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Title: Towards a Dynamic Model of Learners’ Ontologies in Physics
Authors: Gupta, Ayush
Hammer, David
Redish, Edward F.
Issue Date: Jun-2008
Publisher: International Society of the Learning Sciences, Inc.
Citation: Gupta, A., Hammer, D., & Redish, E. F. (2008). Towards a Dynamic Model of Learners’ Ontologies in Physics. In Kanselaar, G., Jonker, V., Kirschner, P. A., & Prins, F. J. (Eds.), International Perspectives in the Learning Sciences: Cre8ing a learning world. Proceedings of the Eighth International Conference for the Learning Sciences – ICLS 2008, Volume 1 (pp. 313-318). Utrecht, The Netherlands: International Society of the Learning Sciences.
Abstract: In a series of well-known papers, Chi and Slotta (Chi & Slotta, 1993; Chi, Slotta & de Leeuw, 1994; Chi, 2005; Slotta & Chi, 2006) have suggested that one reason for students' difficulties in learning physics is that they think about concepts in terms of 'things' rather than 'processes', and that there is a significant barrier between these two `ontological categories'. We contest this work in two ways: (1) it reflects a misunderstanding of expert knowledge, and (2) reasoning by experts and novices often traverses ontological categories in both profes- sional and everyday contexts. We cite examples from research articles as well as classroom discussions to illustrate that experts as well as novices hop across ontological boundaries to make sense of physical phenomenon. This suggests a dynamic context-dependent model of a person's ontological view. To promote one ontological description in physics instruction, as suggested by Slotta and Chi, could suppress an essential skill for the development of exper- tise.
Appears in Collections:ICLS 2008

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