Thank you for your interest in the Electronic Journal of Science
Education, the first electronic journal of its kind devoted to the timely
sharing of science education issues via the World Wide Web. The editors and
review board hope you find the enclosed articles academically and
John R. Cannon, Editor and Publisher
David T. Crowther, Associate Editor and Publisher
University of Nevada, Reno
A Partnership in Science Education
Edmund A. Marek
University of Oklahoma
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John R. Cannon
Editor and Publisher
Mentoring Preservice Teachers of Primary Science
Southern Cross University
Perceptions of mentors' practices related to primary science teaching were
obtained from final year preservice teachers after a 4-week practicum.
Responses to a survey (n=59), constructed through literature-based practices
and attributes of effective mentors, identified perceived strengths and
weaknesses in the area of mentoring preservice teachers of primary science.
Through exploratory factor analysis, this pilot study also tested the
unidimensionality of mentoring practices and attributes assigned to categories
(factors) that may characterise mentoring in primary science teaching.
These suggested factors, namely, personal attributes, system requirements,
pedagogical knowledge, modelling, and feedback had Cronbach alpha coefficients
of internal consistency reliability of 0.93, 0.78, 0.94, 0.90, and 0.81
respectively. Survey responses indicated that mentors generally do not provide
specific mentoring in primary science teaching. It is argued that science
education reform requires the identification of factors and associated
attributes and practices of mentoring primary science in order to effectively
develop preservice teachers in primary science teaching.
Mentors and Modelling Primary Science Teaching Practices
NSW Department of Education and Training
Queensland University of Technology
Final year preservice teachers' perceptions of their mentoring in primary
science teaching were gathered through a survey from two separate studies.
The two studies (n=331, n=60) provided an indication of the degree mentors
model primary science teaching practices. This research argues that mentors
need to model primary science teaching particularly in the areas of modelling:
enthusiasm, classroom management and a rapport with students, science teaching,
and effective science teaching with well-designed lessons that include
hands-on experiences. Mentors also need to model syllabus language so that
mentees develop appropriate discourse towards understanding science teaching
practices. The key study results (n=331, from nine Australian universities
involved in primary teacher education) indicated that on average 55% of mentors
did not model primary science teaching in each of the associated mentoring
practices (mean range: 2.68 to 3.66, standard deviation range: 1.22 to 1.30).
The Status of Science Education Doctoral Programs in the United States:
The Need for Core Knowledge and Skills.
Paul C. Jablon
The last study of science education doctoral programs in the United States
was completed over two decades ago. Since then there have been major standards,
curriculum and school change initiatives that should have had an impact on
framing the structure of these doctoral programs. This article synthesizes
and analyzes the data from two surveys regarding science education doctoral
programs. The first survey elicited data from 64 science education doctoral
program heads about the status of their programs. The second elicited data
from deans and heads of schools and departments of education about the need
for and qualities expected of science education doctoral graduates.
The findings, although encompassing the broad scope of content and skills of
doctoral programs, have a particular focus on the need for enrichment in the
areas of urban science teaching, the nature of science, and effective school
change strategies in science education.
Enhancing Inservice Teacher's Constructivist Epistemology
through the Development and Redesign of Inquiry-based Investigations
together with their Students
Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville
This paper summarizes a two-year professional development project with
twenty-three inservice teachers. Teachers were charged with the task of
developing inquiry investigations correlated with the Illinois Standards
in a state funded project titled "Connecting Outdoor Instruction to the
Illinois Learning Standards" (COIILS). Scientific investigations on the
school grounds were developed, piloted and peer tested. Students then
field-tested and redesigned the activities to test student-derived hypotheses.
One purpose of this project was to facilitate a shift in teachers'
constructivist epistemology. Positive changes were found in teacher's
endorsements of the Constructivist Learning Environment Survey - Teacher Form.
Significant change was noted in students' knowledge about scientific process.
The utilization of this inquiry-based investigation design/redesign model may
be one step in developing an effective professional development program for
teachers in the area of science education.
