Innovative Techniques for Teaching Science in Distance Education Dr. Sean Connin Skidmore College University Without Walls
The Road Ahead <ul><li>Science, Literacy, Success </li></ul><ul><li>Asynchronous Classrooms </li></ul><ul><li>Course Prese...
Science Defined <ul><li>A method for acquiring knowledge about the world through objective inquiry. </li></ul><ul><ul><ul>...
Emergent Properties of Science Mixed Protozoan Plankton  Painting:  Mathew Ritchie
Literacy and Science  <ul><li>Science Literacy – an ability to demonstrate specific skills and content knowledge related t...
Literacy and Science <ul><li>Scientific Literacy (Awareness) – an ability to understand scientific issues in context and d...
<ul><li>A description of the literate individual might be framed in relation to their ability to access scientific informa...
Asynchronous Classrooms  Creative Learning Environments <ul><li>Time independent </li></ul><ul><li>Support a multiple inte...
Demonstration Courses  <ul><li>Great Migrations </li></ul><ul><li>The Architecture of Life </li></ul><ul><li>The Fragmente...
1: Vocabulary and Syntax <ul><li>Overlapping Frames of Reference   </li></ul><ul><li>(Webber and Word 2001) </li></ul><ul>...
2: Narrative Construction and Analogy <ul><li>Science can be introduced using personal narratives that are non-threatening...
Social-Historical Scaffolding <ul><li>The cultural circumstances which envelop scientific pursuits provide a context for u...
Value-based Arguments <ul><li>For the political process of adjudicating conflicts over value and preferences , science off...
Empirical and Conceptual Models <ul><li>Dynamic visual references can effectively illustrate complex scientific informatio...
Self-Expression Self-Discovery <ul><li>Place-based inquiry enable students to learn/share aspects of their environment </l...
Quick Summary <ul><li>Vocabulary and Syntax </li></ul><ul><li>Narrative Construction and Analogy </li></ul><ul><li>Social-...
Teacher-Scholar Model <ul><li>A high-quality science course derives from the personal investments of individual faculty an...
Contact Information <ul><li>Sean Connin, Ph.D. </li></ul><ul><li>Science Communication and Instruction </li></ul><ul><li>[...
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  • Who I am, Where I’m from, why I’m here. I teach science-based courses to adult learners within a liberal-arts framework of study. My courses and teaching methods are highly stylized, reflecting my personal experience and knowledge-base My goals as an educator are to inspire life-long learners through science classes that are content rich, engaging, and relevant. I am here to share this approach and discuss opportunities to strengthen online science curriculum; Presenting a transdisciplinary approach to science instruction for adult students engaged in distance learning
  • Why are we interested in a discussion on science pedagogy?? ****Science is the predominant organizing philosophy by which we explain observed phenomena and develop new technologies. Nonetheless, the majority of adults have a poor understanding of the scientific process and its related body of knowledge.**** Society is also enamored with science, cult, pseudoscience: Divici Code Importance to modern public policy, civics, aesthetics. We also want individuals who can make contributions to society. - Incredibly effective means of organizing information to derive plausible explanations for observed phenomena Relationship between pedagogy and outcomes for science literacy Contrast between short-term content goals and life-long relevance Many people throughout the world cannot answer simple, science-related questions. Nor do they have an understanding of the scientific process. However, U.S. adults may be somewhat more knowledgeable about science than their counterparts in other countries, especially Russia and China. Science knowledge in the United States is not improving. Survey respondents&apos; ability to answer most questions about science has remained essentially unchanged since the 1990s, with one exception: more people now know that antibiotics do not kill viruses. This may be attributable to media coverage of drug-resistant bacteria, an important public health issue. Although the U.S. survey has not shown much change over time in the public&apos;s level of knowledge about science, the most recent Eurobarometer does show an increase. The change occurred in almost all countries surveyed; Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands recorded double-digit increases between 1992 and 2005 in the percentage of correct responses to science literacy questions. There is considerable variation in science knowledge across countries in Europe.  Less than half the American population accepts the theory of evolution. Whether and how the theory of evolution is taught in public schools remains one of the most contentious issues in science education. Belief in various forms of pseudoscience is common in both the United States and other countries. Scholars who make it their business to study such things estimate the numbers of scientifically literate Americans to be: fewer than 7% of adults 22% of college graduates 26% of those with graduate degrees
  • Incredibly effective means of organizing information to derive plausible explanations for observed phenomena scientific method of experimentation – hypothesis testing using controls and replicates
  • Other components of science that we need to recognize and teach: science is beautiful and all-together human. To develop pedagogy we need to define desired outcomes – what should most adults know about science and what should they appreciate about science? We are in luck because the public is inherently interested in science or representations of science – CSI, Davinci Code
