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Promoting Elementary Students' Epistemology of Science through Computer-Supported Knowledge-Building Discourse and Epistemic Reflection
ARTICLE

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International Journal of Science Education Volume 40, Number 6, ISSN 0950-0693

Abstract

This study examined the role of computer-supported knowledge-building discourse and epistemic reflection in promoting elementary-school students' scientific epistemology and science learning. The participants were 39 Grade 5 students who were collectively pursuing ideas and inquiry for knowledge advance using Knowledge Forum (KF) while studying a unit on electricity; they also reflected on the epistemic nature of their discourse. A comparison class of 22 students, taught by the same teacher, studied the same unit using the school's established scientific investigation method. We hypothesised that engaging students in idea-driven and theory-building discourse, as well as scaffolding them to reflect on the epistemic nature of their discourse, would help them understand their own scientific collaborative discourse as a theory-building process, and therefore understand scientific inquiry as an idea-driven and theory-building process. As hypothesised, we found that students engaged in knowledge-building discourse and reflection outperformed comparison students in scientific epistemology and science learning, and that students' understanding of collaborative discourse predicted their post-test scientific epistemology and science learning. To further understand the epistemic change process among knowledge-building students, we analysed their KF discourse to understand whether and how their epistemic practice had changed after epistemic reflection. The implications on ways of promoting epistemic change are discussed.

Citation

Lin, F. & Chan, C.K.K. (2018). Promoting Elementary Students' Epistemology of Science through Computer-Supported Knowledge-Building Discourse and Epistemic Reflection. International Journal of Science Education, 40(6), 668-687. Retrieved September 23, 2019 from .

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