PreSEES: Preparing Educators for Everyday Science The main aim of the project is to explore how pre-service teachers (elementary and secondary) engage with everyday science and socioscientific issues, and how they transfer their knowledge of SSI as a way to promote everyday science into their teaching practices. This is an EU funded project which has been awarded to Dr. Evagorou, and has a duration of two years.
Argumentation and modeling in the context of an authentic issue This project explores how (and if) students use models as part of the process of constructing arguments. More specifically, in this study we explore how 10-12 year old students go about an authentic issue, that of the mosquitos in their area, and what kind of solutions they propose. The purpose of the project is to understand the role of modeling in the process of argumentation, or how modeling could be used to support students' argumentation. Click here to read a newspaper article presenting the project (in Greek) in Politis (13/05/12)
Teaching practices in argumentation The purpose of this project is to explore all dimensions that pertain to the teacher-student interaction during argumentation lessons in science. More specifically, in this study the following are explored: What kind of instructional practices teachers use when implementing argumentation curriculum, and what is their students’ performance in argumentation?
The methods applied in this study are associated with case study, with four in-service elementary school teachers and their classes serving as the different cases. More specifically, all four teachers in the study implemented in their classes (10-12 year olds) the same science curriculum, with an emphasis on argumentation, for a period of 10 weeks (80 minutes per week). Two of the teachers in our study had expertise in argumentation (i.e. graduate studies, teaching argumentation) whilst the other two were novice in the teaching of argumentation. During the implementation the following data were collected: (a) pre- and post-assessment test on argumentation skills for all students, (b) students’ written arguments, (c) interviews with the teachers, and (d) classroom observation and teacher talk during the implementation of the curriculum. The data from the argumentation test and the students’ written arguments were analyzed based on the modified version of Toulmin’s framework (Erduran et al., 2004), whilst the interviews and teacher talk were open coded looking for themes regarding the teaching practices and teaching philosophy.
Argue-WISE The purpose of this project was to design an on-line learning environment with the purpose of enhancing 11-14 year old students' argumentation skills. The learning environment was designed within the WISE platform, and presented an authentic problem, that of the proliferation of the grey squirrel (over the red squirrel) in the UK. The learning environment was implemented in two schools in the UK. A description of the learning environment and the activities are available from the links below. The project was part of my PhD and was partly funded by the Ros Driver Fund at King's College London. You can access the on-line learning environment by creating an account on WISE. - Description of the activities - Lesson plan for the introductory lesson (Boys are cleverer than girls in science) - Evidence cards for the introductory lesson
Technoskepsi: Using on-line technologies and handhelds to promote argumentation The aim of Technoskepsi was to investigate the ways in which various on-line technologies and handhelds can support argumentation in science. More specifically, the project aimed to: (a) develop a learning environment that makes use of on-line technologies and handhelds and aims to help 10-12 year old students to develop arguments; (b) investigate those features of the handhelds that might support students while they construct arguments and; (c) create case studies of students working with technology and argumentation to be used as part of teacher professional development in science.
In order to design the learning environment, a group of teachers and science education researchers interacted for a period of two months. The teachers proposed a set of activities that they thought would be appropriate for 10-12 year old students. Those activities were then discussed with science education researchers and following that process we designed a set of integrated activities that make use of knowledge representation tools, discussion based tools, and mobile devices. The learning environment was implemented with 2 elementary school classes and the results from the implementation are presented in various papers (see Publications section). The curriculum materials (lesson plans and worksheets) can be found here (in Greek). The project was funded by the Cyprus Research Promotion Foundation and CARDET.
OIKOSKEPSI: Developing system thinking skills through environmental scenarios The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of a simulation-based learning environment (OIKOSKEPSI) on elementary school students’ development of system thinking skills. In Greek, OIKOSKEPSI means thinking about one’s home, which in this case is the Earth. The learning environment introduced a controversial environmental issue associated with extensive annoyance in a village caused by the mosquitoes reproducing in a nearby marsh. Simulations were used to allow students to virtually explore the system of the marsh and to investigate the effects of various changes. In that way, the students did not have to struggle with imagining the implications of their suggestions; the simulations made it easier to visualize changes and hence to think more effectively through the effects of the actions they proposed, and also to explore more possibilities. Pre and post assessment test evaluating students’ system thinking were developed (in Greek).
The project was funded by the Cyprus Research Promotion Foundation and was implemented with collegues from the University of Cyprus and the Learning in Science Group (Kostas Korfiatis and Christiana Nicolaou).