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Enhancing Physics Learning through Instruction, Technical Vocabulary and ICT: A Case of Higher Education in Rwanda
Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Education and Adult Learning. Linköping University, Faculty of Educational Sciences.
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)Alternative title
Att förbättra lärande i fysik genom instruktion, ett ökat tekniskt ordförråd och IKT : Ett exempel från högre utbildning i Rwanda (Swedish)
Abstract [en]

The overarching aim of this thesis is to explore how teaching and learning in tertiary education is performed in times of change both in language policy and learning approaches. The study takes social constructivist and socio-cultural theories as its major points of departure. These theories are combined with cognitive theory of learning with multimedia.

The four studies comprising this thesis are born out of a new situation demanding the mastery of a scientific language in English and new ways of teaching and learning backed with ICT. The studies set out to investigate (i) how students and teachers adapt to a change of medium of instruction (ii) what teachers and students of physics learn when constructing a multimedia vocabulary learning instrument (iii) the impact of two methods of teaching vocabulary on students’ test performance and (iv) how teachers reflect on the use of ICT in Physics teaching.

To attain these targets, the study employed a blend of qualitative and quantitative designs to gather relevant data. In three studies, data were gathered from classroom practices in tertiary education. The fourth study included teacher interviews on their experiences with ICT. Findings indicate that the understanding of physics was facilitated by a variation in language use in different classroom spaces, students and teachers’ collaborative selection of technical vocabulary and a multimedia tool of technical vocabulary software constructed by two teachers and the researcher. According to the teachers, the quality of physics teaching would be enhanced further by adopting learner-centred teaching methods and the integration of more advanced ICT. The studies show that teachers and students are on their way to develop ICT tools for teaching and learning. Given adequate support, this can pave the way for transforming teaching and allowing for further quality development in innovative and creative ways of learning with ICT.

Abstract [sv]

Det övergripande syftet med denna avhandling är att undersöka hur undervisning och lärande inom högre utbildning sker i tider av förändring både inom språkpolicy och inom lärande. Studien tar socialkonstruktivistiska och socio-kulturella teorier som utgångspunkt. Dessa teorier har kombinerats med en kognitiv teori om lärande med multimedia.

Studien består av fyra studier som behandlar den nya situation som uppstått när studenter och lärare behöver bemästra ett vetenskapligt språk på engelska och nya sätt att undervisa och lära med stöd av IKT. Studiernas syfte är att undersöka (i) hur studenter och lärare anpassar sig till ett förändrat undervisningsspråk (ii) vad lärare och studenter inom fysik lär när de konstruerar ett multimedia instrument (iii) utfallet av två olika metoder att lära studenter ett fackspråk inom fysik som det visar sig i olika test (iv) hur lärare reflekterar över användningen av IKT inom ämnesområdet fysik.

För att uppnå dessa mål används en kombination av kvalitativa och kvantitativa metoder. I tre studier samlades data från klassrumspraktiker inom högre utbildning. I den fjärde studien intervjuades lärare om sina erfarenheter med IKT. Resultaten visar att förståelse av fackspråkliga begrepp underlättades av att olika språk användes beroende på avstånd eller närhet till eleverna i klassrummet. Samarbete mellan studenter och lärare i att välja ord och begrepp som skulle användas och mellan lärarna och forskaren i att konstruera ett multimedia-instrument påverkade också lärandet positivt. Enligt de intervjuade lärarna skulle kvaliteten i fysikundervisningen kunna förbättras ytterligare genom att använda elevcentrerade undervisningsmetoder och mer avancerad IKT. Studierna visar att lärare och studenter är på väg att utveckla IKT redskap för undervisning och lärande. Med adekvat stöd kan detta bereda vägen för en transformering av undervisningen och ge utrymme för vidare kvalitetsutveckling genom uppfinningsrika och kreativa sätt att lära med stöd av IKT.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2012. , 93 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Behavioural Science, ISSN 1654-2029 ; 170
Keyword [en]
Tertiary education; language shift; EFL; physics technical vocabulary; CALL; software encoding; social constructivist theory; cognitive theory of learning with multimedia; ICT tools; transforming learning; Rwanda
Keyword [sv]
Högre utbildning, förändrad språkpolitik, engelskt fackspråk inom fysik, CALL, konstruktion av mjukvara, socialkonstruktivistisk och kognitiv teori, lärande med multimedia, IKT, transformering av lärande, Rwanda
National Category
Educational Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-85835ISBN: 978-91-7519-739-5 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-85835DiVA: diva2:573025
Public defence
2012-12-14, I:101, Hus I, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2012-11-29 Created: 2012-11-29 Last updated: 2013-05-06Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Language and space in a multilingual undergraduate physics classroom in Rwanda
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Language and space in a multilingual undergraduate physics classroom in Rwanda
2011 (English)In: International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, ISSN 1367-0050, E-ISSN 1747-7522, Vol. 14, no 6, 751-764 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This case study examines how a lecturer and a group of students adjust to a request for English-only medium of instruction in tertiary education. The study draws on sociocultural theories considering context and language use as tools for meaning making. Goffman's theories of stage setting and footing are used to analyse how the lecturer positions himself in relation to language use. The findings show that in the observed session the lecturer used code-switching as a tool to extend students’ academic literacy. Further, we found that he in most cases assigned different classroom spaces to different languages. Hence, English as the targeted language of instruction was used when the lecturer was standing at the board, the official teaching space, whereas French, a previously accepted language, was used in a semi-official space closer to the students. Kinyarwanda, the lecturer's and students’ first language, is not permitted as a medium of instruction, but was used when the lecturer was close to the students. We label this a personal space, where the lecturer changed code in order to improve interaction and students’ understanding. Such code-switching has cultural and historical traditions and is viewed in this study as a strategy to avoid misunderstandings and allow more equitable learning opportunities.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2011
Keyword
language policy and practice, space, footing, code-switching, tertiary education, language shift
National Category
Educational Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-72628 (URN)10.1080/13670050.2011.583337 (DOI)000298497600007 ()
Projects
NUR-LiU PhD-programme in Education
Note

