ERG SES C 02, ICT in Education
International studies have shown a declining interest in science (OECD, 2006). At the same time, research shows that science and technology learning often occur outside school through real world experiences, and that these experiences contribute significantly to children’s knowledge and attitudes about science (Rennie, 2003). Nevertheless, most teaching in primary schools still seems to occur in the classroom. Moving science teaching outside the classroom as a supplement to classroom teaching may be a way to enhance learning and interest among pupils (Jordet, 2008). In Denmark, the use of out-of-classroom settings seems to be growing (Bentsen, 2010). Despite the increased attention to informal learning environments, few studies look into the actual learning outcomes of such educational activities. For example, Gerber, Cavallo and Marek (2001) investigated one aspect of science learning and argue that students with enriched informal learning environments have significantly higher scientific reasoning abilities compared to those with impoverished informal learning environments. Eaton (2000) found that students who engage in educational field visits develop their cognitive skills more effectively compared to those engaged in classroom-based learning. In addition, Adelman, Falk and James (2000) studied the gain of a visit to an Aquarium which reveals a significant change in conservation knowledge, understanding and interest. Regardless of these studies, the actual exploration of the development of knowledge and especially the development of various forms of knowledge in informal learning environments remain largely unexplored (Falk and Storksdieck, 2005).
This study is designed to address some of the gaps mentioned above by exploring the development of pupils’ knowledge of Natural Science and Technology (NST) when taught in informal learning environments. The objective is to generate research on how teaching in informal learning environments develops pupils’ various forms of knowledge, consequently the study is based on the following research question:
- What forms of knowledge do pupils develop when taught in informal learning environments?
Adelman, L. M., Falk, J. H. & James, S. (2000). Impact of National Aquarium in Baltimore on Visitors’ Conservation Attitudes, Behavior, and Knowledge. Curator: The Museum Journal Vol. 43, no. 1, pp. 33-61. Bentsen, P. et al. (2010). The extent and dissemination of Udeskole in Danish schools. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, Vol. 9, pp. 235-243. Eaton, D. (2000) Cognitive and affective learning in outdoor education. Dissertation Abstracts International – Section A: Humanities and Social Sciences, 60 (10-A), 3595. Falk, J. H., Moussouri, T. & Coulson, D (1998). The Effects of Visitores’ Agendas on Museum Learning. Curator: The Museum Journal Vol. 41, no. 2, pp. 107-120. Falk, J. H. (2003). Personal Meaning Mapping. In G. Caban, et al. Museums and creativity: A study into the role of museums in design education. Sidney: Powerhouse. Flyvbjerg, B. (2006). Five Misunderstandings About Case-Study Research. Qualitative Inquiry, Vol. 12, no. 2, pp. 219-245. Gerber, B. L., Cavallo, A. M. L. & Marek, E. A. (2001). Relationships among informal learning environments, teaching procedures and scientific reasoning ability. International Journal of Science Education Vol. 23, no. 5, pp. 535-549. Jordet, A.N. (2008). Outdoor schooling in Norway – research and experiences. Conference proceedings, Healthier, Wiser and Happier Children. Outdoor Education – learning with mind, heart and body. Branbjerg UC, Jelling, 24th-25th January. Kratwohl, D. R. (2002). A revision of Bloom’s taxonomy, an overview. Theory into Practice, Vol. 41, no. 4, pp. 212-218. Lelliott, A. D. (2008). Data collection outside and inside the classroom: Personal Meaning Mapping. Working paper. Rennie, J. L. et al. (2003). Toward an agenda for advancing research on science learning in out-of-school settings. Journal of Research in Science Teaching Vol. 40, no. 2, pp. 112-120. OECD (2006). Evolution of Student Interest in Science and Technology Studies - Policy Report: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
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