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Learning Physics Through Communication During Laboratory Work: An empirical study at upper secondary school
Karlstad University, Faculty of Health, Science and Technology (starting 2013), Department of Engineering and Physics.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1154-8218
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Laboratory work as a teaching and learning method is given prominence in the Swedish physics curriculum for upper secondary school. It is emphasised that students should be given opportunities to develop the ability to search for answers to questions, plan, conduct, interpret and present results. Moreover, students should also be encouraged to use their physics knowledge to communicate, argument and present conclusions. This thesis is based on the belief that physics laboratory work creates a special discourse, where the student becomes the actor and the teacher becomes the organiser and observer. Such an environment enables students to naturally engage in physics discussions using their own terms. The aim is to explore students’ laboratory work at upper secondary school in-depth, with respect to its design and influence on students’ communication. Through analysis of students’ communication, the purpose is to better understand the physics laboratory work’s possibilities as a teaching and learning method. This will contribute to ongoing debate about the effectiveness of laboratory work. The results show that laboratory work consists of similar activities but differs in amount of time allocated to the different activities. Different types of talk are used for different purposes. An analytical framework has been created to enable deeper investigations of how and what students are talking about at both a linguistic and cognitive level. Moreover, the analysis shows the importance of students acquiring knowledge about physics and understanding the value of using an investigative approach as well as acquiring core content physics knowledge.

Abstract [en]

Laboratory work as a teaching and learning method is given prominence in the Swedish physics curriculum for upper secondary school. It is emphasised that students should be given opportunities to develop the ability to search for answers to questions, plan, conduct, interpret and present results. Moreover, students should also be encouraged to use their physics knowledge to communicate, argument and present conclusions. This thesis is based on the belief that physics laboratory work creates a special discourse, where the student becomes the actor and the teacher becomes the organiser and observer. Through analysis of students’ communication, the purpose is to better understand the physics laboratory work’s possibilities as a teaching and learning method. The results show that laboratory work consists of similar activities but differs in amount of time allocated to the different activities. Different types of talk are used for different purposes. An analytical framework has been created to enable deeper investigations of how and what students are talking about at both a linguistic and cognitive level. Moreover, the analysis shows the importance of students acquiring knowledge about physics and understanding the value of using an investigative approach as well as acquiring core content physics knowledge. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlstad: Karlstads universitet, 2017. , 77 p.
Series
Karlstad University Studies, ISSN 1403-8099 ; 2017:20
Keyword [en]
Physics education, Laboratory Work, Inquiry, Communication, Discourse Analysis
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Physics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-48454ISBN: 978-91-7063-781-0 (print)ISBN: 978-91-7063-782-7 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-48454DiVA: diva2:1092513
Public defence
2017-06-13, 21A342, Eva Erikssonsalen, Universitetsgatan 2, Karlstad, 15:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2017-05-24 Created: 2017-05-03 Last updated: 2017-05-24Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. The Effectiveness of Laboratory Work in Physics: A Case Study at Upper Secondary School in Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Effectiveness of Laboratory Work in Physics: A Case Study at Upper Secondary School in Sweden
2012 (Swedish)In: Proceedings of The World Conference on Physics Education 2012: WCPE 2012 / [ed] Mehmet Fatih Taşar, 2012, 729-740 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The present paper reports on a case study that examined the effectiveness of a practical activity in physics, at a Swedish upper secondary school. A teacher and 19 students participated in the study. The students were observed while working with the topic motion, in a computer based laboratory environment (CBL). This case study is part of an ongoing longitudinal study, about the role of laboratory work with different degrees of freedom. The analysis of interviews, written reports and posttest, shows that the practical work was effective based on Millar’s model. Even so, the students had difficulties expressing what they learned from the activity. This study emphasizes the complexity of planning and conducting laboratory work that is effective, from several different aspects. 

Keyword
Physics education, Laboratory work, Effectiveness, Experiences, Computer based lab
National Category
Didactics
Research subject
Physics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-35120 (URN)978-605-364-658-7 (ISBN)
Conference
WCPE -The World Conference on Physics Education 1-7 juli Istanbul Turkiet
Available from: 2015-02-03 Created: 2015-02-03 Last updated: 2017-05-03Bibliographically approved
2. Different Styles of Laboratory Work - Different Types of Communication: Students’ talk during laboratory work in upper secondary school physics
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Different Styles of Laboratory Work - Different Types of Communication: Students’ talk during laboratory work in upper secondary school physics
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Keyword
Science education, Laboratory work, Practical work, Inquiry, Communication, Talk-types, Physics
National Category
Didactics
Research subject
Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-48453 (URN)
Available from: 2017-05-03 Created: 2017-05-03 Last updated: 2017-05-03
3. The relation between students’ communicative moves during laboratory work in physics and outcomes of their actions
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The relation between students’ communicative moves during laboratory work in physics and outcomes of their actions
2017 (English)In: International Journal of Science Education, ISSN 0950-0693, E-ISSN 1464-5289, Vol. 39, no 2, 158-180 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this case study, we explore students’ communication during practical work in physics at an upper secondary school in Sweden from a sociocultural perspective. We investigate the relation between the interaction and content of students’ communication and outcomes of their actions, with the purpose of finding new knowledge for informing teachers in their choice of instruction. We make discourse analysis of how students interact but also of what students are discussing in terms of underlying content at a linguistic and cognitive level. Twenty students divided into five groups were video recorded while performing four practical tasks at different stations during laboratory work about motion. An analytical framework was developed and applied for one group to three parts of the transcripts in which three different talk-types occurred. Discursive, content, action and purposive moves in the process were identified for each talk-type at both linguistic and cognitive levels. These moves represent information concerning what the teacher actually assigns students to do, and how students make meaning of the activities. Through these different communicative moves, students experience how laboratory work can enhance their competence to collaborate in a scientific environment with complex practical and theoretical questions to solve quickly. Implications of the findings are discussed. 

Keyword
Communication; discourse analysis; interaction; laboratory work; physics education; practical work; talk-types
National Category
Didactics
Research subject
Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-48450 (URN)10.1080/09500693.2016.1270478 (DOI)
Available from: 2017-05-03 Created: 2017-05-03 Last updated: 2017-06-19Bibliographically approved
4. Open Inquiry-Based Learning in Physics: Students' Communicative Moves Under Scrutiny
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Open Inquiry-Based Learning in Physics: Students' Communicative Moves Under Scrutiny
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Keyword
Laboratory work, Communication, Discourse analysis, Physics Education
National Category
Didactics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-48452 (URN)
Available from: 2017-05-03 Created: 2017-05-03 Last updated: 2017-05-03

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