Dr Christopher Thompson - Faculty of Science, Monash University - Innovative approach to improve inquiry-based learning in our teaching laboratories
 

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Dr Christopher Thompson delivered the presentation at the 2014 STEM Conference. ...

Dr Christopher Thompson delivered the presentation at the 2014 STEM Conference.

The STEM Education Conference in 2014 looked not only at some of the key advantages and critical gaps in STEM education but also explore the policy and strategy settings that can enable participation and quality learning of STEM.

For more information about the event, please visit: http://bit.ly/STEMConf2014

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Dr Christopher Thompson - Faculty of Science, Monash University - Innovative approach to improve inquiry-based learning in our teaching laboratories Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Science The IDEA Experiments: An Interdisciplinary Template for Inquiry- Oriented Learning Activities in Science. Chris Thompson & Gerry Rayner Faculty of Science, Monash University
  • 2. Our Journey – The IDEA Experiments 2012  Mood For Change  What We Did & How We Did It  Getting People On Board 2013  Student Perceptions  The IDEAs are Spreading 2014  OLT Extension Grant 2
  • 3. Mood For Change Why change anything? Changes in Secondary Education  Australian Curriculum  F-12 Changes in Tertiary Education  The LTAS project  Threshold Learning Outcomes (TLOs) 3
  • 4. Mood For Change Why change anything? Changes in Secondary Education  Australian Curriculum  F-12 Changes in Tertiary Education  The LTAS project  Threshold Learning Outcomes (TLOs) 4
  • 5. Mood For Change TLOs have been drafted for most disciplines. Take these chemistry TLOs for example: Do these things REALLY take place in a teaching lab?? 5
  • 6. What We Did and How We Did It: The IDEA Experiments Nothing new about inquiry-oriented learning (IOL). Yet it does not flourish in the tertiary classroom! Excuses include:  Class size (> 1000 students), cost, waste of time (!) Falling behind our colleagues in the secondary sector … Biology/Chemistry/Physics came together to do something about it.
  • 7. What We Did and How We Did It: The IDEA Experiments (A template)
  • 8. Answer The IDEA Experiments Inquiry Design Explore ?
  • 9. Here’s what our Monash Science Teaching Associates think as a group (n ~ 48) Getting people on board: TAs 9 We asked ~50 teaching associates from biology, chemistry and physics what they thought:  should feature in a laboratory program, and  actually feature in the current laboratory program.
  • 10. 10 Does it work?  We definitely think so! Is it easy to set up?  Design  Demonstrators Are my colleagues on board?  Yes, and the IDEAS are spreading.  Higher year levels  Beyond our Faculty The IDEA Experiments
  • 11. 11  “Did you enjoy this practical?” • 72 % - yes, 18 % - no  Some of the reasoning from students who did not enjoy the experiment is exemplified by the following comments:  “I did not like the lack of guidance.”  “There was not enough guidance - didn't know what I was trying to accomplish at the end.”  “Was pretty lost at first.”  “It was a bit harder and there wasn't as much guidance.”  “Too open ended not much guidance.” Student Perspectives
  • 12. 12 “What did you think was the main lesson to be learnt from this practical?”:  "How to work as a scientist without any knowledge of (a) substance and determine it through experimentation"  "Experimenters face a great deal of challenges when they are trying to find out something unknown. Even when they take all necessary precautions, they still may be faced with errors."  "The issues and situations a chemist could experience in the field." Student Perspectives
  • 13. It’s Not a Revolution!  Using ‘inquiry’ in the classroom does not necessarily mean completely changing everything you do!  Herron’s Hierachy of Inquiry (1971!)
  • 14. An OLT Extension Grant! Aim: Maintain the momentum of Prof Les Kirkup’s IOL Fellowship by generating the changes required for genuine inquiry - from design to the teaching coalface. Deliverables 1. IOL workshops – Roadtrip!  La Trobe, Fed Uni, UTas, Deakin  Target audience TAs / demonstrators 2. An IOL forum 3. An IOL Best Practice booklet
  • 15. 1. IOL Workshops Hands-on workshops for academics and TAs The growth of a community of practice.
  • 16. 1. IOL Workshops Some interesting insights … “What do you think is done best in the current practical program?”
  • 17. 1. IOL Workshops Some interesting insights … “What is done worst in the current practical program?”
  • 18. 1. IOL Workshops Some interesting insights … “What does the term inquiry mean to you?”
  • 19. 2. IOL Forum Keynote Presentation from OLT Fellow Prof Les Kirkup A summary of our experiences via the IOL workshops Six vignettes – 20 minute presentations showcasing what people are doing in their classrooms ~100 delegates from 15 different institutions Two vignettes from secondary teachers … we need to get moving!
  • 20. 3. IOL Good Practice Booklet Designed to be a resourse for people wanting to jump in the deep end. Transform stale old recipe pracs into active-learning classes. Trade secrets Exemplars from practictioners  Honest, reflective accounts of how these developments actually went.
  • 21. Research? Perceptions of inquiry. Student vs demonstrators vs academic staff – intriguing! What’s missing? Is IOL really effective in enhancing students’ scientific literacy? Do students really gain the higher order skills through embedding and scaffolding IOL in science degrees? How to measure this?