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Deep immersion academic learning (DIAL)

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Title:
Deep immersion academic learning (DIAL) an analysis of science learning in context
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Giamellaro, Michael ( author )
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Denver, CO
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University of Colorado Denver
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Experiential learning ( lcsh )
Science -- Study and teaching ( lcsh )
Fieldwork (Educational method) ( lcsh )
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bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

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Abstract:
This study was an investigation into high school students' deep immersion academic learning (DIAL) experiences in science. Defined in this dissertation, DIAL is an experiential learning process that is content-driven, facilitated by a teacher, and conducted through immersion into an authentic, contextualized environment. The study relied on a theoretical foundation of situated constructivism. The goals of the study were to determine if students' conceptual science knowledge structures change following DIAL experiences and if so, to determine what elements of the learning environment contributed to those changes. Four high school science classes using DIAL participated (n=67). Each class was considered to be a case for this mixed methods, multiple case study. A pretest/posttest design was used in conjunction with the Pathfinder algorithm to measure changes in structural science knowledge. The students' test scores showed significant change from pretest to posttest across the full sample but variability from case to case. Testing was followed by student and teacher interviews and field observations to characterize environmental contributors to learning. Both peripheral and facilitated learning opportunities within the learning environment were important for DIAL and a synergistic effect led to deeper student learning when both were utilized. The social aspect of the learning environment was the most important source of cues for students' contextualization of targeted content knowledge. The physical environment was also an important contributor. Contextualization of target science content led to more expert knowledge structures, and occurred as a result of the individual learner indexing and making connections amongst all of the environmental components. The study contributes to the fields of experiential education and contextualized science learning by introducing the DIAL framework, offering a novel way to assess experiential learning, and providing empirical evidence of the degree and sources of learning in contextualized settings. The implications for DIAL teaching and further research are discussed.
Thesis:
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Colorado Denver. Educational leadership and innovation
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references.
General Note:
School of Education and Human Development
Statement of Responsibility:
by Michael Giamellaro.

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Full Text
DEEP IMMERSION ACADEMIC LEARNING (DIAL):
AN ANALYSIS OF SCIENCE LEARNING IN CONTEXT
by
Michael Giamellaro
B.S., University of Wyoming, 1997
M.A., University of Colorado Denver, 2004
A thesis submitted to the
Faculty of the Graduate School of the
University of Colorado in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy
Educational Leadership and Innovation
2012


2012
MICHAEL GIAMELLARO
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


This thesis for the Doctor of Philosophy degree by
Michael Giamellaro
has been approved for the
Educational Leadership and Innovation Program
by
Deanna Sands, Chair & Advisor
Maria Araceli Ruiz-Primo
Nancy Leech
Casey Allen
August 28th, 2012


Giamellaro, Michael (Ph.D, Educational Leadership and Innovation)
Deep Immersion Academic Learning (DIAL): An Analysis of Science Learning in
Context.
Thesis directed by Professor Deanna Sands
ABSTRACT
This study was an investigation into high school students deep immersion
academic learning (DIAL) experiences in science. Defined in this dissertation, DIAL is
an experiential learning process that is content-driven, facilitated by a teacher, and
conducted through immersion into an authentic, contextualized environment. The study
relied on a theoretical foundation of situated constructivism. The goals of the study were
to determine if students conceptual science knowledge structures change following
DIAL experiences and if so, to determine what elements of the learning environment
contributed to those changes. Four high school science classes using DIAL participated
(n=67). Each class was considered to be a case for this mixed methods, multiple case
study. A pretest/posttest design was used in conjunction with the Pathfinder algorithm to
measure changes in structural science knowledge. The students test scores showed
significant change from pretest to posttest across the full sample but variability from case
to case. Testing was followed by student and teacher interviews and field observations to
characterize environmental contributors to learning. Both peripheral and facilitated
learning opportunities within the learning environment were important for DIAL and a


synergistic effect led to deeper student learning when both were utilized. The social
aspect of the learning environment was the most important source of cues for students
contextualization of targeted content knowledge. The physical environment was also an
important contributor. Contextualization of target science content led to more expert
knowledge structures, and occurred as a result of the individual learner indexing and
making connections amongst all of the environmental components. The study contributes
to the fields of experiential education and contextualized science learning by introducing
the DIAL framework, offering a novel way to assess experiential learning, and providing
empirical evidence of the degree and sources of learning in contextualized settings. The
implications for DIAL teaching and further research are discussed.
The form and content of this abstract are approved. I recommend its publication.
Approved: Deanna Sands
IV


DEDICATION
I dedicate this work to my wife Monica Giamellaro. It was her perpetual support and
guidance that allowed this project to come to completion.
v


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
I would like to thank the members of my dissertation committee for their support
and extensive feedback throughout this process, particularly my advisor, Dr. Deanna
Sands for her tireless advice, editing, and guidance. I would also like to thank Dr. Carole
Basile for her help in conceptualizing and launching this project. I would like to thank
the members of the UCD LEARN lab for their feedback along the way, particularly Dr.
Maria Araceli Ruiz-Primo who contributed much wisdom to this project and guidance to
this developing researcher.
To all of the teachers and students who participated in this project, I am forever
grateful for their insight and efforts. I would also like to thank the various and fluid
members of my writing group who contributed their thoughts along the way.
Finally, and most importantly, I would like to thank my wife Monica who was the
primary funder, cheerleader, and counselor for the project. Although my daughter Chloe
joined the project late in the game, she reminded me how important it was to step away
from the computer and just bang on something.
vi


TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER
I. INTRODUCTION....................................................................1
Defining the Problem......................................................2
Difficulties with Investigating Experiential Learning....................7
Defining Deep Immersion Academic Learning (DIAL).........................9
Deep Immersion.......................................................12
Academics............................................................13
Learning.............................................................13
Purpose and Significance of the Study.....................................15
Research Questions........................................................16
Theoretical Framework- Situated Constructivism..........................16
Conceptual Framework......................................................22
Context Vehicles........................................................27
Identifying the Environmental Components................................30
Social Interactions..................................................30
Physical environment.................................................31
Cultural Environment.................................................32
Emotional Environment................................................33
Artifacts and Tools..................................................34
Internal Dialog and Expression.......................................35
Learner-Networks........................................................36
Method Overview...........................................................37
My Background.............................................................39
Chapter One Summary.......................................................40
II. LITERATURE REVIEW...............................................................42
Introduction..............................................................42
Theoretical Foundations...................................................43
Experiential Learning Theory............................................43
Situated Learning Theories..............................................49
The Social Environment...............................................51
The Physical Environment.............................................53
vii


The Cognitive Approach to Learning..........................................54
Schema Theory............................................................57
Hierarchies and Networks.................................................58
Scripts and Plans........................................................59
The Role of Context in Schema Theory.....................................60
Situated Constructivism.....................................................62
Context and Learning..........................................................64
General Understanding of Context............................................64
Context in School...........................................................67
Experience in Authentic Settings..............................................72
Experience and Activity.....................................................74
Cognitive Learning..........................................................75
Affective Learning..........................................................76
Novelty.....................................................................78
Immersion...................................................................80
Environmental Components......................................................82
Social Contributions to Learning............................................82
Physical Environment........................................................84
Tools.......................................................................85
Affective and Individual....................................................85
Culture.....................................................................86
Facilitated Versus Peripheral Learning........................................87
Chapter Two Summary...........................................................92
III. METHOD..............................................................................94
Overview......................................................................94
Participants and Settings.....................................................95
Case Selection and Sampling.................................................95
Similarities Across the Cases...............................................97
Case 1, Winter Ecology......................................................98
The School, Case 1.......................................................98
The Students, Case 1.....................................................99
The Teacher, Case 1.....................................................100
The Class, Case 1.......................................................101
The DIAL Experience, Case 1.............................................102
viii


Case 2, Winter Environmental Science.........................................102
The School, Case 2........................................................102
The Students, Case 2......................................................104
The Teacher, Case 2.......................................................105
The Class, Case 2.........................................................105
The DIAL Experience, Case 2............................................106
Case 3, Crane Migration Study................................................107
The School, Case 3........................................................107
The Students, Case 3......................................................107
The Teacher, Case 3.......................................................108
The Class, Case 3.........................................................108
The DIAL Experience, Case 3............................................109
Case 4, Everglades Ecology...................................................110
The School, Case 4........................................................110
The Students, Case 4......................................................110
The Teacher, Case 4.......................................................Ill
The Class, Case 4.........................................................112
The DIAL Experience, Case 4...............................................112
Research Design................................................................113
Procedures- Research Question 1................................................114
Preparing the Pathfinder Instruments.........................................118
Creating the Referent........................................................122
Administering the Assessments................................................122
Data Analysis for Q 1........................................................122
Procedures- Research Question 2................................................124
Teacher Data.................................................................125
Student Data.................................................................126
Data Preparation, Coding and Analysis........................................128
Descriptive Codes.........................................................129
Pattern Codes.............................................................135
Leaming opportunities..............................................138
Contextualization..................................................139
Student Notebooks............................................................140
PFnets.......................................................................140
ix


141
Field Study
Analysis......................................................................144
Field study data analysis..................................................146
Synthesis..................................................................146
Data Handling and Protection of Informants....................................148
Validity / Legitimation.......................................................148
Construct Validity.........................................................149
Internal Validity..........................................................150
External Validity..........................................................151
Reliability................................................................152
Researcher Bias and Reflexivity............................................153
Chapter Summary...............................................................154
IV. PATHFINDER RESULTS..............................................................155
Overview......................................................................155
Pathfinder Results............................................................155
Learning Levels...............................................................157
Distributions of Student Learning.............................................159
Negative Change...............................................................163
Growth in the Middle..........................................................167
Patterns in the Other Cases...................................................168
Chapter Summary...............................................................169
V. RESULTS: CONTRIBUTORS TO LEARNING.................................................170
Overview......................................................................170
Learning opportunities........................................................171
Facilitated Opportunities..................................................173
FI Guiding Observations.................................................174
F2 Providing Instructional Resources....................................177
F3 Facilitating Assignments and Activities..............................178
F4 Making Connections...................................................180
F5 Demonstration........................................................183
F6 Providing Expertise..................................................185
F7 Direct Instruction...................................................188
F8 Synthesis............................................................189
x


Peripheral Opportunities...................................................192
PI Personal Discoveries.................................................192
P2 Discordant Observations..............................................195
P3 Affective Connections................................................197
P4 Other Resources......................................................202
Interactions Between Facilitated and Peripheral Opportunities..............202
B1 Completing the Picture...............................................203
B2 Keystone Events......................................................207
B3 Personal Application of Facilitated Learning.........................209
B4 Extension of Learning................................................212
Environmental Components.....................................................215
El Social interactions.....................................................216
El.lTeacher-Student Interactions........................................217
El.2 Group Interactions.................................................220
El.3 Peer-to-Peer Interactions..........................................223
E 1.4 Cultural Interactions.............................................224
E2 Physical Environment....................................................225
E2.1 Visual Evidence of Concepts........................................226
E2.2 Embodied Experience................................................232
E2.3 Geographic Cues....................................................236
E3 Tools...................................................................238
E4 Individual Factors......................................................242
E4.1 Individual Reasoning and Internal Reflection.......................244
E4.2 Writing and Verbal Articulation....................................247
E4.3 Linking Across Events..............................................248
E4.4 Connection to Past Learning........................................250
E5 Emotional Contributors to Learning......................................253
Contextualization............................................................260
Misconceptions.............................................................264
Chapter Five Summary.........................................................264
VI. DISCUSSION........................................................................267
Overview.....................................................................267
Discussion and Implications: Research Question 1.............................268
Discussion and Implications: Research Question 2.............................272
xi


Learning Opportunities................................................272
Environmental Components..............................................280
Social Interactions and Cultural Elements..........................280
Physical Environment...............................................283
Tools..............................................................285
Individual Role and Emotional Environment..........................287
Contextualization.....................................................290
Revised Conceptual Framework............................................292
Limitations.............................................................296
Contributions...........................................................299
Recommendations for Future Research.....................................301
Chapter Six Summary.....................................................303
REFERENCES........................................................................305
APPENDICES........................................................................319
APPENDIX A: Important Terms and Abbreviations...........................319
APPENDIX B: Original and Revised Conceptual Frameworks..................320
APPENDIX C: Student Interview Protocol..................................322
APPENDIX D: Coded Interview Sample......................................323
APPENDIX F: IRB Approval................................................334
xii


LIST OF TABLES
Table
3.1 Contributing Data by Case.............................................. 125
3.2 Codebook: Descriptive Codes............................................ 130
3.3 Codebook: Pattern Codes................................................ 136
4.1 Pretest and Posttest Assessment Results................................ 156
4.2 Learning Levels and Distributions Across Cases......................... 158
5.1 Frequencies of Learning Opportunity Codes Across Cases................. 172
xiii


LIST OF FIGURES
Figure
1.1 The DIAL conceptual framework............................................ 24
3.1 Data Synthesis............................................................. 114
3.2 Example of a Pathfinder PFnet.............................................. 116
3.3 Sample Pathfinder Assessment............................................... 121
3.4 Coded Student Interview Transcript Excerpt................................. 138
4.1 Changes in Student Knowledge Structures, Case 1......................... 160
4.2 Changes in Student Knowledge Structures, Case 2......................... 161
4.3 Changes in Student Knowledge Structures, Case 3......................... 162
4.4 Changes in Student Knowledge Structures, Case 4......................... 163
4.5 Student 224 Pretest PFnet.................................................. 164
4.6 Case 2 Referent PFnet...................................................... 165
4.7 Student 224 Posttest PFnet................................................. 166
5.1 Social Contributions to Learning........................................... 217
5.2 Contributions to Learning from the Physical Environment.................... 226
5.3 Contributions to Learning from Tools....................................... 239
5.4 Individual LearnersContributions to Learning.............................. 243
5.5 Affective Connections to Learning.......................................... 254
5.6 Relative Frequency of Contextualization Levels............................. 262
5.7 Contextualization and Learning By Case..................................... 263
6.1 Revised Conceptual Framework............................................... 293
xiv


CHAPTER I
INTRODUCTION
The purpose of the research described in this dissertation is to explore the role of
authentic, contextualized learning environments in high school students learning of
science concepts. I describe student learning from a largely situated theoretical
perspective that explains learning as a multi-faceted and interconnected process between
the learner and the many components of the learning environment, including the social,
cultural, and physical aspects. I pay particular attention to the learning opportunities that
are made available to students through the facilitation of their teachers and the more
peripheral or unintended opportunities provided by the environment. This research
explores the potential for contextually immersive pedagogies to support students in
developing explanatory, conceptual science knowledge and to provide some insight on
how to increase the potential of those pedagogies.
In this chapter I provide a discussion on the problem this research is addressing,
an overview of the foundational theory upon which the study is based, propose a
conceptual framework to explain learning in contextualized environments, and briefly
describe the study design used. Chapter Two is a review of the theoretical,
methodological, and empirical literature that provide the foundation for the present study.
In Chapter Three I describe the methods used to investigate the research questions,
reporting the results in Chapters Four and Five. Chapter Six includes a discussion of the
results, their implications, contributions, and limitations.
1


Defining the Problem
This research addresses a related set of issues in science education. There is an
ever-present struggle in science education to help students develop conceptual knowledge
that is applicable to the world they live in. Experiential pedagogies represent one possible
avenue to do just that but there has been very little formal investigation into the efficacy
of these approaches. This is partially due to a lack of clarity in defining distinctive
experiential approaches and partially due to the complexity of those learning
environments that makes study of them difficult. This study addresses these problems.
In most reports on the state of science education in the United States over the last
twenty years or in recommendations for improvement of science education, we find a
common call for the need for deeper, more conceptually rooted knowledge that students
can relate to and apply to real world problems (Achieve, 2005; BSCS, 2006; Kesidou &
Roseman, 2002; NRC, 2011a, 2011b). However, these goals have also proven elusive, as
indicated by large-scale science testing such as NAEP (NCES, 2009) and PISA (OECD,
2010) and a lack of student preparedness for college level science (Achieve, 2005; ACT,
2011) . Traditional classroom pedagogical approaches do not tend to foster schematic,
applicable science knowledge for the majority of students (Fensham, 2009). Alternative
approaches to science education may be required if we are to advance the goal of students
developing higher order scientific knowledge. One identified problem is that science is
often taught as what Whitehead (1929) called inert knowledge, information that is de-
contextualized from the real world (NRC, 2011b). This is problematic if science
education is to have any utility for students once they leave the walls of the classroom or
move to more advanced levels of study, as Greeno, Collins, & Resnick (1996) explain:
2


Considerable effort in didactic teaching is aimed at students understanding of
general concepts. The difficulty is that didactic teaching of concepts does not
result, for most students, in general understanding. Most students who learn to
recite definitions and formulas that express the meanings of concepts in general
terms, or to carry out procedures with numbers or formulas, show limited
proficiency in solving problems and understanding other situations in which those
concepts or procedures could be used. (p. 29)
Attempts to add context to classroom learning, such as through Problem-Based
Learning (See Dochy, Segers, Van den Bossche, & Gijbels, 2003 for meta-analysis;
Strobel & van Bameveld, 2009) and project-based learning (Rivet & Krajcik, 2004a,
2004b) have shown some promise but still do not result in substantial improvements in
conceptual knowledge and transfer to real world applications.
Despite this struggle in science education to foster the development of applicable,
conceptual knowledge, at some point for professional scientists or those people who use
science in their professional lives these types of knowledge are developed. Situated
Learning Theory, as described by Lave and Wegner (1991) would suggest that these
people learn largely through immersion into a relevant context, a community of practice
where more advanced ways of knowing are shared and developed within the community
and an environment that is supportive of the science or other knowledge germane to that
group. Falk and Dierking (2010) calculate that 95% of the science knowledge that
Americans possess is developed not through formal schooling but through informal
educational sources and personal interaction with the natural world. This latter, informal
source of science learning, what Lave refers to as the learning of just plain folks (1988),
3


is not without its problems as it is rife with naive conceptions or misconceptions (Choi &
Hannafin, 1995) and lacks the guidance offered by a community of practice.
A solution for improving the depth and applicability of school-sourced science
learning may lie somewhere in the middle. How is science learning different when
students are provided with the contextual opportunities found in many informal settings
but with the formal supports of school learning environments? We do not currently have a
good sense of this. In a review of recent research on outdoor learning, all of which
implies some experiential and contextual component, Rickinson et al. (2004) conclude in
part, substantial evidence exists to indicate that fieldwork, properly conceived,
adequately planned, well-taught and effectively followed up, offers learners opportunities
to develop their knowledge and skills in ways that add value to their everyday experiences
in the classroom (p. 24). Rickinson et al. (2004) also identify the nature of learning in
outdoor settings as a blind spot in the literature and call for greater methodological rigor
in the field overall, noting Impacts on young peoples knowledge, understanding and
cognitive skills is arguably the least strongly-evidenced aspect of outdoor adventure
education (p. 26). It should also be noted that much of the literature in their review came
from the fields of geography and environmental education rather than science education.
A 1997 meta-analysis of adventure education research, including some studies in
science education, showed that studies in that field tended to focus on summative results
rather than answering formative questions about the processes or theoretical concerns
involved in these contextualized, experiential learning events (Hattie, Marsh, Neill, &
Richards, 1997). This gap has remained largely unfilled. In both the Hattie et al. (1997)
meta-analysis, as well as another meta-analysis on adventure learning (Cason & Gillis,
4


