(2024) International Journal of Science Education. Abstract
Whereas one of the potential uses of Socioscientific Issues-based instruction in basic education is to engage students in scientific practices, there is a lack of empirical evidence showing that this is indeed what happens in the classroom. On this basis, the present study analysed teachers’ adaptations of pre-made SSI-based lessons in light of scientific practices as expressed in the PISA 2018 science competence framework. The results show that teachers mostly use SSI-BI to engage students in explaining phenomena scientifically, thus displaying that the model helps teachers to engage students in an elemental scientific practice. Further, tendencies of how teachers approach the other scientific practices are explained. Based on these results, we recommend to keep promoting the use of SSI-BI in science education, while emphasising the epistemic aspects of science in teacher education, as this subject matter knowledge can impact their disciplinary and pedagogical knowledge, which is known to influence their delivery of Socioscientific Issues-based instruction in the desired direction.
(2023) Sustainability (Switzerland). 15, 14, 11394. Abstract
As consensus towards teaching science for citizenship grows, so grows the need to prepare science teachers to pursue this goal. Implementation of socioscientific issues (SSI) is one of the most prominent theoretical and practical frameworks developed to support scientific literacy and preparing students as informed citizens. However, implementation of SSI holds great challenges for science teachers. Longitudinal professional development (PD) programs were designed to overcome these barriers, yet at the same time many educational systems lack the resources, both in terms of budget and time to meet such intense programs. In this paper, we introduce a design of a short-term PD course that was conducted in Israel. The PD was specifically tailored for secondary school science teachers, with the goal to support them in implementing SSI. Employing an educational design research framework, we tested our PD design over a span of three consecutive years. Through an iterative design process, we were able to make modifications to the program based on data collected and analyzed from the previous year. The structure of the PD is based on four SSI aspects: (a) introduction to SSI, (b) argumentation in SSI context, (c) SSI operationalization, and (d) science communication. In this paper, we provide detailed explanations for each of these aspects, justify the changes made to the PD design, and highlight both promising and less effective strategies for engaging teachers in SSI. Ultimately, we propose a comprehensive SSI PD model that can effectively prepare teachers to take their initial steps in implementing SSI, while remaining adaptable to diverse educational systems.
WhatsApp Discourse Throughout COVID-19: Towards Computerized Evaluation of the Development of a STEM Teachers Professional Learning Community(2022) International Journal of Artificial Intelligence in Education. p. 1-25 Abstract
This two-year study followed a professional learning community (PLC) of STEM Teachers Leaders, referred to as L-PLC. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated changes in the focus of many professional development frameworks from face-to-face to online communication. We sought for new ways and tools to follow the professional development and the dynamics in our L-PLC. In particular, we explored professional knowledge development and social interactions, as derived from its WhatsApp group (43–48 participants) discourse, before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Data were extracted from 6599 WhatsApp messages issued during four consecutive semesters (March 2019—March 2021), as well as from participant background questionnaires. The analysis incorporated both structure and content examination of the L-PLC WhatsApp discourse, using social network analysis (SNA), and a distinctive coding scheme followed by statistical analysis, heat map, and bar graph visualizations. These provided insights into whole group (macro), subgroups (meso), and individual (micro) profiles. The results indicated that over time, the participants gradually began to use the WhatsApp platform for professional purposes on top of its initial administrative intention. Moreover, the pandemic seemed to lead to a unique adjustment process, denoted by enhanced professional interactions, regarding content knowledge, professional content knowledge, and technological knowledge, and also accelerated the development of productive community behaviors, such as sharing and social support. The research approach enabled us to detect changes in key PLC characteristics, follow their dynamics under the influence of chaotic changes and navigate the community accordingly. Taken together, WhatsApp exchanges can serve as a rich source of data for a noninvasive continuous evaluation of group processes and progress.
