I love vectors. I mean, they’re pretty awesome. They have a magnitude and a direction. Two for the price of one. They are also quite helpful when doing physics. [Full disclosure: my dissertation had a big focus on vectors, so I’m a little biased.] I also really like graph paper. So you can imagine how excited I was when I stumbled upon a paper-and-pencil game that used vectors as the main mechanic.
The game goes by many names and has been around for a long time. I first saw it as Graph Racer, but I like Vector Racer too. There’s a whole article on the rules and variants on Wikipedia. The game is always different because you draw the board each time you play. So how does it work?
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What is evidence? In science, usually we think of evidence as a collection of the observations, measurements, and results of data analysis from an investigation of a phenomenon. But I think evidence isn’t just a set of these measurements. In order for it to be evidence and not just data, there also needs to be information about its relevance and appropriateness to answering a question or a claim. You can think of good evidence (data that was collected in a careful and thoughtful way and that supports your claim) or bad evidence (sloppily collected data, incomplete data, and/or data that doesn’t support your claim).
The podcast Serial came up during one of my research meetings today. We were talking through a transcript of a middle school science classroom and debating whether or not to apply one of codes to a particular utterance the teacher made. The topic of evidence was brought up and it made me think of Serial and how evidence is discussed on the show and how it is similar in a lot of ways to how we want students to talk about evidence in their science classes.
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So I have a pretty ambitious schedule at NARST this year. NARST is the annual science education research conference. (It used to stand for something, but doesn’t anymore.) This year, I am involved in not one or two, but six presentations at the conference. And yes, that is a lot. Two of them are ones where I am first author on the paper and am presenting at the conference and the other four I am one of the co-authors (which is associated with a varying amount of responsibility depending on the paper). And these six papers fall into three very different areas, which makes the whole thing even more onerous.
* I am presenting a subset of the final results of the simulation meta-analysis that I’ve been working on for the last year and a half (a subset focused on science, obviously).
* I am presenting some findings relating to a large efficacy study of the PBIS curriculum (my part is focused on analysis of the weekly online implementation logs, but I’ve also been working on analysis of classroom video observations and teacher professional development). This work is largely concerned with teachers’ implementation of the new science Framework and NGSS-related ideas (mostly the integration of scientific practices with content). These papers are part of a related paper set (but there’s also another one that is in its own session).
* I am helping a colleague put together a presentation on analysis of afterschool science materials that we have been working on.
Continue reading “NARST 2014 Presentations”
My “spring conference series” just ended. NARST (the conference formerly known as the National Association of Research on Science Teaching) was in early April (in Puerto Rico!) and AERA (American Educational Research Association) was about a week ago (here in San Francisco). Here are my notes and thoughts from the two conferences.
The big topic of the conference was, of course, the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) which officially were released at the tail end of the conference. Most people were referring to it during their presentations, even though we didn’t know exactly what it was yet. (Some people were conflating the new Framework with the new NGSS, but that’s a different story.)
There were a few presentations about one of the large studies that I am working on, an efficacy study of a middle school science curriculum. These presentations on some of our preliminary findings went well and I am really looking forward to next year’s conference when we will have even more results to report on and some awesome graphs to show.
Continue reading “NARST and AERA 2013”