1994) larger effect sizes were found for experiential, contextualized learning than for
more traditional interventions. However, as Hattie and colleagues (1997) point out, that
was not true for all of the cases but the lack of formative, process-oriented studies leaves
us with little understanding as to why one program is effective and another is not.
Although the environment itself is the most significant difference in contextualized or
outdoor learning, we know very little about how it actually contributes to learning.
Rather, experiential education tends to be seen as a black box (Baldwin,
Persing, & Magnuson, 2004), in that there are many suggestions/practitioner reports as
well as some empirical evidence that experiential education results in significant learning,
but little indication of how it does so. A more formal examination into the nature of
experiential learning in authentic, contextualized science learning environments is needed
as the advancement of experiential science education is limited by this gap in our
understanding.
It is generally accepted that experiential education is more than just any
experience in which learning takes place. After all, students in the most didactic of
classrooms are still having an experience. There is an assumption that experiential
education implies a more direct experience with the world, an experience within a context
that is not a traditional classroom environment. To think of it this way, we see context as
the most significantly defining aspect of what is commonly called experiential education.
Direct experience is probably not enough, it must be experience within a real or at least
intentional context. Despite this, we do not know how the contextual surround of
complex environments affects student learning. It has been repeatedly shown that the
context within which each student lives on a daily basis is a significant contributor to or
5


detractor from learning (Hanscombe, Haworth, Davis, Jaffee, & Plomin, 2011; Vermunt,
2005) and there is a wide field of research into the classroom as a learning environment
(see Fraser, 2007 for review) but we do not know much about real world learning
contexts.
There is also a lack of clarity on how comparable various experiential pedagogies
actually are. Because the term, experiential education is used so widely, it hinders
comparability between studies and fosters broad stereotypical generalizations across
programs and curricula. It seems that experiential education is often celebrated or
criticized as whole, neglecting the wide diversity of programs and curricula that it
encompasses. In one of the more blistering critiques Hirsch defined learning-by-doing
as process-heavy, devoid of content, and a holdout from the 1960s progressivist
approaches (as cited by Roberts, 2002, p. 256). He goes on to assert learning by doing
and its adaptations are among the least effective pedagogies available to the teacher.
Such broad statements are difficult to interpret when one considers the broad scope of
programs, curricula, and their associated goals that are to be included in this
pronouncement.
Even those who tend to support experiential education have presented generalized
critiques, as does Seaman (2008) who describes the lack of ongoing, empirical research
around experiential education as having led to an evolution of practice-driven models
with historically specific purposes into a broader belief system underwritten more by
liberal-humanist ideology, folk psychology, and administrative interests than by scientific
or epistemological foundation for learning (p. 228). While Seamans observation
regarding the lack of empirical evidence is valid, the overgeneralization of the field may
6


be more to blame as it makes it almost impossible to define exactly what can be compared
or what the focus of inquiry should be.
Similarly, there is a general sense that science education can be lumped into
formal and informal settings with formal including traditional classroom formats and
anything outside of the classroom being lumped together as informal (Falk, 2005). There
are a number of problems with the formal/informal designation (Falk, 2005), particularly
the categorization of everything occurring outside the classroom as being somehow
similar. This designation speaks more to traditional assumptions of what education
should look like than it does to providing a meaningful designation of the relationship
between a learner and a learning environment. As a learning environment, a guided field
trip through a museum probably has more in common with the classroom than with an
experience in which students are working with scientists in the field to gather legitimate
scientific data. In order to better understand experiential science learning in authentic
environments we need to be able to compare experiences within meaningfully comparable
groups, moving beyond attempts to describe informal learning or experiential learning
as if these represented groups of comparable processes. The best research on free choice
learning in a museum or on self efficacy developed on an Outward Bound course may
have little or no validity when applied to a group of students doing field work with a
scientist.
Difficulties with Investigating Experiential Learning
A number of barriers to understanding the experiential learning process present
themselves in any attempt to research it. These include the accurate assessment of
learning that is highly individualized, the more open-ended nature of the variables of
7


authentic versus classroom learning environments, the highly variable nature of the
enactment of any given experiential education program, and as previously described, the
categorization for comparison of disparate approaches. The atomization of the learning
process is a historical reality that has also contributed to these difficulties. This has been a
natural result of the research process, particularly in understanding the role of context in
education, as Nardi (1996) reflects: "How can we confront the blooming, buzzing
confusion that is context" and still produce generalizable research results?" This is true
but it is unlikely that the whole of learning is equal to the sum of the parts and it is likely
that there are substantial differences between what happens in a naturally complex
environment and what happens under controlled conditions (Salomon, 1993a). Rickinson
et al. (2004) offer a word of caution: The difficulty of identifying, measuring and
evaluating the benefits of fieldwork and field trips should not be underestimated by
researchers, practitioners or policy makers. There are far too many poorly conceptualised,
badly designed and inadequately carried out studies (p.24).
There is an ever-present tension between complexity and parsimony and while it
has been necessary to subdivide the learning process into manageable units in order to
understand it, we may be at a point where we can move toward consilience and approach
learning from a more systemic perspective, as proposed by Lee (2011). To look at
learning in authentic environments we must acknowledge the varied pathways that
knowledge can be developed as an individual interacts with the actors and objects within
her environment.
To use the image of the black box of experiential education, research has shown
us some parts that make up the black box and it has shown us the results of a learner who
8


has gone through the black box but we dont know how many of the elements in the box
work, nor how the elements of the box work together. We need to know more about how
the parts work together to generate specific outcomes. Without this knowledge
practitioners cannot manipulate the components to target specific outcomes nor to
maximize science learning for a particular group or individual. It is not enough to know
that strong social relationships contribute to learning nor is it enough to understand simply
that being immersed in a real-world environment increases information retention or
application. If practitioners do not understand how authentic learning environments
contribute to learning there is a real danger that experiential learning experiences are not
designed to utilize the potential benefits and student learning suffers.
Experiential pedagogies represent potentially powerful tools for teachers in
schools and informal education settings, particularly those focused on science content, but
without understanding how the tools work, that potential is limited. The problem is clear:
we need to get past the notion that experiential learning is too mysterious a phenomenon
to fully comprehend (Conrad & Hedin, 1982, p. 58) by considering both a greater range
of environmental contributors to learning, the interactions among elements within the
learning environment, and their role in developing student knowledge. This study was a
step toward exploring those factors.
Defining Deep Immersion Academic Learning (DIAL)
Experiential education has become an omnibus term used to describe a wide
range of ideas and practices from Outward Bound type adventure education courses to
service learning experiences, to in-class activities. It is a value-laden term, often and
incorrectly equated with hands-on learning, learning by doing, active learning, and
9


learning outside the four-walled classroom (Roberts, 2008). One use of the term is to
describe the immersion of learners into learning environments that are either
representative of environments where the target knowledge can be applied, or
environments that closely approximate the real-world. The labels authentic, in-situ,
immersive, and contextualized all contribute important descriptors to this type of learning.
It could be argued that every learning environment is imbued with some context
or another but the term is used within this dissertation as it is described by Rivet &
Krajcik (2008):
Contextualizing instruction refers to the utilization of particular situations or
events that occur outside of science class or are of particular interest to students to
motivate and guide the presentation of science ideas and concepts.
Contextualizing often takes the form of real-world examples or problems that are
meaningful to students personally, to the local area, or to the scientific
community. These are situations in which students may have some experience
with (either directly or indirectly) prior to or in conjunction with the presentation
of target ideas in science class, and that students engage with over extended
periods of time. (p. 80)
Contextualized experiences then, stand in contrast to decontextualized
experiences, wherein the context is a scholastic one, abstracted from events that the
students are experiencing and from the content knowledge as it is typically used in
practice (Rivet & Krajcik, 2008). In the typical secondary classroom, for example, the
knowledge that students are intended to learn may be presented in conjunction with a
description of contexts in which the knowledge is applicable but all of the actual contexts
10


the students are operating within are not likely to be related to the content knowledge.
The physical, cultural, social, and temporal surround is the context of school; even the
best-intentioned posters and visuals provide scholastic rather than actual contexts. When
the class ends in forty-five minutes, the context switches to other parts of the school and
socio-cultural surround and the peripheral context cues the student is exposed to no longer
have anything to do with the target knowledge.
Contrast this with a language immersion program in which the student travels to
and immerses herself in a culture with a different language. She receives formal
instruction on vocabulary and the proper ways to apply it but in addition everything else
outside of class provides contextual cues to support her learning. She can practice, test,
question, and apply the new knowledge throughout the environment and she is presented
with countless opportunities to extend her knowledge in directions that mesh with her own
interests. Her learning is a function of both the facilitated formal curriculum and the
peripheral elements of the context. While these types of immersion experiences do
happen in other academic disciplines at the secondary level, they are not common. There
is no unified body of research within which this type of learning happens and so it is
typically described simply as experiential education. Because that term is used so widely,
however, it is not of much use for understanding this more specific use of contextualized
learning experiences.
A sub-category of experiential education is needed to distinguish the pursuit of
academic knowledge through a combination of facilitated curricula and immersion in a
contextualized environment. As the literature does not provide a label, I introduce the
phrase deep immersion academic learning (DIAL) to indicate both the contextualized
11


nature of the learning environment and the abstract/academic nature of the learning
targets. Though the practice has existed for a long time under the more general label of
experiential education and although the practice is increasingly enacted, the label of DIAL
has not specifically been identified or defined. The label of DIAL applies to a real world
pedagogy that fosters student learning in authentic environments over an extended period
of time, much like the language immersion programs. In addition, DIAL has aspects that
are very intentional and facilitated as well elements that are more open, has content-based
learning goals, and occurs in contexts specifically chosen to enhance the academic content
of the course. As such, DIAL offers a laboratory with which to understand the role of
environmental contexts in student thinking, learning, and development.
Deep Immersion
The first part of the term, deep immersion, implies that students are introduced to an
intentional place, time, social setting, and overall environment specifically intended to
enhance the experience and understanding of the topic of study. Within this context,
there are environmental elements that are specifically facilitated and scaffolded by the
teacher and others that are directly related to the content being taught but peripheral,
incidental, or not specifically accounted for by the teacher. Additionally, deep immersion
implies an extended period of time, typically multiple days, in which students are
immersed in the milieu of the learning experience and not being directly influenced by
the distractions of typical daily life. The deep immersion aspect of DIAL often takes the
form of an extended field trip experience but there are cases of deep immersion that do
not necessarily involve a distant trip, and more commonly there are trips that do not rise
to the level of deep immersion.
12


Academics
Similarly, there are deep immersion experiences that are not intentionally
academic, such as group-building experiences and adventure education trips. That is not to
say that learning does not occur during these experiences but that the learning is not
intentionally academic. The academic piece of DIAL refers to the specific use of
experience to deliver academic content, predetermined by standards or curricular
expectations, albeit with the understanding that each student will construct their content
knowledge somewhat differently. It is not what I loosely refer to as the Columbus
method (send them on their way and hope they discover something). This academic
content knowledge can be declarative, procedural, schematic, or strategic1 (Li, Ruiz-
Primo, & Shavelson, 2006). Typically, the academic content knowledge is well grounded
in application in at least part of the experience.
Learning
The final piece of the DIAL definition is learning through experience. For the
purpose of defining DIAL, I refer to learning in an in-situ, relevant, contextualized,
perhaps embodied process, in which the students are engaged in a transactional form of
information exchange, and using all or most of their sensory perception to construct
knowledge in conjunction with the elements of their environment. I see this learning as
situated within and distributed throughout the environment but represented uniquely
within each individual learner. A more detailed description of this learning process is
1 In the framework there are four types of knowledge: declarative knowledge, or knowing what, is
conceptual or factual in nature; procedural knowledge, or knowing how, indicates understanding of
sequential processes applicable to a class of acts; schematic knowledge, or knowing why, is explanatory
and can be used to make predictions, and strategic knowledge, or knowing when, where, and how to apply
knowledge.
13


described below and in Chapter Two. The experience piece is an important distinction as
it is possible to be deeply immersed but still learning in a largely didactic manner, and not
truly experiencing an event.
DIAL stands in contrast to what Roberts (2008) refers to as one-off experiences
in which students take a day off from normal school activities to participate in a challenge
course or visit a nature center, participating in activities without any direct link to their
school studies. An example of DIAL might be a high school biology class taking an
extended trip to coastal California to study marine biology. The trip might include
exploration of tide pools; a day working on a commercial fishing vessel; another day
helping out at a Marine research facility, performing a necropsy on a beached dolphin
alongside a marine biologist; a service learning project at a local estuary rehabbing critical
habitat; and a project in which the class gathers data of species abundance while
snorkeling through a kelp forest. Throughout the experience students may be reading
appropriate texts and reflecting both on their own constructions of knowledge and
connections back to the intended curriculum that explores the human relationship with
marine systems. The facilitating teacher is responsible for intentionally structuring each
experience, helping the students understand the connections between the canonical science
knowledge and the students experiences, addressing misconceptions, and delivering
critical content that does not neatly emerge from the experiential elements of the trip.
While these roles may manifest differently within different contexts, they are all critical to
the DIAL process and help differentiate DIAL from other experiential approaches.
The balance between structure and free-choice, abstract and applied knowledge,
continuity and novel experience, and canonical and social information land DIAL
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somewhere between the worlds of formal and informal education. The goals and some
academic tools are more closely aligned with formal education while the methods and
venues are more readily associated with informal pedagogies. DIAL attempts to find a
balance between the learning of just plain folks (Lave, 1988) while also addressing the
deficiencies of that method, as described by Choi and Hannafin (1995):
While "just plain folks" behave and learn in everyday life, their knowledge and
performance is not the same as the experts'. They do many things inaccurately and
inefficiently and possess many misconceptions about daily life. Some
understanding, such as scientific concepts like gravity and earth rotation, require
opportunities beyond our everyday experience. In many cases, everyday
experiences actually hinder learning, (p. 67).
Relatedly, DIAL tends to embrace both the intentional contexts of the learning
environment facilitated by the teachers, as well as the incidental or peripheral, again
finding the balance between the informal and formal. It takes the natural learning
processes of just plain folks and forms a bridge to more expert ways of understanding a
given topic.
Purpose and Significance of the Study
The goal of this study was to describe cases of student learning in authentic,
contextualized environments over the course of DIAL experiences in order to fulfill the
purpose of exploring how the components of the environment contribute to that learning.
The study explored how physical environment, social interactions, social constructions of
knowledge, and both facilitated and peripheral opportunities influenced student learning
during DIAL experiences. Because this study was largely a new line of research and was
15


more exploratory than confirmatory in nature, it also serves the purpose of generating new
ideas that can be tested later in this line of inquiry. Through tracking the elements of a
learning environment, including peers and other actors, and how they contribute to
individual students knowledge of highlighted academic content, we can better understand
the connected nature of learning in-situ. As this is arguably one of the most complex
phenomena, the goal was more truly to begin understanding it.
The work contributes to the fields of science education and experiential education
by providing empirical evidence on how the contexts of authentic learning environments
support changes in students conceptual knowledge structures within four science class
DIAL experiences. The work also provides a tested methodology for investigating
learning in highly complex environments that combines a more formal assessment of
concept knowledge change with a qualitative assessment of the complexity of
environmental supports for learning.
Research Questions
To meet these goals, the following research questions guided the study.
Ql: Do students knowledge structures reflect greater understanding of science
concepts following a DIAL experience?
Q2: If so, do students interactions with the components of a DIAL environment
contribute to change in their conceptual science knowledge structures?
Theoretical Framework- Situated Constructivism
This study is an investigation into learning. In this section I provide an overview
of the learning theory that provides the foundation for the work. A more developed
16


discussion of this theory appears in Chapter Two. I use a general definition of learning to
encompass its breadth: Learning is the process by which knowledge is increased or
modified. Transfer is the process of applying knowledge in new situations (Greeno, et
al., 1996). Of course, exactly what that process is or what knowledge is makes this simple
definition much more complex. For my purposes here, no singular theoretical tradition
adequately describes the process and the results of learning. Rather, I adopt a more
synthetic understanding that is heavily influenced by situated, cognitive, and experiential
learning theories.
Greeno et al. (1996) divide perspectives on cognition and learning into three
categories: empiricist (aka behaviorist), rationalist (aka cognitive, information-processing,
or constructivist), andpragmatist-sociohistoric (aka situative), acknowledging that this is
not the only way one could categorize the field. This division is useful for this study and I
will refer to two of these categories throughout, using the terms cognitive and situative to
generally describe these traditions. Greeno et al. (1996) describe the perspectives in this
way: the situative/ pragmatist-sociohistoric perspective views knowledge as distributed
among people and their environments, including the objects, artifacts, tools, books, and
the communities of which they are part (p. 16-17) while The cognitive/rationalist
perspective on knowledge emphasizes understanding of concepts and theories in different
subject matter domains and general cognitive abilities, such as reasoning, planning,
solving problems, and comprehending language (p. 16).
The premise of the learner/environment relationship, the focus of this study, as
seen in situative theories is summed up well by Fenwick (2000):
17


Situated cognition maintains that learning is rooted in the situation in which a
person participates, not in the head of that person as intellectual concepts
produced by reflection nor as inner energies produced by psychic conflicts.
Knowing and learning are defined as engaging in changing processes of human
activity in a particular community. Knowledge is not a substance to be ingested
and then transferred to a new situation but, instead, part of the very process of
participation in the immediate situation, (p. 253)
Understanding the relationship between the individual learner and environment as
a part of a whole rather than as an inside/outside phenomenon is important but it does not
imply that individual cognition ceases to exist; nor need it imply that all parts of the whole
have equal value in a given activity. The role of the individuals mental representations
and the role of the individual as a processing nucleus are absolutely critical. The premise
of the cognitive approach is that learning is the accumulation of mental representations or
schemas within ones memory and that transfer occurs because some of these
representations are seen as invariant across situations (Greeno, et al., 1996). A schema is
a data structure that we use within our memory to store generalized information about the
world we know and that is used to interpret future events and incoming information
(Rumelhart & Ortony, 1977). These schemata are encyclopedic and semantic rather than
definitional and declarative in the sense that they record generalized information that is
useful for interpreting the environment rather than absolutes to be recalled as a unit
(Rumelhart & Ortony, 1977). As there is a close alignment between these cognitive
structures and learning, they can be used as a way to understand individual learning
(Shavelson, 1972, 1974; Shavelson & Stanton, 1975).
18


While some find these two perspectives to be mutually exclusive (J. R. Anderson,
Reder, & Simon, 1996, 1997) many others see the different perspectives as
complementary (Choi & Hannafin, 1995; Cobb & Bowers, 1999; Cobb & Yackel, 1996;
Greeno, 1997; Greeno, etal., 1996; Perkins, 1993; Salomon, 1993a, 1993b). I support this
latter notion, viewing the two as lenses looking at learning from different levels of
granularity such that situative theories address the interactional network of learning within
an environment and cognitive theories focus on one piece of that network- the individual.
In a recent panel discussion at the 2012 Annual Meeting of the American Educational
Research Association, a group of learning theory luminaries including Barbara Rogoff,
Roy Pea, Carol Lee, and James Greeno revisited the premise of the heavily cited National
Research Council report How People Learn (Bransford, Brown, & Cocking, 2000),
concluding that a more synthetic, multi-level model more accurately reflects the learning
process than does any, one, singular approach.
This study examined learning as it exists in a situated context but did so largely
by looking at the meanings and representations assigned by individual students. To do so
a theory that combines the cognitive and situative perspectives was needed. Cobb &
Yackel (1996) offer a theoretical framework for such a union called the emergent
approach. I refer to this general idea as situated constructivism to avoid the ambiguity of
Cobb & Yackels term. Within their framework, it is possible to locate analyses of
individuals constructive activities in a social context (Cobb & Yackel, 1996). They
describe the impetus for this approach in this way:
In general, analyses conducted from the psychological constructivist perspective
bring out the heterogeneity in the activities of the members of a classroom
19


community. In contrast, social analyses of classroom mathematical practices
conducted from the interactionist perspective bring out what is jointly established
as the teacher and students coordinate their individual activities. In drawing on
these two analytic perspectives, the emergent approach takes both the individual
and the community as points of reference. This approach seeks to analyze both
the development of individual minds and the evolution of the local social worlds
in which those minds participate. (Cobb & Yackel, 1996, p. 180)
Perkins (1993) introduces a useful concept to be used with situative views of
learning and one that also works well with the idea of situated constructivism, the
person-plus as a unit of analysis in understanding learning. The person-plus represents
the individual along with all of the external tools, practices, and other individuals that
allow for a given cognitive process. This is contrasted with the more conventional view
of the person-solo, the conception of learning as being entirely in the head (Perkins,
1993). Thus, the cognitive process as well as any memory or cognitive residue are
distributed throughout the learning environment, such that the learner off-loads some
memory into notebooks, other people, etc. (Brown, Collins, & Duguid, 1989; Perkins,
1993) in addition to maintaining some representations within their own memory as is
described in schema theory and the cognitive perspective of learning.
This perspective should not be seen as person-solo cognition occurring within a
larger social vessel but rather as person-solo as an entity with specific roles within the
larger person-plus system. These roles include perception, indexing, and the assignation
of meaning. Brown & Duguid (1996) offer a useful analogy:
20


The process is not, then, like the addition of a brick to a building-where the brick
remains as distinct and self-contained as it was in the builder's hand. Instead it is
a little like the addition of color to color in a painting, where the color that is
added becomes inseparably a part of the color that was there before and both are
transformed in the process, (p. 49)
Vygotskys thoughts on social mediation and internalization also offer some
insight into the interaction of learning roles between the person-solo and the person-plus.
The gist is that all human thought has an external, social precedent such that,
Every function in the child's cultural development appears twice, on two levels.
First, on the social, and later on the psychological level; first, between people as
an interpsychological category, and then inside the child, as an
intrapsychological category. This applies equally to voluntary attention, to
logical memory and to the formation of concepts. The actual relations between
human individuals underlie all the higher functions. (Vygotsky, 1978, pp. 125,
emphasis original)
In this way, internal patterns of thought, are at least fundamentally reflections of similar
patterns that happened between the learner and her learning environment.
A final, uniting aspect that needs to be considered in this idea of situated
constructivism is the role of experience. Experience is the process that unites the
individual learner with the person-plus; the interactions in the physical world with the
cognitive constructions of the mind (Hunt, 1981). Carver (1996) describes the individual
learner as situated within her environment not as an independent entity integrating
experience and reflection, but as one doing so with myriad contributing and confounding
21


factors. Knowledge becomes co-constructed by the learner, experience, reflection,
environment, and social inputs. Seen another way, Experience itself is often commonly
understood as knowledge held in context-we have experience in something, we
participate in something. These somethings are related to contexts. Transfer cannot be
understood apart from the recognition of the importance of context learning (Quay, 2003,
p. 185). Experience is a process of incorporating learner and environment with
knowledge and contextualization as the residues of that process.
In summary, an understanding of DIAL is best accomplished with a view that
encompasses the individual mental representations described through schema theory, and
a more holistic account of how the schemata and higher-order thinking of the person-solo
interact with innumerable external physical and social elements to result in a system of
learning that is distributed throughout the environment but centered around an individual.
Experience becomes a person-solo perspective of a learning environment. Knowledge is
constructed as an individual gives meaning to information that is processed by and
distributed throughout the physical and socio-cultural environment.
Conceptual Framework
The theoretical framework presented above provides a foundation for the
introduction of a new conceptual framework for learning while immersed in
contextualized environments (Figure 1.1), such as in a DIAL experience. Building on the
theoretical framework of situated constructivism outlined above, this conceptual
framework takes into consideration the roles of the individual as well as the components
of the environment in modeling the DIAL process. The framework does not model every
aspect of DIAL, instead focusing on the central goal of supporting the development of
22


academic content knowledge for the learner via the affordances of a contextualized
environment.
The framework allows for the manipulation of the components to both test and
manipulate practice in the field and while there are countless ways in which the
framework could be organized, the delineations are intended to facilitate these
manipulations in manageable ways. Fundamentally this framework explores the
relationship of distributed environmental cues to each individual learners present state
and the interaction amongst these elements that lead to and support learning. I refer to
these person-plus systems as learner-networks.
23


DIAL Framework: Contextualization of Learning Targets Through Environmental Interactions
Learner/environment
network components
/
i
i
Learning targets without
contextual elaborations
are less likely to interface
with the learner's
schemata and less likely
to be learned.
Learner elaborates the learning
target with a unique set of
environmental context cues
Figure 1.1. Learning environments provide a contextual surround that lead to elaborations and
greater integration of learning targets with schemata. Deeper and more connected learning
occur when the environmental components add contexts that are related to a learning target.
24


