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Rethinking the roles of informal science environments and classroom teaching
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Rethinking the roles of informal science environments and classroom teaching

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An invited talk by Jim Kisiel of California State University Long Beach at AAPT 2012 Ontario. …

An invited talk by Jim Kisiel of California State University Long Beach at AAPT 2012 Ontario.

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Where do we really learn science? As concerns build regarding the chal- lenges of effective science teaching in the formal, K-12 learning environ- ment, we find increased attention drawn to a larger view of science learn- ing, learning that spans setting and time. A growing body of research is helping us to understand how people come to understand science outside of school settings, suggesting a more complex and more fluid sense of sci- ence learning. For this session, we?ll explore a broader conception of what it means to learn science in informal science environments (museums, parks, science centers, aquariums) as well as the challenges of leveraging such environments and institutional resources to support learning across both informal and formal learning contexts. Research related to teacher use of informal learning settings will set the stage for a variety of strategies for improving teachers? use of informal science learning institutions and other community sites.

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  • what physics is learned here? speed, acceleration, potential energy, kinetic energy, friction, air resistance, centripetal force... ALSO: cause and effect, manipulating variables, comparing data
  • schools are a venue for learning--but we want to focus on places OTHER than school... designed--like planetariums, science centers programs--afterschool, family, astronomy nights, etc.
  • non-formal, free-choice, out-of-school-time (OST) not necessarily black and white; may be unnecessary divisions; a continuum of learning environments, defined not only by physical setting, but by learner intentions and educational opportunities.
  • NRC 2007; NRC 2009 think of these as goals... engaging in scientific practice--understanding what it means to be a scientist. tools, language, collaborative efforts, etc.
  • challenge--not an easy overlap, for several reasons... much of the interaction depends on expectations of one group for the other... formal activities in informal settings science learning support
  • top of mind--field trips (50-60%, whether pre-service or in-service teachers) not bad, but suggests a limited view, a ‘ traditional ’ view
  • trying to understand those teachers who do make use of these settings... ‘ avid users ’ other resources: outreach, professional development opportunities, speakers, artifacts, printed materials, web resources these perspectives don ’ t necessarily overlap no correlation between frequency of field trip taking and use of other resources challenge: missing opportunities (teachers unaware of other opportunities)
  • 45%: positive experience, 48% learning; 27% both... (not mutually exclusive, but not completely overlapping...) 46% defined success in terms of operations (FT as task completion); 82% defined in terms of student/curriculum outcomes. Good, but suggests the importance of the logistics piece... Museums had a similar variety of success indicators...
  • challenge: as a provider (museum) how do you appeal to those different outcomes? And how can you make the case for these different outcomes (e.g. developing interest, exposure to science, etc.)
  • sometimes even what we see as good science instruction is lost... examples of best practice: familiarity with the site (reduce novelty effects); preparation and follow-up;
  • What would you do if you had that exhibit back in your classroom? Not the labels or the docents, but the exhibit itself?
  • physics days at Magic Mountain, Knotts, etc. wrap it into your plans--not just a separate day, separate experience. TIE it in.
  • another challeng
  • Transcript

    • 1. Dr. Jim Kisiel, Associate ProfessorCalifornia State University, Long Beach AAPT Winter Meeting, 2012
    • 2. Where does a 5-yearold learn about physics?
    • 3. • speed• acceleration• potential energy• kinetic energy• friction• air resistance• centripetal force• cause and effect• manipulating variables• comparing data
    • 4. When does science learning occur?Where does science learning occur?
    • 5. Where does science learning occur? everyday designed programs venues for learning schools
    • 6. What makes it informal learning? • Participation in non-school activities that have an inherent educational value. • Activities that are not developed primarily for school use • Typically self-paced, voluntary, exploratory • Other names... nonformal, free-choice, out-of-school-time (OST)
    • 7. What does it mean to ‘learn science’?• developing interest in science motivation, curiosity, interests, etc.• understanding science knowledge• engaging in scientific reasoning gathering, evaluating and analyzing evidence; critical thinking• reflecting on science understanding how science works; the nature of science• engaging in scientific practice• identifying with the scientific enterprise how learners view themselves with respect to science; understanding the role of science in their lives
    • 8. Intersections between formaland informal environments... Schools Museums
    • 9. How might community institutions (like museums, zoos, science centers, and parks)help you as a science teacher?
    • 10. • place for student learning (i.e. field trip sites)• provide resources, support classroom instruction• teacher learning (content, pedagogy)• hands-on experiences
    • 11. field trip destinationclassroom/teachingresource
    • 12. Whatcounts as a successful field trip?
    • 13. SUCCESS?• positive experience for students• student learning• students engaged or well-behaved• institution delivers organized, quality programming• connections to curriculum and standards• students exposed to new experiences• fosters student interest or motivation• no incident• students and teachers are well-prepared
    • 14. What does it mean to ‘learn science’?• developing interest in science motivation, curiosity, interests, etc.• understanding science knowledge• engaging in scientific reasoning gathering, evaluating and analyzing evidence; critical thinking• reflecting on science understanding how science works; the nature of science• engaging in scientific practice• identifying with the scientific enterprise how learners view themselves with respect to science; understanding the role of science in their lives
    • 15. Challenges observed...• varied ideas related to the purpose these learning experiences• missed opportunities (may not be utilizing resources...)• teachers may not be aware of ‘best practice’ related to supporting learning on field trips
    • 16. ractice: g ood p Focus on the‘DURING’ part Make it YOUR lesson, not the Museum’s...
    • 17. What would you do if you had this at your school?What questions might you ask students to answer?
    • 18. practice: g ood Focus on objects, not textBecause they can always look it up on the Internet...
    • 19. Another Challenge: Facilitating Interactions• the teacher influences the learning goals and outcomes of the field trip experience• teachers often take the role of ‘broker’ to support school-museum interactions• required to ‘cross borders’ between the community of the school and the community of the museum or informal science institution
    • 20. District school reser- school tours vations school school Museum docents outreacstate h tou boundary activities school school reser- tours Museum vations District school Museum school docents outreac school school h reser- nation tours vations Museum school school docents outreac h Schools District school
    • 21. So now what?• opportunities to support learning via out- of-school settings• focus on outcomes-What are the goals? What it means to learn science?• consider where/when that learning might take place• recognizing the challenges (these are just a few) is important-but don’t use them as obstacles
    • 22. Thank you! James Kisiel Associate Professor, Science Education CSU Long Beach j.kisiel@csulb.eduPortions of this research made possible throughgenerous funding from the Spencer Foundation