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ERIC Number: ED533662
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 107
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1248-5644-5
Supporting Scientific Reasoning and Conceptual Understanding through the Use of Inscriptions
Wong, Nicole
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of California, Berkeley
While there is a vast body of research on visual representations, the results do not paint a clear picture of how to use inscriptions to support learning. Part of the difficulty stems from the need for research that investigates the use of inscriptions in classroom learning contexts. Toward this end, there is a small body of work that investigates the role of inscriptions in supporting students' engagement in scientific reasoning practices. Through the development of a case study of expert practice, this dissertation contributes to that literature by examining the potential power of inscriptions as resources for science teaching and learning in the context of a teacher professional development course that aims to support 4th grade teachers' content knowledge around the topic of electric circuits. This study examined the curriculum and video record from one enactment of this course to analyze the affordances of particular representations for supporting conceptual understanding and scientific reasoning practices; examine the facilitator's inscriptional practices that supported collaborative learning; and analyze the interactions among the learners, facilitator, and inscriptions that supported conceptual understanding. This exemplary facilitator successfully used inscriptions to engage learners in scientific reasoning practices that supported their conceptual understanding. She used inscriptions to structure and support discussions that were based on learner-generated ideas, yet led to curriculum-directed conceptual and pedagogical goals. The curriculum provided a series of inscriptional resources that were well suited for the conceptual and scientific reasoning activities that they proposed to support. By using curricular inscriptions to shape the content and form of the discussions, the facilitator created opportunities to learn that were 1) contingent on learner contributions and understanding, and 2) congruent with curricular goals. This work identifies several pedagogical content knowledge demands of supporting scientific reasoning through the use of inscriptions. Beyond knowledge of the conceptual terrain, the facilitator needed to (a) understand the match between particular inscriptions (or types of inscriptions) and the conceptual or scientific reasoning work they can support; (b) understand and interpret learner ideas in relation to the curricular goals; and (c) use inscriptions to make learner ideas available for examination, analysis, revision and discussion in service of the curricular goals. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A