The target knowledge, shown in the upper left of Figure 1.1, is learned within the
contexts of the learning environment. Within this framework, the components of the
learning environment, shown as inward pointing arrows, can be grouped into: social
interactions, cultural environment, emotional environment, tools and artifacts, physical
environment, and internal dialog & expression. These components are somewhat
artificial as they may not be mutually exclusive and any given object or event in the
learning environment likely crosses boundaries and networks with other objects/events.
However, this taxonomy is useful in its ability to focus study, and more importantly, it
provides a focus for adjusting pedagogy in manageable ways. For example, it is true that
peer interactions are informed by the cultural and emotional environment but by isolating
elements of the interactions it becomes easier to highlight them for study and to adjust
their facilitation when teaching. Understanding how these components work together is
also an important phenomenon to be explored. These components are described and
differentiated below.
For each of these environmental components, a categorical distinction is made
between what is facilitated by the teacher or curriculum and what is peripheral.
Facilitated components are those objects and events that were planned by or
spontaneously enacted by the teacher/curriculum. Peripheral contributions to learning
occur when students pick up relevant information directly from the environmental
components without the direct intervention of the teacher. This is not to say that the
peripheral components are necessarily distracters or unimportant for learning. On the
contrary, these peripheral elements are critical to DIAL. Positioning peripheral
components in contrast with facilitated components does not imply that the teacher is
25


unaware of them. Rather, a teacher would use DIAL in large part to capitalize on these
peripheral context cues for their students. Classroom teaching typically focuses on the
facilitated aspects of the environment and tries to minimize the peripheral. This, of
course, makes sense if the peripheral offers little potential to support and much potential
to distract from the learning target(s). Some of these cues play a much bigger role than
others do in learning and combinations of cues might amplify their independent effects.
The tenets of this conceptual framework are summarized here:
(a) Target knowledge is a socio-cultural construction that a teacher, curriculum,
society, etc. deems should be known by individuals.
(b) In the presentation of target knowledge there exist countless components of the
learning environment that can be associated/elaborated with the target knowledge as a
person learns it (learning is distributed).
(c) Within a given environment, some learning opportunities are facilitated by the
teacher and some are embedded within the environment, peripheral to the intended
learning opportunities.
(d) Each individual keys into different combinations of environmental components
with which the target knowledge is elaborated. These unique combinations become
context vehicles.
(e) The context vehicle interfaces with the learners schema and allows for the
development of mental representations, though some of the knowledge may remain
distributed throughout the environment and is indexed by the learner.
(f) Target knowledge that is not associated with environmentally-sourced
elaborations is less likely to interface well with the learners schemata.
26


(g) Because each learner is both dynamic and unique, no single context vehicle can
be universally effective across time or population.
From these tenets, the following hypothesis can be drawn: Increasing the depth
and breadth of contextual cues increases the chances offinding combinations to
effectively elaborate target information into context vehicles for each individual learner.
Context Vehicles
As mentioned, a learning target must begin as a socio-cultural construction. The
central arrow in Figure 1.1 illustrates the process of the learning target being perceived by
the learner, but perceived in conjunction with much additional information and action that
is distributed throughout the environment. All of these factors become elaborated with the
target knowledge and result in a networked mental representation. For example, the
learning target might be an understanding of how marine organisms deal with issues of
buoyancy. As the learner develops his understanding of this idea, it becomes elaborated
with his experience of how his wetsuit was buoyant while snorkeling (facilitated non-
academic tools), with a spontaneous conversation he had with a friend about the topic
(peripheral social interaction), with a lecture introducing the idea (facilitated social
interaction) and with perceptions of how excited his peers are about the topic (peripheral
emotional environment). All of these factors become elaborated with the target
knowledge and result in a networked mental representation. Together, these contributors
can be thought of as a context vehicle.
Ideally all of these associations would be directly related to the content to be
learned and while this seems more likely in a learning environment where more of the
components are conceptually bound to the learning target, such as in DIAL, it is
27


unrealistic to assume that everything a learner perceives will be so. Rather, there may be
contextual components that are conceptually unrelated but still become elaborated with
the learning target. Extending the previous example, the student studying buoyancy may
also be taking in much information from the environment that is unrelated to that concept.
If a student is exposed to a context-free and isolated idea, there are limited
potential connections through which she can situate that idea within her existing schemata.
When asked to recall or use that idea later, only by triggering that limited pathway can she
do so (J. R. Anderson, 1990). If, on the other hand, she learns the idea in a manner that
assists her in making multiple connections to existing schemata, she is in a better position
to access and use that information later. She has built, in conjunction with her
environment, a context vehicle, or a bundle of contextual cues that become associated with
target information and allow for the delivery of that information where it would otherwise
be unavailable to the learner due to a lack of relevance or positioning within an existing
schema. Rivet & Krajcik (2008) refer to this process as contextualization. Our brains
are particularly adept at filtering out irrelevant information (Bransford, et al., 2000) and
the context vehicle provides the means to access a schema and make it through this
filtering process. Experts within a given context are particularly adept at making
connections between conceptual knowledge and relevant information within that context
(de Groot, 1965; Schneider, Gruber, Gold, & Opwis, 1993). The implication of the
conceptual framework presented here is that interactions with authentic contexts may
support learners to build this ability by fostering the development of context vehicles that
are relevant to knowledge being learned.
28


The intentional manipulation of context typically represents only a small fraction
of what constitutes an actual context vehicle in a learning situation. All other sensory
cues are combining with and are being associated with the target information as well.
Though the use of context vehicles can be an effective pedagogical tool, there are two
problems that arise in conjunction: first, no two individual learners nor their schemata are
the same so it is impossible to create a universal context vehicle, and second, context
vehicles are inevitable in the sense that even if context is not assigned, it is impossible to
entirely divorce information from context, intentional or otherwise. A teacher then,
cannot entirely create a context vehicle for a student and certainly not for a group, but he
can facilitate an environment that is replete with context cues that support rather than
distract from the targeted information.
Viewed from the environment side, knowledge on any given subject is distributed
throughout the people and objects of the learning environment and so limiting learners
access to that distributed knowledge necessarily limits the learners conceptions. The
important recognition here is that even seemingly insignificant or peripheral
environmental cues can add or detract from the assimilation of the targeted information as
the contexts become elaborated with it. Thus, a student who is learning in a classroom
may have a more difficult time assimilating information deeply and broadly as compared
to a student who is learning in an environment in which most of the contextual cues
support the learning targets, as in DIAL. Further, there is a danger of students who are
learning in strictly academic environments associating learned information largely with
academic settings.
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Identifying the Environmental Components
The purpose of this study is to understand the roles of environmental contributors
in the development of conceptual knowledge, and so it becomes useful to group those
environmental components so that trends can be explored. This becomes more important
for future or resultant interventions and manipulations of learning environments. The
component groups shown in figure 1.1 are arranged in such utilitarian groups. It is
important to reiterate that these groups may be more a function of the lens used to look at
them than delineations that exist in the complexities of the real world. The following
sections define these groupings for the purposes of this study.
Social Interactions
For the purposes of this conceptual framework, social interactions refer only to
direct human-to-human communication that will typically have both verbal and non-
verbal elements. It can be assumed that these social interactions, including conversations,
class discussions, and lectures play a large role in contextualizing learning targets. We
have the ability, largely through abstract language, to prepare information for other
learners (Vygotsky, 1978), thus creating a context vehicle that very effectively activates
the schemata of the other. When we are sharing information in a conversation, we
typically provide a context; we express emotion through word choice, inflection, and body
language; we inquire as to previous connections the listener might have; we are constantly
monitoring the listener for nonverbal feedback; and we inadvertently link the shared
information to ourselves, as the expresser of it.
Perhaps more significantly, when we share information via language we have
abstracted it in a way that meshes well with generalized schemata. We use language as a
30


mediating tool to universalize a concept (Wertsch, 2007). When we interact directly with
the environment, we need to first take the step of abstracting the information while in
human-to-human interactions the information often comes pre-abstracted and bound in
contextual clues. The contextualization allows us to take in information that has been pre-
filtered for relevancy and assigned a meaning for ready assimilation. Looked at from a
situative perspective, the learning is distributed between participants as they co-construct
an idea. This also becomes apparent when we contrast social, transactional information
exchange with information gained from artifacts (e.g. text, art, etc.) that also contextualize
information but in a much more static manner. In DIAL environments, these social
interactions, whether facilitated by the teacher or spontaneous, inevitably begin to
incorporate the other elements of the environment, assisting the learner in interpreting that
environment.
Physical Environment
When processing raw information from the environment our task of learning is
difficult but not impossible. When interacting directly with the environment, learning is
still largely socially mediated. We situate new information within the language and
contexts that we already know and we often support each others learning via reflection
and debrief (Vygotsky, 1978). From this it would be logical to conclude that this sort of
direct immersion in the environment is unnecessary- logical but not accurate.
Rather, the environment around us provides important contextual cues that are
more easily assimilated via social mediation and, in turn, help elaborate socially mediated
information. A teacher may help a student couch their observations in a culturally
common schema and therefore find a connection to an individual students schema or a
31


student may be cataloging sensory information in conjunction with the teachers
description of a concept. In either case, the information is value-added as context cues
and elaborated information are combined for more diverse connections to schemata and
therefore greater chance of recall/application. This contextual support may have a much
more significant impact on learning than is typically ascribed to it.
These contextual cues may also help to customize the context vehicle for each
individual learner. That learner is constantly associating the targeted information with a
combination of context cues that they uniquely perceive from the environment. One
student may be tuned in to a deep sense of place, the motivation of her peers, and a
particularly poignant visual cue. Another student might be focused on the sounds and
smells of an environment but they are both still learning the target information. For the
purpose of this framework then, the physical environment category refers to landscapes,
flora, fauna, and objects not used as tools that students interact with and experience in the
pursuit of DIAL.
Cultural Environment
Disentangling the social from the cultural is a difficult task and is beyond the
scope of this dissertation. Rather, the grouping cultural environment is used here to
categorize a narrow range of cultural phenomena. The label refers to cultural practices or
their effects that differ from the mainstream culture of the learner. More specifically, the
label refers to cultural practices that are part of the class or school culture or those that are
related to the group within which the DIAL immersion takes place. Certainly there are
broad cultural factors at work in any learning environment but those that can be
manipulated are of most use to this framework.
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For example, if the school uses an acronym or a memorized phrase to encourage
certain behaviors and the teacher uses this tool to motivate students in a given situation,
this could be considered contextualization through a facilitated aspect of the cultural
environment. To use the previous example of the Marine Biology class, a student may be
struggling to understand why human impacts on the ocean are not immediately stopped
but after spending the day within the culture of commercial fishermen, they contextualize
the issue by understanding the economic needs of that cultural group and how they may be
in tension with conservation efforts. This too, would be cultural contextualization.
It is important to remember that these component groups are designated with the
purposes of observation and pedagogical manipulation in mind. Background cultural
phenomena that are not noticed by the learner may not play a useful role in the
differentiation and representation of the target knowledge as ever-present cultural
elements would be bound to all learning for the student. Cultural as well as social
subtleties clearly have an impact on every aspect of a learning environment but the
subtleties are beyond the scope of this study and are probably not easily manipulated.
Emotional Environment
Similarly, it can be difficult or impossible to disentangle emotion from any other
aspect of learning. For the purposes here, I refer to either the very intentional use of
emotion in instruction and/or metacognitive identification of emotional elements. For
example, the teacher may facilitate a very specific tone set to prime students for what the
teacher hopes will be a moving experience. Alternatively, a student might identify
frustration that they felt regarding an assigned task they could not master or a deep sense
of awe associated with a natural phenomenon they experienced.
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Artifacts and Tools
Human artifacts including texts, art, architecture, recordings (video/voice), and any
other object that is manmade also provide the learner with uniquely human context
associations to facilitate integration with schemata. Similarly, known heuristics and
procedures have a similar effect. In the case of text, voice recordings, or any other
symbolic language, this contextualization may be a function of the abstraction. Artifacts
share this with direct human communication but there are important differences as well,
predominantly the non-transactional and static nature of artifacts.
Artifacts also play a critical role in a rapidly changing society as they provide an
unchanging referent such that learners can all go back to the same source. Although each
will learn the information via unique pathways and interactions with their schema, will
have different access to the materials, and may index the sources differently, they are all
starting with the same information, unchanged by additional learners/teachers in the chain.
I define academic tools as artifacts, heuristics, or procedures that have been
designed or co-opted for the purpose of academic instruction or the facilitation of abstract
thought for pedagogical ends. Clear examples include textbooks, worksheets,
journals/notebooks, educational media, and content-related websites. Other cases might
be less clear such as computers/computer programs, non-fiction books, calculators, etc.
The definitive test is the intention for use so that a computer can be an academic tool or a
recreational tool, depending on how it is used.
Though there is a fine line between when a tool is academic and when it is not, the
distinction is an important one in understanding how DIAL occurs in the field. In the
earlier example of the student discovering buoyancy through use of a wetsuit, this would
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be considered a non-academic tool but if the teacher created a mini-lesson using the
wetsuits as an example, it would then become a co-opted academic tool for the purposes
here. Thus, non-academic tools are man-made objects, procedures, or heuristics used for
some purpose that is not intentionally related to the content being taught.
Internal Dialog and Expression
Learning and the incorporation of new ideas into the schemata are not limited to
sensory information that moves from the external to the internal. Rather, learning can also
occur via internal dialogue and by moving ideas from the internal to the external such as
when a learner expresses an idea. While these ideas likely have a person-plus origin, they
can be manipulated within the person-solo to varying degrees. Both internal dialogue and
expression add elaborations to the schemata, leading to increased generalization or
specialization of the schemata (J. R. Anderson, 1990)
Learners often catalog experiences they do not have strong connections to but later
make those connections as relevant information becomes available. For example, a
student might notice while in the field that different plants grow on north and south slopes
but might not situate that knowledge until a later ecology lesson helps them create an
explanation for it. Though asynchronous, those episodes become linked via internal
dialog (Kolb, 1984).
Both internal dialog and expression can be either facilitated through prompting or
can be spontaneous. The only access researchers have to this process is when the learner
recognizes it in himself and can articulate it to someone else. This creates difficulties for
studying it but it is a critical piece of the person-plus learning network.
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Learner-N etworks
To bring all of these parts together then, we see a dynamic network in which the
learner is in constant interaction with her environment, extensively filtering incoming
information with existing schemata and offloading cognitive and perception tasks to other
aspects of the environment. When raw information is bundled with contextual clues, the
learner is better positioned to find a connection between the new information and past
experience.
We must look beyond the context cues that are tightly bound to targeted content
and consider how knowledge is distributed throughout the entire learning environment.
Different components of the environment have very different implications for learning as
they each offer different ways and degrees with which to access information related to
learning targets. Though peripheral connections may seem as if they have only weak ties
to the targeted information, I am proposing that there is strength in these weak ties,
particularly when combined with or in supporting the stronger ties of socially mediated
learning.
These context cues are often neglected in most education settings but probably
provide significant contributions to how information is elaborated and therefore, to how it
can be recalled or applied. These context cues may also be of little apparent use at the
time of learning but may become more useful later when further or more advanced
learning on the subject takes place. When information is presented in such a way that
most of the context cues are related to the target content, as in DIAL, the information is
more effectively elaborated and an effective context vehicle has been created. In the
classroom, learners do not cease elaborating information with environmental context cues,
36


they simply elaborate the context cues of the classroom with the new information, thereby
associating academic content largely with academic settings, rather than the real world
they are intended to be applied to.
Every learning event is a function of (a) information distributed throughout the
environment, including social and communicated information, (b) the experience of the
learner, and (c) the current state of activation of the myriad schemata of the learner.
However, it is difficult to conceive of any learning event that could truly isolate any
singular learning. Rather, we must see learning as an environmentally networked event in
which many bits of information are learned together and become, at least in part,
associated in memory. Through DIAL, we support that process.
Method Overview
To answer the research questions, a mixed-methods, multiple case study design
(Yin, 2009) was used. Four high school science classes that participated in DIAL
experiences served as the four cases of the study. These cases included 68 students, the
teachers of each class, and local experts who participated in the experiences of two of the
cases. Students in two of the cases studied various aspects of the winter environment
while participating in residential programs situated in montane and alpine ecosystems.
Students were often required to travel on skis through the environment. The third case
traveled by van to a sandhill crane migration staging area to study the birds and human
impact on the birds habitat. The final case traveled to the Florida Everglades to study
that ecosystem while traveling by canoe and on foot.
The first research question regarding whether or not students learned through their
DIAL experiences was addressed through a pretest-posttest design using a graph-theoretic
37


assessment of structural knowledge, Pathfinder Network Modeling (Schvaneveldt,
Dearholdt, & Durso, 1988). The Pathfinder process uses students judgments of
relatedness between pairs of germane concepts to create a network diagram, or PFnet, that
illustrates the most salient connections that students make amongst the set of concepts.
These data were used largely in a quantitative manner by comparing various measures of
similarity between each students pre- and post-PFnet to an expert referent, noting change
in similarity to the referent over the span of the DIAL experience. Wilcoxon Matched
Pairs Tests were used to assess for statistically significant change at the case level. The
PFnets were also used qualitatively to (1) analyze for patterns in the nature of the changes
students were making in their knowledge structures as a result of the DIAL experiences,
and (2) to drive the interview process used to answer the second research question.
That second research question, regarding the contributions to learning made by
components of the learning environment, was answered using a qualitative approach. As
mentioned, students were interviewed immediately following their DIAL experiences and
they were shown the PFnets from their pre- and post- assessments. Changes in the PFnets
that represented conceptual shifts important to the learning goals of the class were
highlighted and pointed out to the students. For each of these, students were asked to
describe their current understanding of the highlighted relationship, if the change was
indeed a conceptual shift that they felt they made, and how they learned about or made
that shift. Follow-up questions were often asked to help students clarify their self-
identified learning process. The interviews were audio recorded, transcribed and coded
using the method of pattern matching logic (Yin, 2009). Cross-case analysis was used to
identify common themes and patterns across the four DIAL experiences.
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In order to triangulate the data gathered through the interview process, I directly
observed one case, the Everglades class, throughout their DIAL experience. I recorded
video, audio, photographs, and field notes of student learning and interactions with their
environment, conducting on-the-spot interviews as we traveled. While four students were
intentionally highlighted within this process to capture as complete a record of their
experience as possible, all students in the class, their teacher, and a local guide hired for
the trip, were all included. My role in the group could be described as a quasi-participant
as I was not involved in the targeted learning but participated in general camp and travel
activities and engaged in casual as well as data-collection conversations. The data
collected through this process were coded and analyzed using the same scheme as for the
interview process. The formal interviews conducted on the trip were recorded,
transcribed, and coded, while all other audio, video, and photographic data were coded
directly with a qualitative research software tool. The data were compared to the findings
from the interview process and included in the cross-case analysis. A more in-depth
discussion of the methods used in this study can be found in Chapter Three.
My Background
In qualitative research the researcher is the primary instrument and as such it is
important for the reader to understand the background and perspective of the researcher as
it relates to the methods and data being presented (Creswell, 2007). As this study includes
qualitative methods I address my background in this section.
My own background in contextualized science education began as a freshly minted
wildlife biologist working for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In that position it
became clear to me that there were many aspects of my undergraduate education that did
39


not fully come to light until I experienced the use of learned knowledge in the context of a
working field biologist interacting with other scientists, wildlife, ecosystems, and a body
of focused knowledge.
When I transitioned into teaching science at the secondary level, I tried to foster
similar approaches to contextualize the targeted information for my students, using
experiential learning, problem-based learning, service learning, integrated curricula, and
what I am now calling DIAL. It was clear to me that these approaches led to much higher
student engagement but it was always difficult to determine if student learning was
greater, categorically different, or longer lasting than that which resulted from more
traditional pedagogies. It seemed as though students interactions with people and their
environments were often markedly different during DIAL experiences than they were with
more traditional approaches but identifying these differences proved elusive and the
literature on experiential education did not offer much guidance. While I often felt as
though experiential approaches to learning could be very powerful, I have often observed
situations where I doubted that any significant learning was occurring, even in my own
teaching. With that perspective, I approached the present research not in an attempt to
prove the efficacy of experiential education or DIAL, but to test and explore it.
Chapter One Summary
In this chapter I presented the problem this study addressed: the need for science
pedagogies that foster deeper conceptual knowledge, offering DIAL as a potential but
untested solution to this problem. I explained the role that situated constructivism played
as the theoretical foundation for the study and introduced a new conceptual framework
that was tested in this study. I described some of the difficulties of studying authentic
40


learning environments and provided an overview for the mixed methods approach I used
to work around these difficulties.
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CHAPTER II
LITERATURE REVIEW
Introduction
Thinking about DIAL as a unique learning process is a new endeavor and as such
there is no existing literature that directly informs an understanding of it. However, there
are a number of bodies of research that inform elements of DIAL. That past work
directed the design and implementation of this study. The first part of this chapter
provides a more in-depth discussion of the theoretical foundations of the study, what I am
calling situated constructivism. That first section explains the contributions of situative,
cognitive, and experiential learning theories as well as the thinking of others who have
found utility in a combined theoretical view of learning.
A simple way to conceive of DIAL is as a pedagogy, and a process in which
cognitive learning happens in conjunction with a contextualized, real-world environment
that was specifically chosen by the teacher to support academic learning. With this
framing, the relationship between the environment, the content, and the learner are deeply
interrelated through the processes of contextualization and experience. In the second
section of this chapter I present some empirical evidence on contextualized science
learning from existing studies. This is done in three parts outlining (a) understandings of
context and contextualization, (b) evidence concerning the role of experience in learning
within authentic learning environments, and (c) a look at past studies that have compared
facilitated and peripheral learning opportunities.
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Theoretical Foundations
The theoretical foundation for this study was introduced in Chapter One. The
approach was described as being based on the assumptions of situated learning theories
that assert learning is a complex process involving all of the animate and inanimate
objects within a learning environment, continuously processing information and
recording changes within the system. The cognitive view is one of learning as an
individual process that happens within the learners head through changing
representations of knowledge. The perspective used here combines these two, seeing
specific and critical roles for the individual within the more complex ecology of the
person-plus. Experience is the interaction between the individual and the system. In the
next sections, each of these theoretical traditions is explained in isolation. Some more
recent thinking on bringing the traditions together is then presented. At the outset of this
research, the work used experiential learning theory (ELT) as a theoretical foundation.
ELT is presented first to capture the evolution of the thinking that went into the
development of the present theoretical basis.
Experiential Learning Theory
In scanning the experiential education literature, one finds almost as many
definitions for EE as there are authors writing about it. Curiously, and perhaps in
reaction to the broad sweep of what has been called EE, many writers choose to define it
by what it is not, as in Chapman, McPhee, & Proudman (1992):
Experiential education is not simply learning by doing. Living could be
described as learning by doing. Often this is not education, but simply a routine,
prescribed pattern of social conditioning... Learning that takes place without
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reference to relationships is not experiential as it does not allow learners an
opportunity to see how they fit into the bigger picture, (p. 18)
In contrast, Kolb (1984) offers an affirmative definition that is deceptively simple,
the process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience
(p.38). The Association for Experiential Education defines EE as both a philosophy and
methodology in which educators purposefully engage with learners in direct experience
and focused reflection to increase knowledge, develop skills, and clarify values
(Breunig, 2008, p. 78). Itin (1999) offers a more complete understanding of experiential
education, and a definition that most closely resembles DIAL:
Experiential education is a holistic philosophy, where carefully chosen
experiences supported by reflection, critical analysis, and synthesis, are structured
to require the learner to take initiative, make decisions, and be accountable for the
results, through actively posing questions, investigating, experimenting, being
curious, solving problems, assuming responsibility, being creative, constructing
meaning, and integrating previously developed knowledge. Learners are engaged
intellectually, emotionally, socially, politically, spiritually, and physically in an
uncertain environment where the learner may experience success, failure,
adventure, and risk-taking. The learning usually involves interaction between
learners, learner and educator, and learner and environment. It challenges the
learner to explore issues of values, relationship, diversity, inclusion, and
community. The educator's primary roles include selecting suitable experiences,
posing problems, setting boundaries, supporting learners, ensuring physical and
emotional safety, facilitating the learning process, guiding reflection, and
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providing the necessary information. The results of the learning form the basis of
future experience and learning, (p. 139)
Still others identify a theory of experiential education that has emerged in the
collective works of scholars who have turned their attention to understanding learning
through experience (Itin, 1999; Kolb, Boyatzis, & Mainemelis, 2000; Kraft, 1986;
Roberts, 2008). Though labeled Experiential Learning Theory (ELT) by Kolb et al.
(2000), and described as emerging, it is largely built on the philosophy of John Dewey
(1938/1997).
For Dewey, understanding the world through experience provided an elegant
solution for the dispute between the rationalists and the empiricists of his day and it was
his philosophical approach to experience that led to his pedagogy (Hunt, 1981). It is
experience that unites the physical world (primary experience), with the reflective and
cognitive constructions of the mind, or secondary experience (Hunt, 1981). According
to Dewey, these two levels of experience are continually at work integrating cognitively
with past experiences and preparing the individual for future experiences, a concept he
referred to as continuity of experience (Breunig, 2008). Dewey cautioned against
educators who favored primary over secondary experience or vice versa, highlighting the
importance of both in the process (Dewey, 1938/1997).
One could argue that Dewey jumped from philosophy to pedagogy, skipping
theory, but this emerging ELT is now filling that void. It was this relationship between
experience and reflection that led to and drove the development and evolution of theory
that includes cyclical models of experiential learning, most notably those of Kolb (1984)
and Joplin (1981). In these stepwise models, the learner continually enters various stages
45


