds of skills through the course.

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120 CHAPTER VI ENVS 1042L: AN AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL ACCOUNT OF THE EXPE RIENCE “This morning was filled with calls to strangers. My goal was to discover more about the food that had nourished my body for 3 days. What I found was truly amazing to me” Journey -ENVS 1042L student’s Lifebook journal quote, refle ction image, and word for the food systems assignment Introduction Each student in this study showed unique progressi ons in their learning and personal ways of understanding about the environment in thei r lives. As a group the case study participants showed development, albeit with differ ent milestones, with critical, creative, and personal thinking. This case study offers a qu alitative in-depth view of the experience of learning about the environment in ENVS 1042L. T he results in chapter four discuss the findings from the analysis of student work. Chapte r five addresses the implications of the finding for the future of environmental science tea ching. In this chapter I discuss the

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121 lessons that I have learned, as the educator, conce rning the development this curriculum and the experience of learning in ENVS 1042L. My point of view is derived within the experience of teaching and creating the ENVS 1042L curriculum over eight semesters. I have also gained insight from my work sifting through the student experience qualitatively. My p edagogical passion is to liberate students to think for themselves through a curricul um that empowers them to question the everyday actions and natural resource consumption e mbedded in their lives. This chapter is split into two sections. First I discuss my ref lections on the Lifebook journal and the digital story project as an open-ended curriculum t hat facilitates repeated practice of thinking differently, personal interpretation of co urse content, and the creation of meaningful stories. The second section looks at m y personal growth as an educator working with this method and the lessons that I lea rned about preparation and organization, student resistance, as well as the di fferent ways that students work through the course material. The Lifebook and the Digital Story: An Open-Ended C urriculum The first time that I taught ENVS 1042L the Lifebo ok and the digital story project were not part of the pedagogy. Instead, students w ere expected to learn specific information about the scientific method, electromag netic radiation, climate change, etc. (as described in chapter two). As the Lifebook and dig ital story project began to develop I saw a different method for encouraging students to think about the environment. Rather than learning specific information, I began to expe ct student to look closer at the world they live in, question it, and extrapolate new unde rstandings based on what they shared with each other during class.

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122 The teaching style that I subscribe to is inherent ly and intentionally creative, loose, open-ended, free-minded, encouraging, and hopefully empowering for students to think for themselves about the forms and consequences of natural resource consumption in their everyday lives. My work building the ENVS 1042L co nsumption curriculum (i.e. the Lifebook journal and the digital story project) is driven by my desire to inspire student thought about the environment as an important and r elevant matter to their everyday lives. However, I also wanted them to learn the techniques of thinking scientifically. The subject of consumption now requires us to think sci entifically about our lives; to observe closely looking for hidden aspects of our consumpti on; to critically question what we do, how we do it, and how we could do things differentl y. Results from my analysis, as I describe in the con clusion of Chapter 4, show that two of the four case study participants (Shoffi and Sil ver) made decisions to modify their behavior. After the semester of looking for the co nsumption in their personal lives, both Shoffi and Silver, asked critical questions about t heir personal consumption habits. Shoffi, after recording his solid waste, saw the ef fects of his decision to use plastic disposable dishes because his trash container was f ull of them. During a normal excursion to the mall, Silver reflected on her sister negotia ting whether to buy a cute purse or have grocery money for the week. Through contemplating the consumption in their lives these two students were able to create alternative habits that diverted the waste of natural resources (Shoffi) and appropriation of money (Silv er). The Lifebook and the digital story project were mo lded each semester, like wet clay, as I learned what worked for students (as well as m yself) and what didnÂ’t. Looking back now, I can see how these pieces weave together a sy nergism of learning about the

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123 environment. First the Lifebook introduces a way o f thinking differently about the world we live in through scientific questioning, extrapol ation of what we find, and developing alternative solutions. As the semester ticks by st udents repeat the practice of critical, creative, and personal thinking about consumption t hrough the Lifebook assignments. The assignments ask students to observe their lives reflect on what they find, and creatively summarize their findings to share with t he class. While students complete the last Lifebook assignments they begin to craft a nar rative story representing the most significant findings that were most meaningful to t hem. Initially the story assignments ask students to think critically about the material fro m the previous weeks. Then students synthesize their thoughts into a personal narrative for the digital story. These are not documentary stories, but rather creative vignettes that represent their personal and reflective thinking from the Lifebook assignments o ver the 16-week semester. The digital story project ends with the production of these nar rated vignettes into a digital format where students add tone and emotion through a title images, background music, and their voice. Over the 16 weeks of the semester students continu ally revisit their thoughts and ideas through each of these modes. This constant revisit ing, through different modes of thinking (searching, creative reflection with image s, written reflection, sharing with other students in class, etc.), is an important process f or students to articulate and refine their understanding about the environment. The open-ende d nature of the curriculum leaves the information open for students to interpret in their own way. The outcome at the end of this process is an empowered form of self-thinking where students interpretation of the course content becomes personally relevant to their everyday lives. I am convinced that

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124 this freedom of personal thought influences student s to think about (re) forming their habits in a way that I would not be able to encoura ge otherwise. The motivation for action to change habits in everyday life practice (e.g. Sh offi and Silver) is something that is rare in my experience of teaching about the environment and is a challenge in environmental classrooms (Kollmus & Agyeman, 2002; Steiner, 2010) The personal relevance of the course content and the empowerment of their thinkin g are reflected in the digital story topics that students created to represent their sem ester thinking. On the last day of every semester, I bring a self addressed stamped envelope to class filled with small blank pieces of paper. At the en d of class I ask students to write one word to describe their thoughts of the class and pl ace it in the envelope. They are encouraged to be honest, as this is my personal for m of assessment. I instruct them to not write their names on the paper and ask a student to volunteer to mail it to me in a week after grades have been turned in. The envelope com es to my house a week later filled with the studentsÂ’ words to describe their experience in my class. The wordle in Figure 6.1 was made from the words of the Spring 2013 students. T he largest words are words that students repeated more than two times, the other wo rds were only used once. I present this as anecdotal evidence to reflect how students felt about the in ENVS 1042L learning experience.

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Figure 6.1: Spring 2013 of Students One Word Refle ction for the Overall Class Evaluation As a testament to the experience of learning enviro nmental science through the Lifebook journal and the digital story project mult iple students used the words creative and inspiring to describe their experience. While other students used the words changing helpful, important, and my favorite class to high light how they experienced the curriculum. The curriculum development intentionally moved away from the expectation that students recite specific information through c orrect or incorrect answers on activity reports. I molded the curriculum to appr oach thinking about environmental science critically, creatively, and personally thro ugh t or wrong answers I asked students to question on what they find in their lives and then share their findings discussions. Each one of us walks into the classroom assumptio ns, a history of experience, cultural fo of us culminate together and influence our unique p erspectives or feelings about Figure 6.1: Spring 2013 of Students One Word Refle ction for the Overall Class As a testament to the experience of learning enviro nmental science through the Lifebook journal and the digital story project mult iple students used the words creative and inspiring to describe their experience. While other students used the words helpful, important, and my favorite class to high light how they experienced the The curriculum development intentionally moved away from the expectation that students recite specific information through c orrect or incorrect answers on activity reports. I molded the curriculum to appr oach thinking about environmental science critically, creatively, and personally thro ugh t he world we live in. Instead of I asked students to question and extrapolate new under standings based in their lives and then share their findings with each other during class into the classroom on the first day with preexisting values, ns, a history of experience, cultural fo rces at work, and attitudes. These pieces of us culminate together and influence our unique p erspectives or feelings about 125 Figure 6.1: Spring 2013 of Students One Word Refle ction for the Overall Class As a testament to the experience of learning enviro nmental science through the Lifebook journal and the digital story project mult iple students used the words creative and inspiring to describe their experience. While other students used the words life helpful, important, and my favorite class to high light how they experienced the The curriculum development intentionally moved away from the expectation that students recite specific information through c orrect or incorrect answers on lab activity reports. I molded the curriculum to appr oach thinking about environmental he world we live in. Instead of right standings based with each other during class existing values, rces at work, and attitudes. These pieces of us culminate together and influence our unique p erspectives or feelings about the