Projektet har stöd av Sida/SAREC

Available from: 2011-12-01 Created: 2011-12-01 Last updated: 2017-12-08
2. Developing a multimedia instrument for technical vocabulary learning: a case of EFL undergraduate physics education
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Developing a multimedia instrument for technical vocabulary learning: a case of EFL undergraduate physics education
2015 (English)In: Computer Assisted Language Learning, ISSN 0958-8221, E-ISSN 1744-3210, Vol. 28, no 2, 97-111 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The aim of the present study is to investigate the process of constructing a Multimedia Assisted Vocabulary Learning (MAVL) instrument at a university in Rwanda in 2009. The instrument is used in a one-computer classroom where students were taught in a foreign language and had little access to books. It consists of video clips featuring images, sound and text intended to facilitate learning and retention of technical vocabulary in a first-year electricity course. The construction takes theories of social constructivism and learning with multimedia as its point of departure. In response to the need for knowledge of scientific vocabulary, the researcher collaborated with a group of 82 students and their two teachers to select and encode 81 video clips of technical terminology. The gains from the process of constructing the instrument enabled collaborative and interdisciplinary learning and showed the potential to facilitate technical vocabulary acquisition.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis Group, 2015
Keyword
CALL; technical vocabulary; software encoding; cognitive theory of learning with multimedia; social constructivism; EFL
National Category
Educational Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-85832 (URN)10.1080/09588221.2013.784708 (DOI)000349031700001 ()
Available from: 2012-11-29 Created: 2012-11-29 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved
3. Multimedia as a means to enhance teaching technical vocabulary tophysics undergraduates in Rwanda
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Multimedia as a means to enhance teaching technical vocabulary tophysics undergraduates in Rwanda
2013 (English)In: English for specific purposes (New York, N.Y.), ISSN 0889-4906, E-ISSN 1873-1937, Vol. 32, no 1, 36-44 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study investigates whether the integration of ICT in education can facilitate teaching and learning. An example of such integration is computer assisted language learning (CALL) of English technical vocabulary by undergraduate physics students in Rwanda. The study draws on theories of cognitive load and multimedia learning to explore learning in a one-computer classroom in an environment where textbooks and multiple computers are not available. Two groups of students attended a 4-week English-language technical vocabulary course (eight three-hour sessions) taught by two ESP trained science teachers. One group (n = 13) was taught using computer-mediated multimedia to present technical vocabulary on-screen. The other group (n = 19) received blackboard presentations employing traditional methods to help students internalize the same vocabulary. Post-test scores of the two groups were compared. The results show that the effect of multimedia on the recall of the concepts taught is large (Cohen’s d 0.95).

Keyword
CALL; Technical vocabulary; EFL; Multimedia learning; Cognitive load; Working memory
National Category
Educational Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-85833 (URN)10.1016/j.esp.2012.07.002 (DOI)000312415200004 ()
Available from: 2012-11-29 Created: 2012-11-29 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved
4. University teachers’ reflections on the use of ICT in physics teaching, successes and challenges: the case of Higher Education in Rwanda
Open this publication in new window or tab >>University teachers’ reflections on the use of ICT in physics teaching, successes and challenges: the case of Higher Education in Rwanda
2012 (English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Aiming to understand the use and impact of ICT on university physics teaching in Rwanda, an interview study was conducted involving twelve physics teachers from three major universities in 2011. The investigation was intended to elicit accounts on the integration of ICT in the work, the access and challenges. Employing a social constructivist perspective to illuminate their experiences, the study revealed teachers’ eagerness to improve the teaching and learning of physics using ICT in a number of ways but also practical problems in the regular use of it. Based on the modelling approach and Government’s report (2010), it was inferred that the use of ICT in Rwanda is at the embryonic level type I and at a technology literacy level respectively, as it is applied to enhance traditional ways of teaching on its way to professional improvement. However, ICT needs to move to the stage where it can guide learners through complex problem solving and managing a dynamic learning environment to the transformative stage of knowledge production, experimentation and innovation prioritising student-centred learning.

Keyword
Social constructivist theory; higher education in Rwanda; physics teaching; ICT tools; interventions; transforming learning
National Category
Educational Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-85834 (URN)
Available from: 2012-11-29 Created: 2012-11-29 Last updated: 2012-11-29Bibliographically approved

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Rusanganwa, Joseph

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