(2022) Education Sciences. 12, 1, 45. Abstract
Drawing is recognized as a powerful tool to learn science. Although current research has enriched our understanding of the potential of learning through drawing, scarce attention has been given to the social-cognitive interactions that occur when students jointly create drawings to understand and explain phenomena in science. This article is based on the distributed and embodied cognition theories and it adopted the notion of we-space, defined as a complex social-cognitive space, dynamically established and managed during the ongoing interactions of the individuals, when they manipulate and exploit a shared space. The goal of the study was to explore the role that collaborative drawing plays in shaping the social-cognitive interaction among students. We examine this by a fine-grain multimodal analysis of a pair of middle school students, who jointly attempted to understand and explain a chemical phenomenon by creating drawings and thinking with them. Our findings suggest that collaborative drawing played a key role in (i) establishing a genuine shared-action space, a we-space, and that within this we-space it had two major functions: (ii) enabling collective thinking-in-action and (iii) simplifying communication. We argue that drawing, as a joint activity, has a potential for learning, not restricted to the cognitive process related to the activity of creating external visual representations on paper; instead, the benefits of drawing lie in action in space. Creating these representations is more than a process of externalization of thought: it is part of a process of collective thinking-in-action.
(2021) Science Education. 106, 1, p. 199-225 Abstract
Mechanistic reasoning is a powerful form of reasoning central to scientific explanations. Despite mechanistic reasoning being an important dimension of scientific practice and a central dimension of science curricula, students face difficulties in developing such type of reasoning. Many authors have been proposing tools for supporting its development; drawing is one such tool. Studies that purposefully explore how drawing leverages and supports students' mechanistic reasoning while engage in a process of constructing explanations are still scarce. The goal of the current study was to understand how students' mechanistic reasoning emerges and is enacted when students are jointly involved in drawing creation. For that, we drew on a recent framework that identifies essential characteristics of students' mechanistic reasoning and also on theories of distributed and embodied cognition. In this paper, we present a pair of middle school students who jointly explain a chemical phenomenon by creating drawings and reasoning with them. Using a fine-grain analysis we examined the elements of students' mechanistic reasoning in relation to drawing creation and how talk and embodied actions on and with the drawings were used to support students' reasoning. Findings reveal that drawings played a key role in paving the way for students reasoning about mechanisms and in enacting mechanistic reasoning. In particular, drawings were essential for pushing students to look for a mechanism, for enabling and supporting mechanistic reasoning-in-action, and for facilitating productive interactions between the students that ended up in the construction of a sophisticated mechanistic explanation.
(2021) Long-term Research and Development in Science Education: What Have We Learned?. p. 44-70 Abstract
E-learning is becoming a necessary skill, calling for familiarity with learning management systems. This chapter describes the construction process of the Chemistry Online Blended Learning Environment (COBLE) – a 3-year chemistry course for high-school students. The research that accompanied the COBLE was a detailed 3-year longitudinal study aimed at 23 grade 10–12 students who wished to study chemistry but could not do so in their schools. Since the founding of COBLE, four cohorts have already finished successfully, while students are enrolling for the 7th year. This chapter addresses the dynamic environment’s design and redevelopment, which succeeded to cope with rapid growth in student numbers and massive curriculum changes due to a national reform, bearing in mind that the aim was to improve self-regulated learning (SRL) of chemistry. Findings show that the design affected students’ level of SRL and constituted a major factor in their achievements and overall success. The novelty of this study is primarily related to the extent to which the environmental design influenced the students over the 3-year course, and in particular, their SRL improvement over time.
למידה מרחוק בשגרה ובחירום: מסקנות ראשוניות ממחקר בקרב מנהלי בתי ספר ומורים בדרום ישראל(2020) Negev, Dead Sea Arava Studies. 12, 2, p. 56-60 Abstract
The concept of distance learning as a means to expand learning options in the south, was the focus of a study conducted in 2018-2019 among school principals, teachers and students. The findings showed little enthusiasm for this solution and even opposition to it. Following the Corona crisis and the constraints of the education system to use distance learning as a primary means of continuing learning, we are currently repeating the data collection as a primary means of continuing learning, we are currently repeating the data collection. Here we present preliminary findings that indicate a change in attitude towards distance learning and even seeing the Corona crisis as an opportunity to improve infrastructure and to deepen teacher and student training in using Information and Communication Technologies.
