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Using variation and unpacking to help students decode disciplinary-specific semiotic resources
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics. Stockholm University. (Physics Education Research)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3244-2586
2018 (English)In: 9ICOM - Complete book of abstracts, Odense, Denmark.: Syddansk Universitet, 2018Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In this presentation I will describe a social semiotic approach (Halliday 1978; van Leeuwen 2005) to the multimodal teaching and learning of a discipline that takes variation theory (Marton & Booth 1997; Runesson 2005) as its theoretical framing. Following Airey and Linder (2017:95) I define social semiotics as “the study of the development and reproduction of specialized systems of meaning making in particular sections of society”

 

Learning at university level involves coming to understand the ways in which disciplinary-specific semiotic resources can be coordinated to make appropriate disciplinary meanings (Airey & Linder 2009). Nowhere is this more true than in undergraduate physics where a particularly wide range of semiotic resources such as graphs, diagrams, mathematics and language are essential for meaning making.  In order to learn to make these disciplinary meanings, students need to discover the disciplinary affordances(Fredlund et al. 2012, 2014; Airey & Linder 2017) of the semiotic resources used in their discipline. 

 

Fredlund et al. (2015) propose a three-stage process that lecturers can use to help their students:  

 

1. Identify the disciplinary relevant aspects needed for a particular task. 

2. Select semiotic resources that showcase these aspects. 

3. Create structured variation within these semiotic resources to help students notice the disciplinary relevant aspects and their relationships to each other.

 

However, many disciplinary specific semiotic resources have been rationalized to create a kind of disciplinary shorthand(Airey 2009). In such cases the disciplinary relevant aspects needed may no longer be present in resources used, but are rather implied. In such cases the resources will need to be unpacked for students (Fredlund et al. 2014).  Such unpacking increases the pedagogical affordance of semiotic resources but simultaneously decreases their disciplinary affordance. 

References

'

Airey, J. (2006). Physics Students' Experiences of the Disciplinary Discourse Encountered in Lectures in English and Swedish.   Licentiate Thesis. Uppsala, Sweden: Department of Physics, Uppsala University., 

Airey J. (2009). Science, Language and Literacy. Case Studies of Learning in Swedish University Physics. ActaUniversitatis  Upsaliensis. Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology 81. Uppsala Retrieved 2009-04-27, from   http://publications.uu.se/theses/abstract.xsql?dbid=9547

Airey, J. (2014) representations in Undergraduate Physics. Docent lecture, ÅngströmLaboratory, 9th June 2014 From   http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-226598

Airey, J. (2015). Social Semiotics in Higher Education: Examples from teaching and learning in undergraduate physics In: SACF   Singapore-Sweden Excellence Seminars, Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research in Higher   Education (STINT) , 2015 (pp. 103). urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-266049. 

Airey, J. & Linder, C. (2015) Social Semiotics in Physics Education: Leveraging critical constellations of disciplinary representations   ESERA 2015 From http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn%3Anbn%3Ase%3Auu%3Adiva-260209

Airey, J., & Linder, C. (2009). "A disciplinary discourse perspective on university science learning: Achieving fluency in a critical   constellation of modes." Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 46(1), 27-49.

Airey, J. & Linder, C. (2017) Social Semiotics in Physics Education : Multiple Representations in Physics Education   Springer 

Airey, J., & Eriksson, U. (2014). A semiotic analysis of the disciplinary affordances of the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram in   astronomy. Paper presented at the The 5th International 360 conference: Encompassing the multimodality of knowledge,   Aarhus, Denmark. 

Airey, J., Eriksson, U., Fredlund, T., and Linder, C. (2014). "The concept of disciplinary affordance”The5th International 360   conference: Encompassing the multimodality of knowledge. City: Aarhus University: Aarhus, Denmark, pp. 20.

Eriksson, U. (2015) Reading the Sky: From Starspotsto Spotting Stars Uppsala:ActaUniversitatisUpsaliensis.

Eriksson, U., Linder, C., Airey, J., & Redfors, A. (2014). Who needs 3D when the Universe is flat? Science Education, 98(3),   412-442. 

Eriksson, U., Linder, C., Airey, J., & Redfors, A. (2014). Introducing the anatomy of disciplinary discernment: an example from   astronomy. European Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 2(3), 167‐182. 

Fredlund2015 Using a Social Semiotic Perspective to Inform the Teaching and Learning of Physics. ActaUniversitatisUpsaliensis.

Fredlund, T., Airey, J., & Linder, C. (2012). Exploring the role of physics representations: an illustrative example from students   sharing knowledge about refraction. European Journal of Physics, 33, 657-666.

Fredlund, T, Airey, J, & Linder, C. (2015a). Enhancing the possibilities for learning: Variation of disciplinary-relevant aspects in   physics representations. European Journal of Physics. 

Fredlund, T. & Linder, C., & Airey, J. (2015b). Towards addressing transient learning challenges in undergraduate physics: an   example from electrostatics.European Journal of Physics. 36055002. 

Fredlund, T. & Linder, C., & Airey, J. (2015c). A social semiotic approach to identifying critical aspects. International Journal for   Lesson and Learning Studies2015 4:3 , 302-316 

Fredlund, T., Linder, C., Airey, J., & Linder, A. (2014). Unpacking physics representations: Towards an appreciation of disciplinary   affordance. Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res., 10(020128).

Gibson, J. J. (1979). The theory of affordances The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception(pp. 127-143). Boston: Houghton   Miffin.

Halliday, M. A. K. (1978). Language as a social semiotic. London: Arnold.

Linder, C. (2013). Disciplinary discourse, representation, and appresentationin the teaching and learning of science. European  Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 1(2), 43-49.

Marton, F., & Booth, S. (1997). Learning and awareness. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Norman, D. A. (1988). The psychology of everyday things. New York: Basic Books.

Mavers, D. Glossary of multimodal terms  Retrieved 6 May, 2014, from http://multimodalityglossary.wordpress.com/affordance/

van Leeuwen, T. (2005). Introducing social semiotics. London: Routledge. 

Volkwyn, T., Airey, J., Gregorčič, B., & Heijkenskjöld, F. (in press). Learning Science through Transduction: Multimodal disciplinary   meaning-making in the physics laboratory. Designs for Learning.

Volkwyn, T., Airey, J., Gregorčič, B., & Heijkenskjöld, F. (2016). Multimodal transduction in secondary school physics 8th International Conference on Multimodality, 7th-9th December 2016. Cape Town, South Africa. Retrieved from http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-316982.

Wu, H-K, & Puntambekar, S. (2012). Pedagogical Affordances of Multiple External Representations in Scientific Processes. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 21(6), 754-767.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Odense, Denmark.: Syddansk Universitet, 2018.
Keywords [en]
Social semiotics, physics, variation, pedagogical affordance, disciplinary affordance
National Category
Other Physics Topics Didactics
Research subject
Physics with specialization in Physics Education
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-364421OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-364421DiVA, id: diva2:1258986
Conference
9th International Conference on Multimodality, University of Southern Denmark, August 15-17, 2018.
Projects
VR-2016-04113
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2016-04113Available from: 2018-10-26 Created: 2018-10-26 Last updated: 2018-11-02Bibliographically approved

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