A computer-assisted scientific literacy development plan for senior secondary students
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This study provides a definition of scientific literacy applicable to secondary school science students. The definition was developed from theories about cognitive processes, the discourse of science, the language register of science and cognitive writing processes. A computer-assisted Scientific Literacy Development Plan was formulated and classroom research undertaken to test its effectiveness. A model of cognitive writing was used as an application of the Scientific Literacy Development Plan in classroom research. The model is called a HyperCard Pathways writing model.The research methodology was a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods and took place in three phases over three academic school years. The HyperCard Pathways model of writing was developed in modules for the topics of the Year 11 Physics Extended Subject Framework of the Senior Secondary Assessment Board of South Australia. Students used the modules for the completion of required pieces of writing in science as part of the requirements for the South Australian Certificate of Education. Results indicated that the Scientific Literacy Development Plan was an effective tool for the enhancement of scientific literacy of Year 11 physics students and there was potential for the use of the plan in other science subjects. A number of teachers incorporated the techniques of the Scientific Literacy Development Plan into their regular course schedules.In conjunction with the classroom research, a method to assess explanation genre essays was developed called the Scientific Explanation Genre Assessment Scheme. This was trialled independently of the trials of the Scientific Literacy Development Plan and was found to be used reliably by teachers of Year 11 physics. The effectiveness of the computer-assisted Scientific Literacy Development Plan was demonstrated by evidence of improvement in scientific writing beyond that of normal practice. The products of this research: lesson plans, computer discs, and supporting materials were developed to be of assistance to other teachers. The materials can be adapted to other modules in the science curricula, and, following this project some teachers have chosen to do this.
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