Nelson - Science Education 2008

Teachers' collaborative inquiry and professional growth: Should we be optimistic?
Science Education online first, 2008

Tamara Holmlund Nelson

As professional learning communities (PLCs) are proliferating as a form of teacher professional development, it is important to understand what PLC work is and how it impacts teacher learning. This article reports on secondary science and mathematics teachers' participation in PLCs and engagement in collaborative inquiry. The PLC provided a structure for coming together; their inquiry questions focused their attention on gaps between a shared vision for student learning and student achievement. Qualitative data from three in-depth cases are analyzed in three categories: (1) collective activities, (2) questions raised, and (3) knowledge generated. The cases show different trajectories of teachers' PLC work and reveal the difficulties teachers had in asking critical questions about their practices.

Blanchard Southerland Granger - Science Education 2008

No silver bullet for inquiry: Making sense of teacher change following an inquiry-based research experience for teachers
Science Education 1-39, 2008

Margaret R. Blanchard, Sherry A. Southerland, Ellen M. Granger

Inquiry is seen as central to the reform of science teaching and learning, but few teachers have experience with scientific inquiry and thus possess very naïve conceptions of it. One promising form of professional development, research experiences for teachers (RETs), allows teachers to experience scientific inquiry in the hopes that these experiences will then translate to inquiry in the classroom. As intuitively pleasing as these programs are, scant evidence documents their effectiveness. For this study, four secondary science teachers were followed back to their classrooms following a 6-week, marine ecology RET. The research employed qualitative and quantitative data collection to answer these questions: What were the teachers' initial conceptions and enactment of classroom inquiry, and how did they change after the RET?; How did changes in the nature and use of questions highlight changes in inquiry enactment?; and How were the teachers' changes linked to the RET and are there changes that cannot be explained by the RET experience? Teachers who entered the program with more sophisticated, theory-based understanding of teaching and learning were more apt to understand inquiry as a model and to use classroom-based inquiry throughout their teaching following the program. Implications for professional development are discussed.

Liang Chen Chen Kaya Adams Macklin Ebeneezer - IJSME 2008

Preservice Teachers’ Views About Nature Of Scientific Knowledge Development: An International Collaborative Study
Int.J. Science and Math Education online first

Ling L. Liang, Sufen Chen, Xian Chen, Osman Nafiz Kaya, April Dean Adams, Monica Macklin, Jazlin Ebenezer

This article presents the findings of an international collaborative investigation into preservice teachers’ views on the nature of scientific knowledge development with respect to six elements: observations and inferences, tentativeness, scientific theories and laws, social and cultural embeddedness, creativity and imagination, and scientific methods. A total of 640 preservice teachers, 209 from the United States, 212 from China, and 219 from Turkey, participated in the study. The survey “Student Understanding of Science and Scientific Inquiry (SUSSI)”, having a blend of Likert-type items and related open-ended questions, was used to gain a fuller understanding of the preservice teachers’ views of the nature of scientific knowledge development. Across the three countries, the participants demonstrated better understanding of the tentative NOS aspect but less understanding of the nature of and relationship between scientific theories and scientific laws. The Chinese sample scored highest on five of the six Likert sub-scales, the USA sample demonstrated more informed views on observation and inference, and the Turkish preservice teachers possessed relatively more traditional views in all six NOS aspects. Conclusions and limitations of the present study as well as implications and recommendations for future studies, are also discussed.

Guisasola Almudi Ceberio Zubimendi - IJSME 2008

Designing And Evaluating Research-Based Instructional Sequences For Introducing Magnetic Fields
Int.J. Science and Math Education online first

Jenaro Guisasola, Jose Manuel Almudi, Mikel Ceberio, Jose Luis Zubimendi

This study examines the didactic suitability of introducing a teaching sequence when teaching the concept of magnetic fields within introductory physics courses at the university level. This instructional sequence was designed taking into account students’ common conceptions, an analysis of the course content, and the history of the development of ideas about magnetic fields. The evaluation is undertaken by comparing the results with a control group using written questionnaires and analyzing recordings of class discussion. The results show that the elements within the sequence help students to reconcile an overall description with field analysis of magnetic interactions.

Ates Cataloglu - EJP 2008

Reply to 'Comment on "The effects of students' reasoning abilities on conceptual understanding and problem-solving skills in introductory mechanics"'
2008 Eur. J. Phys. 29 L29-L31

S Ates and E Cataloglu

We respond to the comment by Coletta et al (2008 Eur. J. Phys. 29 L25) on our work on the effects of students' reasoning abilities on conceptual understanding and problem-solving skills in introductory mechanics.

