Science Education

A Computer-Based Instrument That Identifies Common Science Misconceptions

by Timothy G. Larrabee, Mary Stein & Charles Barman
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This article describes the rationale for and development of a computer-based instrument that helps identify commonly held science misconceptions. The instrument, known as the Science Beliefs Test, is a 47-item instrument that targets topics in chemistry, physics, biology, earth science, and astronomy. The use of an online data collection system aided in developing this instrument and in ascertaining its validity and reliability. Validity was also established through use of expert panels, previously published items, and feedback from pilot tests. Using KR-21, internal consistency was established at 0.77. A test-retest reliability coefficient was established at 0.776, or moderate. As of December 2005, 1,071 respondents participated in this study, including 17 college and university educators, 40 members of the general public, and 41 K-12 educators. Eighty-five graduate students, 254 K-12 students, and 634 undergraduates also took the survey. This instrument continues to be revised to clarify items and add others to further its usefulness.

Social Studies Education

State Standards and Digital Primary Sources: A Divergence

by Adam Friedman
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The past decade has witnessed a proliferation of state standards and their associated tests in public schools in order to hold schools, teachers, and students accountable for learning outcomes and achievement. In this qualitative study of eight world history and world geography teachers, the degree to which the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs) influenced the use of digital primary source materials was examined. The SOLs had a negative influence on digital primary source use because of the large amount of material to be covered for the test, the focus of the test on fact-recall, and the intense pressure noted by the majority of teachers for their students to pass the test. Each finding, as well as its implications, is discussed.

Current Practice

Cross-Curricular Connections: Video Production in a K-8 Teacher Preparation Program

by Leslie Hall & Roxanne Hudson
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The purpose of this article is to describe the attempts of faculty members in one teacher education program to foster integration of content and skills across courses, prepare teachers for the diverse classrooms they will encounter, and connect course content to real life experiences. This paper describes the design of a cross-curricular video production project for undergraduate elementary teacher education. Four faculty members collectively created a video production project that would count as a major assignment in either three or four courses, depending on the students’ choice of topics. Our intent was to help the students understand the enmeshed nature of the content in the special education, social foundations, ESL methods, and educational technology courses. Students demonstrated the abilities needed to conceptualize, organize, and carry out a digital video production. The video project personalized situations and circumstances once known only abstractly through discussions and texts. Faculty members learned that students are able to think deeply and critically about a topic in a multilayered synthesis of course content, their own experiences, and issues around schooling. A clear understanding of how content can be included in quality student productions will enable faculty members to better scaffold the experience for students.

Seminal Articles

A Deconstructed Example of a Type 2 Study: Research to Improve Implementation Strategies

by M. D. Roblyer
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This article explores an exemplar of a Type 2 (Research to Improve Implementation Strategies) study. As the introductory article in this series described (Roblyer, 2005), our increasing reliance on technology-based communications has put many technology-based strategies into common use. These have often become strategies of choice not necessarily because they result in higher achievement or savings of time (for which there are few Type 1 studies to confirm), but because they use technologies that have become the automobiles to replace yesterday’s horses and carriages. Because implementations of these technology-based strategies vary widely and situations in which they are used have infinite permutations, we need many studies that examine thoroughly why certain implementations of a given technology can work well while others do not. While we cannot answer all questions about all possible implementations, we can discover trends that yield guidelines for how technologies should be implemented for maximum impact in many or most environments. The published study reviewed in this article offers such guidelines for the design and use of multimedia materials.

Verbal Redundancy in Multimedia Learning: When Reading Helps Listening

by Roxana Moreno & Richard E. Mayer
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Three studies investigated whether and under what conditions the addition of on-screen text would facilitate the learning of a narrated scientific multimedia explanation. Students were presented with an explanation about the process of lightning formation in the auditory alone (nonredundant) or auditory and visual (redundant) modalities. In Experiment 1, the effects of preceding the nonredundant or redundant explanation with a corresponding animation were examined. In Experiment 2, the effects of presenting the nonredundant or redundant explanation with a simultaneous or a preceding animation were compared. In Experiment 3, environmental sounds were added to the nonredundant or redundant explanation. Learning was measured by retention, transfer, and matching tests. Students better comprehended the explanation when the words were presented auditorily and visually rather than auditorily only, provided there was no other concurrent visual material. The overall pattern of results can be explained by a dual-processing model of working memory, which has implications for the design of multimedia instruction.