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students work

May 4, 2007

Today i had a lot of appointments with my master students.

In Tartu University i am supervising several studies about conceptual coherence.

My morning started with email from Eneken Metsalu, the second year master student who studies conceptual coherence of environmental air-related issues at basic school level. She postopned her appointment, which gave me some more time to drink coffee at home. Her study has revealed some trends that people do not relate global and local contexts of environmental problems and that they have a lot of misunderstandings in air-related domain.

eneken ja evald

My collegue Miia with Eneken and Evald at IOSTE conference in Tartu.

Evald is about to finish his master study this year and it is about three dimensions of the coherence – conceptual, contextual and representational, and their interrelated influence on students’ learning in inquiry systems.

My appointment with Evald today was paper-based – i found his work on my table to read and comment (a paper to Estonian journal). We have written a paper using his data which i will present in EdMedia 2007. Next experiments in his study which we didnt analyse yet were related with students’ reflections about what were their thoughts in each phase of the inquiry, which were the materials they focused on when solving tasks etc. We want to get support to our ideas that semiotic translations can be both supporting and constraining, the students will create the binary translations or not for themselves depending on what they focus in the tasks.

Then, next i had an appointment with Lenel Zimdin, a first year geography teacher master student. She made a teaching experiment in gymnasium level trying out constructivist ideas like misconception-hunting, conceptmapping and fishbone diagramming for teaching conceptual coherence about air-related issues. We were looking all her questionnaires and lesson-materials and students’ works and it looks very promising to realise the ideas i have in my Estonian Science Foundation Grant about environmental conceptual coherence.
Basically i want to demonstrate the interrelations of conceptual and contextual aspects in teaching using the model from environmental education.

When we were talking with Lenel, fourth student hopped in. Eve Kasekamp is a distant student who works at school as a teacher. She made me happy claiming she has collected and inserted most of her data and she has postponed her writing defence to august. Her study is about using environment as the guiding topic in different area subjects from art, handicraft, languages to natural sciences and history. It is in our national curriculum that teachers should integrate the Environment topic in their lessons..but most of them do not. I think this will be her result.

Fifth student sent me email – she will send her bachelor dissretation about how she was using project learning in her gymnasium on sunday evening – meaning i must read it in bus before we go to Krakow.

Besides those five I have two other students in Tallinn who are interested in social software. But their work is going very slow and i am a bit worried. Both topics are promising – one about forming practice communities to develop learing materials, and another about using social bookmarking in school library for teaching information searching skills.

So, all my day was occupied and i didnt manage to write what i planned..but on the other hand, they do a lot of work and all of it is usable in my puzzle of ideas.

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