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126 environment. The findings of this study show that even though everyone was given the same information and experience from me, they each distilled the information in their own ways. The words that students used to describe the ir experience highlight an important function of this curriculum; the importance of lear ning to think critically and creatively for ourselves, especially in regards to our personal co nsumption. There is a great reward in teaching when the experience is mutually beneficial and enjoyable from both the teacher and student perspective. This curriculum experienc e cultivates thinking from many perspectives that each class is inherently given by virtue of the multiple life experiences that walk through the classroom door on the first d ay. My Personal Growth as an Educator Throughout the semesters I worked on the ENVS 1042 L curriculum I grew in how I understood my work as an environmental science educ ator and consequently changed the way that I approached learning in my classroom. In this section I discuss my own growth and change in regards (a) to my preparation and org anization of the lab, (b) my style of practice working with students that resisted or sho wed no interest learning about the environment, and (c) navigating the many different ways that students gather and assimilate the course information. The discussion in this section is my autobiographical view on the lessons that I learned from developing the ENVS 1042L curriculum (the Lifebook and the digital story project) as well as from the experience of teaching and refining my practice with each new semester. Preparation and Organization. There are three components that set structure to th is course; the syllabus, the Lifebook, and the digital story project. I have spent a lot of time discussing how the Lifebook and

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127 the digital story project organize learning about e nvironmental science in ENVS 1042L. However, aside from a brief conversation in Chapter two, I have not addressed how important the development of the syllabus was to th e success of teaching ENVS 1042L in the spring 2013 semester. The syllabus provided th e ground rules, the expectations (and deadlines), supporting information, and the commitm ent (the contract between teacher and student). Each semester the syllabus morphed to include new pieces of information and structure as the ENVS 1042L curriculum developed. The spring semester of 2013 Marty Otaez shared his course syllabus, which included t en assignments for the digital story project and a student-teacher contract. These two additions to the ENVS 1042L syllabus were very important to the successful structure and organization of learning in the lab course. The contract at the end of the syllabus is set up as an agreement that students make to (a) have proper classroom etiquette (such as being on time, not using cell phones or laptops during class), (b) complete readings before class, (c) develop basic technological proficiency, (d) understand that the digital story project is half of their grade and what each nested assignment entails, (e) be physically p resent for the final screening of their digital story, (f) participate during class discuss ions, and (g) understand that class participation is 20% of their grade. Students then read, sign, and turn the contract in to me during the second lab meeting. Each semester befor e I had handed out a syllabus on the first day I went over the important points, expecti ng students to read it for themselves. Inevitably each semester, a student would express t o me, ‘I didn’t know about that assignment’ or ‘oh…I didn’t see that on the syllabu s’. I remember that second day of

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128 class when students handed in the contract, there w as something about it that made the semester expectation and work feel official. Stude nts understood clearly up front what they were each expected to do. While I cannot say that it completely eliminated the typical procrastination, their participation, atten dance, and work seemed to be taken more seriously. There is much that I learned about facilitating th e digital story project over the years, as it became such an important part of the curricul um. I grew in my efficacy as a storyteller helping students to write stories that were personal (not general) and that were emotionally meaningful (not documentary or report s tyle). Another growth curve lay in my technological ability and creativity skills to h elp students produce stellar video products that they were proud to share. While thes e were important milestones for myself as an educator working with digital stories, they h appened over time and the essential experience of diving in and trying something uncomf ortable and new. My last lesson, that of assignment organization, p roved to be one of the most powerful. The structure and organization of the di gital story project on the syllabus made the semester work more productive and less stressfu l on both my end as well as the students. The description of the nested assignment s was an informational guide that detailed the particulars and my expectations for ea ch assignment, set a due date, and assigned the grade point allocation to each compone nt (see Appendix C). This was instrumental for students as well as myself to stay on target with story development, which prevented a lot of procrastination that I had exper ienced in previous semesters. The spring 2013 semester class of ENVS 1042L benef itted from the growth I had made facilitating the digital story project. Addit ionally, the organization that I used with

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129 the syllabus had an enormous impact on the quality of digital stories that students produced. Each assignment helped students to devel op their story. The use of managed time, and the avoidance of procrastination, was a k ey element for helping students to produce the powerful stories that came out of their learning that semester. The continued revisiting, reflection, and sharing through the sto ry development over that last eight weeks allowed their thoughts to mature in ways that I had n’t experienced with the previous semesters of digital story projects. Student Resistance. In her dissertation, looking at the alignment of u niversity goals and students expectations within general education science cours es, Rebecca Ericson (2012) describes a familiar feeling in regards to her Astronomy 111 st udents. She writes, “ask my students…why they are taking the course and the ans wer will probably be along the lines of ‘I have to take science and I already took Biolo gy in high school’ or ‘I have to fulfill the science requirement’ (p.4)”. I start the firs t day of ENVS 1042L asking my students this very question. Students sometimes respond pos itively such as, ‘because I want to know more about the environment’ or ‘because I love the environment’. It is common to hear more aloof responses such as ‘because I have t o’, ‘because it is required’, or ‘because I heard it is easy’. Then there have been those st udents, as described in chapter 2, who stiffly say, ‘I am only here because I have to be and I don’t care about th e environment.’ I remember the student that I described in chapter two from the spring semester of 2009. For introductions that semester I asked the class to tell me their name and the reason why they were taking this class (ENVS 1042L) When it was his turn he said his name and then almost irritated, explained, ‘I am on ly here because it is required, and I

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130 actually donÂ’t care at all about the environment.Â’ As the semester progressed I found myself arguing with this student, desperately hopin g that I could change his mind. However, as I discussed in chapter two my attempts to persuade only polarized him more from what I wanted to accomplish, which was caring about how he interacted with the environment. I knew that I had to change the way I approached t his information. I donÂ’t want to alienate a student from the course content by pushi ng my position on them. My intention is to encourage intellectual conversation in a spac e where everyone begins with a valid viewpoint and everyone negotiates through their own perspective of the environment by sharing and then listening to their peers (as well as myself). Each semester, without fail, I have been given var ious groupings of students from each of these categories. However, no matter where thei r interest is in taking ENVS 1042L, they are enrolled in this course and it is my job t o teach them about the environment. The curriculum developed through my personal growth as an environmental educator. As I develop my strategy and plans for teaching each day I remind myself that I have to act in a way that does not create the resistance in the fi rst place. In this section I will address how I have developed a style in my practice of teac hing to embrace those who resist or are aloof and encourage them to engage in the material. Looking back at the first day, I noticed that I no longer asked them to share with the class why they are taking ENVS 1042L. Instead I us ed the first day evaluations and asked them to write a response to the question, what is it that you desire to know or gain from this class? This eliminates any need to put someone on the sp ot the very first day and navigates around setting that first impression as a resister not wanting to learn about the

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131 environment. Possibly this could explain why there wasnÂ’t a single student that spring 2013 semester that described themselves as a resist er. The next important step is that I explain, on the first day and reiterate many times after, that there are no right or wrong answers in this class. I clearly state that every opinion is valid and when everyone contributes the entire class benefits to learn more. It is my intention to encourage their dissent that is where the good stuff is. This is where we start disentangling what they know, what they donÂ’t know, and how they can find new perspectives that they hadnÂ’t thought about before. Throughout the class I offer my opinion and ask them to challenge me, it helps me t o learn other perspectives and possibly reform the way I see. The framework in this curriculum guides students t o think personally, critically, and creatively about the environment. However, the tru e content is embedded within their very own lives. I simply ask them to search the pr oducts, activities, and food they consume in their lives and tell me what they found. They can choose to feel good about the natural resource consumption they support or no t. The way I present the material has changed. Before I would explain what I want them t o know in a lecture format and then in class conversations try to persuade them to have my perspective. Now I guide them by teaching them the skills to look deeper into their lives and ask questions about the forms of natural resource consumption, human labor, and e nvironmental ethics that they are supporting (knowingly or unknowingly). The decisio ns to feel guilty or empowered come from within them, not me. This is the major develo pment of the curriculum that has helped me to successfully mediate resistance in my classroom.

