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  • 1.
    Göransson, Andreas
    et al.
    Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering. Linköping University, Department of Science and Technology, Media and Information Technology.
    Orraryd, Daniel
    Linköping University, Faculty of Educational Sciences. Linköping University, Department of Social and Welfare Studies, Learning, Aesthetics, Natural science.
    Tibell, Lena
    Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering. Linköping University, Department of Science and Technology, Media and Information Technology.
    Searching for threshold concepts in evolution by using an open response instrument2015Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Despite decades of research evolution remains a challenge to teachers and learners. Student reasoning about evolutionary processes tend to lack important key concepts and exhibits a range of well documented alternative conceptions. New research in the domain of conceptual change has generated the notion of threshold concepts. Threshold concepts focus on abstract concepts thought to underlie difficult content in a discipline. The hope is that this research will contribute to better teaching practises as well as understanding of what makes certain discipline content difficult. Earlier research has revealed candidate threshold concepts underlying understanding of evolution. Our aim of this study was to pilot ways to assess if and which threshold concept student use in response to different items as well if different contexts facilitates integration of threshold concepts in explanations. We used a published evolution test instrument to assess the presence of evolution key concepts, threshold concepts. The test instrument was piloted on 113 Swedish upper secondary and university students. Analysis revealed the presence of evolution key concepts as well as threshold concepts and alternative conceptions. The context of the question seem to affect what threshold concepts are used by students. We also found indications of a relation between evolution key concepts and threshold concepts usage. Implications for future research as well as teaching are briefly discussed.

  • 2.
    Orraryd, Daniel
    et al.
    Linköping University, Department of Social and Welfare Studies, Learning, Aesthetics, Natural science. Linköping University, Faculty of Educational Sciences.
    Tibell, Lena A.E.
    Linköping University, Department of Science and Technology, Media and Information Technology. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.
    Creative evolution: Students generating stop-motion animations of evolutionary change2015Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    iagrams have been used to visualize evolutionary relationships for more than 150 years, and are today readily found in many areas such as textbooks, media, museums and the scientific literature. The tree of life metaphor, where the diagram takes the form of an organic vertical tree has been used almost as long and is still used to a high degree in textbooks and at museums. Despite this high prevalence the instructional needed to develop tree-thinking abilities are often lacking, potentially leading to interpretational misconceptions of the evolutionary concepts presented.

    In this study 5 exhibitions with evolutionary content in natural science museums in the Nordic countries have been analysed in order to understand how evolutionary tree diagrams are incorporated in these exhibitions, what design is used and what instructional support is available to the visitor. A multi-modal social semiotic approach was used, where 3 functional levels were analysed together in order to assess the meaning making potential of the evolutionary trees in these exhibitions; i) content, representational process and design. ii) instruction and interactivity. iii) spatial and organizational composition. The analyses show a wide range of communication strategies; reaching from the evolutionary tree diagrams having a pivotal role in the exhibition narrative to being placed purely in the margin with no explicit connection to the overall evolutionary content. The instructional support is in many cases lacking but is sometimes incorporated in the presentational text of specific parts of the evolutionary tree, and the design ranges from tree of life type iconic visualisations to highly abstract renderings. Overall the evolutionary tree as a visual tool to communicate important evolutionary concepts seems to be used to a high degree but important aspects in order to better afford scientific correct interpretations of the trees are sometimes lacking.

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