of experience or reflection, transitioning to the next step via internal or external impetus
(Quay, 2003). More recently, writers have been questioning the insularity of these cycles
(Quay, 2003) as well as the nature and role of the reflection within them (Bell, 1993).
While these models are useful to the practitioner, they will necessarily continue to evolve
over time to accommodate more nuanced understandings of learning.
This is where it becomes important to understand experiential learning as a theory
that undergirds pedagogy and that can be used as a lens to interpret DIAL. Joplin (1981),
for example, warns against assessing a program as experiential simply because it has an
action component. A theoretical framework provides a better lens with which to assess.
Deweys empirical naturalism provides one such theory (Hunt, 1981), but experiential
theory has expanded beyond Deweys original conception. To, expand on this theory,
Carver (1996) describes the individual learner as situated within her environment not as
an independent entity integrating experience and reflection, but as one doing so with
myriad contributing and confounding factors, a situated view of experience. Knowledge
becomes co-constructed by the learner, experience, reflection, environment, and social
inputs. Therefore, teaching methods and learning can be couched in this way:
Simple participation in a prescribed set of learning experiences does not make
something experiential. The experiential methodology is not linear, cyclical, or
even patterned. It is a series of working principles, all of which are equally
important and must be present to varying degrees at some time during
experiential learning. These principles are required no matter what activity the
student is engaged in or where learning takes place. (Chapman, et al., 1992, p.
20)
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While the call to incorporate social and environmental aspects of learning into EE
seem relatively recent (e.g. Seaman, 2008), Dewey recognized the importance of
considering the social and environmental in his model of learning: Experience does not
occur in a vacuum. There are sources outside an individual that give rise to experience; it
is constantly fed from the springs (Dewey, 1938/1997, p. 40). Place-based education,
considered by some to have its genesis in the EE movement, is an attempt to better
understand and utilize the relationship of the learner to his/her environment and it is also
an important piece of the ELT theoretical framework (Gruenewald, 2003). Itin (1999)
discusses the role of environment in learning:
The educational process does more than take place within the setting; it interacts
and transacts with numerous environmental aspects. The environment would
include not only the setting (the context in which teaching takes place), but also
the larger social-political-economic systems, the multiple students in the class,
and any other system that impacts the teaching-learning process (p. 139).
Quay (2003) adds, Experience itself is often commonly understood as knowledge held
in context-we have experience in something, we participate in something. These
somethings are related to contexts. Transfer cannot be understood apart from the
recognition of the importance of context learning (p. 185).
The repositioning of knowledge beyond the individual experience/reflection cycle
and into the social, cultural, and environmental realms marks an important shift in ELT
away from pure constructivism and it also relieves an additional tension that accompanies
constructivism: if knowledge is constructed in an entirely individual manner, can there be
any transfer of canonical knowledge? This question is of particular interest in science
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education as it would be unrealistic to expect even the brightest students to independently
develop thousands of years worth of discovery when presented with even the best
experiences. The modem practice of science requires individuals to be empirical and to
constmct new ideas but it also requires a solid understanding of the canon from which to
proceed.
The inclusion of canonical knowledge is also more realistic in a public school
system responsible for ensuring that students not only learn, but gain specific knowledge
and skill sets as deemed necessary by society. As Hunt (1981) jibed One only need look
at some products of innovative education who are very much in touch with their
feelings, but who cannot write a coherent sentence (p. 212). Zahorik (1997) wrote:
In productive constructionism, a teacher's job is to fuse students' knowledge with
what experts know, not to favor one over the other. Teachers do not promote
understanding by permitting students' constructions to stand even though they
clash with experts' constructions. Student engagement in problem-solving tasks is
crucial, but so is teacher-student dialog, (p.38)
Despite its long pedigree and foundations in empirical naturalism, ELT is far from
being universally agreed upon. The nature and composition of experience itself is still
hotly debated (Bell, 1993; Fox, 2008; Roberts, 2008). One of the more significant
tensions within the emerging ELT is the simultaneous importance placed on individual
experience and social contributions to learning. ELT values individual experience, both
primary and secondary, but recognizes an emergent quality associated with shared
experiences, an idea associated with situated learning theories (Quay, 2003). ELT takes
the critical step beyond constructivism in acknowledging the interplay of the individual,
48


the environment, and the social. It does not, however, describe exactly how these
elements work together for learning, nor does it reconcile the inherent tensions in this.
More targeted theoretical tools are required to help frame the assumptions upon which
this study is built, namely the roles of social mediation and contextualization in a learning
environment as well as the specific role of the individual in learning.
Situated Learning Theories
As reflected above, incorporating the role of experience in learning implies an
interaction with the learners environment. Indeed, it is difficult to imagine how learning
could take place without factors external to the learner. Theories of situated cognition,
situated learning, and the closely aligned theory of distributed cognition address this
relationship in a manner that is more directed than can be found in ELT.
Within this situative theoretical frame, a computer, a book, other people, and
cultural elements, for example, all participate with an individual to process information
and retain it. In this way, a student might take a math problem from a textbook, use a
calculator to solve it, and record the answer in the notebook and so all of these elements
become part of the thinking and learning process. Cole & Engestrom (1993) also
describe cognition as being distributed across the dimension of time.
Significantly, Dewey described what would now be considered a situated
conception of learning: the idea of environment is a necessity to the idea of organism,
and with the conception of environment comes the impossibility of considering psychical
life as an individual, isolated thing developing in a vacuum (1884, p. 285). For Dewey,
primary experience is entirely situated in physical and social contexts. In that way,
knowing becomes a practice and learning a strengthening of that practice rather than a
49


possession of an individual (Greeno, et al., 1996). In other words, intelligence is
accomplished rather than possessed (Pea, 1993, p. 49).
Perkins (1993) introduces a useful concept to be used with distributed cognition,
the person-plus, as a unit of analysis in understanding learning. The person-plus
represents the individual along with all of the external tools, practices, and other
individuals that allow for a given cognitive process. This is contrasted with the more
conventional view of the person-solo, the conception of learning as being entirely in the
head (Perkins, 1993). Thus, the cognitive process as well as any memory or cognitive
residue are distributed throughout the learning environment, such that the learner off-
loads memory (Brown, et al., 1989), into notebooks, other people, etc (Perkins, 1993).
According to Perkins (1993), where the knowledge is stored is irrelevant as long as its
retrieval is equivalent, a function he labels the equivalent access hypothesis.
Perkins (1993) uses the example of executive function to describe the situative
perspective. It is quite often that we rely on the external environment to make decisions
for us (e.g. laws and directions to follow), noting that this is a more efficient method than
processing every decision we are faced with on a daily basis. If learning is distributed
throughout the environment, how then can transfer ever happen? According to Fenwick:
Each different context evokes different knowings through very different demands
of participation. This means that training in a classroom only helps develop a learners
ability to do training better. What is learned in one training or work site is not portable
but is transformed and reinvented when applied to the tasks, interactions, and cultural
dynamics of another. (2000, p. 254)
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That is, transfer as it is understood in cognitive psychology does not exist.
Rather, new processes are created, informed by the cognitive residues of the person-solo,
but entirely dependent on the new person-plus. Within the situative understanding of
learning, knowledge is distributed throughout the environment rather than possessed by
the person-solo but the person-solo indexes the knowledge, providing the tools with
which to access that distributed knowledge at a later time (Brown, et al., 1989).
Again, it is the action and practice that are relevant, rather than where information
is stored. However, this does not imply an exclusion of the abstract, as explained by
Brown & Duguid (1996) Because of its emphasis on the implicit and practice, situated
arguments have occasionally been accused of championing the implicit, in denouncing
the explicit and abstract as if these were somehow antithetical to practice... But
explication and abstraction are themselves situated social practices (p. 4, emphasis
original). It is the context that makes sense of the abstraction. Brown et al. (1989) offer
a useful way to understand this concept: "Tools share several significant features with
knowledge: They can only be fully understood through use, and using them entails both
changing the user's view of the world and adopting the belief system of the culture in
which they are used" (p. 33). The goal of education within a distributed cognition model
is to learn how to more efficiently distribute and access information rather than to possess
more knowledge within the person-solo (Pea, 1993).
The Social Environment
Within the situated perspective of learning, there is an appropriately heavy
emphasis on the social mediators to learning, recognizing the fact that how we participate
within a functioning community and how we interact with other individuals is perhaps
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the most significant and productive manifestation of learning (Greeno, et al., 1996; Lave,
1988; Lave & Wenger, 1991; Rogoff, 1990; Wertsch, 2007). Salomon (1993a) describes
this interaction:
People appear to think in conjunction or partnership with others and with the help
of culturally provided tools and implements. Cognitions, it would seem, are not
content free tools that are brought to bear on this or that problem; rather, they
emerge in a situation tackled by teams of people and the tools available to them,
(p. xiii)
Even in the case of physical tool use, cultural and social factors determine how
that tool is to be used, and conversely, tools can be seen as a reflection of the values and
situated knowledge of the community (Brown, et al., 1989).
For Vygotsky, all learning originates in the social, such that anything that is
internalized by the person-solo must have originally been present as a previously existing
social construct (Vygotsky, 1978). Even physical tools and abstract signs are
manifestations of social processes. Thus, mediation involves the use of a sign or a tool to
convey meaning (Vygotsky, 1978) and "in higher forms of human behavior, the
individual actively modifies the stimulus situation as a part of the process of responding
to it (Cole & Scribner, 1978, p. 14). Both signs and tools mediate activity but they can
be distinguished by how they are used. Signs are used for internal mediation, such as in
language, while tools are used for the mediation of interactions with the external
environment (John-Steiner & Souberman, 1978).
The use of language, then, is much more than a tool for communication it is a
process that mediates higher thought. It is language that allows us to internalize and
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process stimuli from the external environment. Vygotsky (1978) explains the
developmental ramifications of this process:
The most significant moment in the course of intellectual development, which
gives birth to the purely human forms ofpractical and abstract intelligence,
occurs when speech and practical activity, two previously completely independent
lines of development, converge... as soon as speech and the use of signs are
incorporated into any action, the action becomes transformed and organized along
entirely new lines, (emphasis original, p. 24)
The use of language then, allows for an entirely different relationship with the
environment, a relationship that is labeled, categorized, and has cultural/historical
relevance. Wertsch (2007) summarizes this idea well: Instead of acting in a direct,
unmediated way in the social and physical world, our contact with the world is indirect or
mediated by signs" (p. 178).
The Physical Environment
The situative approach to learning depends on the concept of affordances within
the environment. Affordances are the limits and opportunities placed on the process of
distributed learning and knowing; the psychologically significant information in
environments [that] specifies ways in which spatial settings and objects can contribute to
our interactions with them (Greeno, et al., 1996, p. 21). Affordances of a thing or idea
can be actual or perceived (Pea, 1993). While these affordances apply to all aspects of
the environment, they are perhaps most easily understood through the physical aspects.
These affordances, often the result of socio-cultural history and manifested as physical
tools such as books, may actually play a larger role in cognition and learning than what is
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happening in the mind of any person-solo and thus, they constitute a cultural theory of
mind (Cole & Engestrom, 1993).
The role of these physical, human elements of a learning environment, or
artifacts, may receive less attention than their contributions to situated cognition may
warrant in current writing on socio-cultural learning (Pea, 1993), as they are obscured by
the more directly social aspects. They provide a scaffolding that allows the transmission
of cultural intelligence beyond what can be done through direct social interaction (Pea,
1993). In essence, the artifact is to cultural evolution what the gene is to biological
evolution the vehicle of information across generations" (Pea, 1993, p. 79). Wertsch
(2007) introduced the idea of a sign vehicle to explain the concept of a sign conveying
socio-cultural information that allows for both easy transmission of an idea from person
to person and the possibility of mediating understanding even beyond what the user
intended.
Whether socially-mediated or not, the non-human physical aspects of the learning
environment also play a role in a situated perspective of learning. By providing
affordances to be used by the learner, the physical environment also scaffolds learning by
influencing what can be and what is likely to be learned.
The Cognitive Approach to Learning
As mentioned in Chapter One, there is some debate as to the compatibility
between the situative and cognitive approaches to learning. Some have argued for a
completely distributed or situated view of cognition where the role of the individual is
seen as essentially irrelevant or secondary (Brown, et al., 1989; Cole & Engestrom, 1993;
Rogoff, 1990) while others have argued against situated cognition entirely (J. R.
54


Anderson, et al., 1996). I find the more moderate views that allow for some overlap,
more compelling and useful for the present study. Understanding the relationship
between individual learner and environment as a part of a whole rather than as an
inside/outside phenomenon is important but it does not imply that individual cognition
ceases to exist; nor need it imply that all parts of the whole have equal value in a given
activity.
I contend that understanding the role of individual cognition within a distributed
or situated system of cognition is important for three reasons. First, the role of the
individuals mental representations and the role of the individual as a processing nucleus
are absolutely critical to even distributed cognition. To remove any one aspect of the
plus in the person-plus system will change the nature of the thinking process but to
remove the person from the person-plus system ends the thinking process altogether.
The individual is an appropriate unit of analysis and understanding the processing and
representations of the individual provides a lens into the infinite nature of the person-
plus. The individual provides the only access to an insiders view of the person-plus
system.
A second reason to understand the learning from a constructivist, cognitive
perspective lies in the difficulty that situated cognition has with addressing transfer. That
is, transfer may not have a significant role in situated theories but it is clearly valued in
educational contexts. Particularly as the contextual distance between learning and
application grows, understanding transfer becomes important if theory is to inform
educational praxis. Cognitive theories provide a mechanism to understand transfer.
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Similarly, a third reason to complement a situative understanding with the person-
solo cognitive theories also lies in praxis. It is not yet clear exactly how to direct
instruction or assessment within an entirely situated education model (Greeno, et al.,
1996), particularly within a cultural environment that places a premium on the value of
personal achievement. This may change, but for now informing situated cognition with
the empirically rich tradition of cognitive psychology will add to the relevance of the
approach.
The premise of the cognitive approach is that learning is the accumulation of
mental representations within ones memory and that transfer occurs because some of
these representations are seen as invariant across situations (Greeno, et al., 1996). As
there is a close alignment between these cognitive structures and learning, they can be
used as a way to understand individual learning (Shavelson, 1972; Shavelson & Stanton,
1975). Taking this one step further, there is some evidence that mental representations
may be very closely tied to actual physical spaces/relationships (Battista, 1994) as
learners create conceptual models, such as which concept is close to or overlaps another
or how to get from one concept to another, that reflect geo-spatial organization in the
physical world. Understanding mental representations may then provide insight into the
environments in which learning occurred.
While there are innumerable facets of mental representation and the cognitive
approach that offer insight into human cognition (Tulving, 1985), for the more bounded
purpose of this dissertation I limit this discussion to one aspect that is necessary and
sufficient in describing mental representations of the individual with a system of situated
cognition- schema theory.
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Schema Theory
Originally proposed by Bartlett (1932), a schema is a data structure that we use
within our memory to store generalized information about the world we know and that is
used to interpret future events and incoming information (Rumelhart & Ortony, 1977).
These schemata are encyclopedic and semantic rather than definitional and declarative in
the sense that they record generalized information that is useful for interpreting the
environment rather than absolutes to be recalled as a unit (Rumelhart & Ortony, 1977).
Schemata represent what are normally true but are flexible enough to incorporate new
conditions when appropriate.
Within schema theory most of our memories; our representations of past events,
environments, and ideas are cataloged as generalized meanings based on our
interpretations of past events (Rumelhart & Ortony, 1977). Remembering, then, is not
usually based on a perfect recall of the original information but a recognition through
piecing together of discrete bits of information, glued together with the meaning
attributed by our schemata (Rumelhart & Ortony, 1977).
Within this theory, each schema has a set of variables with allowable ranges of
information (Rumelhart & Ortony, 1977). For example, a DOG schema would have a
variable for size that might range between 2 and 200 pounds, and a number of legs
variable that is essentially fixed at 4. Still, the schema variables work together and are
flexible enough to accommodate novel events (J. R. Anderson, 1990) such that a dog
with only three legs would still be recognized as a dog.
These schemata are not only used for interpreting new information but also for
recall. When we do recall what a dog looked like, for example, we use our DOG schema
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to provide most of the information and then fill in the details for the particular dog we
saw, thus avoiding the requirement to remember every detail of every dog we ever see (J.
R. Anderson, 1990). It has been shown that we actually add information in the recall
process that is a function of our schema and not of reality (Brewer & Treyens, 1981).
Similarly, when interpreting information, we tend to accept data that is closer to average
values for a given schema rather than values near the extreme (McCloskey & Glucksberg,
1978).
Important for the theory and critical for this study is the idea that schemata are
constantly in a state of change or adjustment. As more data for a given variable become
available, the schema can become either more specialized or more generalized
(Rumelhart & Ortony, 1977). The more one studies dogs, the more variables one can add
regarding exactly what constitutes a dog but as one becomes aware of hyenas, foxes, and
jackals, one must accommodate this new knowledge with a more generalized CANID
schema. As we learn then, each related schema must be adjusted to accommodate. As a
schema becomes more specific, the depth of our knowledge increases and as that
knowledge is more generalized, the more we are able to transfer it (Rumelhart & Ortony,
1977). Because of this, specialized schemata allow us to interpret the environment more
quickly and consistently while more generalized schemata require more time and
reasoning but allow for greater flexibility (Rumelhart & Ortony, 1977).
Hierarchies and Networks
Another important point regarding schemata is that they do not work alone.
Rather, they are organized in hierarchical networks with more specialized schemata
nested within more generalized schemata, as described by Rumelhart & Ortony (1977):
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This organization seems to lead to an infinite regress, in which each schema is
characterized in terms of lower-level constituents, or subschemata. Presumably,
the dependence that schemata have on lower-level subschemata must ultimately
stop, that is to say, some schemata must be atomic in the sense that they are not
characterized by reference to any other constituent schemata, (p. 106)
There are implications for both encoding and recall from these hierarchies in that
either process can happen from the top-down, the bottom-up, or simultaneously from
both (Rumelhart & Ortony, 1977). We can make inferences about the general based on
what we are seeing in the specific or we can use general observations to make
assumptions about the details. To use the DOG example, we can see a dog and make the
assumption that it barks (top-down) or we can see a dog track in the mud and assume that
a complete dog was present at some point (bottom-up). The cognitive structure of these
schemata seem to be closely aligned with how the information was learned (Shavelson,
1972).
Scripts and Plans
Scripts are schemata that are specialized for use with events, or as Schank and
Abelson (1975) put it, a script is a predetermined, stereotyped sequence of actions that
define a well-known situation. A script is, in effect, a very boring little story" (p. 151).
These scripts allow us to operate in the world and interpret the world without the need to
observe every detail. Plans are similar but also connect sequences of events to goals
(Schank & Abelson, 1975). These are particularly important in interpreting the actions of
others as the assumption of goals leads to the ability to interpret actions (Schank &
Abelson, 1975). For example, seeing a person running down the street does not give us
59


enough information to accurately interpret why but seeing a person carrying a briefcase
and running toward the bus allows us to assume a plan and fill in the story.
The Role of Context in Schema Theory
It is clear that the environment has a critical role in the use of schemata as mental
representations, as described by (Rumelhart & Ortony, 1977): The environment provides
reference for the mental conceptualizations which become associated with the variables
in the schema (p. 102). If the mind serves as an index of knowledge, then the
environment activates that index. Context becomes important in a number of ways.
First, there is a direct correlation between the ability to recall information and the
similarity of the contexts where learning happened and where recall is expected, a
concept dubbed the encoding-specificity principle (Tulving & Thomson, 1973).
However, when a topic is learned in multiple contexts, two factors lead to greater recall:
there are more potential links with which to recall the information and the related
schemata become more generalized and access can occur from a top-down direction
(Rumelhart & Ortony, 1977). This is particularly true when recall is expected with a long
lag time from the learning event (J. R. Anderson, 1990).
When learning and recall do occur, any given idea is associated with contextual
elaborations from prior knowledge, imaginings and inferences, and the current
environmental surround (J. R. Anderson, 1990). Rumelhart & Ortony (1977) offer the
example of the phrase I would like something to drink (page 129). This phrase has a
very different meaning at a bar than it does at a childrens birthday party. Miller and
Gildea (1987) showed that vocabulary learned in a decontextualized environment was
often misused during recall while when words were learned in an appropriate context,
60


