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Abstract Title: Developing representational competence in introductory-level physics
Abstract: Part of the learning challenge in introductory physics arises out of having to learn to "move" competently and effortlessly between the various "representational modes" that are used by the discipline (for example, specialised language, graphs, diagrams, mathematics, hands-on work with apparatus, and gestures). In this study, we look at two different pedagogical approaches used in introductory physics courses; one more traditionally orientated and the other more orientated to developing what diSessa and Sherin refer to as "meta-representational competence". As a new PER way to explore connections between physics teaching, its content and outcomes, a semantics perspective (developed by Karl Maton, University of Sydney) is used to analytically frame the study. The results illustrate how the adoption of a pedagogical approach that is based upon on an explicit unpacking of content through pedagogically designed "moves" between representations that include making their underlying epistemological commitments transparent, led to more sophisticated approaches being adopted by students when tackling physics tasks.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation
Session Time: Poster Session I
Poster Number: A55

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Delia Marshall
University of the Western Cape
Robert Sobukwe Avenue
Cape Town, Non U.S. 7535
and Co-Presenter(s)
Honjiswa Conana, University of the Western Cape