  • Why are we talking about literacy?? Defns for science literacy modeled on relative importance given to content knowledge and critical thinking. Critical thinking – ability to evaluate information and opinions in a systematic, purposeful, efficient manner Science literacy emphasizes content knowledge within a framework of scientific research
  • Scientific literacy lies in an understanding of empirical study, including its limits, and a realistic view of science as a professional activity
  • What qualities should a person exhibit to meet this description of literacy????? How do we facilitate the development of such individuals. Proportional mix of content, critical thinking skills, and self-motivation My goals is to create a network of life-long learners who love science
  • Time – students able to access information when they are ready for it. Students are able to review material multiple times. Have opportunity to identify areas requiring additional work/understanding, quasi-permanent record MI approach - Linguistic intelligence (&amp;quot;word smart&amp;quot;): Logical-mathematical intelligence (&amp;quot;number/reasoning smart&amp;quot;) Spatial intelligence (&amp;quot;picture smart&amp;quot;) Bodily-Kinesthetic intelligence (&amp;quot;body smart&amp;quot;) Musical intelligence (&amp;quot;music smart&amp;quot;) Interpersonal intelligence (&amp;quot;people smart&amp;quot;) Intrapersonal intelligence (&amp;quot;self smart&amp;quot;) Naturalist intelligence Communication – opportunity to address questions following research, record of dialogue, Student Contribution – dialogue and discussion, journal posting, pictures, films, resources,
  • Basic Premise of Course Design. Scientific understanding is shaped by patterns and processes acting in natural and cultural systems. There is an intrinsic value to teaching science within an interdisciplinary domain. This not only includes but necessitates inclusion of studies in the liberal arts. In other words, I take a systems approach to teaching pedagogy. Student contributions and concept improvisation are fundamental to the courses (why??) Great Migrations Lecture 3 - animal orienteering; Lecture 5 marine migration (good links/images) Use of pop culture phrases, lit, etc. ***Stylized, image rich, open to exploration. Living in Winter Environments Lecture 6: animal adaptations; online labs Lecture 7, super-cooling and cryonics; online labs Journal Sharons The Fragmented Landscape Lecture 3 – watershed, rivers, GIS demonstration of hierarchical systems Journal – Julies, good example of sharing info from home. The Architecture of Life Lecture 9 – branching structures and fractals.
  • Important to recognize that communication is a process not a set of end points. Information is filtered by and individuals knowledge-base and life-experience. Complexity,&amp;quot; as a label of a scientific interest area, generally refers to the study of large-scale systems with many interacting components. mathematically, goes back to Andrei Kolmogorov &apos;s attempt to give an algorithmic foundation to notions of randomness and probability and to Claude Shannon &apos;s study of communication channels via his notion of information. In both cases, complexity is synonymous with disorder and the lack of structure The second sense of &amp;quot;complexity&amp;quot; refers instead to how structured, intricate, hierarchical, and sophisticated a natural process is. That is, in this sense, &amp;quot;complexity&amp;quot; is an indicator of how many layers of order or how many internal symmetries are embedded in a process.
  • Narratives place emphasis on first and second person voice. Fragmented Landscape Lecture 3 – waterfall Great Migrations Lecture 3 – animal orienteering etc. Review of different guidance systems. Insects and salmon orienteering using sense of smell Arch life – Lect 1. Use of patterns teacher needs to be human.
  • Focus on establishing relevance and appealing to varying interests among students. Must be willing to allow conversations to meander a bit. This way students can capitalize on their experience and interests. Lecture 3 – Arch life: Pythagoreans and Greek concept of unity; earliest concept of stoichiometry from primary elements. Concepts of unity prevail in modern science and philosophy. Plato’s symbolic philosophy has also influenced the thinking of artists, architects, and inventors alike Oddly, evolve into notion of irreducibility of universe. See Buckminster Fuller and Synergetics. Lect 9 Arch life: branching structures, development of complexity theory, non-linear chaotic systems. Other areas of study: art, film, literature: e.g. post-modern literature “Travels in the Scriptorium” by Paul Astor; non-linearity Human behavior: riots, use of internet as examples of emergent patterns and self-organization Arch life: Lect 8 ??
  • Fragmented Landscape – lecture 7 – cumulative impacts; Natural resource management – invasive species; pesticides and herbicides, nanotechnology and materials (risk assessment) Importance of real life problems. Using issues that are inherently value laden or ambiguous , the students develop their ability to distinguish reason and emotion within the context of empirical analysis. They also learn to understand the strengths and limits of scientific data in the development of public policy.
  • Frag Landscape Lect 3: watershed concept, hierarchical theory, nested hierarchies. Frag Lanscape – syllabus: runoff models Living in winter – morph index (didn’t do this past spring) Visual references – better when dynamic, GIS or Google Earth Opportunities available through Google Earth, Stella, GIS, and the Integrated Laboratory Network
  • Internet is unique platform for self-expression and participation. Issues of ownership and multiple opportunities for success . Misha’s journal site. Trip to France and similarity to ant-hills.
