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Using conceptual blending to interpret student embodied engagement in a computer-supported learning environment
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9185-628X
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy. (Division of Physics Education Research)
2016 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Digital technologies allow us to provide students with physical and embodied experiences that were hardly imaginable just decades ago. In the present study, we look at an instructional environment in which students engage with an interactive whiteboard to “throw” virtual objects into orbit around a star. Data was collected by video recording of small groups of Slovene upper secondary students’ engagement with the exercise. In carrying out the exercise, students spontaneously drew on their embodied experiences of manipulating physical objects, as well as their experiences with digital environments. To make sense of the intriguing and complex interactions of students’ embodied resources and their ideas about physics, computer simulations and their knowledge of the universe, we employ the theoretical lens of conceptual blending. Conceptual blending, as proposed by Fauconnier and Turner, is a theoretical framework that interprets human thought processes as continuous projections of so-called input mental spaces into a blended space. As the blended space is formed, new features emerge, that were not present in the original inputs. We argue that the case of planet-throwing is an example of students blending the input spaces, corresponding to everyday embodied experience of throwing, and their knowledge of celestial objects, which is typically out of experimental reach for students. We explore how conceptual blending can be employed to provide a language for discussing multi-faceted learning environments. We propose that in such environments, students must coordinate multiple mental input spaces, if they are to mentally and physically immerse themselves in the digital world and actively relate it to their notions of physics and the universe out there. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
embodied cognition, conceptual blending, emergent phenomena, immersive engagement, astronomy, celestial mechanics
National Category
Other Physics Topics
Research subject
Physics with specialization in Physics Education
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-308339OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-308339DiVA: diva2:1049447
FND 2016, Forskning i naturvetenskapernas didaktik
Available from: 2016-11-24 Created: 2016-11-24 Last updated: 2016-11-24

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Gregorcic, Bor
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