(2020) Chemistry Education for a Sustainable Society Volume 1:High School, Outreach, & Global Perspectives. Vol. 1. p. 125-160 Abstract
Incorporating sustainability into chemistry education in Israel has been an ongoing endeavor for the last 25 years. In this chapter we introduce development, implementation, and research of six different educational initiatives: (1) Incorporating Industrial Chemistry into the teaching and learning of high school chemistry curriculum; (2) National Projects competition: "We have Chemistry: Chemistry, Industry, and the Environment in the Eyes of the Individual and Society"; (3) Promoting higher-order thinking skills using context-based Green Chemistry; (4) Professional Development for teachers: Focusing on sustainability: Materials for Energy (5) Professional Development for teachers: Supporting teachers in teaching socio-scientific issues, and finally; (6) Sustainable Chemistry for tertiary education: Research-based design of an interdisciplinary environmental science course. These initiatives span all levels of chemistry education, and hold a mutual design model, which will be discussed hereby.
Science teachers' pedagogical content knowledge development during enactment of socioscientific curriculum materials(2019) Journal of Research in Science Teaching. 56, 9, p. 1207-1233 Abstract
The purpose of this study is to provide insight into short-term professionalization of teachers regarding teaching socioscientific issues (SSI). The study aimed to capture the development of science teachers' pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) for SSI teaching by enacting specially designed SSI curriculum materials. The study also explores indicators of stronger and weaker development of PCK for SSI teaching. Thirty teachers from four countries (Cyprus, Israel, Norway, and Spain) used one module (30-60min lesson) of SSI materials. The data were collected through: (a) lesson preparation form (PCK-before), (b) lesson reflection form (PCK-after), (c) lesson observation table (PCK-in-action). The data analysis was based on the PCK model of Magnusson, Krajcik, and Borko (1999). Strong development of PCK for SSI teaching includes "Strong interconnections between the PCK components," "Understanding of students' difficulties in SSI learning," "Suggesting appropriate instructional strategies," and "Focusing equally on science content and SSI skills." Our findings point to the importance of these aspects of PCK development for SSI teaching. We argue that when professional development programs and curriculum materials focus on developing these aspects, they will contribute to strong PCK development for SSI teaching. The findings regarding the development in the components of PCK for SSI provide compelling evidence that science teachers can develop aspects of their PCK for SSI with the use of a single module. Most of the teachers developed their knowledge about students' understanding of science and instructional strategies. The recognition of student difficulties made the teacher consider specific teaching strategies which are in line with the learning objectives. There is an evident link between the development of PCK in instructional strategies and students' understanding of science for SSI teaching.
Assessing the Interaction Between Self-Regulated Learning (SRL) Profiles and Actual Learning in the Chemistry Online Blended Learning Environment (COBLE)(2019) Learning Technologies for Transforming Large-Scale Teaching, Learning, and Assessment. p. 231-255 Abstract
This chapter addresses the challenges and opportunities of virtual teaching of a complex scientific topic, such as chemistry, to high-school students. Chemistry Online Blended Learning Environment (COBLE) is a learning environment for students that are willing to expand their knowledge of Chemistry but have no opportunity to do so in their schools. It is claimed that certain skills help cope with learning, in general, and are vital in advancing learning, such as Self-Regulated Learning (SRL) skills. The chapter describes a recent study that investigated and characterized the students’ learning profiles, self-regulated learning processes (skills and strategies), and followed the change in these variables throughout the 3 year program learning Chemistry via COBLE in order to predict students’ success in learning Chemistry this way. Such prediction may enable teachers to be aware of possible problems earlier than usual and also help personalize the teaching and learning processes according to students’ profiles. Results indicate that there are some significant differences in some of the SRL categories between students studying via face-to-face and virtual environments and also among intervention students that possessed different SRL profiles when examining the involvement variable throughout their studies over time. On the basis of the data, influential indicators were isolated to enable future prediction of student success in studying Chemistry in a virtual manner and better planning of personalized support.
