Epistemic Actions in Science Education

  • Kim A. Kastens
  • Lynn S. Liben
  • Shruti Agrawal
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 5248)

Abstract

Epistemic actions are actions in the physical environment taken with the intent of gathering information or facilitating cognition. As students and geologists explain how they integrated observations from artificial rock outcrops to select the best model of a three-dimensional geological structure, they occasionally take the following actions, which we interpret as epistemic: remove rejected models from the field of view, juxtapose two candidate models, juxtapose and align a candidate model with their sketch map, rotate a candidate model into alignment with the full scale geological structure, and reorder their field notes from a sentential order into a spatial configuration. Our study differs from prior work on epistemic actions in that our participants manipulate spatial representations (models, sketches, maps), rather than non-representational objects. When epistemic actions are applied to representations, the actions can exploit the dual nature of representations by manipulating the physical aspect to enhance the representational aspect.

Keywords

spatial cognition epistemic actions science education 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kim A. Kastens
    • 1
    • 2
  • Lynn S. Liben
    • 3
  • Shruti Agrawal
    • 1
  1. 1.Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University 
  2. 2.Department of Earth & Environmental SciencesColumbia University 
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyThe Pennsylvania State University 

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