Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 3

Search results for: Knowledge Construction

3 Educating the Educators: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Enhance Science Teaching

Authors: Denise Levy, Anna Lucia C. H. Villavicencio

Abstract:

In a rapid-changing world, science teachers face considerable challenges. In addition to the basic curriculum, there must be included several transversal themes, which demand creative and innovative strategies to be arranged and integrated to traditional disciplines. In Brazil, nuclear science is still a controversial theme, and teachers themselves seem to be unaware of the issue, most often perpetuating prejudice, errors and misconceptions. This article presents the authors’ experience in the development of an interdisciplinary pedagogical proposal to include nuclear science in the basic curriculum, in a transversal and integrating way. The methodology applied was based on the analysis of several normative documents that define the requirements of essential learning, competences and skills of basic education for all schools in Brazil. The didactic materials and resources were developed according to the best practices to improve learning processes privileging constructivist educational techniques, with emphasis on active learning process, collaborative learning and learning through research. The material consists of an illustrated book for students, a book for teachers and a manual with activities that can articulate nuclear science to different disciplines: Portuguese, mathematics, science, art, English, history and geography. The content counts on high scientific rigor and articulate nuclear technology with topics of interest to society in the most diverse spheres, such as food supply, public health, food safety and foreign trade. Moreover, this pedagogical proposal takes advantage of the potential value of digital technologies, implementing QR codes that excite and challenge students of all ages, improving interaction and engagement. The expected results include the education of the educators for nuclear science communication in a transversal and integrating way, demystifying nuclear technology in a contextualized and significant approach. It is expected that the interdisciplinary pedagogical proposal contributes to improving attitudes towards knowledge construction, privileging reconstructive questioning, fostering a culture of systematic curiosity and encouraging critical thinking skills.

Keywords: Science education, interdisciplinary learning, nuclear science; scientific literacy.

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2 The Motivating and Limiting Factors of Learners’ Engagement in an Online Discussion Forum

Authors: K. Durairaj, I. N. Umar

Abstract:

Lately, asynchronous discussion forum is integrated in higher educational institutions as it may increase learning process, learners’ understanding, achievement and knowledge construction. The asynchronous discussion forum is used to complement the traditional, face-to-face learning session in hybrid learning courses. However, studies have proven that students’ engagement in online forums is still unconvincing. Thus, the aim of this study is to investigate the motivating factors and obstacles that affect the learners’ engagement in asynchronous discussion forum. This study is carried out in one of the public higher educational institutions in Malaysia with 18 postgraduate students as samples. The authors have developed a 40-items questionnaire based on literature review. The results indicate several factors that have encouraged or limited students’ engagement in asynchronous discussion forum: (a) the practices or behaviors of peers, or instructors, (b) the needs for the discussions, (c) the learners’ personalities, (d) constraints in continuing the discussion forum, (e) lack of ideas, (f) the level of thoughts, (g) the level of knowledge construction, (h) technical problems, (i) time constraints and (j) misunderstanding. This study suggests some recommendations to increase the students’ engagement in online forums. Finally, based upon the findings, some implications are proposed for further research.

Keywords: Asynchronous Discussion Forum, Engagement, Factors, Motivating, Limiting.

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1 Students’ Level of Knowledge Construction and Pattern of Social Interaction in an Online Forum

Authors: K. Durairaj, I. N. Umar

Abstract:

The asynchronous discussion forum is one of the most widely used activities in learning management system environment. Online forum allows participants to interact, construct knowledge, and can be used to complement face to face sessions in blended learning courses. However, to what extent do the students perceive the benefits or advantages of forum remain to be seen. Through content and social network analyses, instructors will be able to gauge the students’ engagement and knowledge construction level. Thus, this study aims to analyze the students’ level of knowledge construction and their participation level that occur through online discussion. It also attempts to investigate the relationship between the level of knowledge construction and their social interaction patterns. The sample involves 23 students undertaking a master course in one public university in Malaysia. The asynchronous discussion forum was conducted for three weeks as part of the course requirement. The finding indicates that the level of knowledge construction is quite low. Also, the density value of 0.11 indicating the overall communication among the participants in the forum is low. This study reveals that strong and significant correlations between SNA measures (in-degree centrality, out-degree centrality) and level of knowledge construction. Thus, allocating these active students in different group aids the interactive discussion takes place. Finally, based upon the findings, some recommendations to increase students’ level of knowledge construction and also for further research are proposed.

Keywords: Asynchronous Discussion Forums, Content Analysis, Knowledge Construction, Social Network Analysis.

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