|Ph.D Student||Asakle Shadi|
|Subject||The SOCIAL Model: Promoting Scientific Thinking and|
Motivation to Learn Science among Druze
Students in Middle School
|Department||Department of Education in Science and Technology||Supervisor||Professor Miriam Barak|
International reports and recent studies on science education indicate four key issues that require attention: the need to improve students’ achievements in science, the need to promote scientific thinking among school students from underrepresented communities, the need to involve school students in generating scientific questions, and the need to connect scientific concepts to students’ daily life. In an attempt to address these challenges, the goal of the current study was to develop, implement, and evaluate an instructional model for promoting scientific thinking and motivation through the generation of location-based questions. The study applied the mixed methods approach in two stages: preliminary and main study. The preliminary study was conducted among 98 pre-service science teachers to identify the design components of the instructional model and to characterize and assess the quality of location-based questions. Data was collected via semi-structured interviews and analysis of the location-based questions. The preliminary study resulted in four emerging design components: Situated, Online, Collaborative, and InterActive Learning that provide the framework of the SOCIAL instructional model. The preliminary study also resulted in establishing the validity of the question-generation taxonomy scale.
The main study was conducted among 5 science teachers and 373 grade eight students from four Druze schools. It applied a quasi-experimental research design, by comparing between two groups of students: control (N = 167) and experimental (N = 206). The experimental students implemented the SOCIAL model; while the control students answered textbook questions. Data was collected via pre- and post-questionnaires, analysis of students’ location-based questions, focus group interviews among students, and teacher interviews. The main study presented four central findings. First, the application of the SOCIAL model showed improvement in students’ scientific thinking in terms of writing questions, answering questions, providing explanations, and connecting scientific topics to daily life. Second, the SOCIAL model instigated the presence of a mediation effect of the motivation change with the performances of scientific thinking. Third, the SOCIAL model enabled students to connect scientific topics to their daily life. Fourth, the findings identified five main learning skills that the instructional model may foster: Collaboration, Contextualization, ICT literacy, Media literacy, and Self-efficacy.
The contribution of this study is twofold: theoretical and practical. The theoretical contribution adds to the growing body of research in two main aspects. First, the study suggests the SOCIAL instructional model as means to promote scientific thinking through technology-enabled mediator aids, zone of proximal development (ZPD), and cultural context. Second, the study adds knowledge about situated learning by examining the way school Druze students connect scientific concepts to their daily life. From the practical perspective, the study contributes in four different areas: first, the development of an open and free web-based platform named AugmentedWorld; second, the generation of a free pool of multimedia questions for the use of science teachers and school students; third, proposing a valid taxonomy for assessing the quality of location-based questions; and fourth, presenting a pedagogical approach that combines in class, outdoor, and online learning of science.