Research on Learning > Synthesis Study > Journal Club

Synthesis Journal Club

Participants

Principal Investigators: Kim Kastens (Lamont Dougherty Earth Observatory/Columbia University) and Cathy Manduca (Science Education Resource Center/Carleton College)

Group Leaders:

  • Learning in the Field: Dave Mogk (Montana State University) and Charles Goodwin (University of California - Los Angeles)
  • Temporal Concepts in the Geosciences: Cinzia Cervato (Iowa State University) and Robert Frodeman (University of North Texas)
  • Complex Systems in Geoscience:Tim Spangler (University Corporation for Atmospheric Research) and Neil Stillings (Hampshire College)
  • Spatial Thinking: Sarah Titus (Carleton College) and Lynn Liben (Penn State University)

Panel Participants: Jeff Dodick (The Hebrew University), Ben Jee (Northwestern University), Yael Kali (Technion - Israel Institute of Technology), Patrick Louchouarn (Texas A&M University-Galveston), Mike Piburn (Arizona State University), Tim Shipley (Temple University), and Jim Slotta (University of California, Berkeley)


Schedule

January 23, 2008 - Learning in the Field

Discussion Questions

  • What do we mean by "learning in the field?"
  • How is the "field" recognized in the diverse Earth science disciplines-geology, oceanography, atmospheric sciences, climatology and allied sciences (ecology, anthropology, etc)?
  • How do we best learn from nature?
  • How do we best learn from each other (the community)-via past experience as recorded in the literature, from each other in "live" social interactions such as field trips, ocean cruises?
  • What skills, techniques, and strategies are masters trying to impart? What cognitive skills can we identify as being essential for learning in the field?
  • How does a community construct tools that 1) shape what it can see and analyze in Nature; and 2) in what ways does the use of such tools require hands on work in concert with other members of the community?
  • What makes an excellent field learning experience?

Articles

  • Ernst, G. (2006). Geologic Mapping - Where the Rubber Meets the Road in C.A. Manduca and D.W.Mogk (Eds.), Earth and Mind: How Geologists Think and Learn about the Earth. Boulder, CO: The Geological Society of America.
  • Frodeman R. (1995). Geological reasoning; geology as an interpretive and historical science. GSA Bulletin, 107(8), 960-968.
  • Goodwin, C. (1995). Seeing at Depth, Social Studies of Science, v. 25, 237-274.
  • Harrison, M. M. (1963). Nature and Significance of Geological Maps, IN: Claude C. Albritton, Jr., (ed) The Fabric of Geology, Addison Wesley Publishing Company, Reading MA, pp. 225-232.

January 30, 2008 - Temporal Concepts in the Geosciences

Discussion Questions

  • How can we integrate philosophical, ethical, and policy aspects into our discipline and our teaching?
  • How can we make students (and our colleagues) aware of the policy aspects of scientific research?
We would like to use a couple of examples to explore the implications of these questions:
  • Occurrence of strong hurricanes and storm surges along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Studies on the occurrence of tropical cyclones (e.g., Emanuel, K. 2005: Increasing destructiveness of tropical cyclones over the past 30 years. Nature, 436, 686-688) suggest that strong hurricanes like Katrina are becoming more common.
    • What are the implications of model predictions on the issue of reconstruction in the areas of New Orleans that were flooded and destroyed in August 2005?
  • Yucca mountain nuclear waste repository (e.g., Hinze et al., 2008: Evaluating igneous activity at Yucca Mountain. EOS, 22 January, 29-30):
    • How do we deal with uncertainties in volcanic risk assessment from a policy point of view?

Articles


February 6, 2008 - Complex Systems in Geoscience

Discussion Questions

  • What are the implications of systems geoscience for learning and instruction at various educational levels (i.e. elementary, middle, and high school, undergraduate, and graduate)?
  • What do we know about the range of initial conceptions and skills that students bring to geoscience classrooms?
  • What are some initial ideas about how to organize learning environments to move students from the range of initial states to desired target states?

Articles

  • Assaraf O.B. and N. Orion (2005). Development of System Thinking Skills in the Context of Earth System Education. JOURNAL OF RESEARCH IN SCIENCE TEACHING VOL. 42, NO. 5, PP. 518-560.
  • Clayton, D.S. and C. Gautier (2006). Scientific Argumentation in Earth System Science Education. Journal of Geoscience Education, v. 54, n. 3, p. 374-382
  • Libarkin J. and J. Kurdziel (2006). Ontology and the Teaching of Earth System Science. Journal of Geoscience Education, v. 54, n. 3, p. 408-413
  • Louchouarn, P., S. Cohen, B. Herbert, and T. Heikkila (2007 - submitted). Building Practice in Graduate Professional Programs through Authentic Scientific Inquiry: Formalization of the Multidisciplinary Approach in Environmental Education. Science Education.

