woensdag 22 juni 2011

MSU2011: Movies and magic tricks..

Today's master class is primarily about cognitivism and this will lead to a video assignment. We start with a "magic trick" and the students have to figure out how it works. Do you understand it? Try! If you cannot figure it out let me know ;-) It's all about how our mind works and is a nice introduction to today's topic (cognitivism). The next step is watching a video from "a private universe project". In this project attention is paid to learning science and all the common (and recognizable!) misconceptions people have about things like the reason for the seasons. Misconceptions is an interesting thing.. it causes people to make up own theories and facts that are not alligned with the actual theories and facts. A well-known misconception is that thunder occurs when two clouds collide. There are several websites about misconcepteion, such as the New York Science Teacher, Experiment Resources, and a literature review. The trick is of course how to change the misconceptions of children and students. And that's a difficult job, because once you have in mind how something works, a teacher has to make a very convincing case in telling you why that is not the right explanation! What makes this even more difficult for teachers is that many textbooks have pictures in it that reinforce misconceptions! Teachers have to have a very good knowledge of the content and the subsequent pedagogical approaches to explain how things work. This combination of knowledge and skills is also known as the pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) of a teacher (Shulman, 1986).

While explaining things such as the reason for the seasons or the phases of the moon teachers can make use of several materials and tools. You can use balls, oranges, etc. as simulations of the earth and the moon, or you can make use of digital simulations, such as the one from the Univerity of Nebraska-Lincoln and the one from the National Schools' Observatory (and there are many more!). While using materials, tools or technologies teachers use their knowlegde about these materials, tools and technologies and try to combine this with content and pedagogy (and yes.. there's the link to TPACK!).

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