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Meaningful learning in science


Nick Falk
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Meaningful learning in science

All teachers encounter students who are unable to understand taught concepts. The teaching material may be stimulating, the style of presentation direct and logical. The student’s general level of ability is often such that the difficulties are unexpected. The assumption is that the level of understanding is a reflection of ability and quality of teaching.

While this may be the case for most there are always those students who fail, seemingly against the odds, to comprehend.

Where are we going wrong?

Has any learning theory something to tell us here about the understanding of higher order concepts?

Are there any practical techniques we can use in the classroom to aid students in constructing their own understanding?

Edited by Nick Falk
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  • 2 weeks later...

I thought I would add something on some work done in the past and how it has been updated through the use of ICT.

I was involved in some research work into the use of concept mapping as an instructional tool and learning aid. This was before PCs were common place in schools and concept mapping was a little used method to promote understanding. All the work done on the use of mapping was paper and pencil.

Analysis of the result indicated an improvement in performance when compared with the group using more traditional means of learning. Reflecting on the work years later it became obvious that computing power could avoid the time consuming process of drafting and redrafting ideas and concepts. A search of the Internet revealed that this idea had already been realised. I purchased the software and entered into a dialogue with company. I initially used the software with low ability students who were able to produce some revealing frameworks to represent their understanding or misunderstanding of scientific concepts.

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