Coletta Phillips Savinainen Steinert - EJP 2008

Comment on 'The effects of students' reasoning abilities on conceptual understanding and problem-solving skills in introductory mechanics'
2008 Eur. J. Phys. 29 L25-L27

Vincent P Coletta, Jeffrey A Phillips, Antti Savinainen and Jeffrey J Steinert

In a recent article, Ates and Cataloglu (2007 Eur. J. Phys. 28 1161–71), in analysing results for a course in introductory mechanics for prospective science teachers, found no statistically significant correlation between students' pre-instruction scores on the Lawson classroom test of scientific reasoning ability (CTSR) and post-instruction scores on the force concept inventory (FCI). As a possible explanation, the authors suggest that the FCI does not probe for skills required to determine reasoning abilities. Our previously published research directly contradicts the authors' finding. We summarize our research and present a likely explanation for their observation of no correlation.

Fox Riconscente - Ed Psych Review 2008

Metacognition and Self-Regulation in James, Piaget, and Vygotsky
Ed Psych Review online first

Emily Fox, Michelle Riconscente

This article investigates the intertwined constructs of metacognition and self-regulation as they emerge in the works and theories of James, Piaget, and Vygotsky. To coordinate this exploration, we use an interpretive framework based on the relation of subject and object. In this framework, James’s perspective on metacognition and self-regulation is aligned with the Self, Piaget’s with the other and object, and Vygotsky’s with the medium or agency of language. We explore how metacognition and self-regulation function within the realm of human behavior and development as described in the works of each of these theorists. Key questions or issues that emerge for current research are outlined, and the limitations and benefits of each theorist’s perspective vis-à-vis metacognition and self-regulation are discussed.

Loyens Magda Rikers - Ed Psych Review 2008

Self-Directed Learning in Problem-Based Learning and its Relationships with Self-Regulated Learning
Ed Psych Review online first

Sofie M. M. Loyens, Joshua Magda, Remy M. J. P. Rikers

This study investigated the role of self-directed learning (SDL) in problem-based learning (PBL) and examined how SDL relates to self-regulated learning (SRL). First, it is explained how SDL is implemented in PBL environments. Similarities between SDL and SRL are highlighted. However, both concepts differ on important aspects. SDL includes an additional premise of giving students a broader role in the selection and evaluation of learning materials. SDL can encompass SRL, but the opposite does not hold. Further, a review of empirical studies on SDL and SRL in PBL was conducted. Results suggested that SDL and SRL are developmental processes, that the “self” aspect is crucial, and that PBL can foster SDL. It is concluded that conceptual clarity of what SDL entails and guidance for both teachers and students can help PBL to bring forth self-directed learners.

Maggioni Parkinson - Ed Psych Review 2008

The Role of Teacher Epistemic Cognition, Epistemic Beliefs, and Calibration in Instruction
Ed Psych Review online first

Liliana Maggioni, Meghan M. Parkinson

This review examines the literature on teacher epistemic cognition, epistemic beliefs, and calibration to consider the relation between these constructs and instruction that emerged from empirical studies. In considering how this body of literature can enhance understanding of how students become masters of their learning processes, we will briefly review how different theoretical frameworks have conceptualized the relation between epistemic cognition, epistemic beliefs, calibration and metacognition, self-regulation, and self-regulated learning. Implications for research include a more nuanced conceptualization of epistemic beliefs and a theoretical integration of these constructs. Implications for practice regard the reciprocal relations between teachers’ knowledge, experience, epistemic cognition, epistemic beliefs, and calibration and their effects on pedagogical practices. The role of teachers’ education and professional development is discussed.

Blalock Lichtenstein Owen Pruski Marshall Toepperwein - IJSE 2008

In Pursuit of Validity: A comprehensive review of science attitude instruments 1935-2005
International Journal of Science Education, Volume 30, Issue 7 June 2008 , pages 961 - 977

Cheryl L. Blalock; Michael J. Lichtenstein; Steven Owen; Linda Pruski; Carolyn Marshall; MaryAnne Toepperwein

