Marajo Kellihan (MAT Secondary Science Education)
USING MULTIPLE REPRESENTATIONS IN TEACHING VARIOUS DISCIPLINES OF SCIENCE
With growing interest in the development of instructional strategies that facilitate the process of conceptual change, there has been increased attention to the use of multiple representations in the classroom. Multiple representations (MR) of scientific concepts can function in support of cognitive processes and/or aid learners in construction of deeper understanding. Teaching and learning in any discipline includes the use of concrete images as one possible representation of a concept. These would include naturalistic drawings, photographs on the web or in textbooks, computer animations, or the use of plastic models in science. This research used data collected from a diverse range of research studies over the past fifteen years regarding the effects of multiple representations (MR) on supporting conceptual change. The objective of this literature review was to analyze these understandings in teaching science and its relationship to conceptual change in order to inform the practice of science teacher educators. A meta-analysis was conducted by science topic such as chemistry, physics, biology, and earth science. Approximately thirty empirical research studies in each science discipline or a total of one hundred and twenty-five studies were synthesized. Results revealed that multiple representations as a strategy improved content knowledge, changed learners’ attitudes toward problem solving, and changed learners’ use of the strategy. None of the representations were without their own peculiarities, pay-offs, or pitfalls. These multimedia approaches provided students with complementary formats that aided in the learning process. Overall, more research is needed on the effective uses of multiple representations in science classrooms, especially by science teachers.
Updated: Tuesday, May 1, 2012
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