The Electronic

Journal of Science Education

ISSN 1087-3430

Volume 1, No. 1 -- September 1, 1996

University of Nevada, Reno
John R. Cannon, Editor
David T. Crowther, Associate Editor

Photo by NASA

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Editor's Note: Due to a directory change, the counter was reset again on 10/21/97.

It's the dawning of a new day for science education...and the sharing of ideas via electronic media. When the astronauts first saw the earth rise over the lunar surface, the technology which carried them to the moon was highly praised. With the successful completion of their journey, a new age of existence was born. Millions of citizens of planet Earth were transported to and from the lunar surface, along with the astronauts, due to the information technologies available.

Another first begins today...The Electronic Journal of Science Education. The EJSE has been developed and designed to offer the science education community, K-16, a mode of publication devoted to the earth-friendly, timely sharing of ideas, information, methods, and research relating to the teaching of science. The editor deeply appreciates the time and effort spent by the review panel of EJSE. Thank you. We are proud to offer this inaugural issue of the EJSE and hope readers find the articles, comprised of millions of recycled electrons, of professional and academic value.

We are also very proud to introduce our first guest editorial by Dr. Carl Berger, University of Michigan. Dr. Berger was honored at the 1996 annual meeting of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching with the lifetime achievement award. His past includes a great deal of scholarly achievements in the areas of science education and technology. The EJSE is very pleased that Dr. Berger has agreed to contribute to this new venture. Be looking for additional guest editorials in the upcoming issues.

In closing, you will find that not all articles included in this first issue of EJSE are of the same publication style. With the advent of hypertext markup language(HTML), many new and dynamic avenues for communication have been forged. As with any new undertaking, the EJSE is just getting its "sea legs", so to speak, and therefore, will not be steadfastly publishing according to any print media style manual. More authors are mastering HTML, and consequently, are writing HTML manuscripts. One such example in this issue is authored by Dr. Randy Yerrick. His article is an excellent illustration of this new authoring format for scholarly publication. For those who would like to consider submitting a manuscript to the EJSE, please see our basic and somewhat fluid publications guidelines at the end of the issue. We look forward to involving you in the future of scholarly publication.

John R. Cannon, Editor

Table of Contents and Abstracts

Guest Editorial...

Dr. Carl Berger, University of Michigan

Between two Worlds: Why another (electronic) journal?

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Article 1

Investigating the Inconsistencies in College Student Responses to Natural Selection Test Questions

by John Settlage, Cleveland State University, and Murray Jensen, University of Minnesota

E-mail address:


This study was designed to investigate whether a student's responses to test questions about natural selection were influenced by the extent of the student's identification with the organism. The hypothesis was that a student would be reluctant to invoke the ravages of natural selection upon species with which they possessed a greater empathy than upon species about which they cared less strongly. College students in a general biology course at a major research university were administered a twelve-item multiple-choice test to assess their understandings of natural selection. The test consisted of six parallel items with the difference between parallel items only in the type of organism described. Students were asked to individually rank lists of organisms according to their relative "preference" for each organism. Analyses were conducted to evaluate whether students made disproportionately more errors on those items describing organisms with which they more closely identified.

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Article 2

What Prospective Teachers Enrolled in a Science Methods Course Said They Learned as a Result of Subscribing to an Electronic Discussion List

by M.O. Thirunarayanan, Elementary Education Department, Rowan College, Glassboro, NJ 08028. Phone: (609) 256-4500, Ext. 3809. FAX: (609) 256-4918

E-Mail address: Thirunarayanan@Mars.Rowan.Edu

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Prospective teachers who subscribed to an electronic discussion list during the Spring semester of 1995 were surveyed during the Summer of 1995 to determine what they learned as a result of subscribing to the list which was a part of a science methods course in which they were enrolled. The written statements provided by the fifteen prospective teachers in response to the question "What are some of the things you learned as a result of completing this assignment?" are analyzed and the findings are reported in this paper. A qualitative analysis of the fifteen prospective teachers' written responses revealed that they learned quite a few science related ideas and information as well as other ideas and information which they could someday use in their own classrooms, learned how to use computers and e-mail, and also learned the value of communicating and sharing ideas.

Article 3

Microcomputers as Powerful Tools for Naturalistic Inquiry

by Randy Yerrick, 353 Flanagan Hall, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC 27858. (919) 328-6736.

E-mail address:

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There has been much discussion in the camps of science educators on how to create scientific communities in today's school science classrooms. State and national reforms recommend such a view of "science for all Americans." Traditional tools used to examine classrooms are hardly adequate for examining and understanding efforts towards current reform visions. This researcher offers insight of one approach steeped in current technology to aide a teacher/researcher with naturalistic methodological knowledge to begin to make sense of the volumes of videotape he/she has collected. This paper discusses one treatment of such data, its implicit values, and recommendations for technological set up for maximum efficiency and strength for claims made from such a treatment.

For guidelines for publishing in the Electronic Journal of Science Education click here

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