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Students’ Collaborative Model-Building and Peer Critique On-line .

Students’ Collaborative Model-Building and Peer Critique On-line .

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Students’ Collaborative Model-Building and Peer Critique On-line .

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  1. Students’ Collaborative Model-Building and Peer Critique On-line. Janice Gobert Concord Consortium Making Thinking Visible is funded by the the National Science Foundation under grant No. REC-9980600 awarded to Janice Gobert. The WISE project is funded by the National Science Foundation by grants awarded to Marcia Linn. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions expressed are those of the presenters and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. Gobert, NARST, 2003

  2. Summary I will describe a large-scale design study of 2000 middle and high school students from California and Massachusetts who collaborated on-line about plate tectonic activity in their respective location. The students, demographically diverse, participated in this curriculum using WISE, Web-based Inquiry Science Environment (Linn, 1998), an integrated set of software resources designed to engage students in rich inquiry activities The curriculum engaged students in many inquiry-oriented, model-based activities. For example, students were scaffolded by WISE as they: a) drew initial models of plate tectonic phenomena in their respective area using WISE; b) wrote explanations of their models and shared their models and explanations with students on the opposite coast (east vs. west); c) were scaffolded to critique their peers’ models; d) revised their models based on this feedback; and e) discussed the differences between E and W coast geology in an on-line forum. Data analysis focussed on measuring content gains and characterizing the nature of students’ models and model revisions. Results suggest that this curriculum was successful in fostering deep content learning. Additionally, the task of evaluating and critiquing their peers’ models led to both a deeper understanding of the domain as well as fostered students’ epistemologies of models. Gobert, NARST, 2003

  3. Forms of Knowledge & Cognitive Affordances Knowledge comes in various forms ; Models are one type of knowledge representation. Different types of knowledge representations offer cognitive affordances, for example, a continuum here is: • textual representations, which describe in words various aspects of science phenomena • diagrams/illustrations of static features of phenomena; • models and simulations that attempt to show the causal mechanisms as well as dynamic and temporal features of a phenomenon. Each of these types of knowledge representations have different information-processing affordances for learners. Gobert, NARST, 2003

  4. Information Processing of Various Knowledge Forms • One way to think about the information processing of various forms of knowledge representations is to categorize them in terms of how visually isomorphic they are to the objects/phenomena that they represent. • Knowledge representations range from representations that at are not visually isomorphic to the things that they represent (i.e., a textual description) to models and simulations that exhibit a greater degree of correspondence to the objects that they represent both in terms of the structure (i.e., spatial information) and how they function (i.e., causal and dynamic information). • In terms of the three knowledge forms outlined previously, this means that textual representations offer the fewest cognitive affordances for learners and that models and simulations, on the other hands, SHOULD offer the greatest number of cognitive affordances for learners. Gobert, NARST, 2003

  5. Student Difficulty in Learning from Models • Previously it was thought that diagrams and models would facilitate students’ understanding of difficult science concepts simply by “adding” a diagram or a model to the textbook’s textual materials. • However, research has shown that simply adding diagrams and models did not facilitate learning because it increased cognitive load on learners (Sweller, et al, 1990). • Also, students lack the necessary domain knowledge in order to guide their search processes through diagrams/models in order to understand the relevant spatial, causal, dynamic, and temporal information (Lowe, 1989; Head, 1984; Gobert, 1994; Gobert & Clement, 1999). Gobert, NARST, 2003

  6. Scaffolding Learning from Models Thus, scaffolding is necessary in order to support students’ learning with models, in particular to support: • search processes for acquiring rich spatial, dynamic, causal, and temporal information from models (especially with models in which all information is presented simultaneously). • perceptual cues afforded by models in order to promote deep understanding. • Inference-making with models, again, to promote deep understanding. (adapted from Larkin & Simon, 1987) Gobert, NARST, 2003

  7. Scaffolding Framework for Learning with Models (Gobert & Buckley, in prep.) Gobert, NARST, 2003

  8. Making Thinking Visible: A project-based curriculum for scaffolding rich model-based learning. • East and West coast Students’ collaborate on-line about the differences in plate tectonic phenomena on-line using WISE (Web-based Inquiry Science Environment; Linn & Hsi, 2000). • In doing so, students develop… • Content knowledge of the spatial, causal, dynamic, and temporal features underlying plate tectonics. • Inquiry skills for model-building and visualization. • Epistemological understanding of the nature of scientific models. See AERA and NARST papers from 2002 for these papers at Gobert, NARST, 2003

  9. Grounded in research in Science Education and Cognitive Science... • based on students’ misconceptions of plate tectonics of both the inside structure of the earth and of the causal mechanisms underlying plate tectonic-related phenomena (Gobert & Clement, 1999; Gobert, 2000), as well as students’ knowledge integration difficulties (Gobert & Clement, 1994). • emphasizes students’ active model-building and scaffolded interpretation of rich visualizations (Kindfield, 1993; Gobert, 2001; Gobert & Buckley, in prep.) as strategies to promote deep learning. • Implemented in WISE (Web-based Inquiry Science Environment) developed by Marcia Linn & Jim Slotta at UC-Berkeley, which is based on 15 years of research in science education (Linn & Hsi, 2000). Gobert, NARST, 2003

  10. Model-based activities and respective scaffolding for unit: What’s on your plate? • Draw, in WISE, their own models of plate tectonics phenomena. • Participate in an on-line “field trip” to explore differences between the East and West coast in terms of earthquakes, volcanoes, mountains (beginning with the most salient differences). • Pose a question about their current understanding (to support knowledge integration and model-building) • Learn about location of earth’s plates (to scaffold relationship between plate boundaries anf plate tectonic phenomena). • Reify important spatial and dynamic knowledge (integration of pieces of model) about transform, divergent, collisional, and convergent boundaries. • Learn about causal mechanisms involved in plate tectonics, i.e., convection & subduction (scaffolded by reflection activities to integratespatial, causal, dynamic, and temporal aspects of the domain). • Learn to critically evaluate their peers’ models which in turn serves to help them think critically about their own models. Gobert, NARST, 2003

