“They can’t just Google the correct answer”: Personalising science learning in an open-plan secondary school
Prain, V and Waldrip, BG and Lovejoy, V, 'They can't just Google the correct answer': Personalising science learning in an open-plan secondary school, Personalising Learning in Open-Plan Schools, Sense Publishers, V Prain, P Cox, C Deed, D Edwards, C Farrelly, M Keeffe, V Lovejoy, L Mow, P Sellings, B Waldrip, (ed), Rotterdam, pp. 142-162. ISBN 978-94-6300-191-5 (2015) [Research Book Chapter]
Natalie, a Year 8 student, responding to a scientist’s blogged suggestion that her diagram of her invented spider-bat might need bigger ears (to explain its super-keen hearing and effective survival tactics), blogged back: Thanks Dr Dave. I’m glad you like the idea for my Spider-Bat and I will definitely try and fix those ears and I agree that my critter does seem a little defenceless. I will make sure to think about some ways in which my SpiderBat
can avoid being lunch!! Thanks again. Enhancing students’ interest in and learning from school science experiences has remained a challenge for decades in many countries (DeWitt, Osborne, Archer, Dillon, Willis, & Wong, 2013; Duit, 2007; Tytler, 2007). This challenge is variously attributed to: (a) too much didactic teaching that casts students as reluctant
bystanders tasked with memorising expert claims, (Duit & Treagust, 1998; Osborne & Dillon, 2008; Lyons, 2006); (b), a disconnect between official science curricula and students’ everyday worlds and interests (Aikenhead, 1996); and (c) lack of teacher familiarity with current scientific agendas, discoveries and methods (Chubb, 2014). Proposed and enacted solutions include: changes to the content, purposes and physical settings for learning (Duschl, 2008; Sadler, 2004; Tytler, 2007); integration with other subjects (Freeman, Marginson, & Tytler, 2015); more links with practising scientists (Chubb, 2014); more use of virtual resources (Linn, Davis, & Bell, 2013), and increased explicit focus on opportunities for students to use these and other resources as reasoning tools for learning in this subject (Lehrer & Schuable, 2006; Tytler, Prain, Hubber, & Waldrip, 2013).