skip to main content

This content will become publicly available on April 1, 2023

Title: Rethinking online science learning: Creating virtual research experiences using digitized museum specimens.
A lasting impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic likely is the permanent inclusion of online learning in K–12. The rapid move to online learning left many teachers, parents, and students pining for in-person learning and highlighted major gaps in the online resources necessary for fully remote K–12 learning. But it also underscored considerable strengths of online formats for flexible learning and instruction—particularly as district capacities expanded and familiarity with online instruction increased. Many administrators now envision a permanent end to unplanned school closures (goodbye, snow days!) and long-term support for (at least intermittent) online learning. But what does continued online instruction mean for science learning, where hands-on learning is central to students’ developing skills and knowledge? Science educators implementing online instruction have faced myriad challenges, including providing effective feedback and guidance while students engaged in more independent work. We greatly respect and admire the passion and dedication that science teachers have invested in finding creative ways to implement science inquiry during online pandemic instruction. As we move beyond “emergency” remote instruction and build on shared experiences with online science teaching, it is an ideal time to rethink science inquiry online and to collectively pursue new approaches to authentic science instruction with more » online resources. « less
Authors:
; ; ;
Award ID(s):
1812844
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10329514
Journal Name:
Connected science learning
Volume:
4
Issue:
2
ISSN:
2475-8779
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. As K-12 engineering education becomes more ubiquitous in the U.S, increased attention has been paid to preparing the heterogeneous group of in-service teachers who have taken on the challenge of teaching engineering. Standards have emerged for professional development along with research on teacher learning in engineering that call for teachers to facilitate and support engineering learning environments. Given that many teachers may not have experienced engineering practice calls have been made to engage teaches K-12 teachers in the “doing” of engineering as part of their preparation. However, there is a need for research studying more specific nature of the “doing” and the instructional implications for engaging teachers in “doing” engineering. In general, to date, limited time and constrained resources necessitate that many professional development programs for K-12 teachers to engage participants in the same engineering activities they will enact with their students. While this approach supports teachers’ familiarity with curriculum and ability to anticipate students’ ideas, there is reason to believe that these experiences may not be authentic enough to support teachers in developing a rich understanding of the “doing” of engineering. K-12 teachers are often familiar with the materials and curricular solutions, given their experiences as adults, which meansmore »that engaging in the same tasks as their students may not be challenging enough to develop their understandings about engineering. This can then be consequential for their pedagogy: In our prior work, we found that teachers’ linear conceptions of the engineering design process can limit them from recognizing and supporting student engagement in productive design practices. Research on the development of engineering design practices with adults in undergraduate and professional engineering settings has shown significant differences in how adults approach and understand problems. Therefore, we conjectured that engaging teachers in more rigorous engineering challenges designed for adult engineering novices would more readily support their developing rich understandings of the ways in which professional engineers move through the design process. We term this approach meaningful engineering for teachers, and it is informed by work in science education that highlights the importance of learning environments creating a need for learners to develop and engage in disciplinary practices. We explored this approach to teachers’ professional learning experiences in doing engineering in an online graduate program for in-service teachers in engineering education at Tufts University entitled the Teacher Engineering Education Program (teep.tufts.edu). In this exploratory study, we asked: 1. How did teachers respond to engaging in meaningful engineering for teachers in the TEEP program? 2. What did teachers identify as important things they learned about engineering content and pedagogy? This paper focuses on one theme that emerged from teachers’ reflections. Our analysis found that teachers reported that meaningful engineering supported their development of epistemic empathy (“the act of understanding and appreciating someone's cognitive and emotional experience within an epistemic activity”) as a result of their own affective experiences in doing engineering that required significant iteration as well as using novel robotic materials. We consider how epistemic empathy may be an important aspect of teacher learning in K-12 engineering education and the potential implications for designing engineering teacher education.« less
  2. Campus shutdowns during the SARS-CoV2 pandemic posed unique challenges to faculty and students engaged in laboratory courses. Formerly hands-on experiments had to be quickly pivoted to emergency remote learning. While some resources existed prior to this period, many currently available online modules and/or simulations focus on a single technique. The Biochemistry Authentic Scientific Inquiry Lab (BASIL) curriculum has, for several years, provided a robust, linked, holistic inquiry experience that allows students to make connections between multiple techniques, both computational in nature as well as wet-lab based. As a Course-based Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE), this flexible, module-based curriculum allows students to generate original hypotheses based on analysis of proteins of unknown function. We have taught this curriculum as the upper-level laboratory course on our campuses and were obliged to transition to remote instruction at various points in the course sequence. We report on the experiences of faculty and students over the transition period in this course. Additionally, we report as a case study results of one of our campus’ ongoing discipline-based education research (DBER) on the BASIL curriculum prior to and during remote delivery.