learners were able to transfer that word for appropriate use in other contexts, due to the
elaborations surrounding the information.
It has also been found that recall is more accurate when learners are allowed to
generate their own elaborations from existing contexts as compared to when they are
given an a-priori context with which to remember it (Pressley, McDaniel, Turnure,
Wood, & Ahmad, 1987). A final point to make regarding schema theory for the purposes
here is that these elaborations play a key role in the cognitive structures we create and
maintain as memory. These elaborations can be conceptualized as creating pathways and
alternate retrieval routes that the learner can use to access remembered information.
Additionally, the elaborations, along with schemata, offer alternate cues with which to
infer a forgotten bit of information (J. R. Anderson, 1990). The conclusion then is that
diversity of contextual cues at learning leads to greater fidelity and speed at recall.
Cognitive science has also provided evidence that could be extrapolated to the
outcomes of learning in-situ. It has been shown, for example, that semantic memory is
boosted when associated with episodic memory events (Menon, Boyett-Anderson,
Schatzberg, & Reiss, 2002; Verfaellie, Croce, & Milberg, 1995). That is, direct, personal
experiences lead to higher and more permanent rates of information assimilation.
Additionally, research has shown that contextual clues allow us to bypass our brains
penchant for filtering out new information (e.g. Martens & Wyble, 2010). This work
done in cognitive science should inform what is happening when an actual learner
interacts with her learning environment but there is a dearth of evidence supporting this
jump. An unpublished work by Hutchins is quoted by Brown et al. (1989): "[Wjhen the
context of cognition is ignored, it is impossible to see the contribution of structure in the
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environment, in artifacts, and in other people to the organization of mental processes (p.
67).
Situated Constructivism
The study reported herein was conceptualized from a foundation that considered
learning as it exists in a situated context but did so largely by looking at the meanings and
representations assigned by individuals through experience. Therefore, a theory that
combines the cognitive and situative perspectives, and informed by ELT was needed. As
discussed in the previous chapter, Cobb & Yackel (1996) offer a theoretical framework
for such a union called the emergent approach, but I prefer the label situated
constructivism as it is more descriptive and reflects the traditions from which it was
developed. Within their framework, it is possible to locate analyses of individuals
constructive activities in a social context (Cobb & Yackel, 1996). They describe the
impetus for this approach in this way:
In general, analyses conducted from the psychological constructivist perspective
bring out the heterogeneity in the activities of the members of a classroom
community. In contrast, social analyses of classroom mathematical practices
conducted from the interactionist perspective bring out what is jointly established
as the teacher and students coordinate their individual activities. In drawing on
these two analytic perspectives, the emergent approach takes both the individual
and the community as points of reference. This approach seeks to analyze both
the development of individual minds and the evolution of the local social worlds
in which those minds participate. (Cobb & Yackel, 1996, p. 180)
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How do the roles of the individual and the roles of the environment work together
within a conception of situated constructivism then? Perkins (1993) describes the
individual as containing and using higher-order knowledge, illustrating three reasons why
higher-order knowledge must exist within the person-solo rather than the person-plus:
First of all, because higher-order knowledge is referenced more or less
continuously by the executive function in complex inquiry activities it is not like a
formula that, checked once a month, might as well be buried in a book. Second,
higher-order knowledge is fairly stable, not ephemeral like scratch work, and so it
might as well sit in long-term memory. Third, higher-order knowledge is
relatively compact compared with the mass of facts and procedures in a domain,
(p. 104)
Perkins goes on to describe the close relationship between higher-order thinking
and executive function, noting that while executive function can certainly be distributed,
when it does occur within the individual, it typically requires ready access to higher-order
problem-solving skills. Greeno et al. (1996) describe the role of the plus within a view
of situated constructivism: The practices of a community provide facilitating and
inhibiting patterns that organize the groups activities and the participation of individuals
who are attuned to those regularities (p.20).
As discussed previously, Vygotsky saw a direct relationship between what occurs
in the socio-cultural environment and with individual thought via the process of
internalization. Wertsch (2007)connects this idea of internalization back to that of social
mediation: "It is because humans internalize forms of mediation provided by particular
cultural, historical, and institutional forces that their mental functioning is
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sociohistorically situated" (p. 178). All of these ideas are manifestations of development
for Vygotsky (Cole & Scribner, 1978), and as such he describes a relationship between
the biological and the cognitive but also a progression from the biological to the cognitive
in the sense that over time, a young learner begins to incorporate more of the external and
thus abandon the biological and sensory (Vygotsky, 1978). In this way, the developing
learner relies less and less on sensory stimuli and more on internalized thought and ideas,
or artificial stimuli. This could also be described as a greater reliance on schema in
interpreting the world.
Context and Learning
The immersion aspect of DIAL is an immersion into an authentic context, directly
related to the targeted content. There is an assumption then, that context contributes to
learning. The academic aspect of DIAL focuses attention on cognitive, academic
learning. Although there is no literature base specific to DIAL, there has been some
work done that looks at the role of context in learning and some specific work that has
focused on the role of contextualized learning in science education. This section will
begin with a general discussion of what context is and how it relates to learning.
Examination of the role of context in schools and contextualized science education will
follow.
General Understanding of Context
There are countless ways to conceptualize exactly what context is or is not.
Tessmer and Richey (1997) provide one definition. Context is A multilevel body of
factors in which learning and performance are embedded... Context is not the additive
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influence of discrete entities but rather the simultaneous interaction of a number of
mutually influential factors (p. 87, emphasis original).
Through contextualization there is a direct connection between experienced
events and concepts (Rivet & Krajcik, 2004b). Tessmer & Richey (1997) also point out
some important aspects regarding the relationship between context and learning. First,
they point out that we are condemned to context in that it is unavoidable. Removing or
minimizing some contextual factors only leads to their replacement by different factors.
Even an empty room with nobody else in it is a context for a learner. A second point they
make is that an instructional design can accommodate context but cannot create it. That
is to say, because context is inevitable, curriculum can work within it but it cannot
manufacture it from a vacuum. A third point is that context varies based on the intensity,
details, and individualized interaction with each learner (Tessmer & Richey, 1997).
Because of this, the meaning of any concept is always under construction as it is
reformed within ever-changing contexts (Brown, et al., 1989).
There are a number of experimental studies that have tested the role of context in
learning. Introducing semantic contexts through electronic games, it has been shown that
contextualization features promote memory recall and subsequent transfer of information
to new settings (CTGV, 1990; Robinson, 2001) as well as learning. Barab et al. (2009)
found that students instructed through immersion as an avatar in a virtual world scored
better on standardized tests than did textbook-instructed students. In a classic study of
contextualized learning of language, Miller and Gildea (1987) showed that when children
learn vocabulary out of context it is often misused and not retained whereas vocabulary
learned in context is both useful and retained. Language is a particularly good model to
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look at when considering science learning. They are similar in that they are both
comprised of fairly simple ideas and rules that become very complex when combined.
As Nunberg is credited with writing in 1979: language use would involve an unremitting
confrontation with ambiguity, polysemy, nuance, metaphor, and so forth, were these not
resolved with the extra-linguistic help that the context of an utterance provide (Brown,
1989). The words themselves have little or endless meaning without a context to place
them in. Without a context any knowledge is of limited use and incomplete (Spiro,
1988).
Despite this, much of what is taught in schools is decontextualized or is associated
with very minimal contextualization (Choi & Hannafin, 1995). In this way, the facts and
their meaning are dissociated, leaving the ideas open for confusion or misapplication
(CTGV, 1990). In many educational settings, context is seen as a constraint that must be
overcome: the socio-economic status of the students, the lack of resources, poorly trained
teachers, etc. Where we do see learning and context positively associated in the research
literature, it typically involves generating a descriptive narrative around an idea to help
students connect the contexts of their out-of-school lives with what is happening in the
classroom. There is little recognition of learning that relies on existing contexts for
support. In a telling quote, even researchers who study learning in context express
troubling ideas on the role of the complete context for learning: the physical
environment does not so much increase learning when it is excellent as inhibit when it is
poor (Tessmer & Richey, 1997, p. 96). If this is true, then DIAL is of little merit.
Rather, I contend, the quote reflects a very limited view of learning environments that
considers little beyond a traditional classroom.
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Though contextualization has been shown to support learning, it can also be a
detriment when learning is over-contextualized. In an experimental study, Son and
Goldstone (2009) created three computerized lesson treatments of technical information
to compare a lesson with a third-person, direct instruction perspective to instruction built
around a celebrity context and another built around a first-person perspective. Though
the lessons were short and overly simplistic, and the authors only looked at short-term
results, they did find that the two context treatments led to the introduction of personal
perspectives that were in contrast to accepted ways of knowing. In a more in-depth look
at learning in context Lave (1988) also found that learning in context could hinder
transfer. In her look at how just plain folks learn and use math, she found that people
tend to devise ways of calculating that work well within their own professional contexts
but do not transfer well to other applications (Lave, 1988).
Personally contextualized learning can be problematic as it can be more difficult
to transfer information when it is learned through that personal context. DIAL, however,
does not reposition the content into a personal context. Rather, it takes the learner into
the context so that they can use individualized perspective to pick out personally relevant
but actual cues and use the context in conjunction with academic instruction.
Context in School
As with the just plain folks of Laves (1988) work, students in schools are
asked to do the opposite task of taking what is learned in school and hopefully applying it
to their lives outside of school. The same disconnect is present moving from formal to
informal though. Students struggle with applying the clean, perfect, compliant
knowledge (McCaslin & Good, 1992) of the classroom with the unruly and messy
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applications of the real world (Choi & Hannafin, 1995). Resnick (1987) describes how
very few people, including highly trained professionals such as engineers and doctors,
use mathematics as they were taught in school, instead inventing their own situation-
specific algorithms that work for the contexts in which they work, or borrowing them
from others within their community of practice. However, Resnick (1987) also points out
that formally trained workers can more easily generate a new algorithm or apply a
different approach than can people who learned a math skill entirely in context (e.g.
Brazilian black market lottery bookies). It seems, then that a compromise is needed
between the formal and informal. Students need to learn formal knowledge and big
picture ideas but they must also learn how those ideas fit into the messiness of the real
world by experiencing those ideas within a real-world context.
There are two broad approaches to contextualizing education: introducing context
into the classroom and bringing the class out into context. Gilbert (2006) describes and
evaluates 4 pedagogical models of science education that have been touted as context-
based curricula, three of which fit the approach of introducing context into the
classroom. The following list is paraphrased from Gilbert (2006):
(1) Context as the direct application of concepts: a post-hoc approach of trying to
describe examples that illustrate the formal teaching. It does not include a
community of practice, nor language, nor behaviors common to the real life
application of the knowledge and requires very little background knowledge.
(2) Context as reciprocity between concepts and applications: the concept is
taught within an interdisciplinary approach framed in a societal or social need.
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The concept and application give each other meaning. Shifting meaning can be
confusing.
(3) Context as provided by personal mental activity, narrative based. A reader
empathizes with a story about someone in a community of practice using the
concept. Language from the community of practice is used and requires student to
develop an empathetic connection.
(4) Context as the social circumstance. Learning is considered to take place as
experiencing an authentic setting. Students participate in a community of
practice.
DIAL is most closely associated with the final category as students are enmeshed
in a real context rather than relying on the assumption that their previous experiences
give them the understanding to make sense of a hypothetical context. Of course DIAL
also takes into account many contextual details beyond the social.
Bulte, Westbroek, de Jong, & Pilot (2006) also studied different versions of
contextualization through need to know curricula and determined that there is an
important difference for a student between what a teacher might perceive as need to
know information and what a student considers relevant to his life. Context and concept
must be truly related and not just linked artificially through a narrative connection. A
narrative or couching of a problem within a greater societal context is not automatically
relevant for a student and thus it may not truly be contextualization for them (Bulte, et al.,
2006).
In a large-scale, pretest/posttest study of secondary students, Gerber, Cavallo, &
Marek (2001) examined the role of various types of contextualization on students
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scientific reasoning abilities. They found that students who had regular access to
contextually enriched, informal learning environments outside of school showed greater
science reasoning ability than did students whose outside-of-school environments were
contextually impoverished. This suggests an important role for real, lived experience in
understanding even the formal science learned in school. Contextually rich inquiry
environments in science classes were also associated with higher scientific reasoning
ability than were more direct instruction models.
In a related study, Adey and Shayer (1990) showed that middle and high school
students who developed more extensive experiential knowledge bases also had higher-
order schemata regarding particular science concepts. This positioned the students to
achieve new understanding with less learning than was true for students without the
experience and schemata. Another large-scale project involving about 2500 secondary
students in Detroit public schools examined contextualized science learning designed
specifically to address learning standards (Rivet & Krajcik, 2004a, 2004b, 2008). One
finding of the project was that:
Those students observed in class relating both their personal experiences and the
science concepts to the driving question, anchoring events, and overall
contextualizing theme of the project appeared to have a stronger performance on
the pre / posttest assessment. Likewise, students who were not observed engaging
with the contextualizing features of the project during classroom observations did
not achieve strong pre/posttest gains. (Rivet & Krajcik, 2008, p. 95)
Rivet and Krajcik (2004a) also found that students in the project were more able
to transfer information and describe relationships between concepts as a result of
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contextualization. A drawback to the Rivet and Krajcik (2004a) study and one that is
common to most of the work that has been done on contextualization, is that it relied on
the assumption that students past experiences were applicable to the classroom work
they are doing. The Rivet and Krajcik (2008) study, for example was built around the
idea of the importance of bike helmets in understanding force. It assumed that the
students have experience riding bicycles and falling off of them, an assumption that was
probably not valid for all of the 2500 inner city kids in the study. Even if all of the
students had ridden and fallen off of bicycles, there was an assumption that that
experience had contextual clues that related to the present study of force. This also seems
problematic. We cannot assume that the details of the bike-riding experience that were
important during the event shared any commonality with the details that were important
for understanding force. The context may be hollow or confusing for students. For this
reason DIAL presents a very different approach to contextualization by providing
instruction and context simultaneously.
There is a real danger in moving a context from the real world to the classroom
where aspects of the context most important for learning are lost. There is also an
assumption that the teacher or curriculum developer knows which aspects of the context
are relevant and important for any given student, a dubious assumption at best. Brown
(1989) addresses these concerns well:
In the creation of classroom tasks, apparently peripheral features of authentic
tasks- like the extra-linguistic supports involved in the interpretation of
communication- are often dismissed as "noise" from which salient features can be
abstracted for the purpose of teaching. But the context of activity is an
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extraordinarily complex network from which practitioners draw essential support.
The source of such support is often only tacitly recognized by practitioners, or
even by teachers or designers of simulations. Classroom tasks, therefore, can
completely fail to provide the contextual features that allow authentic activity. At
the same time, students may come to rely, in important but little noticed ways, on
features of the classroom context, in which the task is now embedded, that are
wholly absent from and alien to authentic activity. Thus, much of what is learned
in school may apply only to the ersatz activity, if it was learned through such
activity, (p.34)
Past research has shown that contextualization of content knowledge can advance
learning in a number of ways, particularly with helping students make connections and
build schematic knowledge. There are also real dangers with over-contextualizing
information or with making assumptions about the connections between authentic
context, classroom context, and content knowledge. The next sections of this chapter
explore the role of experience in context and how that affects learning.
Experience in Authentic Settings
In DIAL context should be a contributor to learning as it was in many of the
studies cited in the previous section. Experience, then, is the students interaction with
context, the vehicle that bridges the gap between self and environment. In this section I
present a review of studies that have investigated the role of experience in learning,
particularly experience in authentic contexts. Few of the studies are focused on what
could be called DIAL but we can begin to see the outlines of DIAL when we trace around
the periphery. A broader look at the literature than might be desired was needed to
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examine the relationship between experience and learning. Evidence was drawn from
studies on day-long or shorter field trips, longer field experiences, science, and
geography, all at the elementary through college levels. The lack of deep immersion and
the wide range of developmental levels limit the applicability of these studies to DIAL
and to the present study but they do provide some insight as to how learning in authentic
environments manifests.
Much of the work cited in this section originates from outside the United States
where field-based pedagogies seem to be more popular and utilized. Outdoor learning in
general is examined along with a focused look at experiential science education. Again,
DIAL need not take place outdoors but that is where the literature base is and was the
setting of the cases reported through the present study. Some of the work stems from
international experiential geography immersion learning though it should be noted that
the curricula described in those studies would align well with Earth Science curricula in
the United States.
Two bodies of research were heavily reviewed for this project but included at
only minimal levels due to limited parallels. Adventure learning, such as what happens
on Outward Bound type courses, has some similarity to DIAL in the use of deep
immersion but the goals as well as the measured results of this type of learning are almost
always affective or social as opposed to cognitive in nature. The affective domain is
reviewed here but only as it affects the cognitive domain. Adventure learning does not
tend to have strong, if any, academic components. The literature on museum visits is also
compelling and while museums can be incredible learning environments, the presentation
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and control of knowledge is much closer to classroom learning than it is to authentic
learning environments.
Experience and Activity
Without going too far afield, a few studies on the outcomes of general experiential
curricula are worth discussing. The first was a very large study conducted by a physics
professor in response to an emerging crisis within his field (Hake, 1998). It was
becoming apparent that most college physics students finished their courses with very
little practical understanding of the concepts being taught. They could solve complex
physics equations but could not answer simple questions about the application of the
concepts. In searching for solutions Hake (1998) conducted a study that included 6542
college and high school students that had taken a validated measure of practical physics
knowledge. Of the participants, students in classes with any level of interactive
engagement scored two standard deviations above students in traditional lecture classes!
It should be noted though, that Hake (1988) collected test results from teachers and
professors who volunteered the information post-hoc and so there was likely to be an
underrepresented group at the bottom of the performance scale (Hake, 1988).
In a more dated look at 27 experience-based educational programs, Conrad and
Hedin (1982) determined through a meta-analytic process that the programs overall had a
significant positive impact on the social, psychological, and intellectual development of
the adolescents involved. A common claim of experiential education programs is that
they foster long-term, deeper knowledge yet very few studies have tracked long-term
effects. In one simple study 96% of respondents (n=128), including adults and children,
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could remember some details of a field trip they had taken in elementary school,
regardless of how long ago that might have been (Falk & Dierking, 1997).
Cognitive Learning
Anecdotal reports on the positive effects of experiential education abound.
However, in order to justify the use of DIAL or other experiential practices in a
standards-based environment, there must be empirical evidence of significant content-
focused cognitive learning as a result of using these pedagogies. This study contributes
to a growing body of research that does so, though focusing specifically on DIAL.
In a review of outdoor experiential learning, Dillon et al. (2006) concluded that
fieldwork, properly conceived, adequately planned, well taught and effectively followed
up, offers learners opportunities to develop their knowledge and skills in ways that add
value to their everyday experiences in the classroom (p. 107). Because most
experiential education trips into authentic contexts require small student groups and
teachers who are passionate about the approach, studies of them tend to be small scale
and difficult to reproduce (e.g. Knapp & Benton, 2006; Lisowski & Disinger, 1991;
Plante, Lackey, & Hwang, 2009). A notable exception tracked students for a year in 11
California schools that used experiential curricula and matched the schools either to
demographically analogous schools, or in a few cases matched experiential/non-
experiential classrooms within a school (SEER, 2000). Student performance was tracked
across a number of parameters including standardized test scores in reading, science, and
math as well as attendance rates, grade point averages, and other measures of engagement
(SEER, 2000). Students in the experiential schools scored higher in 72% of the
categories suggesting that the experiential approach had a multi-faceted impact including
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an impact on academic performance (SEER, 2000). Similar positive impacts on
cognitive learning have been documented in smaller scale studies in which learning was
measured with content tests following day trips to nature centers (Eaton, 1998; Milton &
Cleveland, 1995; Prokop, Tuncer, & Kvasnicak, 2007). Knapp and Barrie (2001)
instructed 500, 4-6th grade students in a half-day immersive nature program and recorded
ecology knowledge gains regardless of whether the students took part in an ecology-
based lesson or an issues-based lesson. MacKenzie & White (1982) showed that students
taught the same earth science content were much more likely to retain that content three
months later when they were taught in an experiential manner in an authentic
environment than if they were taught in a traditional classroom.
Affective Learning
Although DIAL is focused on cognitive learning, there is a clear link between the
affective and cognitive domains, both in theory and in practice. The former was
reviewed above. Perhaps the closest link between the cognitive and the affective
domains is through engagement. A number of studies have shown that experiential
curricula lead to greater engagement in students (Ballantyne, Fien, & Packer, 2001;
Chapman, et al., 1992; Jakubowski, 2003; Shellman & Ewert, 2010). In one in-depth
look at an experiential program, OConnor (2009) studied not just increased student
engagement in a number of Canadian, indigenous experiential education schools, but the
source of the engagement. He found that community partnerships; alternative forms of
evaluation; field studies; incorporation of indigenous culture, spirituality, and language;
alternative structuring and scheduling; and surprisingly, an acknowledgement of teacher-
centered curricula all had positive effects on student engagement. In other words, the
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positive effects of engagement were not simply a function of doing rather than listening,
they resulted from a multifaceted interaction with the full spectrum of the students
context.
Within the environmental education literature, a primary interest is the role of
experience in natural environments on changing students beliefs about or relationship
with those natural environments. In one such study in Switzerland, Bogner (1999)
reported on a program in which students studied endangered migratory birds, built nest
boxes for them, observed them in the field, and communicated with students in Senegal
where the birds winter. He found that the students became emotionally invested in the
project, which led to the desire to build content knowledge and positive long-term effects
on the students attitudes toward the environment. Ballantyne et al. (2001) found similar
lasting attitudinal changes in students following a one-day visit to a nature center in
Australia. Though these affective changes may not be recorded by a standards-based test
or be directly linked to any science curricula in the U.S. it does seem reasonable to
assume that students who care about an environment would be more inclined to learn
more about it as Bogner (1999) reported.
Along those same lines, students who feel empowered, connected to their learning
community, and take ownership of their learning are more likely to learn more and more
deeply (Mink & O'Steen, 2003; Shellman & Ewert, 2010; Shirilla, 2009). In one report,
based on the assessment of two independent experiential education school programs,
Shirilla (2009) showed a positive effect of the programs on social skill development
though the effect attenuated in one of the schools after one year. After a similar
evaluation of a middle school program based on the Outward Bound model, greater
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behavior ownership, personal efficacy, and community involvement as well as much
higher scores on standardized tests compared to local and statewide control groups were
found (Mink & O'Steen, 2003). When students are challenged either physically or
academically in the course of experiential education experiences, and overcome those
challenges, they are often left with a heightened sense of empowerment (Shellman &
Ewert, 2010) which has ramifications for cognitive learning.
Novelty
The rich sensory environments of authentic contexts and DIAL specifically, offer
endless sources of multi-sensory information to the learner. This is the primary reason
for utilizing DIAL. Although our brains filter out much of what we experience
(Bransford, et al., 2000), novel experiences bypass much of that filtering as we take in
and try to make sense of the new information (Bransford, et al., 2000). The negative
repercussions of that are that students can be easily distracted in novel environments
(Burnett, 1996; Falk & Balling, 1982; Falk, Martin, & Balling, 1978; Martin, Falk, &
Balling, 1981; Orion & Hofstein, 1994). One could argue that the highly controlled
environments of the traditional classroom have developed in response to minimizing
student distractions from the world around them and this too is both good and bad for
learning. Much attention has been paid to the idea of novelty in experiential education
and it directly informs an understanding of DIAL. Openshaw and Whittle (1993)
suggested that successful pedagogy in these sensory enriched environment requires a
balance between the students desire for a structure within which they can feel
comfortable and not threatened and the added excitement caused by the unexpected (pp.
63-64).
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Most of the work that has been done with what Orion & Hofstein (1994) refer to
as the novelty space has been done with day-long field trips. In the seminal paper on
novelty, Falk et al. (1978) showed that elementary students who were unfamiliar with
forest environments spent much more time off-task and attending to exploration of the
environment while students who were familiar with the environment were able to focus
more readily on learning content knowledge. A pretest/posttest design showed that the
unfamiliar students scored as well as the others on setting-related questions but not as
well on content questions. In a follow-up study Falk and Balling (1982) compared
degrees of novelty and age differences, finding that the relationship between novelty and
learning was curvilinear and opposite such that at very low and very high levels of
novelty learning was lowest as students were bored or over-stimulated. Age had an effect
as well in that older students needed greater novelty to remain engaged and younger
students were engaged at lower levels of novelty.
Orion & Hofstein (1994) studied a construct called novelty space, a measure of
familiarity with the destination environment. They found that the educational quality of a
field trip is determined by its structure, learning materials, teaching method, and the
ability to direct learning to a concrete interaction with the environment. Learning
performance was higher when the novelty space was reduced with pre-trip lessons, a
practice that left students spending less time familiarizing themselves with the
environment once in the field. In their study Orion and Hoftein (1994) found that the
novelty space was a more central determinant of learning for students than were typical
variables such as teacher experience, grade level, or class size.
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It can be assumed that novelty plays a role with DIAL but it is not clear how the
novelty attenuates over time. It is interesting that students seem to be more focused on
the environment than on instruction at first but that this changes with greater familiarity.
More research is needed in understanding this evolving but seemingly predictable
relationship between the learner and her environment. Perhaps the heightened
exploration phase at the beginning plays an important role in learning when students have
the time to pass through that phase and into one in which they are more ready to be
instructed.
Immersion
The length of time that students spend in authentic environments does seem to
have an impact on other learning factors. Within the environmental education literature,
time is repeatedly cited as an important factor in changing student attitudes toward the
environment. In one such program, students in Belize spent five days in a residential
environmental education program in which that duration was seen be an important factor
in allaying fears and generating a positive attitude toward the environment (Emmons,
1997). In another study in Switzerland that looked at similar affective qualities along
with cognitive content knowledge, Bogner (1998) compared one-day and five-day
programs and looked at short term as well as long-term (one month) changes. He
determined that there were clear relationships between attitudes and knowledge and that
five days was the minimum duration for lasting affective and conceptual shifts.
Knapp and Benton (2006) interviewed students of a five-day, fifth grade,
residential ecology program in Yellowstone National Park, one year after their
experience. All of the students had retained content knowledge. Students recall was
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highly associated with actions the students had taken during the course; such as hikes and
games; and emotional events they had experienced, such as dramatic wildlife encounters.
The program in the Knapp and Benton (2006) study fits the definition of DIAL as do
reports from two other studies I found for this review.
One of these DIAL programs involved three different, seven-day marine biology
courses in the Bahamas and Cayman Islands in which students were focused on learning
the content knowledge and deeply immersed in the context. Liskowski & Dissinger
(1991) used a pretest/posttest/post-posttest design to measure content learning in the
short- and long-term (one month). The students did show significant growth without any
interactions including gender, age, identity, and even interest level. There was a
correlation between the emphasis teachers placed on a topic and the degree of learning of
that topic.
In a final case that can be called DIAL, Nundy (1999) conducted a study to
compare the learning of students in two geography of rivers classes, one of which took
place through a five-day residential experience in a field environment and another that
took place in a traditional but active classroom. Both cases involved students aged ten
and eleven in the United Kingdom. Both groups achieved gains in cognitive
development but the experimental group was significantly greater. The experimental
group alone gained significantly on their self-perceived academic ability and the authors
hypothesized that there may have been a causal relationship between the two findings.
Novel events were very closely associated with students recall of content knowledge
whereas the traditional school group cited only events that were focused on peer
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relationships. The process of learning also held meaning for the experimental group in
that the experiential process was important to them.
Environmental Components
The conceptual framework (Figure 1.1) guiding this study outlines elements of the
environment predicted to influence how students contextualize their knowledge when
engaged in DIAL experiences. These categories were developed based on the theoretical
foundations presented earlier in this chapter as well as the existing research on authentic
learning environments. Although much of the evidence leading to the conceptual
framework has been presented already, the connections to each of these environmental
components or categories are made in this section.
Social Contributions to Learning
As highlighted in the theoretical foundations above, the social component of a
learners environment should be a substantial contributor to learning in DIAL. Through
language as a mediating device, communities of practice, and abstraction, social means
are an efficient way to learn and otherwise process information. In the research literature
related to DIAL, the social milieu is shown to be both a positive and a distracting force in
learning.
In one New Zealand school camp study, a setting in which secondary students
spend a week at an environmental science camp, Smith, Steel, & Gidlow (2010) found
that student respondents focused heavily on social interactions and peer-networks,
building temporary but supportive communities that did not exist in the schools from
which the groups came. In the previously cited study of a five-day residential camp in
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Belize, the researchers found that students learning was facilitated by their shared and
direct experience of the surroundings, as well as their teachers role-modeling of their
interests and likes about the forest environment (Emmons, 1997).
Even on day trips to authentic learning environments there is some evidence to
indicate that relationships and power structures between teachers and students may
change. Dewitt and Hohenstein (2010) showed through discourse analysis that students
in their study asserted more authority temporarily while on field trips while teachers
tended to ask more open-ended questions of students. Lai (1999) found that the freedom
experienced in field learning changed the social relationships between teachers and
students for the day. Students were more proactive and felt like they had better rapport
with their teachers. Students also took more responsibility for their learning.
While students may feel freer to loosen power structures that dictate the flow of
knowledge, they may be more tightly bound by social structures within their peer groups
in these open-ended learning environments. For example, a study by Anderson, Thomas,
& Nashon (2009) showed that 11th grade students who spent a day at a nature center
working on collaborative projects were hindered by social power structures that limited
cognitive tasks. Argumentation and discourse were avoided if they threatened social
harmony, even amongst groups that appeared to be on task (Anderson, et al, 2009). The
authors reported that there existed metasocial, metacognitive factors that influenced and
shaped cognition in ways counterproductive to the effective learning of science... also
reporting that students are highly aware of their social status within groups and of their
individual group's social conditions and that this awareness affects cognition and
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behavior (Anderson et al, 2009, p. 511). This seems in keeping with other learning
environments but in outdoor settings students may be further from adult intervention.
There may be a contrast between what occurs over extended time periods as in
DIAL and what is reported from these one-day experiences but existing research does not
make this clear.
Physical Environment
As reported above, there seems to be a general sentiment in education that the
physical learning environment can set a general tone but does not contribute directly to
cognitive learning. Borrowing from the adventure education literature, one study
reported that participants ranked the wilderness setting as being the most significant
component of the trip in terms of personal growth (Daniel, 2010). The wilderness in
some way encouraged introspection, reflection, and the construction of metaphors as well
as providing a source of challenge (Daniel, 2010). Even in this example, there is no
mention of direct learning from the environment. Indeed, there was no research
precedent found at all that addressed the role of the physical environment in contributing
to the learning of content knowledge.
The theoretical work on which this study is based does not provide much
guidance either. Vygotskys (1978) work suggests that our relationship with the
environment changes when we can interpret it through language and put labels on it,
bringing it into our awareness. Within situated learning theories there is a sense that the
physical environment is definitely part of the learning system but I am unaware of any
theorist that has addressed exactly what role the physical environment should or does
take in learning, with the exception of when elements of the environment are used as
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tools or the general idea of the environment limiting experience through affordances.
Because there are no available data to suggest that the physical environment does not
contribute directly to learning, I am left with the conclusion that it simply has not been
investigated, leaving an important gap in the literature.
Tools
Although tool use is well understood in school settings (e.g. CTGV, 1990), and
addressed heavily in situative learning theories (e.g. Pea, 1993; Wertsch, 2007), to the
best of my knowledge it has not been studied in the context of authentic learning
environments. Resnick (1987) offers some insight into the difference between tool use in
the real world versus the heavier focus on mentation that is seen in school settings. She
wrote,
Outside school, actions are intimately connected with objects and events; people
often use the objects and events directly in their reasoning, without necessarily
using symbols to represent them. School learning, by contrast, is mostly symbol-
based; indeed, connections to the events and objects symbolized are often lost.
(Resnick, 1987, p. 14)
It would be interesting to know if students engaged in formal learning in authentic
contexts tend to operationalize tools and symbols in scholastic or real-world patterns.
Affective and Individual
The roles of the emotional environment, along with the affective, and the
reflective components of the individual learner are all closely related. Experiential
Learning Theory describes the individuals role in learning largely as one of reflection on
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Full Text

