Now showing 1 - 10 of 60
  • Publication
    Open Access
    Learning chemistry with the game “Legends of Alkhimia”: Pedagogical and epistemic bases of design-for-learning and the challenges of boundary crossing
    (2009)
    Chee, Yam San
    ;
    ;
    Tan, Ek Ming
    ;
    Jan, Mingfong
    Typical textbooks in Chemistry present the field as a fait accompli represented by a body of "proven" facts. In the teaching and learning of Chemistry, students have little, if any, agency to engage in scientific inquiry and to construct their personal understanding of the field. An emphasis on pre-determined "knowledge" and the execution of laboratory experiments designed mainly to confirm pre-determined "findings" can lead students to a grave misunderstanding of the nature of science. In this paper, we report on ongoing work to design a learning environment for learning chemistry that addresses the concerns raised above. Pitched at the lower secondary school level, our game-based learning innovation, using the multiplayer game "Legends of Alkhimia", is directed at helping students learn to imbibe the values and dispositions of professional chemists and also to think like them. Drawing on Bourdieu‘s construct of habitus, we seek to foster students‘ capacity for practical reason as they 'become themselves' via engagement in the scientific practice of doing chemistry, rather than just learning about it. We explain how our design for learning seeks to develop epistemic reflexivity and the identity of students in relation to professional chemists, as part of an ongoing trajectory of becoming. Learning innovations invariably introduce perturbations to existing schooling practices. In bringing our learning innovation into the social milieu of the classroom, we have experienced notable challenges related to boundary crossing. In the paper, we share these challenges so that teachers and school administrators can be better prepared for the changes in mindset, values, and beliefs that enacting pedagogical innovations such as game-based learning demand.
      285  257
  • Publication
    Open Access
      80  149
  • Publication
    Restricted
    Towards inquiry-based pedagogy: using dataloggers in science
    (2006-07) ;
    Hedberg, John G.
    ;
    Koh, Thiam Seng
    ;
    Seah, Whye Choo
    This study seeks to obtain an understanding of the use of dataloggers in secondary schools and junior colleges as well as how teachers use dataloggers to facilitate inquiry-based science. A nation-wide survey was carried out in 2004, targeting science teachers from all secondary schools, junior colleges and centralized institute. The scope of the survey covered the profile of schools and teachers using dataloggers, the ways in which dataloggers were used in the science curriculum, roles of pupils and teachers in the data logging activities, how pupils were prepared to work with dataloggers, how they were guided in inquiry activities with dataloggers, teachers' perceptions on the usefulness of dataloggers, the support structures needed as well as the challenges teachers faced in their use of dataloggers. Responses from 593 teachers from 151 secondary schools and junior colleges indicated that the use of dataloggers in the secondary schools and junior colleges was not pervasive. Teachers generally did not see the relevance of using dataloggers in the science curriculum. Data logging activities were largely teacher-directed with dataloggers used mainly in set experiments and demonstrations. Laboratory technicians, training on how to use dataloggers and the provision of step-by-step instructional manuals were surfaced by respondents as important support structures in their use of dataloggers. Some challenges highlighted by all users included the large amount of time spent on setting up data logging activities, inadequate IT equipment and facilities as well as technical issues. The second part of the study was an analysis of an inquiry-based data logging programme designed by a neighbourhood secondary school teacher for a Secondary. One science enrichment class. The aim of this part of the study was to provide insights into how the affordances of dataloggers could be tapped for inquiry science and the type of scaffolding by the teacher necessary to engage pupils in an inquiry-based learning environment. The analysis of the school's data logging programme revealed it to be content- laden rather than process-focused; the element of inquiry was not extensive and affordances of dataloggers not meaningfully tapped. Though pupils were generally able to set up and use the dataloggers for data capture, they were not engaged to think deeply about the activities and their findings. The teacher's motivation in the use of dataloggers for science learning was clear and some scaffolds were in place to guide pupils through the activities. Some issues which surfaced in the implementation of this inquiry-based programme included the teacher's ability to conduct and manage inquiry- based lessons as well as technical problems. Recommendations were put forth to address the issues surfaced from the survey to promote and support more pervasive use of dataloggers in schools.
      144  19
  • Publication
    Open Access
    Latent power in high school organic chemistry discourse
    (2006-11)
    Chue, Shien
    ;
    ;
    This paper draws on Foucault to (a) describe the production of classroom discourse in relation to how ordering manifests within the discourse, and (b) to explicate how chemistry classroom discourses are not fixed but are the site of constant contestations of power as displayed in an eighty minute high school lesson on organic chemistry in Singapore. This microanalysis of discourse provides opportunities to reconstruct how teachers teach and dispels the notion that power is uniquely their sovereign possession. Classroom instruction is in fact a complex activity that coordinates power/knowledge production through communication. Examining classroom instruction through Foucaultian lenses uncovers the taken for granted nature of communication and illustrates the capillary relations of power and knowing.