The purpose of this review is to present a comprehensive evaluation of science attitude instruments based on published psychometric evidence. A multitude of instruments have been used through the years and some have been linked to career choice and school performance. Substantiating such associations is of paramount importance if researchers wish to influence educational policy. However, associations are reduced, or hard to discover, if instruments have weak psychometric properties. Several databases were searched for peer-reviewed articles that discussed the development and use of science attitude instruments. Instruments were grouped into the following categories: attitudes toward science, scientific attitudes, nature of science, scientific career interests, and other. A data abstraction and scoring rubric was used to summarize and evaluate 150 published articles that spanned 66 instruments. Most instruments had single study usage and showed an absence of psychometric evidence. This review demonstrated that there are few instruments available with the necessary psychometric data to merit recommendation. The review quantifies the current state of the research regarding the measurement of science attitude in students; the results should elicit further discussion and encourage more rigorous analyses of instruments. The findings may assist other researchers to select an instrument and alert them to its strengths and weaknesses. This review points the way forward for research in this field. Instruments already in existence should be used in repeat studies, and reliability and validity evidence should be collected and shared.

Simon Naylor Keogh Maloney Downing

Puppets Promoting Engagement and Talk in Science
International Journal of Science Education, Volume 30, Issue 9 July 2008 , pages 1229 - 1248

Shirley Simon; Stuart Naylor; Brenda Keogh; Jane Maloney; Brigid Downing

Research into classroom interactions has shown that talk that promotes reasoning can help children in their learning of science. Such talk can only be generated when teachers are willing to take a dialogic approach that is stimulating and provides opportunities for children to articulate their ideas. This research set out to determine whether the use of large puppets would help teachers to change the nature of their whole class discourse to enhance children's talk and engagement in science. The study was carried out with sixteen teachers of children aged 7-11 years in schools in London and Manchester, UK. Through adopting a mixture of research methods, including classroom observation and teacher and child interviews, the research provides evidence that the use of puppets significantly increases the amount of teacher discourse oriented towards reasoning and argument, and decreases the amount of talk that focuses on recall. Through the puppets, teachers also use more narrative to set the science in stimulating contexts, and encourage children in their contributions to whole class discussion. Interview data also show the positive effects of puppets on children's motivation and engagement in science. The findings have led to further major funding for professional development in the use of puppets in the UK, and research into the reasons why the use of puppets is so effective.

IJSE on pedagogical content knowledge - 2008

This is a special issue in the International Journal of Science Education:

International Journal of Science Education, Volume 30 Issue 10 2008

Developments and Challenges in Researching Science Teachers' Pedagogical Content Knowledge: An international perspective

Revisiting the Roots of Pedagogical Content Knowledge
1271 – 1279
Authors: Amanda Berry; John Loughran; Jan H. van Driel
DOI: 10.1080/09500690801998885

Teaching for Understanding: The complex nature of pedagogical content knowledge in pre-service education
1281 – 1299
Author: Pernilla Nilsson
DOI: 10.1080/09500690802186993

Exploring Pedagogical Content Knowledge in Science Teacher Education
1301 – 1320
Authors: John Loughran; Pamela Mulhall; Amanda Berry
DOI: 10.1080/09500690802187009

Development of Experienced Science Teachers' Pedagogical Content Knowledge of Models of the Solar System and the Universe
1321 – 1342
Authors: Ineke Henze; Jan H. van Driel; Nico Verloop
DOI: 10.1080/09500690802187017

Experienced Secondary Science Teachers' Representation of Pedagogical Content Knowledge
1343 – 1363
Authors: Eunmi Lee; Julie A. Luft
DOI: 10.1080/09500690802187058

The Place of Subject Matter Knowledge in Pedagogical Content Knowledge: A case study of South African teachers teaching the amount of substance and chemical equilibrium
1365 – 1387
Authors: Marissa Rollnick; Judith Bennett; Mariam Rhemtula; Nadine Dharsey; Thandi Ndlovu
DOI: 10.1080/09500690802187025

Undergraduate Professors' Pedagogical Content Knowledge: The case of 'amount of substance'
1389 – 1404
Authors: Kira Padilla; Ana Mara Ponce-de-Len; Florencia Mabel Rembado; Andoni Garritz
DOI: 10.1080/09500690802187033

Twenty Years Later: Does pedagogical content knowledge remain a useful idea?
1405 – 1416
Author: Sandra K. Abell
DOI: 10.1080/09500690802187041

Redish Hammer - arxiv.org 2008

Title: Reinventing College Physics for Biologists: Explicating an epistemological curriculum

