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  • 1.
    Airey, John
    et al.
    Uppsala universitet.
    Eriksson, Urban
    Högskolan Kristianstad, Sektionen för lärande och miljö, Avdelningen för Naturvetenskap. Högskolan Kristianstad, Forskningsmiljön Learning in Science and Mathematics (LISMA).
    What do you see here?: using an analysis of the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram in astronomy to create a survey of disciplinary discernment2014Inngår i: Book of abstracts: The First Conference of the International Association for Cognitive Semiotics(IACS-2014), September 25-27, 2014 Lund University, 2014, 52-53 s.Konferansepaper (Fagfellevurdert)
    Abstract [en]

    Becoming part of a discipline involves learning to interpret and use a range of disciplinary-specific semiotic resources (Airey, 2009). These resources have been developed and assigned particular specialist meanings over time. Nowhere is this truer than in the sciences, where it is the norm that disciplinary-specific representations have been introduced and then refined by a number of different actors in order to reconcile them with subsequent empirical and theoretical advances. As a consequence, many of the semiotic resources used in the sciences today still retain some (potentially confusing) traces of their historical roots. However, it has been repeatedly shown that university lecturers underestimate the challenges such disciplinary specific semiotic resources may present to undergraduates (Northedge, 2002; Tobias, 1986).

    In this paper we analyse one such disciplinary-specific semiotic resource from the field of Astronomy—the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram. First, we audit the potential of this semiotic resource to provide access to disciplinary knowledge—what Fredlund et al (2012) have termed its disciplinary affordances. Our analysis includes consideration of the use of scales, labels, symbols, sizes and colour. We show how, for historical reasons, the use of these aspects in the resource may differ from what might be expected by a newcomer to the discipline. Using the results of our analysis we then created an online questionnaire to probe what is discerned (Eriksson, Linder, Airey, & Redfors, in press) with respect to each of these aspects by astronomers and physicists ranging from first year undergraduates to university professors.

    Our findings suggest that some of the issues we highlight in our analysis may, in fact, be contributors to the alternative conceptions of undergraduate students and we therefore propose that lecturers pay particular attention to the disambiguation of these features for their students.

  • 2.
    Airey, John
    et al.
    Uppsala universitet.
    Eriksson, Urban
    Högskolan Kristianstad, Sektionen för lärande och miljö, Avdelningen för Naturvetenskap. Högskolan Kristianstad, Forskningsmiljön Learning in Science and Mathematics (LISMA).
    Fredlund, Tobias
    Uppsala universitet.
    Linder, Cedric
    Uppsala universitet.
    On the disciplinary affordances of semiotic resources2014Inngår i: Book of abstracts: The First Conference of the International Association for Cognitive Semiotics(IACS-2014), September 25-27, 2014 Lund University, 2014, 54-55 s.Konferansepaper (Fagfellevurdert)
    Abstract [en]

    In the late 70’s Gibson (1979) introduced the concept of affordance. Initially framed around the needs of an organism in its environment, over the years the term has been appropriated and debated at length by a number of researchers in various fields. Most famous, perhaps is the disagreement between Gibson and Norman (1988) about whether affordances are inherent properties of objects or are only present when they are perceived by an organism. More recently, affordance has been drawn on in the educational arena, particularly with respect to multimodality (see Linder (2013) for a recent example). Here, Kress et al. (2001) have claimed that different modes have different specialized affordances. Then, building on this idea, Airey and Linder (2009) suggested that there is a critical constellation of modes that students need to achieve fluency in before they can experience a concept in an appropriate disciplinary manner. Later, Airey (2009) nuanced this claim, shifting the focus from the modes themselves to a critical constellation of semiotic resources, thus acknowledging that different semiotic resources within a mode often have different affordances (e.g. two or more diagrams may form the critical constellation).

    In this theoretical paper the concept of disciplinary affordance (Fredlund et al., 2012) is suggested as a useful analytical tool for use in education. The concept makes a radical break with the views of both Gibson and Norman in that rather than focusing on the discernment of one individual, it refers to the disciplinary community as a whole. Put simply, the disciplinary affordances of a given semiotic resource are determined by those functions that the resource is expected to fulfil by the disciplinary community. Disciplinary affordances have thus been negotiated and developed within the discipline over time. As such, the question of whether these affordances are inherent or discerned becomes moot. Rather, from an educational perspective the issue is whether the meaning that a semiotic resource affords to an individual matches the disciplinary affordance assigned by the community. The power of the term for educational work is that learning can now be framed as coming to discern the disciplinary affordances of semiotic resources.

