Results for Learning Science
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Sharples, M., Scanlon, E., Ainsworth, S., Anastopoulou, S., Collins, T., Crook, C., Jones, A., Kerawalla, L., Littleton, K., Mulholland, P., & O’Malley, C. (2014). Personal inquiry: Orchestrating science investigations within and beyond the classroom. Journal of the Learning Sciences. Doi: 10.1080/10508406.2014.944642

Mobile technology can be used to scaffold inquiry-based learning, enabling learners to work across settings and times, singly or in collaborative groups. It can expand learners’ opportunities to understand the nature of inquiry whilst they engage with the scientific content of a specific inquiry. This Sharples et al. paper reports on the use of the mobile computer-based inquiry toolkit nQuire. Teachers found the tool useful in helping students to make sense of data from varied settings.

Calabrese Barton, A., Tan, E., & Rivet, A. (2008). Creating hybrid spaces for engaging school science among urban middle school girls. American Educational Research Journal, 45(1), 68–103. doi:10.3102/0002831207308641

Calabrese Barton, Tan, and Rivet provide valuable insights on supporting girls (and young people generally) as they negotiate the practices of formal science learning, establish learning identities, and engage with science. Analysis of rich ethnographic data shows how middle school girls created hybrid spaces between school and home that enabled them to draw on funds of knowledge in order to participate fully in school science.

Carlone, H. B., Scott, C. M., & Lowder, C. (2014). Becoming (less) scientific: A longitudinal study of students’ identity work from elementary to middle school science. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 51(7), 836–869. doi:10.1002/tea.21150

How and why students develop productive science learning identities is a key issue for the education community (see Bell et al, 2009). Carlone, Scott, and Lowder describe the changes in the science identities of three students as they move from fourth to sixth grade. The authors discuss the processes — heavily mediated by race, class, and gender — by which the students position themselves, or are positioned by others, as being more or less competent learners in science.

McConney, A., Oliver, M. C., Woods-McConney, A., Schibeci, R., & Maor, D. (2014). Inquiry, engagement, and literacy in science: A retrospective, cross-national analysis using PISA 2006. Science Education, 98(6), 963–980. doi:10.1002/sce.21135

Current science education policy advocates for engaging students in scientific practices of inquiry as the best way for students to learn science. McConney et al.’s analysis of PISA data unexpectedly found a negative correlation between frequency of inquiry-based instruction and high levels of student scientific literacy. The analysis confirmed a positive correlation between frequency of inquiry-based instruction and high levels of interest and of engagement in science.

Salehjee, S., & Watts, M. (2015). Science lives: School choices and ‘natural tendencies.’ International Journal of Science Education, 37(4), 727–743. doi:10.1080/09500693.2015.1013075

Why do some people move into science while others move away? Salehjee and Watts collected 12 personal biographies that provide rich descriptions of the different paths—direct or more wavering—that individuals follow. The implications of this study suggest that the informal science sector needs to “keep doors open” for individuals at transition points.

Plummer, J. D., & Small, K. J. (2013). Informal science educators' pedagogical choices and goals for learners: The case of planetarium professionals. Astronomy Education Review, 12(1). doi:10.3847/AER2013004

Technology has dramatically changed learning opportunities in planetaria. In this paper, Plummer and Small examine planetarium professionals’ goals for their audiences and their pedagogical choices. The findings indicate that planetarium professionals place a high value on teaching interactively to achieve their primary goal of increased science interest and learning.

McClain, L. R., & Zimmerman, H. T. (2014). Prior experiences shaping family science conversations at a nature center. Science Education, 98(6), 1009–1032. doi:10.1002/sce.21134

To support learning across settings, educators need to develop ways to elicit student interests and prior experiences. McClain and Zimmerman describe how, during outdoor walks at a nature center, families talked about prior experiences with nature, which were mostly from non-school settings. They used the prior experiences to remind, prompt, explain to, and orient one another during shared meaning-making activity.

Gutiérrez, K.D. , Baquedano‐López, P., & Tejada, C. (1999). Rethinking diversity: Hybridity and hybrid language practices in the third space, Mind, Culture, and Activity,6(4), 286-303.

Within learning environments kids talk can often be seen as disruptive or off task. However, Gutierrez et al reframe how teachers can engage kids talk and welcome diverse activities and linguistic practices to deepen learning and participation. This article explores how teachers allow students to offer local knowledge, reorganize activities, and make meaning that can connect to the official curriculum in unexpected ways.

Perera, L. D. H. (2014). Parents’ attitudes towards science and their children’s science achievement. International Journal of Science Education, 36(18), 3021–3041. doi:10.1080/09500693.2014.949900

Data from 15 countries suggest that positive parental attitudes toward science are associated with higher student achievement in science. The findings also indicate that socioeconomic status has no effect on the relationship between parental attitudes and student achievement: Poorer students benefit just as much from positive parental attitudes as richer students.

Suter, L. E. (2014). Visiting science museums during middle and high school: A longitudinal analysis of student performance in science. Science Education, 98(5), 815–839. doi:10.1002/sce.21116

What is the relationship between experiences in informal settings and students’ understanding of and attitudes toward science? By analysing existing data sets, Suter finds that science museum attendance has an effect—albeit a small one—on student achievement.

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