Learning and ICT in Science Education (completed)

'Learning and ICT in Science Education' is Anniken Larsen Furberg's PhD project. The work has resulted in the PhD thesis 'Scientific Inquiery in Web-Based Learning Environments. Exploring technological, epistemic and institutional aspects of student's meaning making' (2009).

Furberg defended her thesis 5 February 2010. See information about the defence.

PhD Thesis Summary

The thesis focus on students' learning processes in settings where they engage with web-based inquiry environments in science education.

The conducted studies are based on a sociocultural perspective, which implies that learning is seen as a social process taking place among interacting participants. The overall focus implies a particular focus on technological, epistemic, and institutional aspects of students' meaning making processes.

The empirical data is mainly video recordings of secondary school students' interactions as they study gene technology in two online learning environments. In analysing sequences of collaborative interactions, attention has been focused on how students grapple to make sense of central concepts within genetics and the educational setting in which they are working.
The studies demonstrate how the Web environments constitute structuring resources that are productive for learning processes.

However, the studies also point to challenging aspects of such work, including widespread use of copy and paste strategies. This suggests that students are often fact-oriented rather than explanation-oriented. Furthermore, it is demonstrated that this fact-orientation can be explained by taking into account institutional aspects of schooling. In other words, the students' learning is not only about making sense of scientific issues and concepts; Learning in these types of settings is also a matter of making sense of the more or less explicit institutional practices, norms and expectations embedded in the design of the Web-based inquiry environment, as well as in the educational setting.

The studies further demonstrate the importance of teacher intervention in students' learning processes. Three important aspects of teacher intervention in situations characterized as collaborative classroom activities are identified: a) guiding the students in their process of making sense of the relevant scientific concepts, b) facilitating the students' discussion, and c) guiding them in how to solve the task.

Project information

Project period: 2004 - 2009

Financing: Faculty of Education and Telenor R&I

Published Dec. 20, 2010 11:45 PM - Last modified June 17, 2013 1:39 PM