  3. Technology can assist instructional designers and teachers in meeting the needs of learners in traditional classrooms and virtual course environments. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many teachers and instructional designers began looking for resources they could use for hybrid and online course delivery. Many found that the cost of some technology tools was well outside of their financial means to assist them in meeting student learning outcomes. However, some digital tools provide free access for educators and are beneficial to students. In this article, the authors shared five tools they have used in developing and teaching online and traditional technology courses at the college level. They share how they used a learning management system tool, a collaboration tool, a search engine tool, a content creation tool, and a content sharing tool to engage students in their courses. As teachers look for alternatives to use as they move content from classroom teaching to online instruction, this article can help them consider the recommended tools for instruction. Teachers, instructors, and instructional designers may explore the free digital tools in this article and do further research on other digital tools to support student learning in their disciplines.
  4. Background With the increasing popularity of distance education, how to engage students in online inquiry-based laboratories remains challenging for science teachers. Current remote labs mostly adopt a centralized model with limited flexibility left for teachers' just-in-time instruction based on students' real-time science practices. Objectives The goal of this research is to investigate the impact of a non-centralized remote lab on students' cognitive and behavioural engagement. Methods A mixed-methods design was adopted. Participants were the high school students enrolled in two virtual chemistry classes. Remote labs 2.0, branded as Telelab, supports a non-centralized model of remote inquiry that can enact more interactive hands-on labs anywhere, anytime. Teleinquiry Instructional Model was used to guide the curriculum design. Students' clickstreams logs and instruction timestamps were analysed and visualized. Multiple regression analysis was used to determine whether engagement levels influence their conceptual learning. Behavioural engagement patterns were corroborated with survey responses. Results and Conclusions We found approximate synchronizations between student–teacher–lab interactions in the heatmap. The guided inquiry enabled by Telelab facilitates real-time communications between instructors and students. Students' conceptual learning is found to be impacted by varying engagement levels. Students' behavioural engagement patterns can be visualized and fed to instructors to inform learning progressmore »and enact just-in-time instruction. Implications Telelab offers a model of remote labs 2.0 that can be easily customized to live stream hands-on teleinquiry. It enhances engagement and gives participants a sense of telepresence. Providing a customizable teleinquiry curriculum for practitioners may better prepare them to teach inquiry-based laboratories online.« less
  5. Over the past decade, practices related to online learning have become increasingly varied and legitimated. Whether it be formal e-learning in K-12 or at colleges and universities or casual perusing of the internet, many people have found communities online to support their own endeavors. Recently, due to the Covid-19 pandemic most colleges and universities have been forced to shift partly or entirely to remote learning due to campus closures. Further, even in cases in which a campus is open, many universities have limited access to their makerspace due to social distancing and capacity requirements. In response, this Work in Progress study investigates how online making communities and resources are supporting student learning through making. Through in-depth phenomenologically-based interviews conducted both before and during the pandemic, this study offers rich insights into how students are learning from and engaging in online maker communities/resources as a central part of their development as a maker. Through qualitative data analysis, we develop a model for how students are learning online. These findings show the role digital spaces play in developing competent, inspired makers.