  11. Model-based activities and respective scaffolding for unit (cont’d) • Engage in model revision based on their peers’ critique of their model and what they have learned in the unit. • Scaffolded reflection task to reify model revision which prompt them to reflect on how their model was changed and what it now helps explain. Prompts are: • “I changed my original model of.... because it did not explain or include....” • “My model now includes or helps explain…” • “My model is now more useful for someone to learn from because it now includes….” • Reflect and reify what they have learned by reviewing and summarizing responses to the questions they posed in Activity 3. • Transfer what they have learned in the unit to answer intriguing points: • Why are there mountains on the East coast when there is no plate boundary there? • How will the coast of California look in the future? Gobert, NARST, 2003

  12. Part 1: Content Gain Results • The students from one class on the West coast were partnered with the students from two classes on the East coast because of the differences in class sizes. Five such sets or “virtual classrooms” (referred to as WISE periods) were created in WISE. • This is analysis of 360 students. • A significant pre-post gain was found in all five WISE classrooms for content gains. Gobert, NARST, 2003

  13. WISE Period 1- sig. Content gains Gobert, NARST, 2003

  14. WISE Period 2- sig. Content gains Gobert, NARST, 2003

  15. WISE Period 3- sig. Content gains Gobert, NARST, 2003

  16. WISE Period 4 - sig. Content gains Gobert, NARST, 2003

  17. WISE Period 5 - sig. Content gains Gobert, NARST, 2003

  18. Part 2: Epistemological Gain Results • A significant pre-post gain was found in all five WISE classrooms for epistemological gains. Gobert, NARST, 2003

  19. WISE Period 1 - sig. Epistemological gains Gobert, NARST, 2003

  20. WISE Period 2 - sig. Epistemological gains Gobert, NARST, 2003

  21. WISE Period 3 - sig. Epistemological gains Gobert, NARST, 2003

  22. WISE Period 4 - sig. Epistemological gains Gobert, NARST, 2003

  23. WISE Period 5 - sig. Epistemological gains Gobert, NARST, 2003

  24. Portfolio for one pair of students selected for typical performance…. Gobert, NARST, 2003

  25. Gobert, NARST, 2003

  26. Activity 1 (cont’d): Explain your model. Gobert, NARST, 2003

  27. Gobert, NARST, 2003

  28. Activity 3: Pose A Question. Gobert, NARST, 2003

  29. Activity 4: Earth’s Plates. Gobert, NARST, 2003

  30. Gobert, NARST, 2003

  31. Activity 5: The Mantle. Gobert, NARST, 2003

  32. Activity 6:Students’ Evaluation and Critique of the Learning Partners’ Models. 2. Students’ Evaluation and Critique of the Learning Partners’ Models • Students read two pieces of text in WISE called “What is a Scientific Model? And “How to evaluate a model?” • Students critique learning partners’ models using prompts in WISE. Prompts include: • 1. Are the most important features in terms of what causes this geologic process depicted in this model? • 2. Would this model be useful to teach someone who had never studied this geologic process before? • 3. What important features are included in this model? Explain why you gave the model this rating. • 4. What do you think should be added to this model in order to make it better for someone who had never studied this geologic process before? • Prompts were designed to get students to reflect on what causal features should be included in the model and how useful the model was as a learning/communication tool. Gobert, NARST, 2003

  33. W. Coast group’s evaluation of E. coast group’s model Gobert, NARST, 2003

  34. E. Coast group’s revised model. Gobert, NARST, 2003

  35. E. Coast group’s revised explanation. Gobert, NARST, 2003

  36. Notes on model revision. Gobert, NARST, 2003

  37. Activity 8: What have we learned? Gobert, NARST, 2003

  38. Gobert, NARST, 2003

  39. Comments on Example 1... Gobert, NARST, 2003

  40. Gobert, NARST, 2003

  41. Comments on Example 2….. Gobert, NARST, 2003

  42. Gobert, NARST, 2003

  43. Comments on example 3…. Gobert, NARST, 2003

  44. Gobert, NARST, 2003

  45. Comments on Example 4…. Gobert, NARST, 2003

  46. Conclusions • In most of these programs to date, students are either presented with models to learn from (Raghavan & Glaser, 1995; White & Frederiksen, 1990) or they are given tasks which require them to construct their own models (Gobert, & Clement 1994, 1999; Gobert, 1998; 1999; Penner et al., 1997; Jackson, et al., 1994). • This research extends a current vein of progressive model-building in science education (cf., Raghavan & Glaser, 1995; White & Frederiksen, 1990) by having students critique each others’ models as a way to promote deep understanding. • Furthermore, all tasks in which students’ are constructing models, are learning with models, and are critiquing models of their peers are scaffoled using a model-based scaffolding framework (Gobert & Buckley, in prep.) in order to promote both deep understanding of the content as well as promote a deep understanding of models in science and how they are used in theory development. • It is believed that rich, scaffolded model-based tasks such as these engages students in authentic scientific inquiry, and as such can significantly scientific literacy. Gobert, NARST, 2003

  47. To found out more ... • To view the unit, go to, click on Member entrance, and for login enter “AnonyM1” and “try” as your password. Click on “Plate Tectonics: What’s on Your Plate?” • To find more information… • E-mail: and get a copy of this paper. • Other papers are available on this work at • For more on The Concord Consortium contact Gobert, NARST, 2003