Jakobsson, A., Mäkitalo, Å. & Säljö, R. (2009). Conceptions of knowledge in research on students' understanding of the greenhouse effect. Science Education, 93(6), 978–995.
This study suggests that the assessment of students’ understanding of scientific vocabulary, concepts, and reasoning associated with the greenhouse effect may be better accomplished by observing and understanding learners’ developing language use over time. The indication of previous research that students hold tenacious misconceptions may be an artifact of the questionnaires used. The authors argue that listening to student conversations is the key to better recognize learning. This paper can help ISE educators think more deeply about how and when to assess for student understanding, including considering most appropriate and informative methods.
Van Eijck, M. & Roth, W.-M. (2009). Authentic science experiences as a vehicle to change students’ orientations toward science and scientific career choices: Learning from the path followed by Brad. Cultural Studies of Science Education, 4, 611–638.
This study aims to answer two questions important to informal science learning: What is “authentic”? And, why do we want students to have authentic science learning experiences? Using ethnographic methods, the authors developed a case study over the course of one year of an Aboriginal student, Brad, who participated in a scientific internship program that included both nature conservation and laboratory work. This study analyzes how Brad’s cultural identity interacted, influenced, and hybridized with the scientific and other practices he participated in during his internship. The paper will be of interest to ISE educators exploring how program experiences interact with identity to encourage expanded participation in STEM.
Bricker, L. A., & Bell, P. (2008). Conceptualizations of argumentation from science studies and the learning sciences and their implications for the practices of science education. Science Education, 92(3), 473–498. doi:10.1002/sce.20278
In order to broaden the conceptualizations of argument in science education, Bricker and Bell draw from diverse fields: the sociology of science, the learning sciences, and cognitive science to help practitioners think of new ways to bring argumentation into learning spaces while expanding what counts as scientific argument.
Swanson, L. H., Bianchini, J. A., & & Lee, J. S. (2014). Engaging in argument and communicating information: A case study of English language learners and their science teacher in an urban high school. Journal for Research in Science Teaching, 51(1), 31–64. doi:10.1002/tea.21124
In this study, the researchers investigated opportunities and challenges English language learners (ELLs) faced while learning the scientific practices of argumentation and communication of findings (NGSS practices 7 and 8; NGSS Lead States, 2013). Specifically, they asked how the teacher engaged ELLs in argumentation and communication and how the ELLs actually used these practices.
Mulder, Y. G., Lazonder, A. W., & de Jong, T. (2010). Finding out how they find it out: An empirical analysis of inquiry learners’ need for support. International Journal of Science Education, 32(15), 2033–2053.
A study contrasting scientific reasoning skills of students with limited knowledge of the domain against more expert groups found little difference in nature of hypothesising and experimentation, but their lack of domain knowledge hindered non-experts' abilities to develop and test models. Findings highlight the need for support to understand models and organize knowledge.
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.
Scharfenberg, F.-J. & Bogner, F. X. (2010). Instructional efficiency of changing cognitive load in an out-of-school laboratory. International Journal of Science Education, 32(6), 829–844.
The authors claim that if the students are given an overdose of information, their memories become ‘overloaded’; for example, engaging in an activity in a professional science laboratory. To counter this negative impact, the study here suggests ways to lessen the ‘cognitive overload’ and inform instructional design.
Rosebery, A. S., Ogonowski, M., DiSchino, M., & Warren, B. (2010). "The coat traps all your body heat": Heterogeneity as fundamental to learning. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 19(3), 322–357.
This study makes the case for the ways in which children's everyday experiences are foundational to learning science. The authors argue for the importance of instruction that capitalizes on the diverse experiences and ways of thinking that children bring to the classroom. The article has implications for the design of learning activities in informal settings, where, in the absence of testing pressures, educators might be more free to engage children in "science talk" to support deeper meaning-making.
Hsu, P. L., van Eijck, M., & Roth, W. M. (2010). Students' representations of scientific practice during a science internship: Reflections from an activity-theoretic perspective. International Journal of Science Education, 32(9), 1243–1266.
In this study, students who participated in science internships were found to gain a better understanding of authentic science but did not have complete representations of scientific practice. Students' communication within presentations was seen to be mediated by the audience they were presenting to and what they perceived to be important. Consequently, students reported stereotypical images of science. This paper might be of interest to ISE educators developing lab and internship programs for students.
Johnston, J. S. (2009). What does the skill of observation look like in young children? International Journal of Science Education, 31(18), 2511–2525.
Observation is a key skill in science. It is also an important initial skill in early learning. In this paper, Johnston examines the skill of observation in 56 children (4–11 years), asks how it influences other skills in science, and considers how it may be supported. The paper draws attention to that fact that in recent years primary science education has been about the acquisition of conceptual knowledge rather than key skills, and that this balance may not be justified. Of further interest to ISE practitioners is Johnston’s comments that contexts where children can observe natural phenomena, especially animals, have been found to produce positive effects on the development of children’s language, social skills, and attitudes.