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  • 1.
    Bergqvist, Anna
    et al.
    Karlstad University, Faculty of Health, Science and Technology (starting 2013), Department of Engineering and Chemical Sciences (from 2013).
    Chang Rundgren, Shu-Nu
    Stockholm universitet.
    The influence of textbooks on teachers’ knowledge of chemical bonding representations relative to students’ difficulties understanding2017In: Research in Science & Technological Education, ISSN 0263-5143, E-ISSN 1470-1138, Vol. 35, no 2, p. 215-237Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Background: Textbooks are integral tools for teachers’ lessons. Several researchers observed that school teachers rely heavily on textbooks as informational sources when planning lessons. Moreover, textbooks are an important resource for developing students’knowledge as they contain various representations that in uence students’ learning. However, several studies report that students have di culties understanding models in general, and chemical bonding models in particular, and that students’ di culties understanding chemical bonding are partly due to the way it is taught by teachers and presented in textbooks.

    Purpose: This article aims to delineate the in uence of textbooks on teachers’ selection and use of representations when teaching chemical bonding models and to show how this might cause students’ di culties understanding.

    Sample: Ten chemistry teachers from seven upper secondary schools located in Central Sweden volunteered to participate in this study. Design and methods: Data from multiple sources were collected and analysed, including interviews with the 10 upper secondary school teachers, the teachers’ lesson plans, and the contents of the textbooks used by the teachers.

    Results: The results revealed strong coherence between how chemical bonding models are presented in textbooks and by teachers, and thus depict that textbooks in uence teachers’ selection and use of representations for their lessons. As discussed in the literature review, several of the selected representations were associated with alternative conceptions of, and di culties understanding, chemical bonding among students.

    Conclusions: The study highlights the need for lling the gap between research and teaching practices, focusing particularly on how representations of chemical bonding can lead to students’ di culties understanding. The gap may be lled by developing teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge regarding chemical bonding and scienti c models in general. 

  • 2.
    Borg, Carola
    et al.
    Karlstad University, Faculty of Social and Life Sciences, Department of Biology.
    Gericke, Niklas
    Karlstad University, Faculty of Social and Life Sciences, Department of Biology.
    Höglund, Hans-Olof
    Karlstad University, Faculty of Social and Life Sciences, Department of Biology.
    Bergman, Eva
    Karlstad University, Faculty of Social and Life Sciences, Department of Biology.
    The barriers encountered by teachers implementing education for sustainable development2012In: Research in Science & Technological Education, ISSN 0263-5143, E-ISSN 1470-1138, Vol. 30, no 2, p. 185-207Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Background : According to the Swedish curriculum teachers in all subjects have a responsibility to integrate a holistic perspective of sustainable development (SD) and teach according to an education for sustainable development (ESD) approach. However previous research has shown that teachers from different subjects perceive SD differently.

    Purpose : The study aimed at investigating if and how teachers’ subject area influences their ability to implement a holistic perspective of ESD; we investigated both the impact of teaching traditions and the barriers that teachers experienced.

    Sample : A stratified sample of 224 Swedish upper secondary schools participated. An online questionnaire was sent and answered by a total of 3229 teachers at these schools. In total, there were 669 science teachers, 373 social science teachers, 483 language teachers, 713 vocational and esthetical–practical teachers, and 739 teachers from other disciplines who participated in the survey.

    Design and methods : The questionnaire consisted of questions requiring Likert-scale responses and multiple-choice questions. The data from the questionnaire were analyzed using Pearson’s Chi-square test and one-way ANOVA. The significance level accepted was p < 0.05.

    Results : Teachers were influenced by their own subject traditions. Science teachers in our study were grounded in the fact-based tradition and lectures were the most common teaching method used. The teaching tradition of the social science teachers seemed to be most in line to an ESD approach. Many language teachers (41%) stated they did not include SD issues in their teaching at all. Among the barriers identified, the most common obstacles were that the teachers lacked inspiring examples of how to include SD in their teaching and that they lacked the necessary expertise about SD.

    Conclusion : This study highlights the need for the management within schools to create opportunities for teachers to work collaboratively when teaching ESD. It is also important to provide further training that is adjusted to the needs of different disciplines.

  • 3.
    Walan, Susanne
    Karlstad University, Faculty of Health, Science and Technology (starting 2013), Department of Environmental and Life Sciences (from 2013).
    The dream performance - a case study of young girls' development of interest in STEM and 21st century skills, when activities in a makerspace were combined with drama2019In: Research in Science & Technological Education, ISSN 0263-5143, E-ISSN 1470-1138, p. 1-21Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Background: There is a shortage of people in the STEM sector, and it has been argued that more needs to be done, especially to attract girls. Furthermore, there is a need to develop twenty-first-century skills. No studies seem to have explored the combination of activities in makerspaces and the use of drama to stimulate interest in STEM and development of 21st century skills.Purpose: This study focused on a project with a unique combination of makerspace activities and the use of drama. The research questions investigated the outcomes that could be identified from combining drama and activities in a makerspace, with regard to the development of interest in STEM and twenty-first-century skills.Sample: Ten girls aged 7-11 years participated. A project leader, a drama teacher and three female engineering students supported the activities.Design and methods: The project lasted 3 months. Data were collected in the form of interviews and observations with video-recordings and field-notes, as well as documentation of props made by the girls. Analyses were conducted using thematic coding and discussed through the lens of Activity Theory.Results: The results showed that some of the girls developed an interest in science and technology. The girls also developed twenty-first-century skills, in terms of creativity, problem-solving and cooperation.Conclusions: Positive outcomes were found in this project, blending drama and making in a makerspace learning environment. Future studies could investigate how other skills and knowledge in different STEM subjects can be developed in similar projects.

