SCIENTISTS TALKING TO STUDENTS THROUGH VIDEOS

Abstract

The benefits of connecting school students with scientists are well documented. This paper reports how New Zealand teachers brought scientists into the classrooms through the use of videos of New Zealand scientists talking about themselves and their research. Two researchers observed lessons in 9 different classrooms in which 23 educational videos were shown to students from years 2 to 11 (aged 6–17 years). Seven groups of primary students and 4 groups of secondary students participated in interviews after classroom observations. Eight additional secondary teachers participated in 7 focus group discussions; 4 additional primary teachers participated in 1 focus group discussion. Data were analysed thematically using an inductive approach. This analysis uncovered 4 major functions for the use of videos of scientists talking about their work: bringing scientists into the classroom, scientists talking about science with local relevance, scientists explaining concepts using a multitude of modes and scientists as authentic alternative authorities within the classroom. Taken together, the findings demonstrate that the use of video clips of scientists talking about their work can be an effective and efficient way of engaging students in learning about science and scientists.

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Correspondence to Junjun Chen.

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Chen, J., Cowie, B. SCIENTISTS TALKING TO STUDENTS THROUGH VIDEOS. Int J of Sci and Math Educ 12, 445–465 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10763-013-9415-y

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Key words

  • classroom research
  • educational technology
  • image of scientist
  • science education
  • video