Technoskepsi: Supporting students’ argumentation in science both indoors and outdoors with the use of on-line tools and handheld computers
Organised by Centre for Learning, Knowing and Interactive Technologies (L-KIT)
Speaker: Maria Evagorou – Kings College London
Room 410, 35 Berkeley Square, BS8 1JA. 1.30-2.30pm
The purpose of this study was to examine whether a specially designed learning environment (Technoskepsi), making use of various technologies (on-line tools and handheld devices) can support young students’ argumentation in science, both indoors and outdoors. A secondary purpose was to explore the contribution of the learning environment towards students’ motivation to learn science. Technoskepsi was implemented with 18 students from a sixth-grade elementary school in Cyprus. The students worked in groups of three both indoors and outdoors for a period of eight, 80 minute lessons. Pre- and post- argumentation assessment tests were administered to all students, and students’ interactions in their pairs were video recorded. After the end of the instruction, all students were interviewed in order to identify whether the learning environment had motivated them or not. All arguments were categorized based on the Erduran et al. (2004) argumentation framework, and all interviews were open-coded. In general, the students engaged in the learning process and all groups were able to provide better arguments by the end of the instruction, supporting their decision during the whole classroom discussion. The handhelds were supporting data collection during the outdoor investigation, and have proved to be a motivation for students. Finally, an important aspect of the learning environment are the positive feelings of happiness and motivation that students expressed both during and after the instruction. An assumption is that handheld computers within the context of outdoors studies have the potential to support the collection and organization of data, while concurrently contributing to increasing student motivation.