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postgraduate thesis: Fostering scientific epistemology among elementary-school students through knowledge building

TitleFostering scientific epistemology among elementary-school students through knowledge building
Authors
Issue Date2015
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Lin, F. [林鳳]. (2015). Fostering scientific epistemology among elementary-school students through knowledge building. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5558983
AbstractThis study examined the design, effects and processes of a computer-supported knowledge-building environment in fostering students’ epistemic views of science and science learning. Specifically, it aims to (1) to develop ways in which to examine and characterize students’ epistemic cognition from the perspective of theory building, and to examine its relation with conceptual understanding; (2) to examine the effects of the designed learning environment on epistemic and conceptual understanding; (3) to examine the role of Knowledge Forum discourse in facilitating epistemic and conceptual growth; (4) to examine the role of classroom epistemic dynamics in promoting epistemic and conceptual growth; and (5) to examine how students understand their own scientific inquiry and epistemic change. Four classes of fifth graders in Hong Kong (n=102) participated in this study while they were working on a unit about electricity. Two classes engaged in knowledge building, using Knowledge Forum® to collaboratively work on pursuing ideas (e.g., pose questions/explanation; revise ideas), testing their ideas with experiments, and reflecting on scientific progress with their own knowledge building inquiry. Another two classes were taught with regular inquiry-based approach. Multiple data sources were used to address the research goals and questions, including pre-, post-, and delayed post written tests on science epistemology and conceptual understanding, individual and focus group interviews, classroom observation, written artefacts, and Knowledge Forum writings. There were five major findings: (1) a written test, interview protocol, and coding schemes were developed to assess and characterize students' epistemic views of science. The general patterns range from viewing science as concrete activities to viewing it as a collective theory building process. This scientific epistemology was found to be an important predictor of conceptual change; (2) The quantitative results showed significantly stronger effects for the knowledge-building group compared with the regular inquiry group on epistemic and conceptual learning; (3) Premised on knowledge building theory, students’ Knowledge Forum discourse was characterized by two components: problem-centred uptake and theory building efforts, which were found to be related to students’ epistemic and conceptual understanding; (4) qualitative analyses of classroom observation showed how epistemic inquiry, discourse, modelling, and reflection that connected students’ own inquiry to scientists inquiry have helped develop students’ epistemic and conceptual understanding; (5) analysis of students’ interviews further suggested how their experience of knowledge building might have shaped their understanding about the nature of science and improved their conceptual understanding. This study contributes to our understanding about the nature of epistemic cognition from the situated and collective theory building perspective. It also contributes to the literature on how knowledge building could be enriched with epistemic reflection to improve students’ epistemic and conceptual growth, and demonstrated the role of knowledge building discourse, epistemic inquiry, discourse, modelling, and reflection in facilitating students’ understanding of the nature of science. Pedagogical implications of designing learning environment for epistemic and conceptual change are discussed.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy
SubjectScience - Study and teaching (Elementary)
Dept/ProgramEducation
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/216259

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorLin, Feng-
dc.contributor.author林鳳-
dc.date.accessioned2015-09-08T23:11:33Z-
dc.date.available2015-09-08T23:11:33Z-
dc.date.issued2015-
dc.identifier.citationLin, F. [林鳳]. (2015). Fostering scientific epistemology among elementary-school students through knowledge building. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5558983-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/216259-
dc.description.abstractThis study examined the design, effects and processes of a computer-supported knowledge-building environment in fostering students’ epistemic views of science and science learning. Specifically, it aims to (1) to develop ways in which to examine and characterize students’ epistemic cognition from the perspective of theory building, and to examine its relation with conceptual understanding; (2) to examine the effects of the designed learning environment on epistemic and conceptual understanding; (3) to examine the role of Knowledge Forum discourse in facilitating epistemic and conceptual growth; (4) to examine the role of classroom epistemic dynamics in promoting epistemic and conceptual growth; and (5) to examine how students understand their own scientific inquiry and epistemic change. Four classes of fifth graders in Hong Kong (n=102) participated in this study while they were working on a unit about electricity. Two classes engaged in knowledge building, using Knowledge Forum® to collaboratively work on pursuing ideas (e.g., pose questions/explanation; revise ideas), testing their ideas with experiments, and reflecting on scientific progress with their own knowledge building inquiry. Another two classes were taught with regular inquiry-based approach. Multiple data sources were used to address the research goals and questions, including pre-, post-, and delayed post written tests on science epistemology and conceptual understanding, individual and focus group interviews, classroom observation, written artefacts, and Knowledge Forum writings. There were five major findings: (1) a written test, interview protocol, and coding schemes were developed to assess and characterize students' epistemic views of science. The general patterns range from viewing science as concrete activities to viewing it as a collective theory building process. This scientific epistemology was found to be an important predictor of conceptual change; (2) The quantitative results showed significantly stronger effects for the knowledge-building group compared with the regular inquiry group on epistemic and conceptual learning; (3) Premised on knowledge building theory, students’ Knowledge Forum discourse was characterized by two components: problem-centred uptake and theory building efforts, which were found to be related to students’ epistemic and conceptual understanding; (4) qualitative analyses of classroom observation showed how epistemic inquiry, discourse, modelling, and reflection that connected students’ own inquiry to scientists inquiry have helped develop students’ epistemic and conceptual understanding; (5) analysis of students’ interviews further suggested how their experience of knowledge building might have shaped their understanding about the nature of science and improved their conceptual understanding. This study contributes to our understanding about the nature of epistemic cognition from the situated and collective theory building perspective. It also contributes to the literature on how knowledge building could be enriched with epistemic reflection to improve students’ epistemic and conceptual growth, and demonstrated the role of knowledge building discourse, epistemic inquiry, discourse, modelling, and reflection in facilitating students’ understanding of the nature of science. Pedagogical implications of designing learning environment for epistemic and conceptual change are discussed.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.subject.lcshScience - Study and teaching (Elementary)-
dc.titleFostering scientific epistemology among elementary-school students through knowledge building-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb5558983-
dc.description.thesisnameDoctor of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelDoctoral-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineEducation-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-

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