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132 What I have found is that students who resist are not excited about being told what to think. That kind of teaching through attempted per suasion, in my experience, is rarely successful at changing a student’s perspective. Th e alternative route that asks students to look within their authentic self to question long h eld perceptions, I have found, is a better way to encourage change. Navigating the Course Content. Through teaching ENVS 1042L I have learned to vie w each student as a person living and learning in the world like myself, with identit ies, desires, feelings, and life situations that strongly influence what we learn, what we do, and how we do it. On the first day, I write in my fieldnote, ‘When they introduce themselves I ask them to say t heir name, one word describing themselves as a learner, something surpr ising about themselves, and their dream job. My point to the introductions is to learn something about them as people. I love starting with who we are as humans and where we desire to go (Document 2, Fieldnote 1, see Appendix B) When students describe themselves in their first da y introductions, it is amazing to see the rainbow of differences that each of them brings to the classroom. I share a paragraph from these introductions on the spring 20 13 first day of the semester to highlight the different colors of humanity that eac h student’s perception of likes, dreams, and lives represent. Brandon mentioned that he ‘is driven to learn by an xiety and that anxiety is not always a bad thing.’ His dream job would be to be a hippie and live in a bus. Selina said that she is a curious learner and somet hing interesting was that she was an Elf at Park Meadows mall. Anna said that she wa nts to be an elementary teacher. Sandy said that her dream job is to own a bar and make beer with her husband, she also plays the harp. Tara dreams to b e a psychologist and hoop dances. Silver dreams of getting paid to travel an d avocados make her tongue itch. Kara said that she dreams of becoming a party plann er. Ari is also a visual learner, wants to be a TV presenter and is writing a book. He spoke in Arabic to other students to ask for the word “novel” so that he cou ld describe the kind of book that

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133 he was writing. His friends laughed and thought th at this was funny (Document 2, Fieldnote 1 see Appendix B). In addition to personal tastes, I have come to appr eciate how different people are influenced to learn by different processes. It see ms that each student gathers and assimilates information in their individual way. The notion that each student learns and is impacted by what they learn differently has strongl y influenced my style and approach to educating about environmental science. In this sec tion I discuss the case study participants learning as examples of how students m ake their way through the material differently. Specifically I will use the demograph ic contours of gender, age, race, ethnicity, and class to show the possible influence s of humanness on student learning. While the categories of age and gender are fairly e asy to assess, as a clarification for this discussion, I explain my understanding of class, et hnicity, and race as I attribute these categories to the case study participants. The New York Times published a series of articles about class in 2005 to explain the modern contours of our lives that contribute to the social class that we each identify with. The authors of the first article describe, Class is rank, it is tribe, it is culture and taste It is attitudes and assumptions, a source of identity, a system of exclusion. To some, it is just money. It is an accident of birth that can influence the outcome of a life. Some Americans barely notice it; others feel its weight in powerful waysÂ… At its most basic, class is one way societies sort themselves out. Even societies b uilt on the idea of eliminating class have had stark differences in rank. Classes a re groups of people of similar economic and social position; people who, for that reason, may share political attitudes, lifestyles, consumption patterns, cultur al interests and opportunities to get ahead (p. 2)Â…. One way to think of a person's p osition in society is to imagine a hand of cards. Everyone is dealt four cards, one from each suit: education, income, occupation and wealth, the four commonly us ed criteria for gauging class (p. 3).

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134 For the purpose of this discussion I will use these four categories (education, income, occupation, and wealth) to gage an approximate clas s for each case study participant. A second clarification is the categorization of rac e and ethnicity. It is important to recognize that the categories of race such as Middl e-eastern, White, or Hispanic refers to the physical and biological characteristics of a pe rson. These categories of race do not respect the individual family histories that offer specificity to each category. For example, the Hispanic category, generally lumps Spa nish, Native American (which alone is comprised of thousands, if not more, separate an d distinguishable tribes), Mexican and Mexican-American), or South and Central American in to a single category. Ethnicity is a category that is more social with respect to its de fining characteristics such as language, religion, as well as cultural and national heritage With the boundaries of these demographic categories defined and clarified, I ven ture into the conversation about the possible influence of these demographics on the imp act of learning in ENVS 1042L Silver. SilverÂ’s digital story describing her learning focu sed on the prioritization of resources and materialism (purchasing unnecessary stuff, the influence of beauty, earning money and having things over the investment in social rel ationships). The theme of SilverÂ’s digital story questions the decisions of shopping w ith her sister and habits of spending money at the mall. Silver is a Hispanic female bet ween 18-21 years of age who grew up in Denver and is a first year education student at the University of Colorado at Denver.

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135 I think that it is significant that Silver chose to focus on the appropriation of money. As a young first year student she probably is not l iving with an abundance of resources. Additionally, as a teenager or early twenty year-ol d, Silver is most likely feeling the push of mainstream American culture inundating young wom en with ideas of beauty, or how they should dress and look. In the CVG Silver expl ains, “we are told subconsciously to over consume with everything that is shown to us on the television and even, sometimes the stores themselves” (see Appendix F Silver’s AB) Out of the reading material, Silver picked up the a rticle discussing American materialism and how it influences women to feel abo ut themselves. In the IL Silver writes, It talks about how women have been subconsciously t old that they need to go get all this work done, on them, in order to be beautif ul…I was thinking one of the pictures I would want to show is one of my family a nd me so the audience can relate to me on a personal level. The reason why I want to talk about this is so people see how there’s beauty in things that are no t bought, that are not materialistic (see Appendix F Silver’s IL). I see the demographics of Silver’s female gender, r ace, ethnicity, and class influencing her thinking; the closeness of her family in Denver thr ough showing a picture of her family to represent her as a person; the critical questioning of what constitutes beauty in a woman as well as beauty in life (in social relationships). There seems to be a good mixture of Silver’s demographic contours influencing how she c hooses the class content to reflect further upon and the negotiation through her feelin gs about the reading.

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136 Anna. Anna focused on thinking about the disparity of res ources between the small percentage of the extremely wealthy Americans and e veryone else. This thinking came out of a family trip that occurred during the sprin g 2013 semester. Anna writes, Recently, I went on a trip to the Virgin Islands wi th my uncle. My uncle fits into the rare 1% category of Americans who makes million s of dollars each yearÂ….It has been hard for me to reflect upon this because I do not want to come across as someone who has an abundance of resources at my fin gertips because this week was a rare experience for meÂ… (AnnaÂ’s digital story script see Chapter 4 p. 9596). While Anna is a second year student in the 20-25 ye ar old age group possibly fitting into a low-mid level income her-self, she has had the rare opportunity to access, through family connections, an experience of the extremely wealthy white American lifestyle. The thinking that Anna describes in her work is a juxta position of her ordinary student life to that of her extremely wealthy uncle. Anna describe s a new perspective of her wealthy uncles lifestyle through questioning the use, waste and availability of resources, as well as the appreciation of the simple aspects of life such as a sunset. It seems that the demographics at work in AnnaÂ’s thinking can be attributed to her race and ethnicity. However, I would point out tha t the kind of thinking that Anna describes is a product of the class, race, and ethn icity experience as a young white woman going through college juxtaposed to that of h er wealthy privileged uncle. It seems that the access Anna had to both of these cla ss experiences helped her to apply the lab content of natural resource use to the noti ons of resource disparity, overuse, and waste.

