Designing and delivering representation-focused science lessons in a digital learning environment
Cirkony, C and Tytler, R and Hubber, P, Designing and delivering representation-focused science lessons in a digital learning environment, Educational technology research and development, 70 pp. 881-908. ISSN 1042-1629 (2022) [Refereed Article]
Inquiry-based representation-focused approaches in science education have shown promising outcomes when students engage in knowledge building via an active process of constructing, coordinating, and evaluating representations. To date, much of the existing research around these approaches has taken place in pre-digital classrooms, but the increasing importance of digital technologies in contemporary science classrooms that has heightened during the on-going Covid pandemic could have ramifications for such approaches. To explore the potential for productive integration of a digital technology with active learning processes, this study investigated the role an interactive online learning platform played in supporting the construction and refinement of representations by students. This paper draws on research generated in the context of an Australian Grade 9 science class studying a physics unit focused on energy transfer considerations for sustainable housing. The research design featured an exploratory case study approach using multiple methods for data collection including video capture, interviews, and student artefacts. Data analysis involved the application of socio-semiotic perspectives to understand the nature of studentsí meaning-making processes through their generation and coordination of both digital and non-digital multimodal representations. This study found that the online platform allowed for extended access and the flexible use of multimodal resources facilitated studentsí representation construction activities. However, activities involving teacher-guided discussions and ongoing feedback were limited. The socio-semiotic analysis provided insights into the effective design of online learning sequences to guide conceptual development. This paper concludes by suggesting how specific affordances of interactive online platforms can effectively facilitate the design and delivery of active learning approaches involving representation construction.
Online learning platform, science education, inquiry-based learning, representations, conceptual development