The science of mosquitoes: Youths’ perceptions, engagement, and learning from a Skype in the classroom science communication program

Keywords: electronic field trip, science communication, solutions-focused communication, STEM careers, Skype in the classroom


This study examined the impact of a live, interactive electronic field trip (EFT), called Scientist Online: The Science of Mosquitoes via the Streaming Science platform and Skype in the Classroom network for connecting university entomologists with middle and high school youth around the world. More than 150 students viewed the program, and 60 answered post-quantitative and qualitative questions regarding their perceptions of the EFT and knowledge related to mosquitoes. Students reported an increased knowledge about mosquitoes, mosquito-borne illness, mosquito-borne illness prevention and protection, entomology and related careers, and the mosquito life-cycle. Future research should determine how interactive, synchronous video programs with scientists can impact participants’ behavior intentions, specifically for making lifestyle choices based in science, as well as decision-making for improving their health and the planet.


Adedokun, O. A., Hetzel, K., Parker, L. C., Loizzo, J. L., Burgess, W. D., & Robinson, J. P. (2012a). Using virtual field trips to connect students with university scientists: core elements and evaluation of Purdue zipTrips™. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 21(5), 607–618.

Adedokun, O. A., Parker, L. C., Loizzo, J.L., Burgess, W. D., & Robinson, J. P. (2012b). Factors influencing participant perceptions of program impact: lessons from a virtual fieldtrip for middle-school students. Journal of Extension [Online], 49(6) Article 6FEA8.

Adedokun, O. A., Parker, L. C., Loizzo, J. L., Burgess, W. D., Robinson, J. P. (2011). A field trip without buses: connecting your students to scientists through a virtual visit. Science Scope, 34(9).

Ary, D., Jacobs, L. C., Sorensen, C., & Walker, D. A. (2014). Introduction to research in education (9th ed.). Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

Bandura, A. (1977). Self-efficacy: Toward a unifying theory of behavioral change. Psychological Review, 84(2), 191-215.

Bandura, A., (1986). Social foundations of thought and action: A social cognitive theory. Prentice-Hall.

Bandura, A. (2001). Social cognitive theory of mass communication. Media Psychology, 3 265-299.

Beattie, P. N., Loizzo, J. L., Kent, K. W., Krebs, C. L., Suits, T. E., & Bunch, J. C. (2020, January 30-February 5). Leveraging Skype in the Classroom for science communication: A Streaming Science – Scientist online approach. [Paper presentation]. National Agricultural Communication Symposium (NACS), Louisville, KY, United States.

Cassady, J. C., Kozlowski, A., & Kornmann, M. (2008). Electronic field trips as interactive learning events: Promoting student learning at a distance. Journal of Interactive Learning Research, 19(3), 439-454.

Chalmers, D. M. (1959). The muckrakers and the growth of corporate power: A study in constructive journalism. The American Journal of Economics and Sociology, 18(3), 295-311.

Davies, S. R., & Hara, N. (2017). Public science in a wired world: How online media are shaping science communication. Science Communication, 39(5), 563-568.

Dijkstra, A. M., & Gutteling, J. M. (2012). Communicative aspects of the public-science relationship explored: Results of focus group discussions about biotechnology and genomics. Science Communication, 34(3), 363–391.

Dutta, A., Kang, H. J., Kaya, C., Benton, S. F., Sharp, S. E., Chan, F., da Silva Cardoso, E., & Kundu, M. (2015). Social-cognitive career theory predictors of STEM career interest and goal persistence in minority college students with disabilities: A path analysis. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 43(2), 159-167.

Foote, C. (2008). See me, hear Me: Skype in the classroom. School Library Journal, 54(1), 42-43.

Gyldensted, C. (2015). From mirrors to movers: Five elements of positive psychology in constructive journalism. Group Publishing.

Hackett, G., & Betz, N. E. (1981). A self-efficacy approach to the career development of women. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 18(3), 326-336.

Kleinman, D., & Powell, M. (2010). Consensus conference on nanotechnology. In D. H. Guston (Ed.), Encyclopedia of nanoscience and society (pp. 117-117). Sage Publications Ltd.

Lent, R. W., & Brown, S. D. (2019). Social cognitive career theory at 25: Empirical status of the interest, choice, and performance models. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 115(103316), 1-14.

Lent, R. W., Brown, S. D., & Hackett, G. (1994). Toward a unifying social cognitive theory of career and academic interest, choice, and performance. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 45(1), 79-122.

Loizzo, J., Harner, M. J., Weitzenkamp, D. J., & Kent, K. (2019). Electronic field trips for science engagement: The Streaming Science model. Journal of Applied Communications, 103(4).

Lundy, L. K., Ruth, A., Telg, R., & Irani, T. (2006). It takes two: Public understanding of agricultural science and agricultural scientists' understanding of the public. Journal of Applied Communications, 90(1), 55–68.

McCrea, B. (2012). Skype takes students where no school bus can go. THE Journal (Technological Horizons In Education), 39(5), 18.

Morgan, H. (2013). Technology in the classroom: Using Skype for exciting projects. Childhood Education, 89(3), 197-199.

National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM). (2017). Communicating science effectively: A research agenda. The National Academies Press.

Navarro, M., Tome, K., & Aldemita, R. (2014). Academics and scientists as biotech [Paper presentation]. 13th International Public Communication of Science and Technology Conference, Salvador, Brazil.

Nelkin, D. (1995). Selling science: How the press covers science and technology. W.H. Freeman and Company.

Parker, L. C., Adedokun, O. A., Loizzo, J. L., & Burgess, W. D. (2010). Purdue zipTrips™: Connecting students and scientists through electronic field trips. IL Spectrum, 36(2), 36–43.

Porse, C. C., Kramer, V. L., Yoshimizu, M. H., Metzger, M. E., Hu, R., Padgett, K., & Vugia, D. (2015). Public health responses to Aedes aegypti and Ae. Albopictus mosquitoes invading California, USA. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 21(10).

Ruckert, C., Weger-Lucarelli, J., Garcia-Luna, S. et al. (2017). Impact of simultaneous exposure to arboviruses on infection transmission by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. Nature Communications, 8(15412).

Schunk, D. H. (2012). Learning theories: An educational perspective (6th ed.). Pearson.

Shipley, N. J., & Bixler, R. D. (2019). An unconventional approach to fostering entomological literacy. American Entomologist, 65(1), 19-23.

Stoddard, J. (2009). Toward a virtual field trip model for the social studies. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 9(4), 412-438.

Treise, D., & Weigold, M. F. (2002). Advancing science communication: A survey of science communicators. Science Communication, 23(3), 310–322.

Tuthill, G., & Klemm, E. B. (2002). Virtual field trips: Alternatives to actual field trips. International Journal of Instructional Media, 29(4), 453-468.

United Nations Development Programme. (2017). A socio-economic impact assessment of the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Weaver, K. N., Hill, J. M., Martin, G. D., Paterson, I. D., Coetzee, J. A., & Hill, M. P. (2017). Community entomology: Insects, science and society. Journal for New Generation Sciences, 15(1), 176-186.

Winegard, T. C. (2019). The mosquito: A human history of our deadliest predator. Penguin Random House LLC.

How to Cite
McLeod-Morin, A., Beattie, P., Stone, W., Kent, K., Loizzo, J., & Telg, R. (2020). The science of mosquitoes: Youths’ perceptions, engagement, and learning from a Skype in the classroom science communication program. Advancements in Agricultural Development, 1(2), 79-89.