Encyclopedia of Science Education

Living Edition
| Editors: Richard Gunstone

Visualization and the Learning of Science

  • John K. Gilbert
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-6165-0_137-3


Representation, Visualization, and Models

In general terms, a representation is anything that recalls an entity to mind for either the verbal description or the actual portrayal of it. Visualizations are a major subset of representations, consisting of those that are actually perceived by the eye (“external representations”) or imagined in the mind (“internal representations”). Although still a matter of controversy, the only representations that are not usually classified as visualizations are words, whether spoken or written.

The goal of science is to produce explanations of the world as experienced. A model is a representation of a phenomenon in the world as experienced that is produced to enable specific types of explanations of it to be created (e.g., what causes it?). A model can be a representation of a material entity (e.g., the heart), an abstraction treated as if it were a...


Science Education Pedagogic Content Knowledge Macro Level External Representation Professional Development Activity 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.King’s College London (Visiting Professor)University of ReadingLondonUK