Science & Education

AAAS programs conduct educational research and development, provide resources for the classroom and other science learning settings and offer professional development for teachers. In the fields of hard science, the process of inquiry is more direct and finite: Take a question; use evidence to form an explanation; connect that explanation to existing knowledge; and communicate that evidence-based explanation. Experimentation based on the scientific method follows a similar course: Combine a scientific question with research to construct a hypothesis; conduct experiments to test that hypothesis; evaluate the results to draw conclusions; and communicate those conclusions.

Lillian C. McDermott, Professor of Physics at the UW and recipient of the 2014 University Faculty Lecture Award speaks at the annual University Faculty Lecture, February 19, 2015 at UW’s Kane Hall. The Physics Education Group in the UW Department of Physics has been conducting research in physics education since the 1970s. The goal is to identify and address the intellectual challenges that physics presents to university students, including prospective and practicing K-12 teachers. The results guide development of research-based and research-validated instructional materials to improve conceptual understanding and reasoning ability from kindergarten through graduate school. A commentary on the termination of the anti-nepotism policy at UW in 1972 precedes a few examples of our group’s research and a summary of our progress.

As a student of education science, you can spend a semester studying abroad. Studying in a foreign country helps to improve your language skills, while you also get a chance to learn about another culture first-hand. During the final year of your BA programme, you can take advantage of one of the many exchange agreements between Aarhus University and partner universities all over the world. Get inspiration, guidance and travel lust here.

To understand science, one must use science and do so in a manner that reflects the values of scientific practice. Participation is premised on a view that science and scientific knowledge are valuable and interesting, seeing oneself as an effective learner and participant in science, and the belief that steady effort in understanding science pays off. These attitudes toward science and science learning develop as a consequence of students’ experience of educational, social, and cultural environments. The educational environment in particular is an important influence on how students view themselves as science learners and whether they feel supported to participate fully in the scientific community of the classroom.

Thus, another source of confusion for the public understanding of science is the use of the term theory” to represent promising ideas as well as core explanatory theories. Core explanatory theories are those that are firmly established through accumulation of a substantial body of supporting evidence and have no competitors (e.g., cell theory, periodic law, theory of evolution, theory of plate tectonics). For much of science, theories are broad conceptual frameworks that can be invalidated by contradictions with data but can never be wholly validated.