Categories of influence: the case of light and sound in physics
2015 (English)In: Part of an invited seminar on: Content-focused research on student and teacher learning in the field of optics, 2015Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
In any given physics education situation students will spontaneously respond as a function of the features of the situation that they feel are relevant; what the situation is seen to call for. In phenomenography, a research approach that aims to capture variation in terms of qualitative differences in educational experience, this is referred to as the “relevance structure”. This construct is virtually unknown in physics education circles, yet it opens a realm of possible educational interventions that could dramatically alter physics students’ learning experiences. This is because it shifts the learning experience focus on to facilitating the noticing of critical parts by design in ways that have been shown to distinctly enhance the possibility of learning.
We propose that relevance structure is made up of categories of influence that play an important role in mediating and influencing both new learning and applications of what has already been learned. To support our proposal, while exemplifying relevance structure in a physics education context, 18 graduate physics students were asked to compare and contrast the physics concepts of light and sound. The data was collected using semi-structured interviews that had as their starting point a textbook-given generalized wave equation for a wave ψ (x, t) traveling in the x direction with speed v. All discussion was audio recorded. For the analysis, all of the interview discussion was transcribed verbatim and the methodology followed the phenomenographic form of the iterative constant comparative approach, which is at the collective rather than individual level. Three categories of influence were found. These are discussed in terms of educational insight into differences that are seen to be critical. The implication that physics teachers need to actively help students develop more coherent and connected relevance structure for given educational tasks is discussed and exemplified.
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Other Physics Topics
Research subject Physics with specialization in Physics Education
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-262614OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-262614DiVA: diva2:854575
11th conference of the European Science Education Research Association (ESERA 2015), August 31 - September 4, 2015, Helsinki, Finland