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137 Alice. The story that Alice describes focuses on the invi sible costs and social status involved in the consumption of goods. Alice is a 2 0-25 year old Hispanic woman, in her fifth year of school as a political science major. She is interested in becoming a community activist. Alice has a family history of fighting for justice. Her grandfather works with a non-profit that encourages Hispanic fa thers to become active in their children’s education. One afternoon as we walked t he campus, Alice shared that her grandmother was a displaced Aurarian (people that w ere relocated from their homes downtown when the University of Colorado campus was originally built) and that she was receiving a displaced Aurarian scholarship to atten d school. In the IL Alice writes, “there are so many people, animals, and environments ‘behind the scenes’ that are affected by a choice that I ma ke thousands of miles away” (see Appendix F, Alice’s IL). In Alice’s writing about a film viewed during a lab meeting, there seem to be sentiments of rising above the opp ression of consumerism that is embedded in Alice’s thinking. This video was a great tool for sharing knowledge a bout the over consumption of Americans…I am guilty of buying things that I don’t necessarily need, but just because I am part of a vicious cycle that says I ne ed to buy things in order to have value. The film opened my eyes to the processes an d resources that are behind the scenes of everything that I purchase. I stoppe d to think about the people, the environment, and all of our futures and it left me a little bit hopeless. I didn’t only feel hopeless but an urge to help others under stand that the way we are living is not ethical, and we need to be aware of it in or der to change it (see Appendix F, Alice’s AB). I find it interesting that Alice’s thoughts revolve so strongly around the “vicious cycle” of buying due to social pressure and the invisible con sequences on others of our actions. The

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138 demographics of Alice’s class, race, ethnicity, and gender seem to be strong influences on her thinking about the oppression, justice, and eth ics involved in natural resource consumption. Shoffi. While completing the trash journal during the first quarter of the semester Shoffi was amazed to see all of the plastic dishes and paper n apkins in the trash. The digital story that Shoffi produced focused on the waste of natural res ources embedded in this personal habit of throwing away plastic dishes. In the IL Shoffi writes, “I have also been using so much plastic dishes…because I didn’t want to wash the di shes after using them, so the easiest way was to use plastic and then throw them in the t rash” (see Appendix F, Shoffi’s IL). The main concern that Shoffi describes about throwi ng away dishes is the waste of natural resources. Shoffi writes in his CVG, “I felt that I’m involved in destroying the environment because throwing recyclable products wi ll lead to the production of new ones, which requires more and more natural resource s” (see Appendix F, Shoffi’s CVG). Shoffi is a 20-25 year old male student going to sc hool for business with a scholarship from Saudi Arabian government (who are known to sen d their students over here with sizeable resources). Shoffi doesn’t mention concer n about the appropriation of money, but rather the waste stream that is produced from t hrowing away so many dishes. I find it interesting that he does not mention the sheer cost of throwing away so many dishes.

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139 However, more interesting is the concern that Shoff i states about wasting food, when instead he believes that this resource should be sh ared. In ShoffiÂ’s AB he writes about thinking from No Impact Man and the waste of food, We need to keep in mind the amount of trash we thro w away everyday and think of all the poor peopleÂ…It would be really great if this country had a service that picks up left over from houses and deliver it homel ess people (see Appendix F, ShoffiÂ’s AB). Over the years that I have taught ENVS 1042L I have had many students from Saudi Arabia and Qatar. These rich countries take care o f their citizens in ways that have surprised me. The middle-eastern students have tol d me that all citizens are required by the religion of the government to do good will and donate a portion of their paychecks to the poor. Each semester I have a friend of mine, J ohn Alexander, come into the class and talk about his experience on the streets being home less. John was homeless for 20 years and speaks about his time on the streets very candi dly. He encourages students to ask any question that they have. The students from Saudi A rabia and Qatar have described to me that in their countries homelessness does not exist The donations by citizens make sure that the poor, disabled, and unfortunate have homes ShoffiÂ’s descriptions thinking about the poor, unequal distribution of resources, his id eas about sharing and not wasting resources seem to be impacted by his ethnicity and social values about sharing resources with the poor. These examples demonstrate in a small way how each student is influenced to think about the course material differently. I am certai n that there are many more parts to these studentÂ’s lives that impact learning than what I ha ve commented on. As humans our thinking, assimilating, and understanding about the information we gather is complex

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140 business. My goal with the ENVS 1042L curriculum i s to teach students how to search, question, and think about the world through persona l, creative, and critical lenses. A hopeful outcome is the liberation of thinking to go beyond what I could have ever given them in a lecture. Conclusion Research in STEM university courses suggest that r eform initiatives should focus on creating learning experiences that are active, mean ingful, and enjoyable. Steineman (2003) states that changing the pedagogy in this wa y takes more time but the effort is certainly worth the reward of student satisfaction. I agree wholeheartedly. I conclude with a wordle that was created from all of the word s that studentÂ’s from the last five semesters of my ENVS 1042L (including spring 2013) used to describe the class, see Figure 6.2. Their feedback fuels my motivation to keep creating learning experiences that liberate and empower students to think for themselv es.

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Figure 6.2 : Six Semester Evaluation : Six Semester s of Students One Word Reflection for the Overall Class 141 the Overall Class

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142 BIBLIOGRAPHY Albergaria-Almeida, P. (2011). Critical thinking, questioning and creativity as components of intelligence. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 30, p. 357-362. Andrzejewski, J., Baltodano, M. P., & Symcox, L. (2 009). Social justice, peace, and environmental education. Boston, MA: Beacon Press. Aronowitz, S. (2000). The knowledge factory: Dismantling the corporate un iversity and creating true higher learning. NYC, NY: Routledge. Bacanli, H., Dombayci, M. A., Metin, D., Sinem, T. (2011). Quadruple thinking: Creative thinking. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 12, p. 536-544. Bazzul, J. (2012). Neoliberal ideology, global capi talism, and science education: Engaging the question of subjectivity. Cultural Studies of Science Education, 7 p. 10011020. Bencze, L., Carter, L. (2011). Globalizing students acting for the common good. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 48 (6), p. 648-669. Beavan, C. (2009). No impact man: The adventures of a guilty liberal who attempts to save the planet and the discoveries he makes about himself and our way of life in the process. NYC, NY: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. Becker, E. (2002, October 4). Two acres of farm lo st to sprawl each minute, new study says. New York Times. Retrieved May 2, 2014, from Benmayor, R. (2008). Digital storytelling as a sign ature pedagogy for the new humanities. Arts and Humanities in Higher Education, 7 (2), p. 188-204. Colorado Department of Higher Education. Commission of Higher Education Mission. Retrieved May 2, 2014, from Rogerio Miranda Correia, P., Xavier do Valle, B., D azzani, M., Infante-Malachais, M.E. (2010). The importance of scientific literacy in fo stering education for sustainability: Theoretical considerations and preliminary findings from a Brazilian experience. Journal of Cleaner Production, 18 p. 678-685. Creswell, J. W. (1998). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing a mong five traditions. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Denzin, N.K., and Lincoln, Y.S. (1994). Handbook of qualitative research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publishers, Inc.

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144 Kenway, J., Bullen, E. (2010). Consuming Skin: Der mographies of female subjection and abjection. In Sandlin A., J., and McLaren eds., (I n) Critical pedagogies of consumption: Living and learning in the shadow of the ‘shopocaly pse’(148-156). NYC, NY: Taylor & Francis. Kincheloe, J. L. (2010). Consuming the All-America n corporate burger: McDonald’s “does it all for you”. In Sandlin A., J., and McLa ren eds., (In) Critical pedagogies of consumption: Living and learning in the shadow of t he ‘shopocalypse’(148-156). NYC, NY: Taylor & Francis. Kollmuss, A., Agyeman, J. (2002). Mind the gap: Why do people act environmentally and what are the barriers to pro-environmental behavior ? Environmental Education Research, 8 (3), 239-260. Lord, T. R. (1999). A comparison between tradition al and constructivist teaching in environmental science. The Journal of Environmental Education, 30 (3), 22-27. Lave, J., Wenger, E. (2000). Practice, person, soc ial world. In Daniels, H., (In) An introduction to Vygotsky (143-150). NYC, NY: Taylo r & Francis Group. Moseley, C., Desjean-Perrotta, B., Utley, J. (2010) The draw-an-environment test rubric (DAET-R): Exploring pre-service teachers mental mo dels of the environment. Environmental Education Research, 16 (2), 189-208. Norris, T. (2005). Consuming signs, consuming the p olis: Hannah Arendt and Jean Baudrillard on consumer society and the eclipse of the real. International Journal of Baudrillard Studies, 2 (2). O’Reily, K. (2005). Ethnographic methods. NYC, NY: Routledge. Quammen, D. (1996). The song of the dodo: Island biogeography in an ag e of extinction. NYC, NY: Touchstone. Ramsden, P. (Ed.) (2003). Learning to teach in higher education. NYC, NY: Routledge. Rickenson, M. (2001). Learners and learning in env ironmental education: A critical review of the evidence. Environmental Education Research, 7 (3), 207-320. Rogoff, B. (1990). Apprenticeship in thinking: Cognitive development i n social context. Oxford, NY: Oxford University Press. Rudolph, F. (1990). The American college & university: A history. Athens, GA: The University of Georgia Press. Saldana, J. (2013). The coding manual for qualitative researchers. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.

