Cand.scient. Torunn Aanesland Strømme

Title of dissertation:

Supporting stukdents' conceptual sense-making in computer-based settings in science. Exploring the support aspects of digital tools, peer collaboration, teacher intervention, and instructional design.


The PhD work is conducted within the field of science education, and investigates how to support students’ conceptual sense-making in computer-based settings in science. More specifically the undertaken work focuses on how digital recourses, peer collaboration, instructional design and teacher interventions may facilitate students’ conceptual sense-making. The thesis consists of three studies which build on a socio-cultural perspective of learning and cognition. The three studies are case studies; two of them are qualitative, and one is a comparative mixed method study. The undertaken research can be described as design based research: Two computer-based learning environments have been developed and used as part of regular science instruction in grade 10 and 11 in Norwegian schools. Video recordings of student groups’ and the teachers’ interactions during the computer-supported science projects constitutes the main data material. Additionally pre- and posttest data targeting students’ understanding of a science related topic, and post interview data of students’ conceptual understanding of specific science concepts constitute central data.

The main overall finding of the undertaken work is the significant role of the teacher in supporting students’ learning processes in computer-supported settings. The teacher constitutes the pivotal “glue” that enables students to link and make use of coexisting support aspects, such as digital resources, peer collaboration, and instructional design. Furthermore, the thesis also demonstrates that animations support students’ conceptual sense-making in different ways than static visualizations do, which may explain why students learning outcome is higher when working with animations versus static visualizations. The work is carried out at the Department of Teacher Education and School Research, University of Oslo.





Published Sep. 21, 2015 10:41 AM - Last modified Sep. 21, 2015 10:41 AM