  • 4.
    Walan, Susanne
    et al.
    Karlstad University, Faculty of Health, Science and Technology (starting 2013), Department of Environmental and Life Sciences (from 2013).
    Gericke, Niklas
    Karlstad University, Faculty of Health, Science and Technology (starting 2013), Department of Environmental and Life Sciences (from 2013).
    Factors from informal learning contributing to the children’s interest in STEM – experiences from the out-of-schoolactivity called Children’s University2019In: Research in Science & Technological Education, ISSN 0263-5143, E-ISSN 1470-1138, p. 1-21, article id doi.org/10.1080/02635143.2019.1667321Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Background: Previous studies have investigated effects of out-ofschoolSTEM activities aimed at stimulating children’s interest inscience with positive results. However, research has not discussedthe reasons why such activities are successful.

    Purpose: In this study, we address this gap by investigating whichfactors children themselves identified as interesting when they visitedevents at an out-of-school activity named The Children’s University.

    Sample: Children aged 8–12 participated in the study. Altogether,there were 353 children involved in the data collection.

    Design and methods: A mixed method design was used, includinga questionnaire and semi-structured interviews inwhich children’s selfreportedexperiences were collected. Likert scale questions in thequestionnairewere analysed based on descriptive statistics. The openendedquestions and data from the interviews were categorized bycontent analysis and analytically interpreted through ‘the Ecologicalframework for understanding learning across places and pursuits’.

    Results: The children were positive about their visit, and these utterancescould mainly be related to the development of the individuals’interest and knowledge according to the Ecological framework. Weidentified two new factors influencing student’s interest in STEM inout-of-school activities: appreciating the spectacular and learning;verifying two factors of importance previously suggested in the literature:appreciating the content and the learning environment.

    Conclusions: The study highlights the specific factors the childrenactually appreciated from their visits to out-of-school activities,which could be of interest for stakeholders arranging differentkinds of STEM events promoting informal learning. The contentin the activities is important as well as spectacular features. Tohave the opportunity to learn something new in an environmentthat is conducive to learning is also of importance for children.

  • 5.
    Walan, Susanne
    et al.
    Karlstad University, Faculty of Health, Science and Technology (starting 2013), Department of Environmental and Life Sciences (from 2013).
    Gericke, Niklas
    Karlstad University, Faculty of Health, Science and Technology (starting 2013), Department of Environmental and Life Sciences (from 2013).
    Factors from informal learning contributing to the children's interest in STEM: experiences from the out-of-school activity called Children's University2019In: Research in Science & Technological Education, ISSN 0263-5143, E-ISSN 1470-1138, p. 1-21Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Background: Previous studies have investigated effects of out-of-school STEM activities aimed at stimulating children's interest in science with positive results. However, research has not discussed the reasons why such activities are successful. Purpose: In this study, we address this gap by investigating which factors children themselves identified as interesting when they visited events at an out-of-school activity named The Children's University. Sample: Children aged 8-12 participated in the study. Altogether, there were 353 children involved in the data collection. Design and methods: A mixed method design was used, including a questionnaire and semi-structured interviews in which children's self-reported experiences were collected. Likert scale questions in the questionnaire were analysed based on descriptive statistics. The open-ended questions and data from the interviews were categorized by content analysis and analytically interpreted through 'the Ecological framework for understanding learning across places and pursuits'. Results: The children were positive about their visit, and these utterances could mainly be related to the development of the individuals' interest and knowledge according to the Ecological framework. We identified two new factors influencing student's interest in STEM in out-of-school activities: appreciating the spectacular and learning; verifying two factors of importance previously suggested in the literature: appreciating the content and the learning environment. Conclusions: The study highlights the specific factors the children actually appreciated from their visits to out-of-school activities, which could be of interest for stakeholders arranging different kinds of STEM events promoting informal learning. The content in the activities is important as well as spectacular features. To have the opportunity to learn something new in an environment that is conducive to learning is also of importance for children.

  • 6.
    Walan, Susanne
    et al.
    Karlstad University, Faculty of Health, Science and Technology (starting 2013), Department of Environmental and Life Sciences (from 2013).
    Mc Ewen, Birgitta
    Karlstad University, Faculty of Health, Science and Technology (starting 2013), Department of Health Sciences (from 2013).
    Teachers’ and principals’ reflections on student participation in a school science and technology competition2018In: Research in Science & Technological Education, ISSN 0263-5143, E-ISSN 1470-1138, Vol. 36, no 4, p. 391-412Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Background: The European Union asks for renewed pedagogies in schools according to teaching strategies and necessary competences for the twenty-first century, instead of the often-used transmissive pedagogies. The national Swedish competition in science and technology for grade eight, The Technology Eight, provides an opportunity for teachers to work with instructional strategies in line with suggested pedagogies.

    Purpose: To investigate teachers’ and principals’ reflections on the competition in schools.

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