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145 Sandlin, J.A., & McLaren, P. (2010). Critical pedag ogies of consumption: Living and learning in the shadow of the ‘shopocalypse’. NYC, NY: Taylor & Francis. Sandlin, J.A., & Milam, J. L. (2008). Mixing pop c ulture and politics: Cultural resistance, culture jamming, and anti-consumption activism as c ritical public pedagogy. Curriculum Inquiry, 38 (3), p. 324-348. Santos, W. L. P. D. (2009). Scientific literacy: A Freirean perspective as a radical view of humanistic science education. Science Education, 93 (2), p. 361–382. Schor, J. B. (1998). The overspent American: Why we want what we don’t need. NYC NY: Basic Books. Scott, J., Leonhardt, D. (2005, May 15). Shadowy l ines that still divide. The New York Times. Retrieved from Stage, F. K, Kinzie, J. (2009). Reform in undergrad uate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics: The classroom context. The Journal of General Education, 58 (2), p. 85-105. Steineman, A. (2003.) Implementing sustainable deve lopment through problem-based learning: Pedagogy and practice. Journal of Professional Issues in Engineering Education and Practice 129 (4), p. 216-224. Steiner, E. (2010). “Environmental Literacy: Transf ormation of students into environmentally conscious citizens” Unpublished master’s thesis, University of Colorad o at Denver, Denver, CO. University of Colorado at Denver. College of liberal arts and sciences mission. Retrieved May 2, 2014. Veblin, T. (1918). The higher learning in America B. W. Huebsch: NYC, NY. Wee, B., Harbor, J. M., & Shepardson, D. P. (2009). Multiculturalism in environmental science: A snapshot of Singapore. Multicultural Perspectives, 8 (2), p. 10-17. Wiedmann, T. and Minx, J. (2008). A Definition of Carbon Footprint'. In: C. C. Pertsova ed., Ecological Economics Research Trends (pp. 1-11). NYC, NY: Nova Science Publishers, Hauppauge. Wood, W. B. (2009). Innovations in teaching undergr aduate biology and why we need them. Annual Review of Cell and Developmental Biology, 25 p. 93-112. The Worldwatch Institute. (1984-2010). State of the world 2010: Transforming cultures: From consumerism to sustainability. NYC, NY: W. W Norton & Co.

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146 The Worldwatch Institute. (1984-2011). State of the world 2011: Innovations that nourish our planet. NYC, NY: W. W. Norton & Co. Yin, R. K. (2009). Case study research: Design and methods (Vol. 5). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.

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156 Austine Luce ENVS 1042 Lab Document 2 Fieldnote 1: Introductions Scientific Th inking Spring 2013 Date:1-22-13 Compiled from Jottings written during and immediate ly after class, **no audio Field note written 1/22/13 Site Context This semester I want to focus on helping my student s to create really quality finished products in their digital stories. As this curricu lum has come to conception I have been constantly reorganizing the flow of information and my practice in the classroom to be open. I don’t want to give isolating information ( information that feels persuasive, biased, or pushy to students) and I don’t want my p ractice of classroom etiquette to be disenfranchising to the people enrolled in my secti on. I start out this semester with a finished product of the Lifebook to test pilot and a syllabus packed with information. Today is about getting to know each other and the p ossibility of what this lab course could be. Observation: Today I began the class with 20 minutes set aside f or students to answer the following questions on a blank sheet of copy paper. 1. How do you see yourself as a learner? 2. How do you see yourself as a subject interacting or not with the environment? 3. What do you desire to know or gain from this course ? Then, after they had some time to write and most ha d finished, I asked them to draw a picture of the environment on the back of the blank copy paper. There were groans about drawing. I heard someone say, “I can’t draw. ” I assured them that stick figures worked and that this wasn’t about the quality of th eir drawing skills. I added that, ‘my mom was an art teacher and my brother can draw anyt hing he sees. I didn’t receive those skills, but I can draw a mean stick figure.’ Some students laughed, others got to the task, and others were still trying to finish the question s. There are some students that looked like they were from a middle-eastern country [I have had many students from Qatar and Saudi Arab ia in the past] and they were struggling to finish answering the questions. Two of these students asked me to clarify the question, “how do you see yourself as a subject interacting or not with the environment.” [After looking at the class’s differe nt answers, I noticed that Ari, wrote a very simple answer, “in between”. I’m not sure if my explanation to them helped them to better understand it and there is more to that answ er or if they still really didn’t understand what they were being asked.] When everyone was finished, it ended up taking cl ose to 40 minutes instead of 20, we rearranged the group table set up into one big r ectangle. I commented on how I loved these new tables so that I could do that. For intr oductions I told the class to summarize what they wrote about themselves as a learner into one word. When they introduce themselves to say their name, one learner word, som ething surprising about themselves, and their dream job. My point to the introductions is to understand something about them as people. I love starting with who we are as huma ns and where we desire to go.

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157 Shaki was next to me so he started and then it wen t around the table until the conversation came back to me. [This is where my au dio for the day starts] When Aspen went she described herself as a visual learner and laughter erupted because so many people before had said visual as their one word and lots more to come agreed. Another student mentioned that they had broken their collar bone on a slip and slide (just a few months ago) and lots of students gave the ‘ouch’ gr oan. Mark said that something interesting about him-self is that he is Chinese. He also mentioned that reading is not his preferable method of learning, that reading is actu ally a bit difficult for him. As the conversation from student to student 5-6 students a greed with Mark’ comment about reading being a difficult method for them to learn. Brandon mentioned that he ‘is driven to learn by an xiety and that anxiety is not always a bad thing.’ His dream job would be to be a hippie and live in a bus. Selina said that she is a curious learner and something interes ting was that she was an Elf at Park Meadows mall. Anna said that she wants to be an el ementary teacher. Sandy said that her dream job is to own a bar and make beer with he r husband, she also plays the harp. Tara dreams to be a psychologist and hoop dances. Silver dreams of getting paid to travel and avocados make her tongue itch. Kara sai d that she dreams of becoming a party planner. Ari is also a visual learner, wants to be a TV presenter and is writing a book. He spoke in Arabic to other students to ask for the word “novel” so that he could describe the kind of book that he was writing. His friends laughed and thought that this was funny. I went last an introduced myself as an active lear ner, needing action, experience, and movement. I explained that I see myself as a lifelong learner and that I have become a career student with 16 years of university school ing logged. Then I said, ‘and something surprising about myself is that, actually as a result of this class a few semesters ago, I stopped wearing deodorant. There was a surp rised silence, as there always when I give something surprising about myself. My intenti on is to open myself to be very personal. [As I am writing this I am thinking abou t my inner struggle to be myself as I would any other time and to be professional. Does sharing personal information like this make me unprofessional? On the contrary I feel str ongly that when I share personal information that action levels the playing field. Everyone one is human and we are all dealing with the stuff in our lives which are the r esult of that being human thing.] I moved on to the next idea, which was thinking ab out learning. I asked if anyone liked lecture methods in particular. Alice spoke a nd said that she feels she does well with lecture-based learning because that kind of formal organization of information comes easy. I explain, ‘this course is designed to be as labs are intended-to support the lecture material in an experientially based way. There wil l be lots of group work and there will be lots of actively working through the stuff that we are learning as they embedded in daily life.’ Then I asked them, who in here see themselves as a n artist? 2 people raised their hands lightly (not proudly). [It is surprising to me how many individuals do not feel like they are artists –aka creative beings-when in fact we all have that somewhere inside of us in some form that is not necessarily the traditiona l sculptor or painter.] I moved on to touch on the idea of right brain verses left brain and the idea that some right brain individuals tend to have the more creative/artist t ypes of characteristics like how they openly think, compile, or organize information. ‘W hile left-brain individuals tend to be