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DEEP IMMERSION ACADEMIC LEARNING (DIAL): AN ANALYSIS OF SCIENCE LEARNING IN CONTEXT by Michael Giamellaro B.S., University of Wyoming, 1997 M.A., University of Colorado Denver, 2004 A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of t he University of Colorado in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy Educational Leadership and Innovation 2012

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iii 2012 MICHAEL GIAMELLARO ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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ii This thesis for the Doctor of Philo sophy degree by Michael Giamellaro has been approved for the Educational Leadership and Innovation Program by Deanna Sands, Chair & Advisor Maria Araceli Ruiz Primo Nancy Leech Casey Allen August 28 th 2012

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iii Giamellaro, Michael (Ph.D, Educational Leadership and Innovation) Deep Immersion Academic Learning (DIAL): An Analysis of Science Learning in Context. Thesis directed by Professor Deanna Sands ABSTRACT This study was an investigation into high school students' deep immersion academic learnin g (DIAL) experiences in science. Defined in this dissertation, DIAL is an experiential learning process that is content driven, facilitated by a teacher, and conducted through immersion into an authentic, contextuali zed environment. The study relied on a theoretical foundation of situated constructivism The goals of the study were to determine if students' conceptual science knowledge structures change following DIAL experiences and if so, to determine what elements of the learning environment contribu t ed to those changes Four high school science classes using DIAL participated ( n= 67). Each class was conside red to be a case for this mixed methods, multiple case study. A pretest/posttest design was used in conjunction with the Pathfinder algorithm to me asure cha nges in structural science knowledge. The students' test scores showed significant change from pretest to posttest across the full sample but variability f rom case to case. Testing was followed by student and teacher interviews and field observa tions to characterize environ mental contributors to learning Both peripheral and facilitated learning opportunities within the learning environment were important for DIAL and a

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iv s ynergistic effect led to dee per student learning when both were utilized T he social aspect of the learning environment was the most important source of cues for students' contextualization of targeted content knowledge. The physical environment was also an important contributor. Contextualization of target science content led t o more expert knowledge structures, and occurred as a result of the individual learner indexing and making connections amongst all of the environmental components. The study contributes to the fields of experiential education and contextualized science le arning by introducing the DIAL framework, offering a novel way to assess experiential learning and providing empirical evidence of the degree and sou rces of learning in contextualized settings. The implications for DIAL teaching and further research are discussed. The form and content of this abstract are approved. I recommend its publication. Approved: Deanna Sands

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v DEDICATION I dedicate this work to my wife Monica Giamellaro. It was her perpetual support and guidance that allowed th is project to come to completion.

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vi ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I would like to thank the members of my dissertation committee for their support and extensive feedback throughout this process, particularly my advisor, Dr. Deanna Sands for her tireless advice, editing and guidance. I would also like to thank Dr. Carole Basile for her help in conceptualizing and launching this project. I would like to thank the members of the UCD LEARN lab for their feedback along the way, particularly Dr. Maria Araceli Ruiz Primo wh o contributed much wisdom to this project and guidance to this developing researcher. To all of the teachers and students who participated in this project, I am forever grateful for their insight and efforts. I would also like to thank the various and fl uid members of my writing group who contributed their thoughts along the way. Finally, and most importantly, I would like to thank my wife Monica who was the primary funder, cheerleader, and counselor for the project. Although my daughter Chloe joined the project late in the game, she reminded me how important it was to step away from the computer and just bang on something.

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vii TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER I. INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ .................... 1 Defining the Problem ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 2 Difficulties with Investigating Experiential Learning ................................ ................ 7 Defining Deep Immersion Academic Learning (DIAL) ................................ ............ 9 Deep Immersion ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 12 Academics ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 13 Learning ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 13 Purpose and Significance of the Study ................................ ................................ ......... 15 Research Questions ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 16 Theoretical Framework "Situated Constructivism" ................................ .................... 16 Conceptual Framework ................................ ................................ ................................ 22 Context Vehicles ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 27 Identifying the Environmental Components ................................ ............................ 30 Social Interactions ................................ ................................ ................................ 30 Physical env ironment ................................ ................................ .......................... 31 Cultural Environment ................................ ................................ .......................... 32 Emotional Environment ................................ ................................ ....................... 33 Artifacts and Tools ................................ ................................ ............................... 34 Internal Dialog and Expression ................................ ................................ ............ 35 Learner Networks ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 36 Method Overview ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 37 My Background ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 39 Chapter One Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ 40 II. LITERATURE REVIEW ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 42 Introduction ................................ ................................ ................................ .................. 42 Theoretical Foundations ................................ ................................ ............................... 43 Experiential Learning Theory ................................ ................................ .................. 43 Situated Learning Theories ................................ ................................ ...................... 49 The Social Environm ent ................................ ................................ ...................... 51 The Physical Environment ................................ ................................ ................... 53

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viii The Cognitive Approach to Learning ................................ ................................ ....... 54 Schema Theory ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 57 Hierarchies and Networks ................................ ................................ .................... 58 Scripts and Plans ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 59 The Role of Context in Schema Theory ................................ .............................. 60 Situated Constructivism ................................ ................................ ........................... 62 Context and Learning ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 64 General Und erstanding of Context ................................ ................................ ........... 64 Context in School ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 67 Experience in Authentic Settings ................................ ................................ ................. 72 Experience and Activity ................................ ................................ ........................... 74 Cognitive Learning ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 75 Affective Learning ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 76 Novelty ................................ ................................ ................................ ..................... 78 Immersion ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 80 Environmental Components ................................ ................................ ......................... 82 Social Contributions to Learning ................................ ................................ ............. 82 Physical Environment ................................ ................................ .............................. 84 Tools ................................ ................................ ................................ ......................... 85 Affective and Individual ................................ ................................ ........................... 85 Culture ................................ ................................ ................................ ...................... 86 Facilitated Versus Peripheral Learn ing ................................ ................................ ........ 87 Chapter Two Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ 92 III. METHOD ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ 94 Overview ................................ ................................ ................................ ...................... 94 Participants and Settings ................................ ................................ ............................... 95 Case Selection and Sampling ................................ ................................ ................... 95 Similarities Across the Cases ................................ ................................ ................... 97 Case 1, Winter Ecology ................................ ................................ ............................ 98 The School, Case 1 ................................ ................................ .............................. 98 The Students, Case 1 ................................ ................................ ............................ 99 The Teacher, Case 1. ................................ ................................ .......................... 100 The Class, Case 1 ................................ ................................ ............................... 101 The DIAL Experience, Case 1 ................................ ................................ ........... 102

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ix Case 2, Winter Environmental Science ................................ ................................ .. 102 The S chool, Case 2 ................................ ................................ ............................ 102 The S tudents, Case 2 ................................ ................................ .......................... 104 The Teacher, Case 2 ................................ ................................ ........................... 105 The Class, Case 2. ................................ ................................ .............................. 105 The DIAL Experience, Case 2 ................................ ................................ ........... 106 Case 3, Crane Migration Study ................................ ................................ .............. 107 The School, Case 3 ................................ ................................ ............................ 107 The Students, Case 3 ................................ ................................ .......................... 107 The Teacher, Case 3 ................................ ................................ ........................... 108 The Class, Cas e 3 ................................ ................................ ............................... 108 The DIAL Experience, Case 3 ................................ ................................ ........... 109 Case 4, Everglades Ecology ................................ ................................ ................... 110 The School, Case 4 ................................ ................................ ............................ 110 The Students, Case 4 ................................ ................................ .......................... 110 The Teacher, Case 4 ................................ ................................ ........................... 111 The Class, Case 4 ................................ ................................ ............................... 112 The DIAL Experience, Case 4 ................................ ................................ ........... 112 Research Design ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 113 Procedures Research Ques tion 1 ................................ ................................ ............... 114 Preparing the Pathfinder Instruments ................................ ................................ ..... 118 Creating the Referent ................................ ................................ ............................. 122 Administering the Assessments ................................ ................................ ............. 122 Data Analysis for Q 1 ................................ ................................ ............................. 122 Procedures Research Question 2 ................................ ................................ ............... 124 Teacher Data ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 125 Student Data ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 126 Data Preparation, Coding and Analysis ................................ ................................ 128 Descriptive C odes ................................ ................................ .............................. 129 Pattern C odes ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 135 Learning o pportunities ................................ ................................ ........... 138 Contextualization ................................ ................................ ................... 139 Student Noteboo ks ................................ ................................ ................................ 140 PFnets ................................ ................................ ................................ ..................... 140

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x Field Study ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 141 Analysis ................................ ................................ ................................ ...................... 144 Field study data analysis ................................ ................................ ........................ 146 Synthesis ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 146 Data Handling and Protection of Informants ................................ .............................. 148 Validity / Legitimation ................................ ................................ ............................... 148 Construct V alidity ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 149 Internal V alidity ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 150 E xternal V alidity ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 151 Reliability ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 152 Researcher Bias and R eflexivity ................................ ................................ ............ 153 Chapter Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 154 IV. PATHFINDER RESULTS ................................ ................................ ................................ 155 Overview ................................ ................................ ................................ .................... 155 Pathfinder Results ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 155 Learning Levels ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 157 Distributions of Student Learning ................................ ................................ .............. 159 Negative Change ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 163 Growth in the Middle ................................ ................................ ................................ 167 Patterns in the Other Cases ................................ ................................ ......................... 168 Chapter Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 169 V. RESULTS: CONTRIBUTOR S TO LEARNING ................................ ............................... 170 Overview ................................ ................................ ................................ .................... 170 Learning opportunities ................................ ................................ ................................ 171 Facilitated Opportunities ................................ ................................ ........................ 173 F1 Guiding Observations ................................ ................................ ................... 174 F2 Providing Instructional Resources ................................ ................................ 177 F3 Facilitating Assignments and Activities ................................ ....................... 178 F4 Making Connections ................................ ................................ ..................... 180 F5 Demonstration ................................ ................................ ............................... 183 F6 Providing Expertise ................................ ................................ ...................... 185 F7 Direct Instruction ................................ ................................ .......................... 188 F8 Synthesis ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 189

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xi Peripheral Opportunities ................................ ................................ ........................ 192 P1 Personal Discoveries ................................ ................................ ..................... 192 P2 Dis cordant Observations ................................ ................................ ............... 195 P3 Affective Connections ................................ ................................ .................. 197 P4 Other Resources ................................ ................................ ............................ 202 Interactions Between Facilitated and Peripheral Opportunities ............................. 202 B1 Completing the Picture ................................ ................................ ................. 203 B2 Keystone Events ................................ ................................ ........................... 207 B3 Personal Application of Facilitated Learning ................................ .............. 209 B4 Extension of Learning ................................ ................................ .................. 212 Environmental Components ................................ ................................ ....................... 215 E1 Social interactions ................................ ................................ ............................. 216 E1.1Teacher Student Interactions ................................ ................................ ...... 217 E1.2 Group Interactions ................................ ................................ ..................... 220 E1.3 Peer to Peer Interactions ................................ ................................ ........... 223 E 1.4 Cultural Interactions ................................ ................................ ................. 224 E2 Physical Environment ................................ ................................ ....................... 225 E2.1 Visual Evidence of Concepts ................................ ................................ .... 226 E2.2 Embodied Experience ................................ ................................ ................ 232 E2.3 Geographic Cues ................................ ................................ ....................... 236 E3 Tools ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 238 E4 Individual Factors ................................ ................................ ............................. 242 E4.1 Individual Reasoning and Internal Reflection ................................ ........... 244 E4.2 Writing and Verbal Articulation ................................ ................................ 247 E4.3 Linking Across Events ................................ ................................ .............. 248 E4.4 Connection to Past Learning ................................ ................................ ..... 250 E5 Emotional Contributors to L earning ................................ ................................ 253 Contextualization ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 2 60 Misconceptions ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 264 Chapter Five Summary ................................ ................................ ............................... 264 VI. DISCUSSION ................................ ................................ ................................ .................... 267 Overv iew ................................ ................................ ................................ .................... 267 Discussion and Implications: Research Question 1 ................................ .................... 268 Discussion and Implications: Research Question 2 ................................ .................... 272

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xii Learning Opportunities ................................ ................................ .......................... 272 Environmental Components ................................ ................................ ................... 280 Social Interactions and Cultural Elements ................................ ......................... 280 Physical Environment ................................ ................................ ........................ 283 Tools ................................ ................................ ................................ .................. 285 Individual Role and E motional Environment ................................ .................... 287 Contextualization ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 290 Revised Conceptual Framework ................................ ................................ ................. 292 Limitations ................................ ................................ ................................ .................. 296 Contributions ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 299 Recommendations for Future Research ................................ ................................ ...... 301 Chapter Six Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ 303 REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................. 305 APPENDICES ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................. 319 APPENDIX A : Important Terms and Ab breviations ................................ ................. 319 APPENDIX B : Original and Revised Conceptual Frameworks ................................ 320 APPENDIX C : Student Interview Protocol ................................ ................................ 322 APPENDIX D : Coded Interview S ample ................................ ................................ ... 323 APPENDIX F : IRB Approval ................................ ................................ .................... 334

