Stuessy, Carol , Peterson , Cheryl Ann .
Behind the Scenes of the Virtual PlantingScience Learning Environment.
Within the Planting Science learning environment, sponsored by the Botanical Society of America, scientist-mentors engage online with small groups of middle and high school students who think and act like scientists as they perform hands-on plant investigations in their classrooms. Students use the online platform to post scientific questions, observations, hypotheses, methods, and results. Scientist-mentors use the platform to review students' work and respond to students' posts with questions, comments, and encouragement. Both students and scientist-mentors engage in dialogues that vary in length, depth, and frequency. This presentation explains "what goes on" behind the scenes of the virtual online platform. We take our audience into the actual classrooms of three experienced science teachers. First we present a pedagogical model for the effective orchestration of the actual and virtual PlantingScience learning environment. The model is based on teachers' classroom enactments that focus on students' opportunities to engage in three sense-making strategies: (1) "practicing" science, (2) reflective discourse, and (3) representational fluency. To find support for the model, we observed at least two inquiry-based lessons (IBLs) in the classrooms of three PlantingScience teachers, which were videotaped and analyzed for evidence of the three sense-making strategies. We also analyzed online use of the PlantingScience platform, which revealed differences in students' engagement in the platform that corresponded with differences in teachers' classroom implementations. Results revealed associations of the three features proposed in the pedagogical model with students' engagement in the PlantingScience platform. Also associated with students' patterns of platform use and teachers' IBLs were teachers' beliefs; prior classroom experiences with inquiry, plants, and technology; and perceptions of support from school administrators and other teachers.
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1 - Texas A&M University, College Station, Teaching, Learning, and Culture, Mail Stop 4232, College Station, TX, 77840, USA
internet to teach science.
Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Location: Waterman Room/Chase Park Plaza
Date: Tuesday, July 12th, 2011
Time: 3:05 PM