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158 less free and more calculated in the ways that they organize information. The idea is that as different people we organize information differe ntly and that we all have some level of influence from the right side of our brains.’ Ever yone was quiet and listening as I spoke. ‘This semester we will be tapping into that right s ide of our brains for thinking about natural resources and consumption in our lives. The more that everyone contributes, the more that everyone will see the different perspecti ves and in the end, hopefully, the more opportunity we create to learn more than we would h ave otherwise.’ Then I moved on to ask, ‘how many of you see yours elves as scientists?’ Jace answered that he does because ‘he thinks about the world differently.’ Aspen replied that does too, ‘because she like information.’ Alice re plied that she is ‘because she sees herself as a social scientist in a community organi zing sense interested in ethnic studies and research around that.’ Brandon answered that he does too because he ‘sees the world in scientific terms like instead of just noticing t he clouds he wonders what they are why they are significant.’ I said, ‘in this class I try to balance our scienc e thinking with art through talking about consumption. What is consumption?’ I heard s hopping, using water, and eating food as responses. ‘The mission of this class is w ill be to find those things in your everyday lives and bring them back to class to shar e about what you find out.’ I asked them, ‘what was the first thing that you did this m orning? Brush your teeth? Turn off an alarm clock?’ I got a lot of funny faces, [I think they were wondering what in the heck I was asking these questions for]. So I asked them, ‘why would I be asking you these questions?’ Jonathon replies, ‘They are daily acti vities that we don’t even realize.’ This moved into the conversation about the journal s and what a journal is and the different ways to journal and record thoughts. I b rought a past journal of mine to share an example of thinking through making collage or wr iting out words where they are not in lines but trail around the page or maybe it is j ust a few words that are most important centered on the page. I explained that there is no wrong way to write and that, as I handed out the Lifebook, this was their space to th ink and write and express themselves freely. There is no right or wrong. Maybe better q uality and lesser quality of thought and presentation and effort. I mentioned that I made t he books and I heard someone say ‘cool’ but everyone was quiet as I handed them out. [I’m always wondering what they are thinking when they are quiet.] Then I handed the syllabus out and said, ‘the seco nd big piece of this class is what I call the creative project. This semester you wil l be on the search for a moment that highlights a struggle that you are dealing with and tell a story about that moment. Has anyone ever done a digital story?’ Aspen raised h er hand and described an exploratory digital story that she made in a class with Marty O tanez. She said, ‘it’s easy when you get into it. It’s actually fun.’ I asked, ‘is anyone feeling nervous?’ Some studen ts said yes, so I asked them what made them feel nervous? One female student sa id, ‘I don’t know, it sounds intimidating.’ I replied, ‘we will use class time to put the digital stories together, the first half of the semester, we will be getting at the nit ty gritty about consumption, again no right or wrong answers or ways to feel about things I had a student one time that felt pushed out because he held a very different opinion I don’t want that to happen again. [It is always important for me since that semester to make sure that students don’t feel intimidated or inhibited to express their opinions. It feels more difficult to understand

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159 how students are progressing in their thinking when they feel the need to tell me what they think I want to hear or when they keep their t houghts quiet, not wanting to offend myself or their peers. I reiterate this idea that there are no right or wrong answers often in my past lab sections and it has helped to defray those tendencies a bit.] I describe their first assignment as the product re search and the process of searching for information about a product that they use on a regular basis in their lives. I tell them that there will be a weekly assignment to take a picture as a reflection of their weekly research of natural resource consumption and let them know that text is the easiest way to receive their images. I asked them who didn’t have a smart phone? Not one person raised their hand. I asked them, ‘Did I calm any fears?’ It seemed lik e they were still feeling a bit nervous so I said, ‘think about the normal work for a class-taking a test, quiz, or writing a report and the amount of time it takes to prepare f or those kinds of class work. I will not test you in that way for this lab. But the same ti me and effort is directed in a different way. If it ever feels frustrating come and talk to me because that is not the intention. Everyone was really quiet. I went on to describe m ore about the most important pieces of the syllabus, as I said the ‘nuts and bolts of the course.’ I talk about the weekly readings and mention No Impact Man and ask, ‘has anyone seen the movie or read the book?’ A student tells me that she has seen the movie and a few others say that they have heard about it. I tell them that this will be the first handout chapter 1 from No Impact Man and that I will bring for the next week. [I am still l earning their names and so it is difficult to write jottings about the happenings in the class an d at the same time who said what. This is valuable information, I think I will try recordi ng an audio of the class in the future to use for writing these fieldnotes once I know their names better.] ‘Thinking scientifically, exploring, analyzing, ob serving, asking questions-that’s the frame that I want you to see the world this sem ester. With that in mind lets talk about consumption as I want you to see this through brain storming what it takes to get a cup coffee from Starbucks downstairs. What do you thi nk it takes to get a cup of coffee?’ Jack speaks up and says, the coffee had to be grown .’ Hadi says that ‘it had to be shipped.’ I say, ‘ok good, now lets go back to gro wing-how was the coffee grown?’ Jack answers, ‘Trees, water.’ I describe the different processes of shade grown and fair trade and am amazed that no one knows what those words me an. I describe the process of fair trade and how typically a coffee farmer may get 10 cents a pound while it is sold for $1014 a pound on our grocery shelves in the US. Someo ne whispers, ‘wow’. ‘Ok so then what,’ I ask. Students volunteer some suggestions, about the production processes that it has to be harvested, roasted, grinded, packed and t hen the whole process of selling it. [These are the more obvious pieces to the productio n process, I want them to start thinking about what else has to happen, the infinit e list of ‘what else’s that have to happen in order for us to purchase a warm cup of co ffee.] I add, ‘but its not sold right from the distributer, now it has to go sit on a she lf somewhere, in a building that has to be maintained and needs employees. Then there is the cup, where does that come from?’ We have a conversation about the logging and paper making process, the glue, and the printing. I say, ‘this is what I want you to think about-what it took to get your product made.’ We end the class by going outside and splitting int o small groups. Each small group chooses a person to volunteer and use a produ ct that they brought to class today, as

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160 a matter of their normal business. I explain to th em that I want them to go through the production processes that it took to create the gro up members product. I asked them to think about the heaviest process in creating their product, meaning the process that took the most resources. We wrote those down on the sid ewalk with sidewalk chalk. [It is amazing how students are interested in other forms of transcribing their thoughts. They seem to really have fun writing on the sidewalk ins tead of staying in the lab and using paper. However it is very difficult to go outside and try to talk because there are so many distractions outside.] Two groups said that the mi ning processes were the heaviest and the third said it was a toss-up between the mining process and the heavy costs of all the transportation. At the end of class Jace comes up and asks me if I had heard about the Chipotle labor problems. He asks me if I know Professor Wal sh –I say he is one of my advisors. He tells me, ‘his style of teaching is to just let us the read the books, no pressure to take notes and study but just read and enjoy the stories -to know the information.’ He describes that this style of learning worked well f or him and he really enjoyed Jim Walsh’s course because of that he walked away feeli ng like he gained a lot. [I find it interesting that two out of four committee members on my dissertation committee came up in the discussion from my students today about t heir positive experience in those classes. I think this has a very strong message to say about courses that impact students feel in courses where they are able to have a voice in their own learning process. I hope I can ride on the wave of positive impact from these professors with the learning that my students gain in this lab I have prepared.] Summary: I really enjoyed meeting everyone, as I always do. I am so excited to work with this group of students this semester. It is so int eresting to work with a new group of students each semester because even though I cover a lot of the same material, with every semester that passes, things change a bit and the n ew people (students) bring in new information to add to the pot of my curriculum deve lopment. Today was the first impression. I hope that they f eel excited about working with me and learning about how to see consumption in the ir lives through the nitty gritty of their lifestyles. I also hope that they look forwa rd to a class where they are allowed the opportunity to speak and participate in my learning through sharing their experiences and perceptions about the natural resource consumption in our lives. This semester is my last, I hope to go out with a bang. I hope that as we jo urney through each lab meeting they come to see me as a person and then share themselve s with myself and their peers as a person. Inevitably, as I have learned in my past e xperience of developing and refining this curriculum of consumption, our learning indivi dually and communally really does depend on sharing and exposing who we are as people in this modern world of living in the United States. I’m looking forward to this gro up and this semester.

