Research

The research area that I am working is : Effectiveness of Refined Concept Maps in Science Education.

The following are some excerpts from our published research work:

A PROPOSAL TO REFINE CONCEPT MAPPING FOR EFFECTIVE SCIENCE LEARNING: Concept maps are found to be useful in eliciting knowledge, meaningful learning, evaluation of understanding and in studying the nature of changes taking place during cognitive development, particularly in the classroom. Several experts have claimed the effectiveness of this tool for learning science. We agree with the claim, but the effectiveness will improve only if we gradually introduce a certain amount of discipline in constructing the maps. The discipline is warranted, we argue, because science thrives to be an unambiguous and rigorously structured body of knowledge. Since learning science may be seen as a process where a novice is expected to be transformed into an expert, we use the context of learning science for making the proposal. Further, we identify certain anomalies in the evaluation of concept maps, and suggest that the evaluation should be based on semantics of the linking words (relation types) and not on graphical criteria alone.

EXPLORING ROOTS OF RIGOR: A PROPOSAL OF A METHODOLOGY FOR ANALYZING THE CONCEPTUAL CHANGE FROM A NOVICE TO AN EXPERT: During the course of science education one of the recognizable and desirable changes from a novice to an expert is in their language (knowledge representation). One noticeable change is that of weeding out ambiguous expressions bringing in clarity and rigor. However, this happens not by weeding out the concept names but by choosing more and more accurate linking words (relation names). By focusing on the relation names we report the results of a preliminary study that confirms that subject experts increasingly chose relation names (linking words) that come closer to formal descriptions. The significance of this observation to concept mapping community as well as to cognitive development is immense, for it provides a simple and effective method to study conceptual change, validates the use of refined concept maps in place of the traditional technique in science education, and also further strengthens the approach that relationship between nodes determine the semantics, and not the nodes per se.
REFINED CONCEPT MAPS FOR SCIENCE EDUCATION: A FEASIBILITY STUDY: Refined concept maps (RCM) comprises of node names and a well­defined, invariant, minimal set of relation names which are followed from the formal knowledge group. Using RCM as a methodology, it can be applied to study the changes in the knowledge structure, as a tool for analysis of forms of representations. In this paper, we discuss the study conducted to test the ease and feasibility of RCM by comparing it with other modes of representations. A homogeneous sample of school students were assigned the same task from a specific domain. The ananlysis shows that it was easy and feasible to use RCM by the school students. The fixed set of relation names, or constraints, does not affect the expressin of knowledge and at the same time helps in representing accurate knowledge. The constraints in the RCM served as a facilitator and anchoring for representing knowledge.
UNDERSTANDING SCIENCE THROUGH KNOWLEDGE ORGANIZERS: AN INTRODUCTION: We propose, a teaching program based on a grammar of scientific language borrowed mostly from the area of knowledge representation in computer science and logic. The paper introduces an operationizable framework for understanding knowledge using knowledge representation (KR) methodology. We start with organizing concepts based on their cognitive function, followed by assigning valid and authentic semantic relations to the concepts. We propose that in science education, students can understand better if they organize their knowledge using the KR principles. The process, we claim, can help them to align their conceptual framework with that of experts’ conceptual framework which we assume is the goal of science education.

AN ALTERNATIVE PROPOSAL FOR ELICITING AND ASSESSING STUDENTS’ KNOWLEDGE STRUCTURE: We propose an objective assessment technique for evaluating students’ knowledge structure. The assessment task is to create propositions based on providing with constraints i.e. concepts and linking words (relation types). The propositions are validated based on a comparison with an expert’s knowledge base. An illustration of the technique is presented from the domain of senior secondary school level biology.

All the above articles are published and can be followed from the Publications page of this blog.

Our research work is influenced from Logical Positivism, Human Constructivist Epistemology, Semantic Networks, Concept Maps, Conceptual Gaphs, Knowledge Representation, Cognitive Science, Science Education.

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