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xiii LIST OF TABLES Table 3.1 Contributing Data by Case.. 12 5 3.2 Codebook: Descriptive Codes. 13 0 3.3 Codebook: Pattern Codes 13 6 4.1 Pretest and Posttest Assessment Results. 15 6 4.2 Learning Levels and Distributions Across Cases 15 8 5.1 Frequencies of Learning Opportunity Codes Across Cases 17 2

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xiv LIST OF FIGURES Figure 1.1 The DIAL conceptual framework... 2 4 3.1 Data Synthesis. 11 4 3.2 Example of a Pathfinder PFnet 11 6 3.3 Sample Pathfinder Assessment... 12 1 3.4 Coded Student Interview Transcript Excerpt ...... 13 8 4.1 Changes in Student Knowledge Structures, Case 1 16 0 4.2 Changes in Student Knowledge Structures, Case 2 16 1 4.3 Changes in Student Knowledge Structures, Case 3 16 2 4.4 Changes in Student Knowledge Structures, Case 4 16 3 4.5 Student 224 Pretest PFnet... 16 4 4.6 Case 2 Referent PFnet. 16 5 4.7 Student 224 Posttest PFnet.. 16 6 5.1 Social Contributions to Learning 2 1 7 5.2 Contributions to Learning from the Physical Environment 22 6 5.3 Contributions to Learning from Tools 239 5.4 Individual Learners' Contributions to Learning.. 24 3 5.5 Affective Connections to Learning . 25 4 5.6 Relative Frequency of Contextualization Levels 26 2 5.7 Contextualization and Learning By Case 26 3 6.1 Revised Conceptual Framework. 29 3

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1 CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION The purpose of the research de scribed in this dissertation is to explore the role of authentic, contextualized learning environments in high school students' learning of science concepts. I describe student learning from a largely situated theoretical perspective that explains learnin g as a multi faceted and interconnected process between the learner and the many components of the learning environment, including the social, cultural, and physical aspects. I pay particular attention to the learning opportunities that are made available to students through the facilitation of their teachers and the more peripheral or unintended opportunities provided by the environment. This research explores the potential for contextually immersive pedagogies to support students in developing explanato ry, conceptual science knowledge and to provide some insight on how to increase the potential of those pedagogies. In this chapter I provide a discussion on the problem this research is addressing, an overview of the foundational theory upon which the stu dy is based, propose a conceptual framework to explain learning in contextualized environments, and briefly describe the study design used. Chapter Two is a review of the theoretical, methodological, and empirical literature that provide the foundation fo r the present study. In Chapter Three I describe the methods used to investigate the research questions, reporting the results in Chapters Four and Five. Chapter Six includes a discussion of the results, their implications, contributions, and limitations

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2 Defining the Problem This research addresses a related set of issues in science education. There is an ever present struggle in science education to help students develop conceptual knowledge that is applicable to the world they live in. Experiential pedagogies represent one possible avenue to do just that but there has been very little formal investigation into the efficacy of these approaches. This is partially due to a lack of clarity in defining distinctive experiential approaches and partially du e to the complexity of those learning environments that makes study of them difficult. This study addresses these problems. In most reports on the state of science education in the United States over the last twenty years or in recommendations for improve ment of science education, we find a common call for the need for deeper, more conceptually rooted knowledge that students can relate to and apply to real world problems (Achieve, 2005; BSCS, 2006; Kesidou & Roseman, 2002; NRC, 2011a, 2011b) However, the se goals have also proven elusive, as indicated by large scale science testing such as NAEP (NCES, 2009) and PISA (OECD, 2010) and a lack of student preparedness for college level science (Achieve, 2005; ACT, 2011) Traditional classroom pedagogical appr oaches do not tend to foster schematic, applicable science knowledge for the majority of students (Fensham, 2009) Alternative approaches to science education may be required if we are to advance the goal of students developing higher order scientific kno wledge. One identified problem is that science is often taught as what Whitehead (1929) called "inert knowledge," information that is de contextualized from the real world (NRC, 2011b) This is problematic if science education is to have any utility for students once they leave the walls of the classroom or move to more advanced levels of study, as Greeno, Collins, & Resnick (1996) explain:

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3 Considerable effort in didactic teaching is aimed at students understanding of general concepts. The difficulty is that didactic teaching of concepts does not result, for most students, in general understanding. Most students who learn to recite definitions and formulas that express the meanings of concepts in general terms, or to carry out procedures with numbers or f ormulas, show limited proficiency in solving problems and understanding other situations in which those concepts or procedures could be used. (p. 29) Attempts to add context to classroom learning, such as through Problem Based Learning (See Dochy, Segers, Van den Bossche, & Gijbels, 2003 for meta analysis; Strobel & van Barneveld, 2009) and project based learning (Rivet & Krajcik, 2004a, 2004b) have shown some promise but st ill do not result in substantial improvements in conceptual knowledge and transfer to real world applications. Despite this struggle in science education to foster the development of applicable, conceptual knowledge, at some point for professional scientists or those people who use science in their professional lives these types of kn owledge are developed. Situated Learning Theory, as described by Lave and Wegner (1991) would suggest that these people learn largely through immersion into a relevant context, a community of practice where more advanced ways of knowing are shared and dev eloped within the community and an environment that is supportive of the science or other knowledge germane to that group. Falk and Dierking (2010) calculate that 95% of the science knowledge that Americans possess is developed not through formal schoolin g but through informal educational sources and personal interaction with the natural world. This latter, informal source of science learning, what Lave refers to as the learning of "just plain folks" (1988)

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4 is not without its problems as it is rife with naive conceptions or misconceptions (Choi & Hannafin, 1995) and lacks the guidance offered by a community of practice. A solution for improving the depth and applicability of school sourced science learning may lie somewhere in the middle. How is science learning different when students are provided with the contextual opportunities found in many informal settings but with the formal supports of school learning environments? We do not currently have a good sense of this. In a review of recent research o n outdoor learning, all of which implies some experiential and contextual component, Rickinson et al. (2004) conclude in part, substantial evidence exists to indicate that fieldwork, properly conceived, adequately planned, well taught and effectively foll owed up, offers learners opportunities to develop their knowledge and skills in ways that add value to their everyday experiences in the classroom" (p. 24). Rickinson et al. (2004) also identify the nature of learning in outdoor settings as a "blind spot" in the literature and call for greater methodological rigor in the field overall, noting "Impacts on young people's knowledge, understanding and cognitive skills is arguably the least strongly evidenced aspect of outdoor adventure education" (p. 26). It should also be noted that much of the literature in their review came from the fields of geography and environmental education rather than science education. A 1997 meta analysis of adventure education research, including some studies in science educatio n, showed that studies in that field tended to focus on summative results rather than answering formative questions about the processes or theoretical concerns involved in these contextualized, experiential learning events (Hattie, Marsh, Neill, & Richards 1997) This gap has remained largely unfilled. In both the Hattie et al. (1997) meta analysis, as well as another meta analysis on adventure learning (Cason & Gillis,

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5 1994) larger effect sizes were found for experiential, contextualized learning than f or more traditional interventions. However, as Hattie and colleagues (1997) point out, that was not true for all of the cases but the lack of formative, process oriented studies leaves us with little understanding as to why one program is effective and an other is not. Although the environment itself is the most significant difference in contextualized or outdoor learning, we know very little about how it actually contributes to learning. Rather, experiential education tends to be seen as a "black box" (Baldwin, Persing, & Magnuson, 2004) in that there are many suggestions/practitioner reports as well as some empirical evidence that experiential education results in significant learning, but little indication of how it does so. A more formal examination into the nature of experiential learning in authentic, contextualized science learning environments is needed as the advancement of experiential science education is limited by this gap in our understanding. It is generally accepted that experiential e ducation is more than just any experience in which learning takes place. After all, students in the most didactic of classrooms are still having an experience. There is an assumption that experiential education implies a more direct experience with the w orld, an experience within a context that is not a traditional classroom environment. To think of it this way, we see context as the most significantly defining aspect of what is commonly called experiential education. Direct experience is probably not e nough, it must be experience within a real or at least intentional context. Despite this, we do not know how the contextual surround of complex environments affects student learning. It has been repeatedly shown that the context within which each student lives on a daily basis is a significant contributor to or

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6 detractor from learning (Hanscombe, Haworth, Davis, Jaffee, & Plomin, 2011; Vermunt, 2005) and there is a wide field of research into the classroom as a learning environment (see Fraser, 2007 for r eview) but we do not know much about real world learning contexts. There is also a lack of clarity on how comparable various experiential pedagogies actually are. Because the term, experiential education' is used so widely, it hinders comparability betw een studies and fosters broad stereotypical generalizations across programs and curricula. It seems that experiential education is often celebrated or criticized as whole, neglecting the wide diversity of programs and curricula that it encompasses. In on e of the more blistering critiques Hirsch defined "learning by doing" as "process heavy, devoid of content, and a holdout from the 1960s progressivist approaches" (as cited by Roberts, 2002, p. 256) He goes on to assert "learning by doing and its adaptat ions are among the least effective pedagogies available to the teacher." Such broad statements are difficult to interpret when one considers the broad scope of programs, curricula, and their associated goals that are to be included in this pronouncement. Even those who tend to support experiential education have presented generalized critiques, as does Seaman (2008) who describes the lack of ongoing, empirical research around experiential education as having led to an evolution of "practice driven models w ith historically specific purposes into a broader belief system underwritten more by liberal humanist ideology, folk psychology, and administrative interests than by scientific or epistemological foundation for learning" (p. 228). While Seaman's observati on regarding the lack of empirical evidence is valid, the overgeneralization of the field may

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7 be more to blame as it makes it almost impossible to define exactly what can be compared or what the focus of inquiry should be. Similarly, there is a general s ense that science education can be lumped into formal and informal settings with formal including traditional classroom formats and anything outside of the classroom being lumped together as informal (Falk, 2005) There are a number of problems with the f ormal/informal designation (Falk, 2005) particularly the categorization of everything occurring outside the classroom as being somehow similar. This designation speaks more to traditional assumptions of what education should look like than it does to pro viding a meaningful designation of the relationship between a learner and a learning environment. As a learning environment, a guided field trip through a museum probably has more in common with the classroom than with an experience in which students are working with scientists in the field to gather legitimate scientific data. In order to better understand experiential science learning in authentic environments we need to be able to compare experiences within meaningfully comparable groups, moving beyond attempts to describe "informal learning" or "experiential learning" as if these represented groups of comparable processes. The best research on free choice learning in a museum or on self efficacy developed on an Outward Bound course may have little or no validity when applied to a group of students doing field work with a scientist. Difficulties with Investigating Experiential Learning A number of barriers to understanding the experiential learning process present themselves in any attempt to researc h it. These include the accurate assessment of learning that is highly individualized, the more open ended nature of the variables of

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8 authentic versus classroom learning environments, the highly variable nature of the enactment of any given experiential e ducation program, and as previously described, the categorization for comparison of disparate approaches. The atomization of the learning process is a historical reality that has also contributed to these difficulties. This has been a natural result of t he research process, particularly in understanding the role of context in education, as Nardi (1996) reflects: "How can we confront the blooming, buzzing confusion that is "context'' and still produce generalizable research results?" This is true but it is unlikely that the whole of learning is equal to the sum of the parts and it is likely that there are substantial differences between what happens in a naturally complex environment and what happens under controlled conditions (Salomon, 1993a) Rickinson et al. (2004) offer a word of caution: The difficulty of identifying, measuring and evaluating the benefits of fieldwork and field trips should not be underestimated by researchers, practitioners or policy makers. There are far too many poorly conceptuali sed, badly designed and inadequately carried out studies" (p.24). There is an ever present tension between complexity and parsimony and while it has been necessary to subdivide the learning process into manageable units in order to understand it, we may b e at a point where we can move toward consilience and approach learning from a more systemic perspective, as proposed by Lee (2011) To look at learning in authentic environments we must acknowledge the varied pathways that knowledge can be developed as a n individual interacts with the actors and objects within her environment. To use the image of the black box of experiential education, research has shown us some parts that make up the black box and it has shown us the results of a learner who

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9 has gone through the black box but we don't know how many of the elements in the box work, nor how the elements of the box work together. We need to know more about how the parts work together to generate specific outcomes. Without this knowledge practitioners c annot manipulate the components to target specific outcomes nor to maximize science learning for a particular group or individual. It is not enough to know that strong social relationships contribute to learning nor is it enough to understand simply that being immersed in a real world environment increases information retention or application. If practitioners do not understand how authentic learning environments contribute to learning there is a real danger that experiential learning experiences are not designed to utilize the potential benefits and student learning suffers. Experiential pedagogies represent potentially powerful tools for teachers in schools and informal education settings, particularly those focused on science content, but without under standing how the tools work, that potential is limited. The problem is clear: we need to get past the notion that experiential learning is "too mysterious a phenomenon to fully comprehend" (Conrad & Hedin, 1982, p. 58) by considering both a greater range of environmental contributors to learning, the interactions among elements within the learning environment, and their role in developing student knowledge. This study was a step toward exploring those factors. Defining Deep Immersion Academic Learning (D IAL) Experiential education' has become an omnibus term used to describe a wide range of ideas and practices from Outward Bound type adventure education courses to service learning experiences, to in class activities. It is a value laden term, often an d incorrectly equated with "hands on learning," "learning by doing," "active learning," and

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10 learning "outside the four walled classroom" (Roberts, 2008) One use of the term is to describe the immersion of learners into learning environments that are eith er representative of environments where the target knowledge can be applied, or environments that closely approximate the real world.' The labels authentic in situ immersive, and contextualized all contribute important descriptors to this type of learn ing. It could be argued that every learning environment is imbued with some context or another but the term is used within this dissertation as it is described by Rivet & Krajcik (2008): Contextualizing instruction refers to the utilization of particular situations or events that occur outside of science class or are of particular interest to students to motivate and guide the presentation of science ideas and concepts. Contextualizing often takes the form of real world examples or problems that are meanin gful to students personally, to the local area, or to the scientific community. These are situations in which students may have some experience with (either directly or indirectly) prior to or in conjunction with the presentation of target ideas in science class, and that students engage with over extended periods of time. (p. 80) Contextualized experiences then, stand in contrast to decontextualized experiences, wherein the context is a scholastic one, abstracted from events that the students are experien cing and from the content knowledge as it is typically used in practice (Rivet & Krajcik, 2008) In the typical secondary classroom, for example, the knowledge that students are intended to learn may be presented in conjunction with a description of conte xts in which the knowledge is applicable but all of the actual contexts

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11 the students are operating within are not likely to be related to the content knowledge. The physical, cultural, social, and temporal surround is the context of school; even the best intentioned posters and visuals provide scholastic rather than actual contexts. When the class ends in forty five minutes, the context switches to other parts of the school and socio cultural surround and the peripheral context cues the student is exposed to no longer have anything to do with the target knowledge. Contrast this with a language immersion program in which the student travels to and immerses herself in a culture with a different language. She receives formal instruction on vocabulary and the proper ways to apply it but in addition everything else outside of class provides contextual cues to support her learning. She can practice, test, question, and apply the new knowledge throughout the environment and she is presented with countless opp ortunities to extend her knowledge in directions that mesh with her own interests. Her learning is a function of both the facilitated formal curriculum and the peripheral elements of the context. While these types of immersion experiences do happen in ot her academic disciplines at the secondary level, they are not common. There is no unified body of research within which this type of learning happens and so it is typically described simply as experiential education Because that term is used so widely, however, it is not of much use for understanding this more specific use of contextualized learning experiences. A sub category of experiential education is needed to distinguish the pursuit of academic knowledge through a combination of facilitated curric ula and immersion in a contextualized environment. As the literature does not provide a label, I introduce the phrase deep immersion academic learning (DIAL) to indicate both the contextualized

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12 nature of the learning environment and the abstract/academic nature of the learning targets. Though the practice has existed for a long time under the more general label of experiential education and although the practice is increasingly enacted, the label of DIAL has not specifically been identified or defined. T he label of DIAL applies to a real world pedagogy that fosters student learning in authentic environments over an extended period of time, much like the language immersion programs. In addition, DIAL has aspects that are very intentional and facilitated a s well elements that are more open, has content based learning goals, and occurs in contexts specifically chosen to enhance the academic content of the course. As such, DIAL offers a laboratory with which to understand the role of environmental contexts i n student thinking, learning, and development. Deep Immersion The first part of the term, "deep immersion", implies that students are introduced to an intentional place, time, social setting, and overall environment specifically intended to enhance the experience and understanding of the topic of study. Within this context, there are environmental elements that are specifically facilitated and scaffolded by the teacher and others that are directly related to the content being taught but peripheral, inci dental, or not specifically accounted for by the teacher. Additionally, deep immersion implies an extended period of time, typically multiple days, in which students are immersed in the milieu of the learning experience and not being directly influenced by the distractions of typical daily life. The deep immersion aspect of DIAL often takes the form of an extended field trip experience but there are cases of deep immersion that do not necessarily involve a distant trip, and more commonly there are trips tha t do not rise to the level of deep immersion.

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13 Academics Similarly, there are deep immersion experiences that are not intentionally academic, such as group building experiences and adventure education trips. That is not to say that learning does not occu r during these experiences but that the learning is not intentionally academic. The "academic" piece of DIAL refers to the specific use of experience to deliver academic content, predetermined by standards or curricular expectations, albeit with the under standing that each student will construct their content knowledge somewhat differently. It is not what I loosely refer to as "the Columbus method" (send them on their way and hope they discover something). This academic content knowledge can be declarat ive, procedural, schematic, or strategic 1 (Li, Ruiz Primo, & Shavelson, 2006) Typically, the academic content knowledge is well grounded in application in at least part of the experience. Learning The final piece of the DIAL definition is learning throug h experience. For the purpose of defining DIAL, I refer to learning in an in situ relevant, contextualized, perhaps embodied process, in which the students are engaged in a transactional form of information exchange, and using all or most of their sensor y perception to construct knowledge in conjunction with the elements of their environment. I see this learning as situated within and distributed throughout the environment but represented uniquely within each individual learner. A more detailed descript ion of this learning process is 1 In the framework there are four types of knowledge: declarative knowledge, or !"#$%"&'$()*+' is conceptual or factual in nature; procedural knowledge, or !"#$%"&'(#$+' indicates understanding of seq uential processes ap plicable to a class of acts; schematic knowledge, or !"#$%"&'$(,+' is explanatory and can be used to make predicti ons, and strategic knowledge, or knowing when, where, and how to apply knowledge.

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14 described below and in Chapter Two. The experience piece is an important distinction as it is possible to be deeply immersed but still learning in a largely didactic manner, and not truly experiencing an event. DIAL stands in contrast to what Roberts (2008) refers to as "one off" experiences in which students take a day off from normal school activities to participate in a challenge course or visit a nature center, participating in activities without any direct link to thei r school studies. An example of DIAL might be a high school biology class taking an extended trip to coastal California to study marine biology. The trip might include exploration of tide pools; a day working on a commercial fishing vessel; another day h elping out at a Marine research facility, performing a necropsy on a beached dolphin alongside a marine biologist; a service learning project at a local estuary rehabbing critical habitat; and a project in which the class gathers data of species abundance while snorkeling through a kelp forest. Throughout the experience students may be reading appropriate texts and reflecting both on their own constructions of knowledge and connections back to the intended curriculum that explores the human relationship wit h marine systems. The facilitating teacher is responsible for intentionally structuring each experience, helping the students understand the connections between the canonical science knowledge and the students' experiences, addressing misconceptions, and d elivering critical content that does not neatly emerge from the experiential elements of the trip. While these roles may manifest differently within different contexts, they are all critical to the DIAL process and help differentiate DIAL from other exper iential approaches. The balance between structure and free choice, abstract and applied knowledge, continuity and novel experience, and canonical and social information land DIAL

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15 somewhere between the worlds of formal and informal education. The goals and some academic tools are more closely aligned with formal education while the methods and venues are more readily associated with informal pedagogies. DIAL attempts to find a balance between the learning of "just plain folks" (Lave, 1988) while also addre ssing the deficiencies of that method, as described by Choi and Hannafin (1995): While "just plain folks" behave and learn in everyday life, their knowledge and performance is not the same as the experts'. They do many things inaccurately and inefficiently and possess many misconceptions about daily life. Some understanding, such as scientific concepts like gravity and earth rotation, require opportunities beyond our everyday experience. In many cases, everyday experiences actually hinder learning. (p. 67) Relatedly, DIAL tends to embrace both the intentional contexts of the learning environment facilitated by the teachers, as well as the incidental or peripheral, again finding the balance between the informal and formal. It takes the natural learning pro cesses of "just plain folks" and forms a bridge to more expert ways of understanding a given topic. Purpose and Significance of the Study The goal of this study was to describe cases of student learning in authentic, contextualized environments over the c ourse of DIAL experiences in order to fulfill the purpose of exploring how the components of the environment contribute to that learning. The study explored how physical environment, social interactions, social constructions of knowledge, and both facilit ated and peripheral opportunities influenced student learning during DIAL experiences. Because this study was largely a new line of research and was

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16 more exploratory than confirmatory in nature, it also serves the purpose of generating new ideas that can be tested later in this line of inquiry. Through tracking the elements of a learning environment, including peers and other actors, and how they contribute to individual students' knowledge of highlighted academic content, we can better understand the con nected nature of learning in situ As this is arguably one of the most complex phenomena, the goal was more truly to begin understanding it. The work contributes to the fields of science education and experiential education by providing empirical evidenc e on how the contexts of authentic learning environments support changes in students' conceptual knowledge structures within four science class DIAL experiences. The work also provides a tested methodology for investigating learning in highly complex envi ronments that combines a more formal assessment of concept knowledge change with a qualitative assessment of the complexity of environmental supports for learning. Research Questions To meet these goals, the following research questions guided the study. Q 1: Do students' knowledge structures reflect greater understanding of science concepts following a DIAL experience? Q2: If so, do students' interactions with the components of a DIAL environment contribute to change in their conceptual science knowledge st ructures? Theoretical Framework "Situated Constructivism This study is an investigation into learning. In this section I provide an overview of the learning theory that provides the foundation for the work. A more developed

