Journal Club Summaries

25th September 2010

Meaning making with living animals: how to get from observations to evidence? Book 1 143-154 Konstantin Klingenberg
The account below has been modified following further discussions by email with Konstantin
Klingenberg begins his paper with a discussion of naive constructivism as a pedagogical principle. He claims that constructivism fails to help learners establish a traditionally accepted scientific view by its too ready acceptance of every example that learners have. He then examines the claim that learning should start, wherever possible with the 'real thing' rather than a second hand description. He gives a clear description of the explore-compare-square, with one concrete example. He acknowledges the practical problem of having living animals in the classroom with five examples, all drawn from invertebrates, and raises the issue of legislation for using animals in the classroom, although none from the UK. He uses as his theoretical perspective Cognitive Change Theory. Finally, he is hardly critical about his own work, being a strong promoter of his new method.
1, He characterises constructivism as giving equal validity to a wide range of student views. Do we agree with this? Some other examples are: (Wikipedia on Constructivism); (a rather tough going chart of strong ideas in science philosophy but worth looking at); (a very tough paper on constructivism in my opinion, and worth looking at if you are confident in science philosophy); (a report of a trial of a game to teach about science philosophy of constructivism for teachers); (a paper against discovery learning, not too hard to read); (a Taber paper as a book review)
2. He proposes Cognitive Change Theory as an integrative framework. Is he clear to you about CCT? See also: (Wikipedia on behavioural change theories); (an overview on CCT)
3. He claims that examining living animals is better than having descriptions. Do we have views about this?
4. What do we think about his explore-compare-square framework?

The use of blogs in discussions on conceptual knowledge Book 1 169-172 Liv Byrkjeflot, Dag Atle Lysne and Margaret Lloyd
These Norwegian authors worked with primary school learners, without prior experience of using blogs. Most of the blogs focused on descriptive activity, with almost none on scientific understanding. The authors acknowledge that teacher direction and general ethos in science education in that country could have a major influence?
1. What types of blogs are there that could be used (twitter?)
2. Should teachers have to learn to use blogs at the same time as the learners?