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Themes in Science and Technology Education
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  This is an Open Access Journal Open Access journal
     ISSN (Print) 1792-8788 - ISSN (Online) 1792-8788
     Published by University of Ioannina Homepage  [1 journal]
  • Investigating the differences between girls and boys regarding the factors
           of frustration, boredom and insecurity they experience during science

    • Authors: Claas Wegner, Friederike Strehlke, Phillip Weber
      Abstract: Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) are subjects comprising knowledge whose schooling is essential for every country striving after long-term economic success. Despite the already existing shortage of skilled labour within the mathematic-technical-scientific professional field, men still dominate the respective subjects and jobs. The loss of female talent as a consequence of insufficient support is inexcusable from both an economic and social point of view. This is why affirmative action should be taken during schooling years in order to prevent girls from turning their backs on STEM subjects. Bielefeld University’s coeducational science project ‘Kolumbus-Kids’ is a programme to support gifted students in general, and especially girls. This article presents both the project and a recent study investigating how girls show differences from boys when it comes to experiencing frustration, boredom and insecurity during science lessons. These emotions highly influence a person’s activation, interest and motivation and are the point of intersection for cognitive processes which makes it important to deal with them sensitively. On the basis of theoretical background information on gender related differences, the project is designed to support gifted children and girls when it comes to STEM subjects. As found in this article, the underrepresentation of women in STEM-related university classes is a problem that has to be solved not only because of the skilled labour shortage. The study shows that specifically designed tutoring projects like ‘Kolumbus-Kids’ contribute highly to this solution. They are able to ignite and keep the interest in STEM-related subjects alive and they also lower frustration, boredom and insecurity in the same regard. One of the most important prerequisites for success is to know the girls’ interests and what the possible problems are in order to better support them.
      PubDate: 2014-09-10
      Issue No: Vol. 7 (2014)
  • Korthagen’s ALACT model: Application and modification in the science
           project “Kolumbus-Kids”

    • Authors: Claas Wegner, Phillip Weber, Stephanie Ohlberger
      Abstract: In order to improve one’s teaching in the long run, reflection on the lessons makes up an integral part in the process of developing a sufficient reflection competence. The problem, however, is how this reflection competence can be established in student teachers already and if that concept is compatible with current systems of teacher education at all. One technique of reflection stems from Fred Korthagen’s research, suggesting that colleagues should help evaluate each other’s lessons. After having held the lesson, the teacher is asked to look back at it, realising important aspects from a distanced point of view and drawing conclusions for further teaching. It should also be thought about alternatives. While theoretical input on reflection is given in the first part of the article, the second half focuses on the adaption of Korthagen’s approach for the tutoring project “Kolumbus-Kids”. The project very successfully implements the ALACT model (action – looking back – awareness of essential aspects – creating alternative methods of action – trial) in teacher education at university and a checklist provided at the end provides an overview of the extensive set of questions to be used in the reflection process.
      PubDate: 2014-09-10
      Issue No: Vol. 7 (2014)
  • Supporting learning with weblogs in science education: A comparison of
           blogging and hand-written reflective writing with and without prompts

    • Authors: Dominik Petko, Nives Egger, Marc Graber
      Abstract: The goal of this study was to compare how weblogs and traditional hand-written reflective learning protocols compare regarding the use of cognitive and metacognitive strategies for knowledge acquisition as well as learning gains in secondary school students. The study used a quasi-experimental control group design with repeated measurements comparing weblogs and text-based reflective journals both with and without prompts. During a learning unit on the subject of climate change, students were assigned one to four experimental groups with different writing assignments and one control group that did not keep a learning protocol of any kind. Comparisons of pretest and posttest scores indicate that students in the experimental groups collectively outperform the students in the control group. Looking closer however, only the groups writing with the guidance of prompts showed better learning gains, while groups writing without prompts did not show significant differences when compared to the control group. There were no differences with respect to learning gains between groups writing weblogs and those writing with paper and pencil when supported by prompts. Without prompts however, students in the paper-and-pencil writing condition performed better than students writing blogs. For blogging students, prompts seemed to be more important to achieve greater learning gains. In addition, students showed greater use of cognitive and metacognitive strategies when guided by prompts. Also here, there were no differences with regard to the medium of writing. Both cognitive and metacognitive strategies were predictors of learning gains. In conclusion, the use of prompts can be considered as important scaffold when writing weblogs or paper based learning protocols.
      PubDate: 2014-09-10
      Issue No: Vol. 7 (2014)
  • School on Cloud: Towards a paradigm shift

    • Authors: Kostis C Koutsopoulos, Yannis C Kotsanis
      Abstract: This paper presents the basic concept of the EU Network School on Cloud: Namely, that present conditions require a new teaching and learning paradigm based on the integrated dimension of education, when considering the use of cloud computing. In other words, it is suggested that there is a need for an integrated approach which is simultaneously pedagogic (i.e. new role of teachers), technical/technological (i.e. use of the internet), administrative (i.e. new role of school administrators), social (i.e. a different disposition of parents towards school), political (i.e. a different approach of government to school) and cultural (i.e. new role of students), being in dialectic harmony and respecting all aspects of teaching and learning, an integral part of which are pupils, teachers and school administrators. As a result, the principal tasks in the area at the interface between education and cloud technology, which are presented in this paper, are to determine and describe the nature of the basic education stakeholders: i-Students, i-Teachers and i-Administrators.
      PubDate: 2014-09-10
      Issue No: Vol. 7 (2014)
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