Ph.Ds

N. Delengos, “The construction of the concept of energy and its social use by 9-10 y.o. students of the Greek primary school”

Abstract In this thesis, the results of a research concerning the planning, application and evaluation of a teaching sequence as far as the concept of energy is concerned, are featured. This teaching sequence is addressed to fifth grade pupils of Greek primary schools and it relies on the principles of ‘innovative’ and ‘constructive’ approach for the teaching and learning of science. On one hand, the epistemological features of the conceptual content of the sequence are being examined and on the other hand, it is argued whether pupils can be led to developing cognitive progress on this specific issue.According to the findings of this research, it is estimated that the ‘model of energy chains’ is scientifically valid and compatible to the cognitive capabilities of the pupils. It is an effective teaching model which transforms the scientific knowledge into school knowledge. More specifically, there are indications that the pupils, after completing this teaching course are capable of developing an energy model which is both qualitative and quantitative, so as to be able to: (a) describe the function of simple technological systems which include mechanical, thermal and electrical phenomena, by using the concept of energy both in a qualitative and quantitative level, (b) measure energy quantities in simple technological systems of the school laboratory and (c) describe, explain and predict the energy behaviour of domestic technological systems.

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E. Gouskou, “Possible educational exploitation by the formal education of the first generation Museum of Natural History. The impact of educational activities that take place in the Zoological Museum of Patras University on constructing the concept of classification by preschool children”

Abstract This thesis presents the results of a research concerning the design, implementation and evaluation of a teaching intervention relevant to the classification of animals within the formal and non-formal education. This teaching intervention refers to preschoolers, is based on the principles of ‘constructive’ approach of teaching and learning of science and includes educational activities which take place both at school and at the zoological museum.
According to the findings of the research, there is indications accordance to which children after the end of the teaching intervention are able to construct the concept of classification of animals using morphological characteristics instead of function or anthropomorphic ones. More specifically, this thesis gives indications according to which children after the teaching intervention are able (a) to improve their knowledge on the recognition and denomination of specimens of animals belonging to the categories of ‘reptile’, ‘bird’, ‘fish’ and ‘mammal’ and (b) to recognize a category of animals by an animal sample based on the morphological characteristics. Finally, it is also noted that the visit to the zoological museum and the educational activities carried out in situ seems to make a significant contribution in the transformation and progress of cognitive representations of children for the concept of classifying animals.

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S. Dossis, “Design and evaluation of a teaching sequence within the innovative and constructivist conceptions for the science curriculum: a case study concerning the teaching of the simple pendulum in high school”

Abstract The aim of this thesis is the design and evaluation of a teaching sequence for the motion of the simple pendulum, under the innovative and constructive approach of the science curriculum. This study belongs to the ‘feasibility’ research current and was carried out at three levels: analysis, design and implementation.
The level of analysis involves the analysis of Galilean epistemological framework about the motion of the pendulum, the analysis of mental representations of students about the motion of the simple pendulum and the analysis of the requirements of innovative and constructive approaches for the science curriculum.
The level of design includes the formulation of learning objectives and the content development of the teaching sequence. The structural features of the sequence concern (a) the cultural dimension of scientific knowledge (the relationship between the simple pendulum and the timekeeping problem), (b) the conceptual dimension of scientific knowledge (a Galilean semi-quantitative approach of the isochronal motion of the simple pendulum) and (c) the methodological dimension of scientific knowledge (a hypothetico-deductive approach of the relation between the period of the simple pendulum, its string length and its gravitational acceleration) The proposed sequence is composed of four modules and is implemented through problem – solving activities, which are based on transformed or authentic material from the History of Science.
The application level includes the experimental implementation of the teaching sequence to 36 students aged 14-15 y.o. and the evaluation of their cognitive progress that we assume took place during the teaching. A questionnaire is used to detect mental representations of students before and after having participated in the teaching intervention.
Data analysis was carried out on three levels. The first level shows the positive contribution of the activities of the teaching sequence to a transformation of student responses towards the acceptable scientific school knowledge about the motion of the simple pendulum. The second level shows the overall significant cognitive progress of students in the three components of scientific knowledge, cultural, conceptual and methodological. Finally, the third level shows the positive contribution of the teaching sequence in the formation of groups of pupils using in an efficient and coherent manner both conceptual and methodological aspects of scientific knowledge.

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N. Sissamberi, “Epistemological and didactical dimensions concerning a teaching approach of large – scale electricity generation systems at the elementary school level”

Abstract The aim of this thesis is the design, the implementation and the evaluation of a teaching sequence on the large-scale electricity generation systems (thermoelectric power plants, hydroelectric power plants, wind farms, photovoltaic farms) in the sixth grade of elementary school level. This teaching sequence, in which the large-scale electricity generation systems are teaching as autonomous subject, is structured on the principles of the “innovative” and “constructivist” approaches of the science curriculum. The research is carried out in three phases: the analysis, the design and the application. The analysis phase includes three elements: the epistemological analysis of technical thermodynamics, which constitutes the scientific reference knowledge, the analysis of the mental representations of students on the electricity generation systems, and the analysis of the requirements of the innovative and constructivist approaches for the science curriculum. The design phase includes the formulation of the didactical aims and the development of the content of the teaching sequence. The didactic transposition of the scientific knowledge to school knowledge (a) is based on a multi- level knowledge approach which is required for the study of electricity generation systems (phenomenological, technological, scientific, environmental), (b) it gives emphasis to the systemic nature of this knowledge through the use of different representational models of the structure and the function of these systems, (c) it is based on the adaptation of the inquiry based teaching approach which is feasible through problem solving activities and (d) emphasizes on the cultural dimension of knowledge promoting the consequences of the function of these systems to the environment. Finally, the application phase includes the experimental implementation of the teaching sequence and the evaluation of students’ learning progress which we assume will be achieved. The results of this evaluation indicate that the majority of students of our sample are capable of making significant cognitive progress by building cohesive mental representations compatible to the features of the proposing school knowledge, particularly in relation to an energy analysis of power plants.

