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Working with magnetic field to learn about coordinate systems: A social semiotic approach
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics. Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of the Western Cape, South Africa.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9866-9065
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics. Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3244-2586
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9185-628X
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics.
2017 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In the teaching and learning of physics, a wide range of semiotic resources are used, such as spoken and written language, graphs, diagrams, mathematics, hands on work with apparatus, etc. (Lemke, 1998). In this respect it has been argued that there is a critical constellation of semiotic resources that is needed for appropriate construction of any given disciplinary concept (Airey & Linder, 2009; Airey, 2009). In this social semiotic tradition, it is the development of “fluency” in the individual semiotic resource systems and the ease of transduction (movement and coordination of meaning) between the various semiotic resource systems that makes disciplinary learning possible. We report here findings from an interpretive study of physics students working with a laboratory task designed to encourage transduction when learning about coordinate systems. A hand-held electronic measurement device (IOLab) was used to display components of the Earth’s magnetic field in real time. Our intention was for students to experience the movability of coordinate systems by open-ended investigation of dynamic, real-time changes in the x, y and z components displayed on the computer screen as they manipulated the device. Building on earlier work of Fredlund et. al. (2012) our analysis identifies three types of transduction, the last of which is transduction of meaning to a new modality (iconic gesture) not previously used by the students. We suggest this final form of transduction is indicative of what students have learned and offers the teacher a chance to confirm/challenge student conceptions. Our data clearly demonstrates how careful, open-ended task design, coupled with timely instructor questions can leverage the pedagogical affordances (Airey, 2015) of a range of semiotic resources to make physics learning possible. We therefore claim that understanding the roles that different semiotic resources play for physics learning is vital and call for further research in this area.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017.
Keywords [en]
physics, representations, teaching learning sequences
National Category
Other Physics Topics
Research subject
Physics with specialization in Physics Education
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-339549OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-339549DiVA, id: diva2:1177539
Conference
ESERA 2017, European Science Education Research Conference, 21-25 August 2017, Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2016-04113
Note

References List:

Airey, J. (2015). Social Semiotics in Higher Education: Examples from teaching and learning in undergraduate physics In: SACF Singapore-Sweden Excellence Seminars, Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research in Higher Education (STINT) , 2015 (pp. 103). urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-266049.

Airey, J. (2009). Science, language, and literacy: Case studies of learning in Swedish university physics (Doctoral dissertation, Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis). http://publications.uu.se/theses/abstract.xsql?dbid=9547

Airey, J., & Linder, C. (2009). A disciplinary discourse perspective on university science learning: Achieving fluency in a critical constellation of modes. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 46(1), 27-49.

Baldry, A., & Thibault, P. J. (2006). Multimodal Transcription and Text Analysis. London: Equinox Publishing.

Bezemer, J., & Kress, G. (2008). Writing in multimodal texts: a social semiotic account of designs for learning. Written Communication, 25(2), 166-195.

Fredlund, T., Airey, J., & Linder, C. (2012). Exploring the role of physics representations: an illustrative example from students sharing knowledge about refraction. European Journal of Physics, 33, 657-666.

Kress, G. (2010). Multimodality: A social semiotic approach to contemporary communication. London: Routledge.

Lemke, J. L. (1998). Teaching all the languages of science: Words, symbols, images, and actions. In Conference on Science Education in Barcelona.

McDermott, L. C. (1991). A view from physics. M. Gardner, J. Greeno, F. Reif, AH Schoenfeld, A. diSessa, and E. Stage (Eds.), Toward a scientific practice of science education, 3-30. Hillsdale: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Roychoudhury, A., & Roth, W. M. (1996). Interactions in an open‐inquiry physics laboratory. International Journal of Science Education, 18(4), 423-445.

Selen, M. (2013). Pedagogy meets Technology: Optimizing Labs in Large Enrollment Introductory Courses. Bulletin of the American Physical Society, 58. http://meetings.aps.org/Meeting/APR13/Session/C7.3

Available from: 2018-01-25 Created: 2018-01-25 Last updated: 2018-01-31Bibliographically approved

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