(2016) Research in Science Education. 46, p. 787-810 Abstract
Modeling is a core scientific practice. This study probed the meta-modeling knowledge (MMK) of high school students who study science but had not had any explicit prior exposure to modeling as part of their formal schooling. Our goals were to (A) evaluate the degree to which MMK is dependent on content knowledge and (B) assess whether the upper levels of the modeling learning progression defined by Schwarz et al. (2009) are attainable by Israeli K-12 students. Nine Israeli high school students studying physics, chemistry, biology, or general science were interviewed individually, once using a context related to the science subject that they were learning and once using an unfamiliar context. All the interviewees displayed MMK superior to that of elementary and middle school students, despite the lack of formal instruction on the practice. Their MMK was independent of content area, but their ability to engage in the practice of modeling was content dependent. This study indicates that, given proper support, the upper levels of the learning progression described by Schwarz et al. (2009) may be attainable by K-12 science students. The value of explicitly focusing on MMK as a learning goal in science education is considered.
Developing a Learning Progression for Scientific Modeling: Making Scientific Modeling Accessible and Meaningful for Learners(2009) Journal of Research in Science Teaching. 46, 6, p. 632-654 Abstract
Modeling is a core practice in science and a central part of scientific literacy. We present theoretical and empirical motivation for a learning progression for scientific modeling that aims to make the practice accessible and meaningful for learners. We define scientific modeling as including the elements of the practice (constructing, using, evaluating, and revising scientific models) and the metaknowledge that guides and motivates the practice (e.g., understanding the nature and purpose of models). Our learning progression for scientific modeling includes two dimensions that combine metaknowledge and elements of practice-scientific models as tools for predicting and explaining, and models change as understanding improves. We describe levels of progress along these two dimensions of our progression and illustrate them with classroom examples from 5th and 6th graders engaged in modeling. Our illustrations indicate that both groups of learners productively engaged in constructing and revising increasingly accurate models that included powerful explanatory mechanisms, and applied these models to make predictions for closely related phenomena. Furthermore, we show how students engaged in modeling practices move along levels of this progression. In particular, students moved from illustrative to explanatory models, and developed increasingly sophisticated views of the explanatory nature of models, shifting from models as correct or incorrect to models as encompassing explanations for multiple aspects of a target phenomenon. They also developed more nuanced reasons to revise models. Finally, we present challenges for learners in modeling practices-such as understanding how constructing a model can aid their own sensemaking, and seeing model building as a way to generate new knowledge rather than represent what they have already learned.
Talking science: classroom discussions and their role in inquiry-based learning environments(2009) The Science teacher (National Science Teachers Association). 76, 5, p. 44-47 Abstract
Science is a social process--one that involves particular ways of talking, reasoning, observing, analyzing, and writing, which often have meaning only when shared within the scientific community. Discussions are one of the best ways to help students learn to "talk science" and construct understanding in a social context. Since inquiry is an important strategy for teaching science (NRC 1996; AAAS 1993), teachers face the challenge of facilitating meaningful discussions in an inquiry- or project-based setting. This article presents three types of discussions that can be used in inquiry-based activities and provides an example of each in a sample investigation.
(2008) Elementary School Journal. 109, 2, p. 199-219 Abstract
Coherent curricula are needed to help students develop deep understanding of important ideas in science. Too often students experience curriculum that is piecemeal and lacks coordination and consistency across time, topics, and disciplines. Investigating and Questioning our World through Science and Technology (IQWST) is a middle school science curriculum project that attempts to address these problems. IQWST units are built on 5 key aspects of coherence: (1) learning goal coherence; (2) intraunit coherence between content learning goals, scientific practices, and curricular activities; (3) interunit coherence supporting multidisciplinary connections and dependencies; (4) coherence between professional development and curriculum materials to support classroom enactment; and (5) coherence between science literacy expectations and general literacy skills. Dealing with these aspects of coherence involves trade-offs and challenges. This article illustrates some of the challenges related to the first 3 aspects of coherence and the way we have chosen to deal with them. Preliminary results regarding the effectiveness of IQWST's approach to these challenges are presented.
The Driving Question Board: A visual organizer for Project-Based science(2008) The science teacher.. 75, 8, p. 33-37 Abstract
Weizman et al describe the purpose and process of the Driving Question Board (DQB), an instructional tool designed to support inquiry and project-based learning by organizing and focusing students' questions and linking them to content learning goals. They have used this tool in both physics and chemistry classes, but it can be used with any subject matter.