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D. Dziva, “The concept of ‘Basic secondary school science teacher knowledge’: Reforming science teacher education in Zimbabwe”

Abstract This research relates to the knowledge acquired by teachers who specialize in teaching Chemistry, Biology or Physics during their initial training in Zimbabwe, as well as the knowledge required when they have to teach the subject ‘Integrated Science’ (‘IS’) (out-of-field teaching). The study is guided by two research questions: (a) How do teachers who specialised in Chemistry, Biology or Physics describe secondary school Integrated Science teaching? and (b) What are the gaps in knowledge between the Integrated Science teachers’ espoused knowledge from Teacher Education Institutions and the enacted experiential knowledge needed in Integrated Science classrooms? This study followed a mixed methods research design with an initial quantitative phase in which 60 Integrated Science (IS) teachers were selected through snowball sampling and surveyed. A purposive case selection of 9 IS teachers from the 60 teachers were then interviewed during the second research phase. The research participants were divided into 3 equal cohorts in both phases of the research according to area of study specialisation (Chemistry, Biology and Physics). Concerning the first research question, the results of the study indicate the IS teachers have a common set of knowledge, skills, and dispositions that are, in their professional opinion, needed and in some instances, would enable them to teach IS. A striking feature of the survey findings was the similitude in discernments among the three cohorts with different levels of teaching experience. It however should be noted that there was a marked variance in the perception of the three cohorts of teachers towards teaching through Practical Work, importance of pre-service teacher education specialisation towards teaching IS and knowledge of students’ culture. Concerning the second research question, the results of the study indicate gaps emerging on the knowledge of IS teachers as they articulated their espoused knowledge from tertiary institutions against their enacted experiential knowledge needed in IS classrooms. Most of this knowledge came out as challenges the teachers encountered as they endeavoured to implement the IS curriculum. The research participants emphasised the need to adjust teacher education curriculum in order to alleviate the challenges.

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V. Stavropoulos, “A teaching intervention for introducing energy concepts through a complex technological system: The case of the car”

Abstract The general objective of this thesis is to design and evaluate a teaching intervention for introducing energy concepts through a complex technological system (car), within the framework of the innovative and constructive perception for the Greek curriculum of Physics and Technology. It is a feasibility study carried out on three levels: analysis, design and implementation. The level of analysis includes: (a) scientific analysis of basic energy concepts and technological knowledge of different types of cars, (b) analysis of students’ mental representations for energy as well as for the structure and operation of the car and (c) analysis of the requirements of the innovative and constructive conception for the Physics and Technology curricula. The level of design involves the specification of the teaching objectives and the formation of the content of the teaching sequence. The proposed teaching sequence consists of two modules and is implemented through activities based on transformed material derived from models of real technological objects. The level of implementation concerns the experimental application of the teaching sequence to 43 students at the age of 12-13 years and the evaluation of their cognitive progress. The results of the evaluation show that the majority of the students responds satisfactorily and notes significant cognitive progress by constructing mental representations coherent to the pursued knowledge.

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Kalliopi Meli, “Design, implementation and evaluation of a constructivist teaching sequence on thermodynamics with the integration of a computational modeling simulation for the Greek upper secondary school”

Abstract  The aim of this doctoral dissertation is the design, the implementation and the evaluation of a teaching and learning sequence for the First Law of Thermodynamics (FLT) addressing the students of the upper secondary school, in the context of the constructivist approach for the science curriculum. It is a feasibility research that is conducted at the levels of analysis, design and implementation-evaluation. The analysis level integrates the epistemological analysis of the macroscopic thermodynamics framework for the FLT, the analysis of the students’ mental representations of the FLT and the analysis of the pedagogical framework of the constructivist approach for the science curriculum. The conclusions from the analysis level formulate the teaching and learning objectives of the sequence. The design level includes the articulation of the teaching and learning objectives in reference to the structure and the content of the sequence. These are cognitive objectives that mainly address the qualitative and quantitative mental construction of the concept of energy conservation as an expression of the FLT. For the attainment of these objectives, the sequence stipulates the implementation of twelve problem-solving activities. The implementation level includes the application of the sequence within the actual teaching setting of an optional physics course with nineteen students, 16-17 years old of age. For the evaluation of the sequence, a pre- and post-test, along with worksheets used in class, are utilized in order to determine the students’ cognitive progress by virtue of the sequence. The analysis of the data includes the results from the tests and the worksheets deriving from the students’ answers, their classification into categories of mental representations and the level of sufficiency of those representations. The evaluation of the results suggests that the students did in fact achieve cognitive progress by virtue of the sequence.

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