«February 2015 Volume 5 Issue 1 ISSN: 2146-7463 JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL AND INSTRUCTIONAL STUDIES IN THE WORLD February 2015, ...»
The 4E instruction model was based on the mental development theory introduced by Piaget. Starting from the first step of exploring, a person is exposed to new stimulus and tries to give meaning in her/his mind. The person gets to the status of disequilibrium if s/he cannot establish a connection with prior knowledge. Since data collection is a factual process, the individual can get out of the disequilibrium on her/his own or with teacher’s help. As s/he analyses the data by discussing with their peers at explanation stage, the individual switches to the accommodation stage. S/he comprehends scientific information at this stage. Afterwards, adaptation takes place during expansion stage by means of relevant examples and different problem statements. In this way, all new information becomes engaged in the individual’s life by being linked with other information. (Kanlı, 2007; Türker,2009; Türkmen, 2006).
Figure 1: Mental development model with 4E teaching model Informal learning environments where theoretical knowledge is linked to real life have considerable contribution to learning of individuals (Türkmen, 2010). Considering that science is about truths or possible truths in the nature, teachers must use the nature as learning environment. In environments such as school yards, universities, streets, shopping malls, home, offices, cultural and sports centres, science museums, aqua parks, forests, and natural parks, students’ learning is supposed to differ from than in formal learning
environments. The qualities informal learning environments must possess include following:
1. Fun: In informal environments, science must be taught with fun. The individual needs to enjoy the motivation to explore according to her/his areas of interest, and s/he needs to do it like playing a game, still in a disciplined manner. The informal environment must provide individuals the freedom of inquiring and exploring in relation with their interests and curiosity. The teacher should not expect silence or neatness in such a funny process.
2. Voluntary basis: For taking students to informal science environments, teachers have to take permission from school administration and parents (of students under 18). Teachers cannot take students from formal to informal environments without obeying such rules.
3. Self-Directedness: When teachers take their students to a science museum or botanic garden, they should allow students to decide on what to explore, see or do themselves. In this setting, the teacher is responsible for supporting students about how to learn, encouraging independent questioning and providing them with necessary materials and support.
4. Hands-on learning: It is an active learning mode. In this type of learning, individuals put their hands on the job so they can achieve knowledge through exploring instead of receiving direct explanation of the learning input from teacher followed by practices. It should be remembered that students need to use resulting experiences, emotions and ideas and scientific skills (questioning the data and whether or not such data are compliant with their scientific knowledge) and share their knowledge with other students.
5. Open-endedness: In informal science learning, there is no limited time concept. As exploring and questioning is essential for learner’s access to knowledge, the learning process can be short or long as long as individual’s interest is boosted.
6. Non-Sequentiality: Since learning takes place in individual’s daily life, it can be independent on time and nonsequential. Also as individual undertakes observation, data collection, analysis and interpretation her/himself and attempts to explain science with her/his own daily life experiences, teachers can only play their roles at last stage by realizing whether or not they managed to reach conclusion. Therefore, it would not be sensible to expect problem solving skills to emerge in sequence.
7. Purpose or deliberateness: It should be kept in mind that schools or societies have a reason for being.
Teachers need to identify a purpose for taking students to museum or botanic garden, build conditions for gaining of scientific knowledge in this opportunity, and lay the groundwork for such an experience. (Orion & Hofstein, 1994; Storksdieck, 2001; Tezcan Akmehmet & Ödekan, 2006, cited by Türkmen, 2010).
The aim of present study is to investigate the effect of informal learning environments during “expansion” stage of the 4E model on learning and attitude of students towards course. The study was carried out with students in the eleventh grade in a vocational high school in science museums. Study subject was about physics, in particular learning of magnetism and sound waves.
METHOD Quantitative and quantitative research methods (mix method) were used in this study. Study data were analysed with “One-Group Post-test Only Design”.
Data Collection Instrument In the study, quantitative data collection tools such as achievement test and Likert type scale on attitude regarding physics. The achievement test consists of 20 multiple choice questions covering magnetism and sound waves. The other instrument, physics attitude scale, was developed by Nalçacı, Akarsu and Kariper. It is comprised of 30 items in Likert type, and its reliability coefficient was found to be 0,940. Moreover, a qualitative data collection method was used in this study. Direct observation was done in order to find criteria and students’ behaviours necessary for the science museum to be an ideal learning environment.
Data Collection Process th In physics course in the 11 grade, the unit on Magnetism and Waves was taught by means of activities formed in compliance with 4E learning model. Expansion stage was carried out with activities in science museum as an informal learning environment.
