home - login - register

PERC 2012 Abstract Detail Page

Previous Page  |  New Search  |  Browse All

Abstract Title: Shaping Identity through Membership in Communities
Abstract: What do American cookies, Korean immigrants, Danish networks, and chemistry students have in common? Work on identity often focuses on how an individual perceives oneself without drawing attention to the role that an individual plays in larger community contexts. However, alternative interpretations on identity focus on the role of positioning within communities and how identities are shaped by interactions with members of those communities. This targeted poster session will focus on understanding what it means to be a part of a community of scientists and learners. The posters presented in this session use a variety of methodological tools and analytic lenses to investigate how communities form and invite members to participate. Each of the presenters will discuss the role that participation in these communities play in the shaping of identity for individuals and for the communities themselves.
Abstract Type: Poster Symposium

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Vashti Sawtelle
University of Maryland, College Park
Department of Physics
082 Regents Drive
College Park, MD 20742-4111
Phone: 301.405.6179

Symposium Specific Information

Discussant: Vashti Sawtelle
University of Maryland, College Park
Moderator: Vashti Sawtelle (Do I really need both a discussant and a moderator?)
Presentation 1 Title: Cookies as agents for community membership
Presentation 1 Authors: Idaykis Rodriguez, Renee Michelle Goertzen, Eric Brewe, and Laird Kramer
Florida International University
Presentation 1 Abstract: When becoming a member of a community of practice, a novice must adopt certain community norms to participate, and these include the social norms of the group. Using the analytical perspective of Legitimate Peripheral Participation in a Community of Practice, this paper explores the social role of cookies as agents for community participation and membership in one physics research group. We analyze data from an ethnographic case study of a physics research group weekly research meeting. The mentors bring cookies to each meeting and view the cookies as a token of appreciation for the graduate students' work. These cookies take on a subtler role of initiating guests and students into scientific conversations and participation. Via the cookies, members also share personal histories and stories that help members validate their participation. The study of social norms in this research group is part of a larger study of physics expert identity development.
Presentation 2 Title: Identities in identity research in science education: What should we study?
Presentation 2 Authors: Minjung Ryu
University of Maryland, College Park
Presentation 2 Abstract: In the present study, I define identity as a type of personhood--the ways in which an individual and surrounding people view the person--that the individual develops as participating in various local, social practices. In science classrooms, students shape their identities along various dimensions, such as identity in relation to the classroom community, science, and racial, ethnic, and linguistic groups. These multiple identities are not independent but often intertwined. An analysis of a-year-long ethnographic study in a high school biology class shows how Korean immigrant students' identities with respect to their immigrant status and language use influence the ways in which they participate in science classroom practices and their participations are perceived. Findings of the study suggest that students' classroom participations and identities in a classroom community should be understood in conjunction with their identities along other social dimensions that are locally constructed.
Presentation 3 Title: Identifying community structure in multiple networks: Academic and social aspects of learning behaviour
Presentation 3 Authors: Jesper Bruun
University of Copenhagen
Presentation 3 Abstract: Science researchers have been concerned to understand the ways in which science learning and social relationships are connected. Networks of social interactions have preciously been used to get snapshot pictures of broad aspects of student interactions. Here, I include (1) multiple interaction categories and (2) student self reports of these multiple interaction categories over a period of a semester to create sequences of different types of specific academic and social networks. The cohort is primarily first year physics majors from a Danish university. Once established, a cluster algorithm splits each network into groups of students. The stability across categories and time of groups as well as the attributes of students in each group characterize the cohort as a set of communities of practice. Seen in this way, the networks investigate the dynamics of quantifiable aspects of communities of physics learners in a particular setting.
Presentation 4 Title: Identity and belonging: Are you a physicist (chemist)?
Presentation 4 Authors: Sissi L. Li, and Michael E. Loverude
California State University Fullerton
Presentation 4 Abstract: When science undergraduates begin their upper-division coursework, their declaration of major becomes more concrete and meaningful as they have opportunities to interact more deeply with the community of their chosen discipline. In the process of completing a major, students transition their identity towards being a member of their field. In Wenger's community of practice framework, community membership is built on alignment of common goals, participation in social interactions, and perception of belonging in the community. But what does it mean to be a chemist or physicist from the students' perspective? In this study, we examine junior-level chemistry and physics majors' ideas about their science identity through semi-structured interviews and prompted reflective journals. We compare and contrast how chemistry and physics students negotiate their identity as members in their disciplinary field in terms of practice, qualifications, attitude, and in relation to other STEM communities.