February 13, 2008 - Spatial Thinking

Discussion Questions

  • How do cognitive scientists parse the world of spatial skills and space? What do we see as the useful divisions or perhaps the dysfunctional divisions? Are there alternative ones? Is anything gained by a developmental approach? Do the organizational/conceptual distinctions seem to map on well or badly to the "skill" (empirical) ones?
  • And, do the connections identified in this geology case seem to make sense? Are there others? Can this serve as a model for how we might analyze other geosciences?

Articles

  • Tversky, B. (2005). Visuospatial Reasoning. In Keith J. Holyoak and Robert G. Morrison (Eds.) The Cambridge handbook of thinking and reasoning (pp. 209-240). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
  • Liben, L. S. (2002). Spatial development in children: Where are we now? In U. Goswami (Ed.), Blackwell handbook of childhood cognitive development (pp. 326-348). Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishers. (Unfortunately, all references are at the back of the whole book; I can send references separately.)
  • K.A. Kastens, T. Ishikawa (2006). Spatial Thinking in the Geosciences and Cognitive Sciences: A cross-disciplinary look at the intersection of the two fields. Boulder, CO: GSA In Earth & Mind: How Geologists Think and Learn about the Earth (C.A. Manduca and D.W. Mogk Eds) p. 53-76.

February 20, 2008 - Temporal Concepts in the Geosciences

Discussion Questions

  • How do we define deep time?
  • Why should anyone care about deep time? What are the differing roles of deep time within science, the humanities, and within culture at large? Zen (2001) mentions three reasons (the validity of deep time is not founded on faith; it provides a framework to gauge rates of natural changes and resources; its significance as a bridge in the debate between religion and science). Are there others that we can use as a foundation for the significance of our synthesis?
  • Why is deep time a complex concept for students to understand? Is it really more difficult than, say, mineralogy, chemistry, or calculus? Ault (1998) describes the significance of the Earth science curriculum and the challenge presented by evidence from sources that range over immense time scales and where direct experimentation is not possible.
  • What can we learn from Friedman's work on children and adults perception of past and future events that can be used to teach about deep time?

Articles

  • Zen, E. (2001), What is deep time and why should anyone care? Journal of Geoscience Education. 49(1), 5-9.
  • Ault, C.R. (1998), Criteria of excellence for geological inquiry: the necessity of ambiguity. Jour. Res. Sci. Teach., 35, 189-212.
  • Friedman (2005), Developmental and cognitive perspective on humans' sense of times of past and future events. Learning and motivation, 36, 145-158.

February 27, 2008 - Learning in the Field

Discussion Questions

  • How do we develop a justifiable argument (with evidence) that field work is (should be) good and valued in geoscience education? This is based on the reality that a) logistics of field programs are a hassle, b) there are liability issues, c) dean's don't want to fund such programs, d) new generation geoscientists are increasingly attracted to modeling, analytical work that don't require much day to day field work.
  • What are the qualities, properties, characteristics of a good solid foundation of working in the field that somehow inform, transform, transcend the holistic development of geoscientists? Part of the answer is practical-certain skills are learned in the field that carry over into other domains. Part is cognitive-by immersion in field settings (somehow) students get a better grasp of the whole-spatial, temporal relations, an understanding of process, etc. And part is affective-a well-crafted field experience has lifetime impacts-in terms of learning science, and in learning to be a scientists-so there are all the affective social implications, networking, surviving shared experiences under duress, …etc.
  • How can field and laboratory exercises used in concert enhance learning?
  • How can field and virtual environments be used to enhance learning?
  • What are our learning goals and objectives for learnign in the field, and how can we measure success?

Articles


March 5, 2008 - Spatial Thinking

Discussion Questions

  • links between spatial skills and understanding/teaching geosciences (see esp. Kali & Orion)
  • educational interventions to enhance spatial skills and their impact on geoscience learning (see esp. Reynolds et al).
  • how understanding human perceptual and motor systems may help us to think about the kinds of spatial skills needed to collect and represent information about the environment (see esp. discussions of embodiment by Johnson and of evolved perceptual systems by Proffitt)

Articles

  • Kali and Orion (1996). Spatial abilities of high school students in the perception of geologic structures. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 33, 369-391
  • Proffitt (2006). Embodied Perception and the Economy of Action. Perspectives on Psychological Science, v. 1, n. 2, p. 110-122.
  • Johnson (2008) The meaning of the Body. In W.F. Overton, U. Mueller, & J.L. Newman (Eds.), Body in mind, mind in body: Developmental perspectives on embodiment and consciousness. (pp. 19-43). New York: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
  • Reynolds, S. J., Piburn, M. D., Leedy, D. E., C. M. McAuliffe, Birk, J. P., & Johnson, J. K. (2006). The Hidden Earth–Interactive, Computer-based Modules for Geoscience Learning. In C. Manduca & D. Mogk (Eds.), Earth & Mind (pp. 171-186): Geological Society of America.