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161 Austine Luce ENVS 1042 Lab Document 10 Fieldnote 8: Sustainable Energy Spring 2013 Date: 4-4-13 Written 4-4-13 immediately from memory with daily a genda, from jottings, no audio** Site Context: Today the plan was to a) conduct a mid-semester eva luation, b) visit some ideas about sustainable urbanization through energy alter natives that people are trying out within the cities in the United States and across t he globe, and c) work on digital stories. The mid-semester evaluation that I want them to do is written on a blank piece of copy paper with them filling in the front with their wor ds about how they feel/think about the lab and the back is a drawing of their interpretati on of the environment. I have prepared a slide show of images and examples that I have found on the internet about using human waste to power homes and schools. For the second half of the day I planned to offer students open workshop t ime to share their digital stories and ask questions or receive feedback. The new due dat e for final drafts are next week and many still seem far away from having a full draft c ompleted. My children have just returned from a week away fro m me and really wanted to come and be with me at school. So they are here today a s well. I love to share them with students, it’s just another way for me to relate wh o I am as a person, and a mother, with my students. It also helps to dispel the formality of the classroom by sharing such a personal aspect of my life Observation: I hand out the papers for their evaluation. I inst ructed the to fill out the front side with their words describing what they think about t his class so far. [My point was to leave it the evaluation very open so that I didn’t restrict their thoughts about the class. I merely want their ideas about how they see or have experienced this class with nothing specific in my mind for what I want them to say but the important pieces of knowledge that they are packing their individual knowledge bo xes with from what I am teaching them.] For the first 20 minutes they are quietly writing. There are some causal laid back conversations between students sitting together in the small groups as people are wrapping up their thoughts about their words on the evaluation. A lot of students are running late, a few can’t make it today. I receive d texts from students both running late and unable to make it. There is a loose comfortable feeling to me in the class today that I am enjoying. When it seems like many of them have finished writi ng the front of the evaluation I ask them to flip it over and draw how they see th e environment. I hear lots of giggles, some uh-oh’s, and a few groans. Hadi asks me if it is ok to draw stick figures. Ravit is proud of the way that he wrote ‘evaluation.’ Adil comes up to ask me if I am teaching again because he has a friend that would really lik e to enroll in my class. I tell him that this is my last class. [I get this a lot. Why do students refer me to their friends? Am I easy? Is it because my class is fun? I feel like my students work hard but in a very different way, not in the traditional content drill way, but in the quality of your thinking way. Well at least this is my goal, I guess this r esearch will help me to see better how

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162 students feel what they take away from my teaching. ] As I watch the classroom of students complete their evaluations I see that are laughing, talking amongst their small groups, and drawing. It seems like they are enjoyi ng this activity to speak their voices about the class and what they have learned. Ravit asks me what I see in his drawing after I des cribe my thoughts to him, he explains his picture differently to me. Shaki and I have the same conversation about his picture. I realize that my interpretation of their drawings with out a description does not do justice to their thinking. As students finish t heir drawings in the classroom I add a task to their drawing, ‘your drawings are amazing. As you are finishing them up, write a description to explain why you drew the environment they way you did, that will help me to better understand your thoughts.’ When everyone is finished, I switch gears and move on to the business of the class. I share with them the pictures and example that I brought about sustainable urbanization through using different forms of anima l and human waste as energy. We have a short conversation about alternative forms o f energy. I ask them where our energy primarily comes from. Jace answers quickly, ‘from coal.’ We talk about fossil fuels and how they are sources of energy from decomposed, fossilized organic matter (like the dinosaurs). We move on to brainstorm the various other alternative forms of energy; they call out as I write on the board solar, wind, geothermal. I add to their list biomass and wave e nergy; they hadn’t heard of these so I describe them. Then we go into a deeper conversation about biomass I like to talk about this because they often find the idea very interesting t hat we could use animal and human excrement as a free and useful source to power and heat our lives. Some are grossed out and some are amazed as I share about how the wastew ater treatment plant uses our solid waste from the water stream to power 50% of water t reatment facility (I know this from taking previous sections of ENVS on a fieldtrip the re). Then I share the other examples that I had brought where a public school district i n France is using the heat from underground sewer lines to heat the school for free saving lots of money for other important school needs like supplies and extracurri cular. I close up this conversation with an example from my friend in the San Louis Valley. He has built something called a solar dige ster patterned after the typical household device in China. Basically it is an unde rground tank that collects his bathroom, kitchen sink, and laundry waste. This wa ste is then digested to have two byproducts; compost for the garden and methane gas. The methane gas he uses to pipe into the house as cooking fuel. Tara says, ‘wait a minute. That is gross they use their toilet waste to cook their food…?’ There are some groans about the idea of waste to kitchen, and we have a brief conversation about how others feel about overcoming this taboo of using excrement to cook food. This is som ething typical in the poverty areas of China, but not even heard of in the United States. We go back to the idea of cultural differences and stepping over cultural norms and ta boos that it could possibly take to achieve more sustainable urban living. For the last 30 minutes of class we devoted to work ing on their stories. They can stay here if they want to share with classmates or ask questions. If they feel good about their stories they can head out. Hadi, Shaki, Alic e, and Mark stay to ask me a few short

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163 questions about their story development. Everyone else is happy to have the extra free time as they pack up and say thank you for the day. Summary: There is something so human about the process of l earning. Whether we are on the side of teaching or on the side of learning, we are human beings having an experience in life. Each semester I get to participate with a bout 25 students in their experience of life, in their process of coming to school to build a potential career for themselves. Most of the students in my class are not science majors. Most of the students in this class will never take another science course once this general education requirement is fulfilled. What is the best box of information that I can give them as they set sail on their individual adventures of life? What is my responsi bility to them as human beings developing themselves and as students paying me to learn something valuable? These questions are constantly swarming my mind as I deve lop the agenda for the next day we meet. These questions have guided me to change how I teach about the environment. I want them to have the opportunity to use the inf ormation that I give them in the future. Environmental science is such a unique dis cipline that affects so many pieces of our lives beyond school. Teaching environmental sc ience on a college campus, in my view, is such an opportunity to grow in our persona l lives in regards to the way we handle our consumption. On the flip side environmental sc ience can also be daunting, feel overwhelming, and leave students with the idea that it is a tragedy not to be stopped by anything one little life could do. Certainly this is the view that many walk into my class already having learned. My students over the past 7 years have helped me to see my work educating others about environmental science d ifferently. I would love to have them walk away from my class each week feeling like they have learned something, spent their time thinking about something valuable, and in the end of the semester feeling empowered that their tiny life (in the scheme of th e entire world) has the opportunity to create change. Last week one of the groups responded that an impor tant tenant to sustainability is that ‘hugs R free.’ I was so happy to see them res pond with something that I hadn’t directly taught them but that I feel deeply in my h eart. In order to start living sustainably, we have to start thinking about how our actions of consumption affect everything. We have to start looking beyond our personal desires a nd convictions to notice what happens in the process of producing the products we consume how we consume them, who gets to consume them, and what happens after we are done with them. Who is affected in the process and how can we alter it feel better for eve ryone?