In exploration, the first step of the class, the students were seated and stayed in groups till the end of teaching of the topic. Each group was given magnets with differing size and force. Then, they used the batteries, copper wires, clips, iron sand, ruler, plastic, and nails provided before to see attracts or repels status of magnets. They could understand that magnets have opposite poles upon seeing that one end of magnets attracts a magnet while the other end repels it by changing direction of the magnets. Next, the students put some iron sand around the magnet to realize the magnetic field. The batteries were used for setting an electrical circuit. A ringshaped coil was made by using a piece of copper wire. While current flowed through the circuit, a magnet was put near the coil and it was seen that the ring started moving. After that, the circuit was repeated by using batteries, conducting wire and a nail surrounded with wire. When current flowed through the circuit, the nail attracted iron sand. In this way, the students observed that effects of magnetic items like magnets are formed around a piece of wire in which current flows. In other words, current has a magnetic effect.
explanations made with the formula of magnetic field formed around the conducting wire. In following lesson, the participants were taken to İzmir Bahçeşehir Science Museum to help students interpret what they have learned and transfer it to their immediate life. The course teacher visited the museum before the study to find out whether or not the stations found as well as activities realized are related with magnetism and sound waves learnt by students. After obtaining necessary permissions from parents and school administration, an appointment was made with the science museum. They did experiments at stations in the museum. As a result, they could apply both previous learning and topics covered in units to real life. The participants visited the stations in predetermined groups. At that stage, answers were sought for the research questions developed by the teacher by using the criteria needed for using the science museum as a learning environment. After the excursion, achievement test was given to find out students’ level of learning at school. Also an attitude scale was administered to find out their feelings and opinions regarding the learning experience.
Picture 1: Students’ experiences at the stage of exploration FINDINGS For expansion, the teacher’s observation noted during application of the learning environment criteria in the science museum are given in Table 1.
Average achievement test score was calculated to be 53 at evaluation stage of the 4E. Considering the fact that average score of the students was 41,5 at the first physics midterm during the second semester, the increase becomes obvious. Particularly, the students who got low scores from the first examination improved. As a result of the physics attitude scale of Nalçacı, Akarsu, Kariper (2011), minimum and maximum scores were noted as 66 and 140, respectively (minimum score was 30 and maximum score was 150).
Picture 2: Students joined the experiment in science museum)
Total average of the participants was calculated to be 3.52. It could suggest that students at vocational high school could develop positive attitude towards physics though it was regarded as an unnecessary but compulsory work. In addition, the students were inspired by the stations and experiment systems on the field visit. Thus, they made up a “physics corner” with mechanisms they themselves set up in physics course. Then, they were exhibited in the school. Those activities were explained and exhibited by the student who made up the mechanism.
Picture3: Corner of physics fair In physics course, the participants were asked to make a special corner to exhibit physical experiments or interesting activities they had seen at the stations in the museum. Then, they practised those experiments in classroom so that all other students could see.
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION4E teaching model is student-centred, and our study was implemented at expansion stage. In this scope, an excursion was held in science museum. The using expansion level of 4E teaching model in informal learning environment on physics education has positive effect on students’ learnings. During implementation of the study, the participants were experienced hands-on learning. As a consequence of that, retention of physics knowledge increased and thus the students developed their skills of solving problems in their daily lives.
According to our observation during the excursion, it could be suggested that the students had difficulty in understanding basic physics mainly due to incompetence in mathematical operations rather than lack of knowledge in physics. Also it was observed during the excursion that interest and participation level was high at experiment stations and they played an active role in the study by means of questions asked occasionally.
Though physics is considered unnecessary by most vocational high school students, we are of the opinion that physics has connections with all areas of life. Therefore, it can be argued that students will be more eager to learn physics once it is supported with out-of-class activities during such an excursion and students realize physics in practical areas. There are other studies pointing out that using of an effective informal learning environment affects learners positively (Anderson, Lucas, & Ginns, 2003; Ash, 2003; Falk and Dierking, 1997;
Griffin, 2004; Wolins, Jensen, and Ulzheimer, 1992). Such positive effect can best be understood from longterm impact. Falk and Dierking (1997) found out that elementary students could keep memories of the excursion in their mind for a long time and they could remember what they learnt in that place even years 24 Copyright © International Journal on New Trends in Education and Their Implications / www.ijonte.org
JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL AND INSTRUCTIONAL STUDIESIN THE WORLD February 2015, Volume: 5 Issue: 1 Article: 03 ISSN: 2146-7463 later. In present study, the students from vocational high school reported that they still remembered their experiences and information related with the excursion after days. They also expressed their eagerness to go on similar visits for other topics.
RECOMMENDATIONSWe think that importance should be placed on this subject and students should be encouraged to learn in informal learning environments. To this end, also as suggested by Türkmen (2010), we academicians can urge YÖK (The Higher Education Council) to insert relevant courses in curriculum so as to train preservice teachers accordingly. Furthermore, joint projects can be implemented by MEB (Ministry of National Education) and universities to give in-service training for teachers currently teaching at schools. Last but not the least, informal instruction environments should be made more common especially in sciences such as well-equipped science museum, science centres, natural areas (parks) or special areas such as botanic gardens, observatories, aqua parks. For this, Ministry of National Education as well as other ministries can take the initiative to increase the number of such places.
WJEIS’s Note: This article was presented at World Conference on Educational and Instructional Studies WCEIS, 06- 08 November, 2014, Antalya-Turkey and was selected for publication for Volume 5 Number 1 of WJEIS 2015 by WJEIS Scientific Committee.
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