March 12, 2008 - Complex Systems in Geoscience

Discussion Questions

  • Why are complex systems hard to understand?
  • What does it mean to understand a complex system?
  • What are the differences between understanding and not understanding?

Articles

  • C. Hmelo-Silver, S. Marathe, and L. Liu (2007). Fish Swim, Rocks Sit, and Lungs Breathe: Expert-Novice Understanding of Complex Systems. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 16(3), 307-331.
  • C. Hmelo-Silver and R. Azevedo (2006). Understanding Complex Systems: Some Core Challenges. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 15(1), 53-61.
  • M.T.H. Chi (2005). Commonsense Conceptions of Emergent Processes: Why Some Misconceptions Are Robust. Journal of the Learning Sciences. 16(2), 161-199.
  • N. Sabelli (2006). Complexity, Technology, Science, and Education. Journal of the Learning Sciences. 15(1), 5-9.

March 19, 2008 - Spatial Thinking

Discussion Questions

  • The goal of these readings will be to continue thinking about:
  • How to identify and catalogue/characterize/organize relevant component spatial skills
  • How these skills are involved in geosciences thinking (I really hope we can try to think about other geosciences in addition to geology)
  • How spatial instruction may be useful for geosciences instruction.

Articles

  • S. Titus and E. Horseman. Improving Students' Visualization Skills.
  • M. Hegarty, D.R. Montello, A.E. Richardson, T. Ishikawa, K. Lovelace (2006). Spatial abilities at different scales: Individual differences in aptitude-test performance and spatial-layout learning. Intelligence, v34, p151-176.
  • M. Kozhevnikov, S. Kosslyn, and J. Shephard (2005). Spatial versus object visualizers: A new characterization of visual cognitive style. Memory & Cognition, 33(4), 710.
  • K. Kastens powerpoint - What problems are we trying to solve through use of data, simulations and visualization in Geoscience education?

April 2, 2008 - Temporal Concepts in the Geosciences

Discussion Questions

  • Boroditsky has shown that spatial metaphors are commonly used to understand time and that humans used either ego-moving or time-moving metaphors. In which category fall spatial metaphors used in geoscience instruction?
  • Is geologic time one- or multi-dimensional?
  • Can spatial metaphors (like the example in Pecore and Sacks's paper) lead to misconceptions in the understanding of geologic time? Can some of these misconceptions be related to language?

Articles


April 9, 2008 - Complex Systems in Geoscience

Discussion Questions

  • Is there a "new kind of science" that is changing the nature of research and should be changing the nature of instruction?
  • What is the role of educational software, specifically simulation packages and exercises, in teaching and learning about complexity?

Articles

  • Donald Turcotte (2006) Modeling geocomplexity: "A new kind of science" In C. Manduca & D. Mogk (Eds.), Earth & Mind (pp. 171-186): Geological Society of America.
  • Bruce Herbert (2006) Student understanding of complex earth systems. In C. Manduca & D. Mogk (Eds.), Earth & Mind (pp. 171-186): Geological Society of America.
  • David Bice (2006) STELLA modeling as a tool for understanding the dynamics of earth systems. In C. Manduca & D. Mogk (Eds.), Earth & Mind (pp. 171-186): Geological Society of America.

April 16, 2008 - Learning in the Field

Discussion Questions

  • For the article on "Perception in Chess", can we substitute the word "landscape" for "chessboard" to gain insights into how Master geoscientists do field work?
    • What are the relationships that might be used for chunking by geoscientists; what are analogs to location, attack, proximity, color, defense etc for a chess master?
    • How are the Geoscience and chess relationships taught or acquired?
    • If we want to study chunking, what is the Geoscience equivalent to board position reproduction?
  • For "Professional Vision", do the enculturated habits and behaviors documented in this article transfer to similar "tribes" of geoscientists working in the field? Does this study provide a good model for how to design future experiments in observing and documenting what Master geoscientists do in the field?
  • For "The Externalized Retina", examples of transcriptions are presented that demonstrate selection (i.e. how we simplify and schematize objects using scientific visualizations) and mathematization (i.e. attribution of matahematical order of objects). How are these types of transcriptions/representations realized in geoscience field studies?