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Flowchart Silver 181

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Flowchart Alice 182

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Silvers First Day Evaluation 184

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SilverÂ’s Mid-semester Evaluation 185

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ShoffiÂ’s First Day Evaluation 186

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ShoffiÂ’s Mid-semester Evaluation 187

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AliceÂ’s First Day Evaluation 188

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AliceÂ’s Mid-semester Evaluation 189

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AnnaÂ’s First Day Evaluation 190

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AnnaÂ’s Mid-semester Evaluation 191

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193 Silver’s Intent Letter Letter of Intent In this laboratory we have covered many different topics about our environment but the two topics that grabbed my attention were, how materialistic and la zy our nation has become. What I plan to do for my creative project is to outline and speak about those two wor ds and what I have noticed that I do, which can be perfectly described by those two words. My purposes for doing my creative proje ct on these two words are to inform others of this issue and get the audience thinking. I believe this is a current issue that many of us don’t even recognize. I certa inly did not recognize this issue until the readings that were g iven to us about these issues. One of the readings that influenced by topic was, Critical Pedagogies of Con sumption, our sociocultural has become so intereste d in beauty and power that it has turned us into being p urely materialistic about everything. The vision I have for my creative proje ct is to talk about the issue with what society bel ieves beauty is and what I believe beauty is. In the reading, Criti cal Pedagogies of Consumption, it talks about how w omen have been subconsciously told that they need to go get a ll this work done, on them, in order to be beautifu l. In the conclusion of the excerpt it says, “The sociocultur al normalization of perfect skin is a product of a range of contemporary social and cultural forces overlain by complex pedagogies of power, expertise, and affect .” How absolutely screwed up is that? It’s sad that women have been subconsciously told b y our nation’s culture and society that their skin isn’t perfect. For my video I want to talk about be auty and film a mother and a child at a park playin g, group of friends laughing together and say how there is beau ty everywhere we just have to open up our eyes wide enough to see it. I was also thinking one of the pictures I would want to show is one of my family and me so the audience can relate to me on a personal level. The reason wh y I want to talk about this is so people see how th ere’s beauty in things that are not bought, that are not materia listic. The music I’m thinking about using for my video is a song by an instrumental band named, Explosions in the Sky. I’m not quite sure whether I want to have a song that has a sad feeling or a ne utral one; I know both would get the message across. I haven’t d ecided if I want use two different songs for the tw o different topics that I’m speaking about to emphasize the cha nge in topic. I don’t want to put a song that’s hap py because that’s not the emotion I’m trying to convey with th e message I’m telling. The intended audience for my video is for everyone and anyone wanting to know how materia listic and lazy our nation has become over the year s. The other reading that influenced why I wanted to t alk about laziness was, No Impact Man, Chapter Three: What You Think When You Find Your Life in th e Trash. Colin Beavan talks about how him and his w ife didn’t even realized how lazy they were being befor e the started the No Impact project. Beavan’s examp les really got me thinking and reevaluating my life and what I do, that’s complete laziness. I want to talk about that in my video.

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194 These two words stood out to me because I do many t hings that can me perfectly described by these two words, which is why I want to make a video abou t them.

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SilverÂ’s CVG 195

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196 SilverÂ’s AB

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197 ShoffiÂ’s IL Letter of intent: NAPKINS AND PLASTIC DISHES I plan to make a story that shows how much trash I have been throwing away for several years, which are mostly napkins and plastic dishes. I have been using those two items a lot at home because I always use napkins to wipe any dirt I see in the kitchen instead of using towels, and eve n if I can wipe other things with the same napkin, I just throw it in the trash and u se a new one. I have also been using so much plastic dishes regardless if I have c lean hard dishes or not, because I didn't want to wash the dishes after usin g them, so the easiest way was to use plastic dishes and then throw them in th e trash. However, after taking this class, I have been think ing about many things regarding the environment. Throwing many recyclable products in the trash can affect the environment in two ways. First, the amou nt of trash every household have can be dangerous for the environment because a ll the trash will be picked up by trucks and get buried in specific lands or bu rned, and either ways can convert the trash into toxic that will eventually a ffect the area around it. Second, throwing a lot of recyclable products will affect t he environment because companies will have to produce more of it, which me ans using more natural resources. According to the US Environmental Protec tion Agency, Americans threw away about 250 million tons of food scraps, p ackaging materials, grass clippings, old furniture, used appliances and other garbage in 2008. Read more: te-disposed/#ixzz2O8yN2pMB If the trash was 250 million tons in 2008, we can i magine how much trash we are throwing now due to the rapid increase in shopping rates. So, I will also talk about the effects of the trash that we throw away e very day without thinking about it. At the end, I will include a recommendation in orde r to reduce the amount of trash that we throw away. This recommendation is si mply reading more and educate ourselves about products that can be recycl ed, because I believe that many people don't realize how many products can be recycled. After that, people should put one container next to the trash which is for recyclable products, and then take them to a recycling company. Some complex es does that by providing two containers, one for trash and the other one is for recycling, and I would love to see every complex doing the same thing. I was im pressed by the way our school educates students about recyclable products in the Tivoli building next to the food area, because there are three containers f or trash, recycle, and compost, and each one of them is described with pic tures that tells everyone what to put in each container. So, recycling produc ts will have a huge role in reducing the amount of natural resources used in pr oducing new products, and we must work hard to keep natural resources around as long as possible because it's really difficult to live without them.

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199 ShoffiÂ’s CVG

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200 ShoffiÂ’s AB

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201 AnnaÂ’s IL 2. Letter of Intent I interned last semester in a classroom and while I was there I could not help but notice the limited budget of all of the classrooms and how much teache rs have to take out of their own paycheck to provide proper materials for the classroom. I also could not help but notice the gobs of paper that wa s wasted each day especially since one of my jobs was to move around 20 pound boxes filled with nothing but old worksheets. I want to address the classroom in two main ways in my project and that is finding ways to both use less waste in the classroom and how to find outside resources so that we can reuse things in the classroom or how to find places that may be recycli ng things that the classroom could transform and use as learning tools. The second part of my project will be how to get th e message across to young students that we need to be environmentally aware without being preachy b ut rather by incorporating activities in the classroom that allow for kids to see how they can r euse things for a different purpose and to see that we do not need to go out and buy new things each ti me we want something new but can rather alter what we already have available. SCRIPT

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AnnaÂ’s CVG 202

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203 AnnaÂ’s AB

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204 Alice’s IL Letter of Intent My title is going to be something along the lines o f : The i_____ Fight….. Yes! No Shit! OR Invisible Byproducts??? I was really impacted by the Nacirema article and t he story of stuff video. I like the article because it really helped me to see outside of my worldview box Perception is a concept that resonated with me, a nd I want to incorporate this idea into my story. I am not qu ite sure how perception will fit in with the other predominate idea of consumption, but I hope it will evolve orga nically. Right now, I am thinking that I will play with this idea of perception by implementing it in the order that I present my images… I really liked the story of stuff because it is a v ery simple, straightforward video with facts that l ay people can understand and process. The whole notion that consuming material goods determines your valu e in our society, and is so closely aligned with status really spoke to me. I am constantly having this inn er struggle with wanting to buy things so that my peers and col leagues know that I am up to date with what is goin g on in the world, and feeling bad about all of the externa l costs associated with my purchases. There are so many people, animals, and environments “behind the scene s” that are affected by a choice that I make thousa nds of miles awayand it is all invisible to me. I want to include images of the waste, degradation, and people that are the by-products of me purchasing my technology. I will probably start of with a “shiny” image of the product (most likely my iMac) and progressively get to some vary graphic photos t hat depict the “invisible stuff”.

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AliceÂ’s CVG 205

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AliceÂ’s AB 206

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