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Title: Using Visualization to Link Abstract Science and Everyday Experience
Authors: Shen, Ji
Chang, Hsin-Yi
Chiu, Jennifer
Clark, Douglas
McElhaney, Kevin
Varma, Keisha
Wiebe, Eric
Zhang, Helen
Linn, Marcia
Issue Date: Jun-2010
Publisher: International Society of the Learning Sciences (ISLS)
Citation: Shen, J., Chang, H., Chiu, J., Clark, D., McElhaney, K., Varma, K., Wiebe, E., Zhang, H., & Linn, M. (2010). Using Visualization to Link Abstract Science and Everyday Experience. In Gomez, K., Lyons, L., & Radinsky, J. (Eds.), Learning in the Disciplines: Proceedings of the 9th International Conference of the Learning Sciences (ICLS 2010) - Volume 2, Short Papers, Symposia, and Selected Abstracts (pp. 228-235). Chicago IL: International Society of the Learning Sciences.
Abstract: This interactive poster symposium features research groups investigating how visualizations and aligning instructional approaches promote students' deep understanding of physical sciences. The participating studies take advantage of computerized visualizations to bridge abstract science concepts and students' intuitive ideas of physical phenomena. These studies reveal how the visualizations help students improve their understanding of science over time by employing mixed methods such as data from student performances on pre-post tests and student practices during the learning process. These posters provide insights about how students learn from visualizations and propose effective design approaches to augment the impact of computerized visualizations. ! Introduction A major challenge that educators face is that student learning and understanding of subject areas often occurs at a superficial level (e.g., Krajcik & Blumenfeld, 2006). Many teachers and researchers recognize the difficulty of promoting meaningful learning and deep understanding due to limited time, resources, tools and instructional strategies. However, with the rapid development of technology, research has emerged to provide promising evidence for how advanced technology tools can effectively transform teaching and learning practice to benefit student learning and promote deep understanding (e.g., Blumenfeld, Fishman, Krajcik, & Marx, 2000; Goldstone & Wilensky, 2008; Linn, Clark, & Slotta, 2003; Wieman, Adams, & Perkins, 2008). Specifically, this collection of studies examines the role of computerized visualizations in supporting students' understanding of physical sciences. Computerized visualizations such as simulations and dynamic models allow students access to unseen processes and abstract concepts in science. These external visualizations and models can help students form complex understandings of a given concept or phenomenon (Buckley, 2000). However, the process of student interacting with visualizations to form integrated understanding is not straightforward. Students' prior knowledge may influence their perception of phenomena and understanding of the external models (Rohr & Reimann, 1998). Moreover, students need to integrate multiple types of knowledge and skills in order to make sense of the visualizations and successfully perform their learning tasks using the visualization. Students often need guidance to interact productively with visualizations. In this symposium, eight studies investigated how students developed coherent understanding of science using computerized visualizations with various types of support. This symposium will engage participants in discussing diverse viewpoints concerning the roles, effective strategies, and beneficial features of computerized visualizations to promote deep science learning. ! Purpose and Objectives We organize this interactive poster symposium to provide a platform for the presenters and the audience to discuss how computerized visualizations can promote strong conceptual connections between classroom science and the physical world. Research suggests that many natural science concepts (e.g., atomic interactions, acceleration, electricity) are abstract and challenging for students because they cannot meaningfully connect these concepts to real observations and concrete experiences. A wide range of computerized visualizations has been created to help students learn these difficult concepts. Many of these visualizations show effectiveness in improving students' science understanding. Through the collection of the studies we aim to answer the following questions surrounding the use of computerized visualizations in science classrooms: How can dynamic visualizations make science relevant to students' life? Students encounter everyday experience such as heat and temperature, electric circuits, and physical motions. The visualizations presented in the symposium aim to embed abstract disciplinary science knowledge (e.g., atomic models, Newtonian mechanics) in contexts that are familiar with students. How can visualizations help students distinguish spontaneous ideas gained from everyday experiences and scientific ideas learned in class? As students form intuitive ideas to explain observations they make about the world, visualizations can help students distinguish and link the spontaneous ideas from scientific ideas by
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