Edward F. Redish and David Hammer

The University of Maryland Physics Education Research Group (UMd-PERG) carried out a five-year research project to rethink, observe, and reform introductory algebra-based (college) physics. This class is one of the Maryland Physics Department's large service courses, serving primarily life-science majors. After consultation with biologists, we re-focused the class on helping the students learn to think scientifically -- to build coherence, think in terms of mechanism, and to follow the implications of assumptions. We designed the course to tap into students' productive conceptual and epistemological resources, based on a theoretical framework from research on learning. The reformed class retains its traditional structure in terms of time and instructional personnel, but we modified existing best-practices curricular materials, including Peer Instruction, Interactive Lecture Demonstrations, and Tutorials. We provided class-controlled spaces for student collaboration, which allowed us to observe and record students learning directly. We also scanned all written homework and examinations, and we administered pre-post conceptual and epistemological surveys. The reformed class enhanced the strong gains on pre-post conceptual tests produced by the best-practices materials while obtaining unprecedented pre-post gains on epistemological surveys instead of the traditional losses.


Bao Fang Cai Wang Yang Cui Han Ding Luo - arxiv.org 2008

Learning of Content Knowledge and Development of Scientific Reasoning Ability: A Cross Culture Comparison

Lei Bao, Kai Fang, Tianfang Cai, Jing Wang, Lijia Yang, Lili Cui, Jing Han, Lin Ding, and Ying Luo

Student content knowledge and general reasoning abilities are two important areas in education practice and research. However, there hasn't been much work in physics education that clearly documents the possible interactions between content learning and the development of general reasoning abilities. In this paper, we report one study of a systematic research to investigate the possible interactions between students' learning of physics content knowledge and the development of general scientific reasoning abilities. Specifically, this study seeks to answer the research question of whether and to what extent content learning may affect the development of general reasoning abilities. College entrance testing data of freshman college students in both USA and China were collected using three standardized tests, FCI, BEMA, and Lawson's Classroom Test of Scientific Reasoning (Lawson Test). The results suggest that years of rigorous training of physics knowledge in middle and high schools have made significant impact on Chinese students' ability in solving physics problems, while such training doesn't seem to have direct effects on their general ability in scientific reasoning, which was measured to be at the same level as that of the students in USA. Details of the curriculum structures in the education systems of USA and China are also compared to provide a basis for interpreting the assessment data.

To appear in AJP.

Mynvaev Cabo Ya Kezerashvilli Liou-Mark - arxiv.org 2008

Support of Study on Engineering Technology from Physics and Mathematics

Djafar K. Mynbaev, Candido Cabo, Roman Ya. Kezerashvili, Janet Liou-Mark

An approach that provides students with an ability to transfer learning in physics and mathematics to the engineering-technology courses through e-teaching and e-learning process is proposed. E-modules of courses in mathematics, physics, computer systems technology, and electrical and telecommunications engineering technology have been developed. These modules being used in the Blackboard and Web-based communications systems create a virtual interdisciplinary learning community, which helps the students to transfer knowledge from physics and mathematics to their study in engineering technology.

Proceedings of 2008 American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE) Annual Conference

Simkins Maier - arxiv.org 2008

Learning from Physics Education Research: Lessons for Economics Education

Scott P. Simkins, Mark H. Maier

We believe that economists have much to learn from educational research practices and related pedagogical innovations in other disciplines, in particular physics education. In this paper we identify three key features of physics education research that distinguish it from economics education research - (1) the intentional grounding of physics education research in learning science principles, (2) a shared conceptual research framework focused on how students learn physics concepts, and (3) a cumulative process of knowledge-building in the discipline - and describe their influence on new teaching pedagogies, instructional activities, and curricular design in physics education. In addition, we highlight four specific examples of successful pedagogical innovations drawn from physics education - context-rich problems, concept tests, just-in-time teaching, and interactive lecture demonstrations - and illustrate how these practices can be adapted for economic education.

Submitted to Journal of Economic Education, also available from Social Science Research Network


Munger and Munger - Cognitive Daily 2008

Multi-tasking, task-switching, and humans -- or why I didn't finish writing this post three hours ago
Cognitive Daily post

Greta Munger and Dave Munger

Do you multitask? I'm not talking about literally doing two things at once, like emailing while talking on the phone, or playing the trombone while washing the dishes. I'm talking about the more common phenomenon of starting one project before you're finished with another. For example, after I read the journal article I'll be discussing in this post, I caught up on some email correspondence, ordered a new phone for my office, and ate lunch. Now I'm finally getting around to actually writing the post itself. Why didn't I just read the article and then write my post while it was fresh in my mind? Wouldn't that have been more efficient?

There's actually been much more research about the first kind of multitasking -- truly doing two things at once -- than the second type, which might be better characterized as "task switching." But the second type is no less important. Why is it that people seem to switch frequently between tasks, instead of steadfastly working on one task until it is complete?

