Our contemporary life has been strongly interwoven with technology and digital devices, and the crisis of COVID-19 has strengthened this connection and dependency more than ever. As such, young students need greater awareness of and desire to prepare for this new technological and digital future, as recommended by NSF (2020), NSERC (2021), CCA (2015), and the Science, Technology and Innovation Council (2015). This also requires curricula and pedagogical updates and adaption for acquiring such knowledge and achieving our goals in the future (Elbeck, 2018; Science, Technology and Innovation Council, 2015; DeCoito, 2016). This goal asks for revolutionary initiatives in a physics science curriculum (He et al., 2021; Venegas-Gomez, 2020; Duit et al., 2014; DeCoito, 2016, 2015; Amgen and Canada and Let’s Talk Science, 2019).
For the aim of teaching and learning such a curriculum and the scientists’ science related to our contemporary life, we as teachers, educators, curriculum developers, and education leaders have to employ a curriculum and pedagogy updated and adapted to the Fourth Industrial Revolution to strongly support young students’ science learning in quantum mechanics. As I argue in my thesis, quantum physics is the focal point and intersection of the physical, biological, and digital technologies and sciences of the 21st century.
Indeed, in science education, is it not worth learning the fundamentals, concepts, and sciences behind the technologies and their influential everyday experiences? Today’s problems and concerns will change not only due to the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Schwab, 2016, 2017, 2021; Schwab & Davis, 2018; WEF, 2020a, 2020b) but because of the nature of science. For instance, physicists and researchers are still striving to explore more in quantum physics and overcome some major challenges, such as using light to build a quantum computer (Preskill, 2018; Walmsley, 2015).
One of the main topics students focus on to initiate their learning is light, from electromagnetic spectrum of light to Young’s double slit experiment and wave-particle duality. Light is not only connected to our everyday lives but is also a contemporary scientific problem; scientists are still observing and investigating light to know its behaviour. Quantum mechanics beautifully and quintessentially describes the behaviour of light and its particles, photons (Barad, 2007; Feynman, 1985; De Broglie, 1929). It is the behaviour that all quantized things like electrons, protons, and neutrons show in an atom (Barad, 2007; De Broglie, 1929; Walker, 2002; Hawkes et al., 2014). Their behaviours cannot be described and justified in classical physics (Barad, 2007; Feynman, 1985; De Broglie, 1929). We need to step into and learn from modern physics with its own ways of looking at nature and its phenomena.