• Electronic Solar Eclipse
    Journal of 

    ISSN 1087-3430 Vol. 3 - No. 1 - September 1998

    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 professionally valuable.

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

  • Table of Contents

    Article One

    Enhancing Conceptual Learning By Understanding Levels Of Language-Rich Teaching


    K. David Pinkerton, Ph. D.
    Curriculum and Instruction Department
    University of Denver
    Denver, Colorado


    Cherry Creek Public Schools
    Smoky Hill High School
    Aurora, Colorado


    Any number of successful teaching strategies use a mixture of methods rich in language use to enhance conceptual learning. Not all language-rich teaching leads to equivalent conceptual gain. A year-long study was conducted in 3 high school physics classes to provide empirical support for the existence of levels of language-rich teaching. Three levels (low, medium, and high) of language-rich teaching were investigated. Each level was characterized by a unique language-rich teaching method: low level by hands-on, medium level by small groups, and high level by active mental processing (AMP) journal keeping. Once a week, each level experienced a lesson that promoted linguistic interaction prompted by accomplishing a task. The hands-on group formed lab teams to design and conduct a short experiment. The small group class solved textbook problems in small cooperative groups. The active mental processing (AMP) group responded to teacher prompts regarding demonstrations by writing in journals and structured discursive interaction. All of the remaining four lessons per week were identical.  First semester post tests revealed the order of class means to be: hands-on < small group < AMP journal. Males consistently scored better than females, but female gain scores paralleled male gain scores for both semesters. At the beginning of the second semester, the hands-on and small group classes were taught in the AMP journal method as well as the AMP journal class from the first semester. Small group and hands-on classes improved more than the AMP journal class suggesting that high level language-rich teaching intervention can help enhance conceptual learning in classes taught by primarily a hands-on or small group approach.

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    Article Two

    Realism versus Constructivism:
    Which is a More Appropriate Theory for Addressing the Nature of Science in Science Education?


    Brian Campbell, Ph. D.
    Southwestern Oklahoma State University
    e-mail: campbeb@host1.swosu.edu


    There are many versions of constructivism. While the various guises of constructivism have much in common, they also have many differences. During the last thirty plus years, certain aspects of constructivism have been adopted in the teaching of science. While generally this has been hailed as an improvement over a didactic teaching style and a positive change for science education, there have been voices of dissent. One common argument against a constructivist approach is that it contains elements of instrumentalist, operationalist, and idealist epistemologies that distort the true nature of science including the goals of science and how scientists actually operate. It has been argued that, while some constructivist components are useful in science education, a pedagogy based more on a realist epistemology would better serve the nature of science element of a science curriculum.

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    Article Three

    A Study of Preservice Science Teachers' Interactions with a Web-Based Forum

    Alec M. Bodzin
    The SERVIT Group
    Department of Math, Science, and Technology Education
    North Carolina State University
    Box 7801, 326 Poe Hall
    Raleigh, NC. 2795-7801

    John C. Park
    The SERVIT Group
    Department of Math, Science, and Technology Education
    North Carolina State University
    Box 7801, 326 Poe Hall
    Raleigh, NC. 2795-7801


    In order to examine the potential benefits and existing barriers of preservice science teachers engaging in an electronic professional community on the World Wide Web, we have constructed a "Web Forum" called the SciTeach forum. A survey was given to each of our 22 preservice science teachers at the end of their student teaching semester to identify the barriers they encounter when using a "Web-based forum" on the Internet during their student teaching experience. Our results indicate that the predominant barriers that preservice science teachers encounter when using the SciTeach forum appear to be a lack of adequate access to a networked computer and structuring time to engage in the web forum dialogue. Our preliminary findings also suggest that by using telecommunications with a "Web forum" structure, preservice science teachers can provide each other with socioemotional support. Much variance exists with regard to our students teachers' attitudes perceptions of their experiences with interacting with the SciTeach forum. This variance might be attributed to learning styles, personality characteristics, or the students' comfort level and previous experience using telecommunications technology. Although there are barriers to overcome, a "Web-based" forum appears to be effective instrument to provide support to a cohort group of preservice science teachers during their student teaching semester.

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    Article Four


    John A. Craven, III
    Queens College/City University of New York
    e-mail: jcraven@qcunix1.acc.qc.edu

    Mentoring Future Mentors: The Preparation of Science Teacher Educators


    This paper presents arguments for the need to examine programs that prepare science teacher educators and discusses the significant role that mentoring plays in preparing future science teacher educators. Second, this paper examines features of an exemplary mentor model from a doctoral program within science education and argues that a formal program of mentoring the preservice science teacher educator must be part of all advanced graduate programs. Lastly, this paper explores the application of an exemplary mentor model to other dimensions within teacher preparation.

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    Replies from Our Readers . . . A section devoted to conversations and discussions about previously published articles in the EJSE

    This month's contribution:

    From debating philosophical traditions to improving experimental work:
    A reply to Roth

    by Thomas H. Illman, M.Sc.
    Vasa Övningsskola, Åbo Akademi University, Finland

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    Special Section:  Resources and Programs in Higher Education

     compiled by David T. Crowther, Associate Editor, EJSE

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