Casey Murphy Seminar, 3/29/2010

Center for Science and Mathematics Education Research
Colloquia & Seminar Series


Casey Murphy
Master of Science in Teaching candidate, University of Maine

Date:  Monday, March 29, 2010
Time:  3:00 p.m.
Location:  Hill Auditorium

Epistemological Framing in Inquiry-Driven Tutorials:  Match or Mismatch?

Many introductory science tutorials are carefully developed to help students construct ideas through inquiry.  In the tutorial setting, students work collaboratively in small groups on sequences of questions that ask them to make predictions and compare reasoning in order to build conceptual understanding.  How students frame tutorial activities can create unique educational contexts which can be productive or unproductive towards meeting epistemological and content goals.  This research uses video analysis to explore two very different examples of student framing which occur during the first part of a first lab in Descriptive Physics (PHY 105).  Insight into student epistemological framing can be gained through analysis of explicitly expressed ideas, the mode of expression (argumentation, analogy, warrants and claims) and the specific gestures and words which communicate these ideas.  In addition to video analysis, this research uses the MPEX2 Survey to provide additional insight into video analysis – survey responses explore the extent students see learning physics as a matter of constructing their own understanding rather than the transferring knowledge from authority (epistemological independence).   Key implications of this research are 1) the use of video to provide important feedback on newly piloted lessons, and 2) the role of the Instructor/TA in “checking” for productive epistemological framing.