Date of Award

2011

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Education

School

School of Education

Faculty

Faculty of Education And Arts

First Advisor

Prof. Mark Hackling

Second Advisor

Dr Karen Murcia

Abstract

Current research indicates that although innovations in science teaching are having a positive impact on science education in many Australian schools, national and international assessments show that student achievement is not improving (Hackling & Prain, 2008; Thomson, Wernet, Underwood, & Nicholas, 2008). Furthermore, there is little or no increase in the number of students choosing science as a post-compulsory study option or as a career path. There remains a need to further develop innovative teaching methods that promote the development of students‟ scientific literacy, engenders a joy of science learning through student engagement and encourages a desire to pursue further study of science. It is argued in this thesis that the quality of student discourse in the classroom influences student achievement in science. In addition students need to use a variety of representational modes that develop and share their science understandings. It is proposed that Slowmation, a simplified form of stop motion animation, has the potential to engage students in learning by supporting discourse and multimodal representations of science phenomena. In response, this study explored and evaluated the implementation of student created Slowmations in a Primary Connections science unit. The study aimed to investigate the ways in which the process of creating a Slowmation engaged students in quality discourse and how the process afforded opportunities for students to use a range of representational modes to develop science understandings and literacies. The research was undertaken as a case study in a multi-aged class in a rural school setting. Transcripts from videos of student interaction, student interviews and analysis of finished Slowmations generated information regarding the extent to which student created Slowmation impacted on science learning. This study found that small group creation of a Slowmation engaged the students in substantive discourse and generated opportunities for their use of multimodal representations. Furthermore, this rich pedagogy engaged all the students in learning science. The research extends and connects existing separate bodies of research and theory on representation, student discourse, learning technologies and learning in science.

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