Electronic Journal of Science Education V5 N3 - March 2001
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ISSN 1087-3430 Vol. 5 - No. 3 - March 2001

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

EJSE Editorial...

Re-visiting the Wheel: Resources and Programs in Higher Education

David T. Crowther
Associate Editor and Publisher

Article One

Issues Associated with Inserting Computer Simulations into Biology Instruction:
A Review of the Literature


Joseph P. Akpan
Morehead State University


This paper reviewed empirical and theoretical issues associated with inserting computer simulations into biological instruction to help students better understand science concepts. Proponents claim advantages for simulations, such as greater experiential learning and higher student motivation. Critics claim simulations subvert scientific understanding because simulated experiences are insufficiently real. One particular focus was the role of simulations as replacement for dissection of animals. This issue is politically controversial because animal rights activists question the morality of dissection, while others argue that science learning is damaged by failure to experience dissection. While suffering numerous methodological defects, the available empirical research on simulations suggests the following: simulated dissection and actual dissections typically lead to equivalent performance on achievement tests, simulations used before actual dissections may enhance dissection performance, and experiential simulations facilitate learning from subsequent didactic instruction. Implications of these conclusions for education practice were discussed.

Article Two

Editor's Note: The following manuscript includes a great deal of evaluative forms directly related to its content. While technology allows for file transfers from one format to another, unfortunately complete formatting transfers sometimes result in some formatting loss. Please contact the first author, via e-mail, to inquire as to how to receive complete copies of the forms.

A Continuum For Assessing Science Process Knowledge In Grades K-6


Michael E. Beeth, The Ohio State University

Linda Cross, Highland Park Elementary, Grove City, OH
Christy Pearl, Highland Park Elementary, Grove City, OH
Janice Pirro, Highland Park Elementary, Grove City, OH
Kara Yagnesak, Highland Park Elementary, Grove City, OH
Janette Kennedy, Richard Avenue Elementary, Grove City, OH


Accurate assessment of science process knowledge provide teachers, parents and district administrators with information on the effectiveness of enacted curricula, and policy makers with information about the effectiveness of the inquiry based instructional approaches recommended for science teaching and learning. This article reports on the development and implementation of a rubric for assessing science process knowledge in grades K-6. Excerpts from interviews conducted with teachers applying this rubric to assess students' science process knowledge are presented to substantiate claims about the usefulness of the rubric as an assessment tool.

Article Three

Science for Students with Visual Impairments: Teaching Suggestions and Policy Implications for Secondary Educators


David Kumar
Florida Atlantic

Rangasamy Ramasamy
Florida Atlantic


Greg P. Stefanich
University of Northern Iowa


This paper addresses the importance of quality science instruction for students with visual impairments. Literature-based suggestions for modifying science instruction and instructional materials to meet the learning needs of visually impaired students are presented, and relevant examples in physical, chemical and biological sciences are discussed. Also, policy implications for science teacher education, alternative assessment and educational technology are addressed with respect to accommodating visually impaired students in science.

Article Four

Design and Implementation of an On-line Professional Development Community:
A Project-Based Learning Approach in a Graduate Seminar


James G. MaKinster
Department of Curriculum and Instruction, Indiana University

Sasha A. Barab
Instructional Systems Technology, Indiana University


Thomas M. Keating
Department of Curriculum and Instruction, Boston College


A central challenge in the design of science education graduate seminars is to create a context that will be meaningful to students, and at the same time support students in becoming knowledgeably skillful with respect to the topics of the course. This paper reports on the design and implementation of a project-based learning environment for a graduate seminar that immersed students in a real-world context. This seminar experience was organized around the design, and creation of a real-world "tangible artifact," the Internet Learning Forum (ILF), and embodied many of the design principles for project-based learning environments that have emerged from the literature. The ILF is a video centered, Web-based learning forum designed to support the professional development of in-service and pre-service mathematics and science teachers. Researching, designing and implementing the ILF provided an authentic, situated learning experience for the students and faculty participating in this course. An examination of this process and the theoretical basis behind these efforts serves to inform future project-based learning efforts in science education seminars.

EJSE's Special Section on Standards-based Exemplar Lesson Plans

Special Section: Resources and Programs in Higher Education

compiled by David T. Crowther, Associate Editor, EJSE

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