  • Is
  • Argues against reliance on course-management systems and market model approaches to higher education. Rather it advocates for faculty who design, deliver, and own the intellectual content of their courses.
  • Argues against reliance on course-management systems and market model approaches to higher education. Rather it advocates for faculty who design, deliver, and own the intellectual content of their courses.
  • UWEX P

    1. 1. Innovative Techniques for Teaching Science in Distance Education Dr. Sean Connin Skidmore College University Without Walls
    2. 2. The Road Ahead <ul><li>Science, Literacy, Success </li></ul><ul><li>Asynchronous Classrooms </li></ul><ul><li>Course Presentation and Pedagogy </li></ul><ul><li>Implications and Discussion </li></ul>
    3. 3. Science Defined <ul><li>A method for acquiring knowledge about the world through objective inquiry. </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Empirical – focus on observable phenomena </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Formal – focus on abstract systems </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
    4. 4. Emergent Properties of Science Mixed Protozoan Plankton Painting: Mathew Ritchie
    5. 5. Literacy and Science <ul><li>Science Literacy – an ability to demonstrate specific skills and content knowledge related to science. </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Balancing chemical formula </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Ordering geological time periods </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Constructing a scientific study </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
    6. 6. Literacy and Science <ul><li>Scientific Literacy (Awareness) – an ability to understand scientific issues in context and distinguish scientific knowledge from pseudoscience. </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Understanding of experimental design </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Critical thinking </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Science in society </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
    7. 7. <ul><li>A description of the literate individual might be framed in relation to their ability to access scientific information, comprehend it, and derive a thoughtful response to it. </li></ul>
    8. 8. Asynchronous Classrooms Creative Learning Environments <ul><li>Time independent </li></ul><ul><li>Support a multiple intelligence approach </li></ul><ul><li>Can enhance communication and comprehension </li></ul><ul><li>Broadens opportunity for student investment </li></ul>
    9. 9. Demonstration Courses <ul><li>Great Migrations </li></ul><ul><li>The Architecture of Life </li></ul><ul><li>The Fragmented Landscape </li></ul><ul><li>Living in Winter Environments </li></ul>     
    10. 10. 1: Vocabulary and Syntax <ul><li>Overlapping Frames of Reference </li></ul><ul><li>(Webber and Word 2001) </li></ul><ul><li>“The principle of fossil succession states that fossil organisms succeed one another in a definite and determinable order” </li></ul>
    11. 11. 2: Narrative Construction and Analogy <ul><li>Science can be introduced using personal narratives that are non-threatening, familiar, and fun. </li></ul><ul><li>Analogy-enhanced text and images enable students to understand new concepts in relation to familiar ideas. </li></ul>
    12. 12. Social-Historical Scaffolding <ul><li>The cultural circumstances which envelop scientific pursuits provide a context for understanding these achievements. </li></ul><ul><li>Science comprehension is enhanced when presented in relation to other areas of study. </li></ul><ul><li>Human behavior and activities can be used to understand scientific concepts. </li></ul>
    13. 13. Value-based Arguments <ul><li>For the political process of adjudicating conflicts over value and preferences , science offers no moral or ethical guidance (Lancaster, 2000) </li></ul><ul><li>Risk provides an engaging context to discuss the scientific process, describe both pseudoscience and normative science, and to establish the relevance of science in relation to policy. </li></ul><ul><li>Decision-based scenarios can be used to facilitate science comprehension and student curiosity. </li></ul>
    14. 14. Empirical and Conceptual Models <ul><li>Dynamic visual references can effectively illustrate complex scientific information. </li></ul><ul><li>Empirically-derived indices enable a top-down approach to understanding multivariate information. </li></ul>
    15. 15. Self-Expression Self-Discovery <ul><li>Place-based inquiry enable students to learn/share aspects of their environment </li></ul><ul><li>Peer-tutoring fosters student ownership of course concepts and the language in which it is discussed. </li></ul><ul><li>Student journals provide a context for self-expression and information exchange that complement class discussions. </li></ul>
    16. 16. Quick Summary <ul><li>Vocabulary and Syntax </li></ul><ul><li>Narrative Construction and Analogy </li></ul><ul><li>Social-Historical Scaffolding </li></ul><ul><li>Value-based Arguments </li></ul><ul><li>Empirical and Conceptual Models </li></ul><ul><li>Self-Expression </li></ul>
    17. 17. Teacher-Scholar Model <ul><li>A high-quality science course derives from the personal investments of individual faculty and their institutions. </li></ul>
    18. 18. Contact Information <ul><li>Sean Connin, Ph.D. </li></ul><ul><li>Science Communication and Instruction </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>

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