The project can be viewed at http://web.stclair.k12.il.us/splashd/Experimt.htm
Students Doing Science Outreach:
Participation Effects and Perceived Barriers to Participation
Deborah J. Trumbull
Science outreach programs, in which university personnel offer educational
services to their communities, are becoming more common. As yet there is
little research documenting effects of these programs. The current research
examined how participation in outreach affected science graduate students.
This study used a survey and in-depth interviews with 25 doctoral students
and one post-doctoral student. Students most involved in outreach education
experienced a sense of accomplishment, legitimate breaks from their research,
and an enhanced ability to communicate and conceptualize science concepts.
Graduate students less involved in outreach activities indicated aspects of
graduate study that made participation in scientific outreach work difficult.
Information about these benefits and barriers is valuable as science outreach
programs are being developed, supported, and evaluated.
Collaborating to Study Science Teaching: A Case Study
Frank E. Crawley
East Carolina University
Jon E. Pedersen
University of Oklahoma
The purpose of this study was to form a science teacher and graduate-student
researcher team in which its members engaged in a study of science teaching,
and to examine the progress of the team's work through the creation of a case
study. A graduate student and science teacher team was formed in one high
school, and used collaborative action research methods to investigate
students' learning in a general education biology course. As well, the
action research project was used to examine the attempt of the research
team (graduate student and teacher) to change instructional patterns in
the teacher's classroom. Records were maintained throughout the project
and examined to arrive at the study results, which revealed mixed success
in improving learning and making change within the context of the classroom.
Three tentative conclusions were warranted from an examination of the results
of the case study:
1. A chain of reasoning exists that inhibits reform of existing teaching
practices in ways that engage students,
2. Formation of a science teacher-graduate student team facilitates the
adoption of a critical perspective on instruction, and
3. Beliefs about science teaching are firmly established and difficult to alter.
Networking Promotes Problem Solving Achievement for 9th Grade Earth Science Students
Palma J. Longo
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
Columbia University, Teachers College, New York
Byram Hills High School,Armonk, N.Y
An experimental (pre-post control) and interview based-design was used to
test the efficacy of a new generation of knowledge representation and
metacognitive learning strategies called visual thinking networking (VTN).
These new strategies are conceptualized from the current understanding of how
one builds a picture of the external world, stores, and recalls this new knowledge
from memory. Students constructed network diagrams on paper using black pens or
colored pencils to make their drawings, These network diagrams contained
words (semantic elements) and figural elements connected by lines and other
representations of linkages to represent knowledge relationships. This
article addresses one of the main research questions; i.e., to what extent
earth science learning was improved by students utilizing VTN strategies
compared to controls who used other strategies of learning including writing
assignments. A multi-covariate analysis was conducted on the pre-post gain
scores of the AGI/NSTA Earth Science Examination (Part 1) from fifty-six 9th
grade earth science students. Findings from this analysis significantly
established a causal relationship between the improvement of earth science
learning and the utilization of visual thinking networks. Earth science
learning was improved in the area of problem solving for those students who
used VTN strategies (color and black/white). Students who used the VTN
strategies (color or black/white) had a significantly higher mean gain
score on the problem solving criterion test items than students who used
the writing strategy for learning science
(p =.005). Earth science learning
was most improved in the area of problem solving for those students who used
color VTNs. Students who used the color VTN strategies for learning science
had a significantly higher mean gain score on the problem solving criterion
test items than students who used the black/white VTN (p = .003) and the
control group that used writing strategies (p < .001) for learning science.
The use of color VTN strategies enhanced problem solving achievement gains
for female students. The findings indicated the importance of using color
in VTN strategies. The use of color promoted the encoding and reconstruction of
earth science knowledge in memory and enhanced the higher order thinking
skills of problem solving. A new metacognitive learning theory (ENACT-AC)
is proposed as an explanation for these findings.
Exemplar Lesson Plan
Lewis and Clark, the Scientific Method, and the Learning Cycle
University of Akron
Special Section: Resources and Programs in Higher Education
compiled by David T. Crowther, Associate Editor, EJSE
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