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A social semiotic approach to identifying critical aspects
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics. (Physics Education Research)
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics. (Physics Education Research)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6409-5182
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics. (Physics Education Research)
2015 (English)In: International Journal for Lesson and Learning Studies, ISSN 2046-8253, E-ISSN 2046-8261, Vol. 4, no 3, 302-316 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose

This article proposes a social semiotic approach to analysing objects of learning in terms of their critical aspects.

Design/methodology/approach

The design for this article focuses on how the semiotic resources – including language, equations, and diagrams – that are commonly used in physics teaching realise the critical aspects of a common physics object of learning. A social semiotic approach to the analysis of a canonical text extract from optics is presented to illustrate how critical aspects can be identified. 

Findings

Implications for university teaching and learning of physics stemming from this social semiotic approach are suggested.

Originality/value

Hitherto under-explored similarities between the Variation Theory of Learning, which underpins learning studies, and a social semiotic approach to meaning-making are identified. These similarities are used to propose a new, potentially very powerful approach to identifying critical aspects of objects of learning.

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Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 4, no 3, 302-316 p.
Keyword [en]
Learning study, Variation Theory of Learning, social semiotics, objects of learning, disciplinary-relevant aspects, critical aspects, teaching practice, physics education
National Category
Other Physics Topics
Research subject
Physics with specialization in Physics Education
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-247768DOI: 10.1108/IJLLS-01-2015-0005OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-247768DiVA: diva2:797386
Available from: 2015-03-23 Created: 2015-03-23 Last updated: 2017-12-04
In thesis
1. Using a Social Semiotic Perspective to Inform the Teaching and Learning of Physics
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Using a Social Semiotic Perspective to Inform the Teaching and Learning of Physics
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis examines meaning-making in three different areas of undergraduate physics: the refraction of light; electric circuits; and, electric potential and electric potential energy. In order to do this, a social semiotic perspective was constituted for the thesis to facilitate the analysis of meaning-making in terms of the semiotic resources that are typically used in the teaching and learning of physics. These semiotic resources include, for example, spoken and written language, diagrams, graphs, mathematical equations, gestures, simulations, laboratory equipment and working practices.

The empirical context of the thesis is introductory undergraduate physics where interactive engagement was part of the educational setting. This setting presents a rich data source, which is made up of video- and audio recordings and field notes for examining how semiotic resources affect physics teaching and learning.

Theory building is an integral part of the analysis in the thesis, which led to the constitution of a new analytical tool – patterns of disciplinary-relevant aspects. Part of this process then resulted in the development of a new construct, disciplinary affordance, which for a discipline such as physics, refers to the inherent potential of a semiotic resource to provide access to disciplinary knowledge. These two aspects, in turn, led to an exploration of new empirical and theoretical links to the Variation Theory of Learning.

The implications of this work for the teaching and learning of physics means that new focus is brought to the physics content (object of learning), the semiotic resources that are used to deal with that content, and how the semiotic resources are used to create patterns of variation within and across the disciplinary-relevant aspects. As such, the thesis provides physics teachers with new and powerful ways to analyze the semiotic resources that get used in efforts to optimize the teaching and learning of physics. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2015. 178 p.
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 1241
Keyword
Social semiotics, semiotic resources, physics education research, interactive engagement, disciplinary affordance, disciplinary-relevant aspects, patterns of disciplinary-relevant aspects, the Variation Theory of Learning
National Category
Other Physics Topics
Research subject
Physics with specialization in Physics Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-247771 (URN)978-91-554-9210-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2015-05-13, 10132, Lägerhyddsvägen 1, Uppsala, 09:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2015-04-22 Created: 2015-03-23 Last updated: 2015-07-07

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Fredlund, TobiasLinder, CedricAirey, John

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