Articles

  • C. Goodwin (1994) Professional Vision. American Anthropologist, New Series, 96(3), 606.
  • W.G. Chase and H.A. Simon (1973) Perception in Chess. Cognitive Psychology. 4(1), 55.
  • Lynch, M. (1990). The Externalized Retina: Selection and Mathematization in the Visual Documentation of Objects in the Life Sciences. In M. Lynch & S. Woolgar (Eds.), Representation in Scientific Practice (pp. 153-186). Cambridge MA: MIT Press.

April 23, 2008 - Temporal Concepts in the Geosciences

Discussion Questions

  • Is geological time experienceable, or able to be represented?
  • Are timelines effective means to make deep time more quickly intuitive for students?

Articles

  • Dodick, J. and N. Orion (2006). Building an Understanding of Geological Time: A Cognitive Synthesis of the Macro and Micro Scales of Time. In Earth and Mind: How Geologists Think and Learn about the Earth, C. Manduca and D. Mogk (Eds.). p. 77-94. Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO.
  • Libarkin et al. (2007) College student conceptions of geological time and the disconnect between ordering and scale. Journal of Geoscience Education, 55, 413-422.
  • Frank Kermode, The Sense of an Ending: Studies in the Theory of Fiction.

April 30, 2008 - Complex Systems in Geoscience

Discussion Questions

  • What do we know about using simulation/modeling to teach about complex systems? How can classrooms and other learning environments be organized to significantly incorporate simulation/modeling? What is the state of the research literature on student learning in such environments? A new version, including figures, of David Bice's paper from April 9 is posted, along with a somewhat similar paper by Moore and Derry.
  • Cathy asked during the last complexity conversation whether geoscientists and education researchers mean the same thing by complexity. She did not see an easy match between Chi's (see March 12 readings) characterization of emergent processes and geoscientists' descriptions of complex process (see April 9 readings). This issue is worth revisiting. An additional paper by Chi and Jim Slotta that includes an instructional intervention is posted this week.
  • This is our last journal club meeting on complex systems. It would be worth spending a few minutes discussing what issues should be covered in the complexity section of the final synthesis report.

Articles

  • David Bice (2006) STELLA modeling as a tool for understanding the dynamics of earth systems. In Manduca and Mogk (Eds) Earth and Mind: How Geologist Think and Learn about the Earth. GSA Books.
  • Moore and Derry (1995). Understanding Natural Systems through Simple Dynamical Systems Modeling. Journal of Geoscience Education. 43, 152
  • Slotta and Chi (2006) Helping Students Understand Challenging Topics in Science Through Ontology Training. COGNITION AND INSTRUCTION, 24(2), 261-289

May 7, 2008 - Learning in the Field

Discussion Questions

  • What are the motivations for learning in the field? Are the motivations and expectations for learning the same for instructors and students?
  • What are the barriers to learning in the field? How can we best address these to optimize student learning?
  • What is the relationship between affective factors and cognition for learning in the field, and in general?

Articles

  • David Mogk (1996). Field Notes.
  • Luiz Pessoa (2008) On the Relationship Between Cognition and Emotion. NATURE REVIEWS - Neuroscience. v 9, p. 148.
  • Piotr Winkielman, Paula M. Niedenthal, Lindsay Oberman (in press) The Embodied Emotional Mind. In G.R. Semin & E.R. Smith (Eds.), Embodied grounding: Social, cognitive, affective, and neuroscientific approaches. New York: Cambridge University Press
  • Jeremy R. Gray (2004) Integration of Emotion and Cognitive Control. CURRENT DIRECTIONS IN PSYCHOLOGICAL SCIENCE. 13(2), 46.
  • Thomas E. Shipley, Jr. (1988) Opponent-Processes, Stress, and Attribution: Some Implications for Shamanisms and the Initiation of Healing Relationships. Psychotherapy. 25(4), 593.

May 14, 2008 - Spatial Thinking

Articles

  • Liben, L (1999). Developing an Understanding of External Spatial Representations. In I. Sigel (Ed) Development of Mental Representation: Theories and Applications.
  • Lohse, G., K. Biolsi, N. Wlker, and H. Rueter (1994). A Classification of Visual Representations. Communications of the ACM, 37(12), 36-49.
  • Mogk, D. - Teaching With Projections in the Geosciences (Microsoft Word 62kB Feb16 09).