IISME August Seminar - Dr Beat Schwendimann

15 August 2012

Why is Evolution so hard to understand? Insights from implementing a human evolution case study in a technology-enhanced learning environment.

DR BEAT A SCHWENDIMANN, Postdoctoral Research Associate, CoCo Research Centre, Faculty of Education and Social Work, University of Sydney

Abstract :: Many students leave school with a fragmented understanding of biology, which prohibits them from connecting scientific ideas to their everyday lives. Especially one of the core ideas of biology, the theory of evolution, has been found difficult to understand as it incorporates a wide range of ideas from different areas and often gets in conflict with existing contradictory ideas learners' bring to the classroom. Dr. Schwendimann developed an evolution curriculum, "Gene Pool Explorer", using the web-based inquiry science environment (WISE) that combines concept mapping and guided inquiry activities. The WISE curriculum used an example from human evolution as a case study. This talk will discuss the challenges of teaching and learning the theory of evolution and present findings from implementing the WISE "Gene Pool Explorer" curriculum in authentic science classroom environments.

Biography :: Dr. Beat A. Schwendimann is a postdoctoral research associate in the Laureate Fellowship team at CoCo. He conducted his Ph.D. as a Fulbright Scholar in science education research at the University of California, Berkeley. After receiving his master degree in biology from the Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), he worked for several years as a science educator in Switzerland, USA, and India. Dr. Schwendimann was a research fellow at the Center for Technology Enhanced Learning of Science (TELS) where he developed an evolution curriculum using the web-based inquiry science environment (WISE), dynamic simulations, and different forms of concept maps. He is interested in how different forms of knowledge visualizations can support collaborative construction of connections between scientific concepts. His research interests include science education, technology-supported learning environments, inquiry-based learning, collaborative learning, and knowledge visualizations.

Time: 4:30pm-5:30pm (join us from 4pm for refreshments)

Location: New Law School Annexe Seminar Room 346

Cost: Free

Email: 381a1c352639250f273934216337143c661625