      47  35
  • Publication
    Open Access
    Becoming chemists through game-based inquiry learning: The case of Legends of Alkhimia
    (2012)
    Chee, Yam San
    ;
    Traditional modes of chemistry education in schools focus on imparting chemistry knowledge to students via instruction. Consequently, students often acquire the mistaken understanding that scientific knowledge comprises a fixed body of “proven” facts. They fail to comprehend that the construction of scientific understanding is a human and social endeavor. Consequently, there can be alternative and conflicting views and theories. To provide students access to an enhanced learning curriculum, Legends of Alkhimia was designed and developed as an educational game for 13 to 14-year-olds to foster the learning of chemistry through inquiry. The multiplayer game supports four concurrent players. It is played on personal computers connected via a local area network. The game embeds students in problem solving challenges related to the use of chemistry in realistic contexts. In attempting to solve these problems, students must engage in individual laboratory work using an in-game virtual chemistry lab. The game levels take students through a narrative arc that provides coherence to the entire gameplay experience. Legends of Alkhimia, together with its associated curricular materials, instantiates classroom learning based on performance pedagogy: a pedagogy that constructs learning through the lens of performance theory. Leveraging the immersive affordances of 3D game environments, the learning experience is designed to engage students in the dialectic interplay between learning in the first person, based on playing the game, and learning in the third person, based on the Bakhtinian notion of dialog. The learning process follows a developmental trajectory of becoming a chemist. Enacting performance pedagogy in the classroom requires a shift in traditional classroom culture toward that of a professional practice community. We report on an empirical study of a game-based learning classroom intervention where students in the Alkhimia learning program participated in an 8-week curriculum sequence involving six levels of game play. We compared pre- and posttest survey responses from a class of 40 students who learned chemistry using the Alkhimia curriculum. We also compared learning outcomes of students in the said intervention class with a control class of 38 students who learned chemistry through traditional classroom instruction. All students in our study were 13-year-olds from a typical government secondary school. We noted significant shifts in intervention students’ perceptions of their identity, their epistemological beliefs, their dispositions toward science inquiry, and of classroom culture. Students’ understanding of chemistry was evaluated through a common assessment that comprised a complex separation task involving mixtures, solutes, and immiscible liquids. Two evaluation criteria were used: (1) effectiveness of separation, and (2) demonstration of conceptual understanding of chemistry. We found that the Alkhimia students significantly outperformed the control students when assessed on the extent to which effective separation was achieved in the students’ proposed solution (t75 = 2.56, p = .026) and when assessed with respect to conceptual understanding of chemistry in the separation task (t75 = 3.41, p = .002). We discuss, from a theoretical perspective, how and why learning with the Alkhimia curriculum is efficacious. Our findings are significant in that they suggest how inquiry learning can be successfully enacted in a chemistry game-based learning curriculum, and they underscore the efficacy of approaching game-based learning in terms of performance.
      1105  711
  • Publication
    Open Access
    Student learning and representation of the particulate nature of matter
    (2023) ;
    Yeo, Jennifer Ai Choo
    ;
    Wong, Choun Pei
    ;
    Seah, Lay Hoon
    Particle nature of matter is one of the most challenging models students encounter in secondary science. Numerous studies have written about the learning impediments and the alternative conceptions that students have while learning to understand and apply the particle nature of matter to explain phenomena such as thermal expansion and phase changes. This article illustrates how some common representations used in science texts and lessons can inadvertently constrain understanding of the particle model and offers suggestions on how students can be better supported in understanding these representations.
      63  130
  • Publication
    Open Access
    Evaluating students’ understanding of chemical bonding
    (1999) ;
    Treagust, David F.
    Problems students encounter with understanding the abstract concept of chemical bonding, as revealed in previous research, are outlined. The development of a two-tier multiple-choice diagnostic instrument for assessing alternative conceptions about chemical bonding held by 14–16 year-olds is described. The instrument was administered to 119 chemistry students and the results analysed. The common alternative conceptions they were found to hold are listed and discussed. It was found that this instrument provided an easy-to-administer tool, providing results in a readily accessible form.
      3064  3450
  • Publication
    Open Access
    From face-to-face science activities to online: Not a simplistic 'carrying over' of material
    (National Institute of Education (Singapore), 2021)
    Yeo, Jennifer Ai Choo
    ;
    Tan, Poh Hiang
    ;
    ;
    Wong, Wai Lit
      59  119
  • Publication
    Open Access
    Datalogging: a unique affordance unrealized?
    (2005-07) ;
    Hedberg, John G.
    ;
    Koh, Thiam Seng
    ;
    Seah, Whye Choo
    Datalogging has the potential to facilitate and extend opportunities for inquiry-based science by providing data and different modalities of representation with minimum effort. The real-time data display provides an immediate link between an experiment and its graphical representation, enabling students to visualize the course of the experiment. It also frees experimentation from time constraints as data can be collected over days, and relieves students from tabulating data and drawing graphs by hand, allowing them to concentrate on the interpretation of data. This paper describes some aspects of a national survey of 593 science teachers on the use of datalogging in Singapore secondary schools (Grades 7-10) and junior colleges (Grades 11-12), interviews of three Science Heads of Department, and classroom observations of datalogging activities. The results suggest that the unique affordances of datalogging are not being fully realised in science learning because teachers generally lack the vision for how dataloggers can be used to enhance the student learning experience in inquiry-based science.
      178  653
  • Publication
    Open Access
    Science project work in Singapore: Some case-studies
    (2000-09)
    Boo, Hong Kwen
    ;
    In 1988 a scheme was launched by the Ministry of Education which promoted the use of project work as one of the formal means of assessment in the lower secondary science curriculum. Under the scheme, every lower secondary science pupil was expected to undertake a science project, in teams comprising 2 to 4 members, with assessment based on the products (research reports, models, etc.) and the team’s oral presentation. Besides the formal school science curriculum, science projects have also been given prominence through the annual Singapore Youth Science Festival which features a a science project competition every year, alternating between secondary/junior college and primary science projects. To further encourage project work, the Ministry of Education has revised the admission criteria for university admission to include interdisciplinary project work with effect from the year 2003. This paper discusses recent examples of actual science projects done by secondary school students and considers the lessons to be learned from them with respect to the conceptualisation and execution of projects.
      151  119