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Journal of Science Education and Technology

, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp 137–144 | Cite as

Generating connections and learning with SemNet, a tool for constructing knowledge networks

  • Malka Gorodetsky
  • Kathleen M. Fisher
  • Barbara Wyman
Article

Abstract

In this paper we examine the impact of using a Macintosh-based knowledge organization toll SemNet, with prospective elementary and middle school teachers enrolled in an upper division biology course. The course models for students the ways in which they will be able to teach hands-on, minds-on science in K-8 classrooms and provides them with an in-depth understanding of a relatively small number of biology topics. This study examines changes in learning habits, metacognitive processes, retention, retrieval, and learring among students enrolled in this course. Students using SemNet tend to exhibit a significant increase in deep processing as measured by self-report. Also on the basis of self-report, SemNet students appear to acquire some cognitive skills that transfer to other courses, such as identifying main ideas and tying ideas together. SemNet students retained and retrieved nearly twice as much information about a topic, the digestive system, as a reference group. Although neither the SemNet nor the reference group exhibited transfer skills as we meansured them, there is evidence that SemNet student changed their thinking strategies.

Key Words

SemNet biology meaningful learning deep processing connections constructivism 

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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Malka Gorodetsky
    • 1
  • Kathleen M. Fisher
    • 2
  • Barbara Wyman
    • 3
  1. 1.Departments of Education & ChemistryBen Gurion UniversityBeer ShevaIsrael
  2. 2.Center for Research in Mathematics & Science EducationSan Diego State UniversitySan Diego
  3. 3.Navy Personnel Research & Development CenterSan Diego

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