    In this paper we will briefly discuss the history of the term affordance, define the term disciplinary affordance and illustrate its usefulness in a number of educational settings.

  • 3.
    Eriksson, Urban
    Högskolan Kristianstad, Forskningsmiljön Learning in Science and Mathematics (LISMA). Högskolan Kristianstad, Sektionen för lärande och miljö, Avdelningen för Naturvetenskap.
    The Spiral of Teaching and Learning in Physics and Astronomy2016Konferansepaper (Fagfellevurdert)
    Abstract [en]

    When students start to learn physics and astronomy, they immediately are confronted with a multitude of representations packed with disciplinary information. This information is embedded in these representations and the students need to learn to discern the relevant information. This is not straightforward, and requires a lot of teaching and practice before being mastered. It carries many similarities to learning a new language – the language of physics, astronomy, or other sciences. 

    However, it all starts with disciplinary discernment from those representations, something that has been shown to be challenging for students. Often the teacher who knows the representations and their appresented meaning—their disciplinary affordances—assumes that the students discern the same things in those representations as the teacher does. Research has shown that this is not the case and such assumptions leads to educational problems for the students and make learning physics or astronomy unnecessary difficult, or even inaccessible to the students. The students need be given the opportunity to develop their competency in discerning disciplinary-specific relevant aspects from representations; a competency referred to as Reading the Sky in an astronomy context, and described by the Anatomy of Disciplinary Discernment (Eriksson, 2014a; Eriksson et al., 2014b).

    Furthermore, physics and astronomy are subjects aiming to describe the real multidimensional world, hence involve a substantial amount of spatial thinking. The students need to learn to extrapolate three-dimensionality in their minds from two-dimensional representations, which have been shown to be challenging to students. Unfortunately, this competency is often taken for granted and rarely addressed in teaching (Eriksson et al., 2014c).

    In this talk we present a model in which we identify and describe the critical competencies needed to “read” disciplinary-specific representations; it concerns not only disciplinary discernment but also spatial thinking and disciplinary knowledge. These are combined into the Spiral of Teaching and Learning (STL), a new and powerful model for optimizing teaching and learning science (Eriksson, 2014a; Eriksson, 2015). We discuss consequences and possibilities when applying the STL model and give an example of how this model can be used in teaching and learning astronomy.

  • 4.
    Linder, Cedric
    et al.
    Uppsala universitet, Fysikundervisningens didaktik.
    Eriksson, Urban
    Uppsala universitet, Fysikundervisningens didaktik.
    Airey, John
    Uppsala universitet, Fysikundervisningens didaktik.
    Redfors, Andreas
    Högskolan Kristianstad, Sektionen för lärande och miljö, Avdelningen för Naturvetenskap.
    The overlooked challenge of learning to extrapolate three-dimensionality2013Konferansepaper (Fagfellevurdert)
  • 5.
    Redfors, Andreas
    et al.
    Högskolan Kristianstad, Sektionen för lärande och miljö, Avdelningen för Naturvetenskap. Högskolan Kristianstad, Forskningsmiljön Learning in Science and Mathematics (LISMA).
    Hansson, Lena
    Högskolan Kristianstad, Sektionen för lärande och miljö, Avdelningen för Naturvetenskap. Högskolan Kristianstad, Forskningsmiljön Learning in Science and Mathematics (LISMA).
    Hansson, Örjan
    Högskolan Kristianstad, Sektionen för lärande och miljö, Avdelningen för Naturvetenskap. Högskolan Kristianstad, Forskningsmiljön Learning in Science and Mathematics (LISMA).
    Juter, Kristina
    Högskolan Kristianstad, Sektionen för lärande och miljö, Avdelningen för Naturvetenskap. Högskolan Kristianstad, Forskningsmiljön Learning in Science and Mathematics (LISMA).
    Relating theoretical models, mathematical representations and the real world in upper-secondary physics2014Konferansepaper (Fagfellevurdert)
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