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Chao J.,The Concord Consortium | Chiu J.L.,University of Virginia | DeJaegher C.J.,University of Notre Dame | Pan E.A.,Annapolis flyer cab
Journal of Science Education and Technology

Deep learning of science involves integration of existing knowledge and normative science concepts. Past research demonstrates that combining physical and virtual labs sequentially or side by side can take advantage of the unique affordances each provides for helping students learn science concepts. However, providing simultaneously connected physical and virtual experiences has the potential to promote connections among ideas. This paper explores the effect of augmenting a virtual lab with physical controls on high school chemistry students’ understanding of gas laws. We compared students using the augmented virtual lab to students using a similar sensor-based physical lab with teacher-led discussions. Results demonstrate that students in the augmented virtual lab condition made significant gains from pretest and posttest and outperformed traditional students on some but not all concepts. Results provide insight into incorporating mixed-reality technologies into authentic classroom settings. © 2015 Springer Science+Business Media New York Source

Pallant A.,The Concord Consortium | Lee H.-S.,University of California at Santa Cruz
Journal of Science Education and Technology

Modeling and argumentation are two important scientific practices students need to develop throughout school years. In this paper, we investigated how middle and high school students (N = 512) construct a scientific argument based on evidence from computational models with which they simulated climate change. We designed scientific argumentation tasks with three increasingly complex dynamic climate models. Each scientific argumentation task consisted of four parts: multiple-choice claim, openended explanation, five-point Likert scale uncertainty rating, and open-ended uncertainty rationale. We coded 1,294 scientific arguments in terms of a claim’s consistency with current scientific consensus, whether explanations were model based or knowledge based and categorized the sources of uncertainty (personal vs. scientific). We used chi-square and ANOVA tests to identify significant patterns. Results indicate that (1) a majority of students incorporated models as evidence to support their claims, (2) most students used model output results shown on graphs to confirm their claim rather than to explain simulated molecular processes, (3) students’ dependence on model results and their uncertainty rating diminished as the dynamic climate models became more and more complex, (4) some students’ misconceptions interfered with observing and interpreting model results or simulated processes, and (5) students’ uncertainty sources reflected more frequently on their assessment of personal knowledge or abilities related to the tasks than on their critical examination of scientific evidence resulting from models. These findings have implications for teaching and research related to the integration of scientific argumentation and modeling practices to address complex Earth systems. © 2014, Springer Science+Business Media New York. Source

Pallant A.,The Concord Consortium | McIntyre C.,The Concord Consortium | Stephens A.L.,University of Massachusetts Amherst
Journal of Geoscience Education

The National Science Foundation funded the Transforming Remotely Conducted Research through Ethnography, Education, and Rapidly Evolving Technologies (TREET) project to explore ways to utilize advances in technology and thus to provide opportunities for scientists and undergraduate students to engage in deep sea research. The educational goals were to engage students in research in which they develop a hypothesis and research plan, experience a distant environment, collect data remotely, and interact with the scientific community. Eight undergraduate students from three universities participated, working closely with a professor at their institution with additional mentoring by other scientists. This paper describes the educational portion of TREET, students’ experiences conducting ocean science research using telepresence, and lessons learned about the promise and challenges of using telepresence to engage undergraduate students in research. The TREET project consisted of three phases: Phase I, a seminar and the development of a research plan; Phase II, a telepresence-enabled cruise; and Phase III, a postcruise seminar and data analysis. An evaluation of the program shows that students conducted their own research and experienced real-world scientific challenges associated with working at ocean depths from shore. While the experience was valuable for students, there were several lessons learned that have implications for future implementations of telepresence-enabled programs, including the importance of scheduling research experiences for undergraduate students, providing support for data analysis, building community, and developing clear communication strategies from the remote site. The TREET project represents a promising step in imagining the future in which telepresence can open more opportunities for undergraduates. © 2016 National Association of Geoscience Teachers. Source

Zucker A.,The Concord Consortium | Kay R.,The Concord Consortium | Staudt C.,The Concord Consortium
Journal of Science Education and Technology

Graphs are commonly used in science, mathematics, and social sciences to convey important concepts; yet students at all ages demonstrate difficulties interpreting graphs. This paper reports on an experimental study of free, Web-based software called SmartGraphs that is specifically designed to help students overcome their misconceptions regarding graphs. SmartGraphs allows students to interact with graphs and provides hints and scaffolding to help students, if they need help. SmartGraphs activities can be authored to be useful in teaching and learning a variety of topics that use graphs (such as slope, velocity, half-life, and global warming). A 2-year experimental study in physical science classrooms was conducted with dozens of teachers and thousands of students. In the first year, teachers were randomly assigned to experimental or control conditions. Data show that students of teachers who use SmartGraphs as a supplement to normal instruction make greater gains understanding graphs than control students studying the same content using the same textbooks, but without SmartGraphs. Additionally, teachers believe that the SmartGraphs activities help students meet learning goals in the physical science course, and a great majority reported they would use the activities with students again. In the second year of the study, several specific variations of SmartGraphs were researched to help determine what makes SmartGraphs effective. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media New York. Source

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