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Learning science by digital technology: Students’ understanding of computer animated learning material
University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2545-7747
2010 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Digital learning material is associated with grand expectations among educational policy makers. Several attempts to introduce this new technology with the purpose of enhancing learning have been made in recent years. The schooling system has, however, been rather hesitant and not so ready to adopt this kind of teaching aid. The aim of this thesis is to probe into students‘ practical problems of understanding computerised science learning material involving animated sequences and educational text. For the purpose of this investigation an application describing the different events in the carbon cycle was developed. Two studies present analyses of students‘ reasoning and actions when working collaboratively with the task of making a written account of what is illustrated in the learning material. Both studies present examples of identified phenomena that were observed in more extensive empirical materials. The data is represented by video recordings of students‘ interaction with each other and the interface. Results from the studies reveal students‘ propensity for concentrating their attention to prominent characteristics of the animated display and to describe the animated models in correspondence to their resemblance of objects and occurrences in everyday life. In study II it is revealed how students, when constructing a written report of the described events, derive noun phrases from attentionally detected objects in the animation and from the educational text. In their effort to express themselves in colloquial language, when preparing their report, they deliberately select verbs that differ from the educational text. These courses of action together, contribute to give the report on what happens in the process a non-scientific explanation. It is concluded that students, lacking definite access to the relevant subject matter knowledge, consequently, cannot judge whether they have given an approvable account or not. Findings from the studies show that the school context with its explicit stipulations of assignments and implicit request for expressing oneself in your own words frames the learning and creates conditions for how the technology is used and understood. The results indicate that animated models of scientific concepts risk inferring misconceptions if students are left on their own with interpreting information from the learning material. Despite the detected problems of students‘ interpretations of the described phenomena, the results indicate that animated learning material can proffer an exploitable resource in science education. Such a prospect is the ability of animation to engage students in discussions of the subject and to make them recognise otherwise unobservable phenomena.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Göteborg: Göteborgs universitet, 2010. , 132 p.
National Category
Educational Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-30162OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hh-30162DiVA: diva2:893958
Presentation
2010-04-09, Rum: Von Neuman, IT-universitetet, Lindholmsplatsen 1, Göteborg, 10:00
Supervisors
Note

The work reported here has been supported by the Linnaeus Centre for Research on Learning, Interaction, and Mediated Communication in Contemporary Society (LinCS).

Available from: 2016-01-15 Created: 2016-01-13 Last updated: 2016-01-15Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Animations in science education
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Animations in science education
2008 (English)In: Handbook of research on digital information technologies: Innovations, methods, and ethical issues / [ed] Thomas Hansson, Hershey: IGI Global, 2008, 67-81 p.Chapter in book (Refereed)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Hershey: IGI Global, 2008
National Category
Educational Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-30147 (URN)978-1-59904-970-0 (ISBN)978-1-59904-971-7 (ISBN)
Available from: 2016-01-11 Created: 2016-01-11 Last updated: 2016-01-15Bibliographically approved
2. Animation and grammar in science education: Learners’ construal of animated educational software
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Animation and grammar in science education: Learners’ construal of animated educational software
2010 (English)In: International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning, ISSN 1556-1607, E-ISSN 1556-1615, Vol. 5, no 2, 167-189 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This case study reports on how students, working collaboratively, interpret and construct a written report of the events described in animated educational software. The analysis is based on video recordings of two upper-secondary-school students while they are endeavouring to construe an animated sequence of the mouldering process. How the students grammatically construct their written account by means of available semiotic resources (i. e., animation and educational text) provided by the software is investigated. The results show that attentionally detected features of the animation take the role of active subjects in the students' description of the animated phenomena. When framing their sentences, the students derive noun phrases from animated active subjects and from the educational text. In the students' efforts to express themselves in their own words, they use verbs that differ from the educational text. These two actions together contribute to giving the students' description of the process a character of a non-scientific explanation. Lacking relevant subject matter knowledge, the students cannot judge whether they have given an adequate account or not. The only way that the students have to appraise their written report is to check if it is grammatically correct. It is concluded that it is essential to consider both cultural and semiotic processes when designing technology-supported educational approaches to the teaching of scientific concepts. © 2010 International Society of the Learning Sciences, Inc.; Springer Science + Business Media, LLC.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
New York: Springer-Verlag New York, 2010
Keyword
Computer animation, Educational software, Interaction analysis, Science education
National Category
Educational Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-30148 (URN)10.1007/s11412-010-9085-5 (DOI)000277201100003 ()2-s2.0-77952096533 (Scopus ID)
Note

The work reported here has been supported by the Linnaeus Centre for Research on Learning, Interaction, and Mediated Communication in Contemporary Society (LinCS).

Available from: 2016-01-11 Created: 2016-01-11 Last updated: 2016-01-15Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
  • apa
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