(click link for the rest of the article... which is of interest to those who worry about what students are doing during instruction, how to create appropriate small group learning activities, etc.)

Dedes Ravanis - Science and Education 2008

History of Science and Conceptual Change: The Formation of Shadows by Extended Light Sources
Science & Education online first publication

Christos Dedes and Konstantinos Ravanis

This study investigates the effectiveness of a teaching conflict procedure whose purpose was the transformation of the representations of 12–16-year-old pupils in Greece concerning light emission and shadow formation by extended light sources. The changes observed during the children’s effort to destabilize and reorganise their representations towards a model that was compatible with the respective scientific model were studied using three groups of pupils belonging to different age groups. The methodological plan implemented was based on input from the History of Science, while the parameters of the geometrical optics model were derived from Kepler’s relevant historic experiment. The effectiveness of the teaching procedure was evaluated 2 weeks after the intervention. The results showed that the majority of the subjects accepted the model of geometrical optics, i.e. the pupils were able to correctly predict and adequately justify the experimental results based on the principle of punctiform light emission. Educational and research implications are discussed.

Yalcin Altun Turgut Aggül - Science and Education 2008

First Year Turkish Science Undergraduates’ Understandings and Misconceptions of Light

Science & Education online first publication

Mehmet Yalcin, Sema Altun, Umit Turgut and Fatma Aggül

The present study aims to identify first year Turkish Science undergraduates’ understandings and misconceptions of the concept of light and its propagation. For this purpose, an instrument composed of four open-ended questions was developed by the researchers. The diagnostic test was piloted with twenty students and modifications were made prior to the final administration of the test. The content validity of the test questions was assessed by two physics researchers and one lecturer. These questions were administered to a hundred first year undergraduates (aged 16–18) enrolled in the Science Teacher Training Department in Ataturk University in Turkey. In addition, the semi-structured interviews of 30–40 min were conducted with the four students whose responses involved common misunderstanding. All interview records were transcribed and analysed. The findings showed that undergraduates’ understanding of light is poor and also they have important and prevalent misconceptions. Identified misconceptions, some of which have been reported in the literature, are discussed qualitatively. The misunderstandings identified were compared with those in the literature. The results have some implications for teaching light, suggesting that a substantial revision of teaching strategies is needed.


Duda Garrett - arxiv.org 2007/8

Blogging in the physics classroom: A research-based approach to shaping students' attitudes towards physics

Gintaras Duda, Katherine Garrett

Even though there has been a tremendous amount of research done in how to help students learn physics, students are still coming away missing a crucial piece of the puzzle: why bother with physics? Students learn fundamental laws and how to calculate, but come out of a general physics course without a deep understanding of how physics has transformed the world around them. In other words, they get the "how" but not the "why". Studies have shown that students leave introductory physics courses almost universally with decreased expectations and with a more negative attitude. This paper will detail an experiment to address this problem: a course weblog or "blog" which discusses real-world applications of physics and engages students in discussion and thinking outside of class. Specifically, students' attitudes towards the value of physics and its applicability to the real-world were probed using a 26-question Likert scale survey over the course of four semesters in an introductory physics course at a comprehensive Jesuit university. We found that students who did not participate in the blog study generally exhibited a deterioration in attitude towards physics as seen previously. However, students who read, commented, and were involved with the blog maintained their initially positive attitudes towards physics. Student response to the blog was overwhelmingly positive, with students claiming that the blog made the things we studied in the classroom come alive for them and seem much more relevant.

Beatty Feldman Leonard Gerace Cyr Lee Harris - arxiv.org 2008

Teacher Learning of Technology-Enhanced Formative Assessment

Ian D. Beatty, Allan Feldman, William J. Leonard, William J. Gerace, Karen St. Cyr, Hyunju Lee, Robby Harris

Conference paper accompanying a special symposium presented at the 2008 Annual International Conference of the US National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST), Baltimore, MD, Apr 01

Technology-Enhanced Formative Assessment (TEFA) is a pedagogy for teaching with classroom response technology. Teacher Learning of TEFA is a five-year research project studying teacher change, in the context of an intensive professional development program designed to help science and mathematics teachers learn TEFA. First, we provide an overview of the project's participating teachers, its intervention (consisting of the technology, the pedagogy, and the professional development program), and its research design. Then, we present narratives describing the unfolding change process experienced by four teachers. Afterward, we present some preliminary findings of the research, describe a "model for the co-evolution of teacher and pedagogy" that we are developing, and identify general implications for professional development.