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Article of Volume 8, Issue 1, March 2013

Student sense-making with science diagrams in a computer-based setting

Authors: Anniken Furberg, Anders Kluge, Sten Ludvigsen

Abstract: This paper reports on a study of students’ conceptual sense-making with science diagrams within a computer-based learning environment aimed at supporting collaborative learning. Through the microanalysis of students’ interactions in a project about energy and heat transfer, we demonstrate how representations become productive social and cognitive resources in the students’ conceptual sense-making. Taking a socio-cultural approach, the study aims to contribute on two levels. First, by providing insight into the interactional processes in which students encounter a particular type of representation: science diagrams. Second, the study aims to demonstrate that an important aspect of students’ encounters with science representations concerns making sense of how to respond to institutional norms and social practices embedded within the context of schooling. The findings demonstrate how the science diagrams become productive social and cognitive resources for the students by slowing down the students’ conceptual sense-making processes and by opening up a space for the interpretation and negotiation of scientific concepts, as well as of the representations themselves. The study also shows the challenges involved when students move from oral to written accounts in their inquiries.

Keywords: Conceptual sense-making, Interaction analysis, Physics, Representations, Science diagrams, Secondary school, Sociocultural perspective

Citation: Furberg, A., Kluge, A., & Ludvigsen, S. (2013) Student sense-making with science diagrams in a computer-based setting. ijcscl 8 (1), pp. 41-64

DOI: 10.1007/s11412-013-9165-4

Preprint: Acrobat-PDF furberg_kluge_ludvigsen_8_1.pdf

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