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Göteborgs universitets publikationer

Virtual labs as context for learning – continuities and contingencies in student activities.

Författare och institution:
Emma Petersson (Linnécentret for forskning om lärande (LinCS) & Institutionen för pedagogik, kommunikation och lärande); Annika Lantz-Andersson (Linnécentret for forskning om lärande (LinCS) & Institutionen för pedagogik, kommunikation och lärande); Roger Säljö (Linnécentret for forskning om lärande (LinCS) & Institutionen för pedagogik, kommunikation och lärande)
Publicerad i:
Problem-based learning for the 21st century. New practices and learning environments, s. 161-189
Kapitel, refereegranskat
Aalborg, Denmark
Sammanfattning (abstract):
CTIVITIES Emma Petersson, Annika Lantz-Andersson & Roger Säljö Introduction While sceptics have been little convinced about the beneficial consequences that would follow from the introduction of IT in school, technophiles have continued to make claims about how such resources will contribute to solving pedagogical problems of various kinds, including changing the role of the teacher (cf., e, g., Postman, 1979; Selwyn, 1999). As Cohen (1988, p. 232) puts it: ‘Since the end of World War II, educators, reformers, and school critics have seized on one technical innovation after another, seeing fabulous opportunities for better education in each’. One example of this line of argumentation is the repeated claim that it would be possible to individualize instruction by designing tools that would be self-instructive for learners with different cognitive abilities and/or learning styles. In our opinion, any claims about the beneficial effects of technologies must be substantiated through research and critical scrutiny of the practices that such resources afford. One persistent problem is the simplified view of learning adhered to in debates. Learning is often understood in terms of a straightforward conduit or transfer metaphor. ‘Too often, technology is viewed as a way of automating education and reducing costs, without changing the traditional view of education as the transfer of facts from an authoritative source to a relatively passive student’s memory’ (Stahl, 2009, p. 2). However, developing people’s ability to read, to express themselves in writing, to learn mathematical 162 modelling, or to analyse complex problems is not primarily a matter of presenting and absorbing information. On the contrary, this is a minor part of the teaching and learning process. Even if one does not adhere to the idea of the revolutionary impact of technologies on learning, it is obvious that students’ constant access to mobile digital tools such as computers, smartphones, and tablets challenges both the traditional media used in schools, primarily textbooks, and the instructional practices designed according to the principles of print technology. Today, for example, the learning of science in areas such as astronomy, physics, the life-sciences, and many other fields may be supported by a range of digital tools and applications, many of which are free on the Internet (cf. below). Such artefacts open up new ways of making knowledge accessible if embedded in well-planned institutional arrangements; they provide new ‘access points’ to human experiences and knowledge as Giddens (2002; cf. Säljö, 2010) puts it. One of the areas in which recent digital technologies open up new avenues of exploration and learning is environmental science (see Fauville et al., 2013, for a literature review on the use of ICT in environmental education). This multidisciplinary field poses one of the most important challenges to the educational system to engage in, given the threats to the environment posed by human exploitation of resources. Since the 1970s, environmental education is compulsory in primary and lower secondary education in Europe (UNESCO, 1975). Questions about environmental awareness, for example, those that concern the use of resources, the impact of human activities on the climate, or, what we will address in this study, issues that concern ocean acidification, are not easy to understand for most citizens. These issues are complex from a knowledge point of view and require insights into natural science, law, politics, social science, and many other areas. In the literature, the term socioscientific issues is often used to refer to this type of problem. The aim of the present study is to explore virtual labs as a context for learning about ocean acidification. In particular, we are interested in the activities that evolve when students engage in virtual lab work. Our question concerns what the consequences are for interaction and knowledge-sharing between students in such contexts.
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Postens nummer:
Posten skapad:
2014-02-21 11:15
Posten ändrad:
2014-03-05 12:17

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