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17 discussion of this theory appears in Chapter Two. I use a general definition of learning to encompass its breadth: "Learning is the process by which knowledge is increased or modified. Transfer is the process of applying knowledge in new situations" (Greeno, et al., 1996) Of co urse, exactly what that process is or what knowledge is makes this simple definition much more complex. For my purposes here, no singular theoretical tradition adequately describes the process and the results of learning. Rather, I adopt a more synthetic understanding that is heavily influenced by situated, cognitive, and experiential learning theories. Greeno et al. (1996) divide perspectives on cognition and learning into three categories: empiricist (aka behaviorist), rationalist (aka cognitive, infor mation processing, or constructivist), and pragmatist sociohistoric (aka situative), acknowledging that this is not the only way one could categorize the field. This division is useful for this study and I will refer to two of these categories throughout, using the terms cognitive and situative to generally describe these traditions. Greeno et al. (1996) describe the perspectives in this way: "the situative/ pragmatist sociohistoric perspective views knowledge as distributed among people and their environm ents, including the objects, artifacts, tools, books, and the communities of which they are part" (p. 16 17) while "The cognitive/rationalist perspective on knowledge emphasizes understanding of concepts and theories in different subject matter domains and general cognitive abilities, such as reasoning, planning, solving problems, and comprehending language" (p.16). The premise of the learner/environment relationship, the focus of this study, as seen in situative theories is summed up well by Fenwick (2000 ):

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18 Situated cognition maintains that learning is rooted in the situation in which a person participates, not in the head of that person as intellectual concepts produced by reflection nor as inner energies produced by psychic conflicts. Knowing and learnin g are defined as engaging in changing processes of human activity in a particular community. Knowledge is not a substance to be ingested and then transferred to a new situation but, instead, part of the very process of participation in the immediate situat ion. (p. 253) Understanding the relationship between the individual learner and environment as a part of a whole rather than as an inside/outside phenomenon is important but it does not imply that individual cognition ceases to exist; nor need it imply th at all parts of the whole have equal value in a given activity. The role of the individual's mental representations and the role of the individual as a processing nucleus are absolutely critical. The premise of the cognitive approach is that learning is the accumulation of mental representations or schemas within one's memory and that transfer occurs because some of these representations are seen as invariant across situations (Greeno, et al., 1996) A schema is a data structure that we use within our me mory to store generalized information about the world we know and that is used to interpret future events and incoming information (Rumelhart & Ortony, 1977) These schemata are encyclopedic and semantic rather than definitional and declarative in the sen se that they record generalized information that is useful for interpreting the environment rather than absolutes to be recalled as a unit (Rumelhart & Ortony, 1977) As there is a close alignment between these cognitive structures and learning, they can be used as a way to understand individual learning (Shavelson, 1972, 1974; Shavelson & Stanton, 1975)

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19 While some find these two perspectives to be mutually exclusive (J. R. Anderson, Reder, & Simon, 1996, 1997) many others see the different perspectives a s complementary (Choi & Hannafin, 1995; Cobb & Bowers, 1999; Cobb & Yackel, 1996; Greeno, 1997; Greeno, et al., 1996; Perkins, 1993; Salomon, 1993a, 1993b) I support this latter notion, viewing the two as lenses looking at learning from different levels of granularity such that situative theories address the interactional network of learning within an environment and cognitive theories focus on one piece of that network the individual. In a recent panel discussion at the 2012 Annual Meeting of the Ameri can Educational Research Association, a group of learning theory luminaries including Barbara Rogoff, Roy Pea, Carol Lee, and James Greeno revisited the premise of the heavily cited National Research Council report "How People Learn" (Bransford, Brown, & C ocking, 2000) concluding that a more synthetic, multi level model more accurately reflects the learning process than does any, one, singular approach. This study examined learning as it exists in a situated context but did so largely by looking at the me anings and representations assigned by individual students. To do so a theory that combines the cognitive and situative perspectives was needed. Cobb & Yackel (1996) offer a theoretical framework for such a union called "the emergent approach." I refer to this general idea as situated constructivism to avoid the ambiguity of Cobb & Yackel's term. Within their framework, it is possible to locate analyses of individual's constructive activities in a social context (Cobb & Yackel, 1996) They describe the impetus for this approach in this way: In general, analyses conducted from the psychological constructivist perspective bring out the heterogeneity in the activities of the members of a classroom

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20 community. In contrast, social analyses of classroom mathe matical practices conducted from the interactionist perspective bring out what is jointly established as the teacher and students coordinate their individual activities. In drawing on these two analytic perspectives, the emergent approach takes both the i ndividual and the community as points of reference. This approach seeks to analyze both the development of individual minds and the evolution of the local social worlds in which those minds participate. (Cobb & Yackel, 1996, p. 180) Perkins (1993) introd uces a useful concept to be used with situative views of learning and one that also works well with the idea of situated constructivism, the person plus" as a unit of analysis in understanding learning. The person plus represents the individual along wit h all of the external tools, practices, and other individuals that allow for a given cognitive process. This is contrasted with the more conventional view of the person solo the conception of learning as being entirely in the head' (Perkins, 1993) Thu s, the cognitive process as well as any memory or cognitive residue" are distributed throughout the learning environment, such that the learner off loads some memory into notebooks, other people, etc. (Brown, Collins, & Duguid, 1989; Perkins, 1993) in add ition to maintaining some representations within their own memory as is described in schema theory and the cognitive perspective of learning. This perspective should not be seen as "person solo" cognition occurring within a larger social vessel but rather as person solo as an entity with specific roles within the larger person plus system. These roles include perception, indexing, and the assignation of meaning. Brown & Duguid (1996) offer a useful analogy:

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21 The process is not, then, like the addition of a brick to a building where the brick remains as distinct and self contained as it was in the builder's hand. Instead it is a little like the addition of color to color in a painting, where the color that is added becomes inseparably a part of the color tha t was there before and both are transformed in the process. (p. 49) Vygotsky's thoughts on social mediation and internalization also offer some insight into the interaction of learning roles between the person solo and the person plus. The gist is that a ll human thought has an external, social precedent such that, Every function in the child's cultural development appears twice, on two levels. First, on the social, and later on the psychological level; first, between people as an interpsychological categ ory, and then inside the child, as an intrapsychological category. This applies equally to voluntary attention, to logical memory and to the formation of concepts. The actual relations between human individuals underlie all the higher functions. (Vygotsk y, 1978, pp. 125, emphasis original) In this way, internal patterns of thought, are at least fundamentally reflections of similar patterns that happened between the learner and her learning environment. A final, uniting aspect that needs to be considered in this idea of situated constructivism is the role of experience. Experience is the process that unites the individual learner with the person plus; the interactions in the physical world with the cognitive constructions of the mind (Hunt, 1981) Carver (1996) describes the individual learner as situated within her environment not as an independent entity integrating experience and reflection, but as one doing so with myriad contributing and confounding

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22 factors. Knowledge becomes co constructed by the learner, experience, reflection, environment, and social inputs. Seen another way, "Experience itself is often commonly understood as knowledge held in context we have experience in something, we participate in something. These somethings' are related to contexts. Transfer cannot be understood apart from the recognition of the importance of context learning" (Quay, 2003, p. 185) Experience is a process of incorporating learner and environment with knowledge and contextualization as the residues of that process. In summary, an understanding of DIAL is best accomplished with a view that encompasses the individual mental representations described through schema theory, and a more holistic account of how the schemata and higher order thinking of the person solo interact with innumerable external physical and social elements to result in a system of learning that is distributed throughout the environment but centered around an individual. Experience becomes a person solo perspective of a learning environment Knowledge is constructed as an individual gives meaning to information that is processed by and distributed throughout the physical and socio cultural environment. Conceptual Framework The theoretical framework presented above provides a foundation fo r the introduction of a new conceptual framework for learning while immersed in contextualized environments (Figure 1.1), such as in a DIAL experience. Building on the theoretical framework of "situated constructivism" outlined above, this conceptual frame work takes into consideration the roles of the individual as well as the components of the environment in modeling the DIAL process. The framework does not model every aspect of DIAL, instead focusing on the central goal of supporting the development of

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23 ac ademic content knowledge for the learner via the affordances of a contextualized environment. The framework allows for the manipulation of the components to both test and manipulate practice in the field and while there are countless ways in which the fra mework could be organized, the delineations are intended to facilitate these manipulations in manageable ways. Fundamentally this framework explores the relationship of distributed environmental cues to each individual learner's present state and the inte raction amongst these elements that lead to and support learning. I refer to these person plus systems as learner networks

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25 The target knowledge, shown in the upper left of Figure 1.1, is learned within the contexts of the l earning environment. Within this framework, the components of the learning environment, shown as inward pointing arrows, can be grouped into: social interactions, cultural environment, emotional environment, tools and artifacts, physical environment, and internal dialog & expression These components are somewhat artificial as they may not be mutually exclusive and any given object or event in the learning environment likely crosses boundaries and networks with other objects/events. However, this taxonom y is useful in its ability to focus study, and more importantly, it provides a focus for adjusting pedagogy in manageable ways. For example, it is true that peer interactions are informed by the cultural and emotional environment but by isolating elements of the interactions it becomes easier to highlight them for study and to adjust their facilitation when teaching. Understanding how these components work together is also an important phenomenon to be explored. These components are described and differe ntiated below. For each of these environmental components, a categorical distinction is made between what is facilitated by the teacher or curriculum and what is peripheral. Facilitated components are those objects and events that were planned by or spon taneously enacted by the teacher/curriculum. Peripheral contributions to learning occur when students pick up relevant information directly from the environmental components without the direct intervention of the teacher. This is not to say that the peri pheral components are necessarily distracters or unimportant for learning. On the contrary, these peripheral elements are critical to DIAL. Positioning peripheral components in contrast with facilitated components does not imply that the teacher is

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26 unawar e of them. Rather, a teacher would use DIAL in large part to capitalize on these peripheral context cues for their students. Classroom teaching typically focuses on the facilitated aspects of the environment and tries to minimize the peripheral. This, o f course, makes sense if the peripheral offers little potential to support and much potential to distract from the learning target(s). Some of these cues play a much bigger role than others do in learning and combinations of cues might amplify their indep endent effects. The tenets of this conceptual framework are summarized here: (a) Target knowledge is a socio cultural construction that a teacher, curriculum, society, etc. deems should be known by individuals. (b) In the presentation of target knowledge there exist countless components of the learning environment that can be associated/elaborated with the target knowledge as a person learns it (learning is distributed). (c) Within a given environment, some learning opportunities are facilitated by the te acher and some are embedded within the environment, peripheral to the intended learning opportunities. (d) Each individual keys into different combinations of environmental components with which the target knowledge is elaborated. These unique combinations become "context vehicles". (e) The context vehicle interfaces with the learner's schema and allows for the development of mental representations, though some of the knowledge may remain distributed throughout the environment and is indexed by the learner (f) Target knowledge that is not associated with environmentally sourced elaborations is less likely to interface well with the learner's schemata.

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27 (g) Because each learner is both dynamic and unique, no single context vehicle can be universally effectiv e across time or population. From these tenets, the following hypothesis can be drawn: Increasing the depth and breadth of contextual cues increases the chances of finding combinations to effectively elaborate target information into context vehicles for e ach individual learner. Context Vehicles As mentioned, a learning target must begin as a socio cultural construction. The central arrow in Figure 1.1 illustrates the process of the learning target being perceived by the learner, but perceived in conjunct ion with much additional information and action that is distributed throughout the environment. All of these factors become elaborated with the target knowledge and result in a networked mental representation. For example, the learning target might be an understanding of how marine organisms deal with issues of buoyancy. As the learner develops his understanding of this idea, it becomes elaborated with his experience of how his wetsuit was buoyant while snorkeling (facilitated non academic tools), with a spontaneous conversation he had with a friend about the topic (peripheral social interaction), with a lecture introducing the idea (facilitated social interaction) and with perceptions of how excited his peers are about the topic (peripheral emotional env ironment). All of these factors become elaborated with the target knowledge and result in a networked mental representation. Together, these contributors can be thought of as a context vehicle Ideally all of these associations would be directly relat ed to the content to be learned and while this seems more likely in a learning environment where more of the components are conceptually bound to the learning target, such as in DIAL, it is

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28 unrealistic to assume that everything a learner perceives will be so. Rather, there may be contextual components that are conceptually unrelated but still become elaborated with the learning target. Extending the previous example, the student studying buoyancy may also be taking in much information from the environment that is unrelated to that concept. If a student is exposed to a context free and isolated idea, there are limited potential connections through which she can situate that idea within her existing schemata. When asked to recall or use that idea later, o nly by triggering that limited pathway can she do so (J. R. Anderson, 1990) If, on the other hand, she learns the idea in a manner that assists her in making multiple connections to existing schemata, she is in a better position to access and use that in formation later. She has built, in conjunction with her environment, a context vehicle or a bundle of contextual cues that become associated with target information and allow for the delivery of that information where it would otherwise be unavailable to the learner due to a lack of relevance or positioning within an existing schema. Rivet & Krajcik (2008) refer to this process as "contextualization". Our brains are particularly adept at filtering out irrelevant information (Bransford, et al., 2000) and t he context vehicle provides the means to access a schema and make it through this filtering process. Experts within a given context are particularly adept at making connections between conceptual knowledge and relevant information within that context (de Groot, 1965; Schneider, Gruber, Gold, & Opwis, 1993) The implication of the conceptual framework presented here is that interactions with authentic contexts may support learners to build this ability by fostering the development of context vehicles that are relevant to knowledge being learned.

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29 The intentional manipulation of context typically represents only a small fraction of what constitutes an actual context vehicle in a learning situation. All other sensory cues are combining with and are being ass ociated with the target information as well. Though the use of context vehicles can be an effective pedagogical tool, there are two problems that arise in conjunction: first, no two individual learners nor their schemata are the same so it is impossible to create a universal context vehicle, and second, context vehicles are inevitable in the sense that even if context is not assigned, it is impossible to entirely divorce information from context, intentional or otherwise. A teacher then, cannot entirely c reate a context vehicle for a student and certainly not for a group, but he can facilitate an environment that is replete with context cues that support rather than distract from the targeted information. Viewed from the environment side, knowledge on any given subject is distributed throughout the people and objects of the learning environment and so limiting learners' access to that distributed knowledge necessarily limits the learners' conceptions. The important recognition here is that even seemingly i nsignificant or peripheral environmental cues can add or detract from the assimilation of the targeted information as the contexts become elaborated with it. Thus, a student who is learning in a classroom may have a more difficult time assimilating inform ation deeply and broadly as compared to a student who is learning in an environment in which most of the contextual cues support the learning targets, as in DIAL. Further, there is a danger of students who are learning in strictly academic environments as sociating learned information largely with academic settings.

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30 Identifying the Environmental Components The purpose of this study is to understand the roles of environmental contributors in the development of conceptual knowledge, and so it becomes useful to group those environmental components so that trends can be explored. This becomes more important for future or resultant interventions and manipulations of learning environments. The component groups shown in figure 1.1 are arranged in such utilitari an groups. It is important to reiterate that these groups may be more a function of the lens used to look at them than delineations that exist in the complexities of the real world. The following sections define these groupings for the purposes of this s tudy. Social Interactions For the purposes of this conceptual framework, social interactions refer only to direct human to human communication that will typically have both verbal and non verbal elements. It can be assumed that these social interactions, including conversations, class discussions, and lectures play a large role in contextualizing learning targets. We have the ability, largely through abstract language, to prepare information for other learners (Vygotsky, 1978) thus creating a context vehi cle that very effectively activates the schemata of the other. When we are sharing information in a conversation, we typically provide a context; we express emotion through word choice, inflection, and body language; we inquire as to previous connections the listener might have; we are constantly monitoring the listener for nonverbal feedback; and we inadvertently link the shared information to ourselves, as the expresser of it. Perhaps more significantly, when we share information via language we have a bstracted it in a way that meshes well with generalized schemata. We use language as a

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31 mediating tool to universalize a concept (Wertsch, 2007) When we interact directly with the environment, we need to first take the step of abstracting the information while in human to human interactions the information often comes pre abstracted and bound in contextual clues. The contextualization allows us to take in information that has been pre filtered for relevancy and assigned a meaning for ready assimilation. Looked at from a situative perspective, the learning is distributed between participants as they co construct an idea. This also becomes apparent when we contrast social, transactional information exchange with information gained from artifacts (e.g. text art, etc.) that also contextualize information but in a much more static manner. In DIAL environments, these social interactions, whether facilitated by the teacher or spontaneous, inevitably begin to incorporate the other elements of the environment, a ssisting the learner in interpreting that environment. Physical Environment When processing raw information from the environment our task of learning is difficult but not impossible. When interacting directly with the environment, learning is still lar gely socially mediated. We situate new information within the language and contexts that we already know and we often support each others' learning via reflection and debrief (Vygotsky, 1978) From this it would be logical to conclude that this sort of d irect immersion in the environment is unnecessary logical but not accurate. Rather, the environment around us provides important contextual cues that are more easily assimilated via social mediation and, in turn, help elaborate socially mediated inform ation. A teacher may help a student couch their observations in a culturally common schema and therefore find a connection to an individual student's schema or a

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32 student may be cataloging sensory information in conjunction with the teacher's description o f a concept. In either case, the information is value added as context cues and elaborated information are combined for more diverse connections to schemata and therefore greater chance of recall/application. This contextual support may have a much more significant impact on learning than is typically ascribed to it. These contextual cues may also help to customize the context vehicle for each individual learner. That learner is constantly associating the targeted information with a combination of cont ext cues that they uniquely perceive from the environment. One student may be tuned in to a deep sense of place, the motivation of her peers, and a particularly poignant visual cue. Another student might be focused on the sounds and smells of an environm ent but they are both still learning the target information. For the purpose of this framework then, the physical environment category refers to landscapes, flora, fauna, and objects not used as tools that students interact with and experience in the purs uit of DIAL. Cultural Environment Disentangling the social from the cultural is a difficult task and is beyond the scope of this dissertation. Rather, the grouping cultural environment is used here to categorize a narrow range of cultural phenomena. The label refers to cultural practices or their effects that differ from the mainstream culture of the learner. More specifically, the label refers to cultural practices that are part of the class or school culture or those that are related to the group w ithin which the DIAL immersion takes place. Certainly there are broad cultural factors at work in any learning environment but those that can be manipulated are of most use to this framework.

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33 For example, if the school uses an acronym or a memorized phra se to encourage certain behaviors and the teacher uses this tool to motivate students in a given situation, this could be considered contextualization through a facilitated aspect of the cultural environment. To use the previous example of the Marine Biol ogy class, a student may be struggling to understand why human impacts on the ocean are not immediately stopped but after spending the day within the culture of commercial fishermen, they contextualize the issue by understanding the economic needs of that cultural group and how they may be in tension with conservation efforts. This too, would be cultural contextualization. It is important to remember that these component groups are designated with the purposes of observation and pedagogical manipulation in mind. Background cultural phenomena that are not noticed by the learner may not play a useful role in the differentiation and representation of the target knowledge as ever present cultural elements would be bound to all learning for the student. Cul tural as well as social subtleties clearly have an impact on every aspect of a learning environment but the subtleties are beyond the scope of this study and are probably not easily manipulated. Emotional Environment Similarly, it can be difficult or imp ossible to disentangle emotion from any other aspect of learning. For the purposes here, I refer to either the very intentional use of emotion in instruction and/or metacognitive identification of emotional elements. For example, the teacher may facilita te a very specific tone set' to prime students for what the teacher hopes will be a moving experience. Alternatively, a student might identify frustration that they felt regarding an assigned task they could not master or a deep sense of awe associated w ith a natural phenomenon they experienced.

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34 Artifacts and Tools Human artifacts including texts, art, architecture, recordings (video/voice), and any other object that is manmade also provide the learner with uniquely human context associations to facilitat e integration with schemata. Similarly, known heuristics and procedures have a similar effect. In the case of text, voice recordings, or any other symbolic language, this contextualization may be a function of the abstraction. Artifacts share this with direct human communication but there are important differences as well, predominantly the non transactional and static nature of artifacts. Artifacts also play a critical role in a rapidly changing society as they provide an unchanging referent such that l earners can all go back to the same source. Although each will learn the information via unique pathways and interactions with their schema, will have different access to the materials, and may index the sources differently, they are all starting with the same information, unchanged by additional learners/teachers in the chain. I define academic tools as artifacts, heuristics, or procedures that have been designed or co opted for the purpose of academic instruction or the facilitation of abstract thought f or pedagogical ends. Clear examples include textbooks, worksheets, journals/notebooks, educational media, and content related websites. Other cases might be less clear such as computers/computer programs, non fiction books, calculators, etc. The definit ive test is the intention for use so that a computer can be an academic tool or a recreational tool, depending on how it is used. Though there is a fine line between when a tool is academic and when it is not, the distinction is an important one in unders tanding how DIAL occurs in the field. In the earlier example of the student discovering buoyancy through use of a wetsuit, this would

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35 be considered a non academic tool but if the teacher created a mini lesson using the wetsuits as an example, it would then become a co opted academic tool for the purposes here. Thus, non academic tools are man made objects, procedures, or heuristics used for some purpose that is not intentionally related to the content being taught. Internal Dialog and Expression Learning and the incorporation of new ideas into the schemata are not limited to sensory information that moves from the external to the internal. Rather, learning can also occur via internal dialogue and by moving ideas from the internal to the external such as when a learner expresses an idea. While these ideas likely have a person plus origin, they can be manipulated within the person solo to varying degrees. Both internal dialogue and expression add elaborations to the schemata, leading to increased generali zation or specialization of the schemata (J. R. Anderson, 1990) Learners often catalog experiences they do not have strong connections to but later make those connections as relevant information becomes available. For example, a student might notice while in the field that different plants grow on north and south slopes but might not situate that knowledge until a later ecology lesson helps them create an explanation for it. Though asynchronous, those episodes become linked via internal dialog (Kolb, 1984 ) Both internal dialog and expression can be either facilitated through prompting or can be spontaneous. The only access researchers have to this process is when the learner recognizes it in himself and can articulate it to someone else. This creates di fficulties for studying it but it is a critical piece of the person plus learning network.

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36 Learner Networks To bring all of these parts together then, we see a dynamic network in which the learner is in constant interaction with her environment, extensivel y filtering incoming information with existing schemata and offloading cognitive and perception tasks to other aspects of the environment. When raw information is bundled with contextual clues, the learner is better positioned to find a connection between the new information and past experience. We must look beyond the context cues that are tightly bound to targeted content and consider how knowledge is distributed throughout the entire learning environment. Different components of the environment have ve ry different implications for learning as they each offer different ways and degrees with which to access information related to learning targets. Though peripheral connections may seem as if they have only weak ties to the targeted information, I am prop osing that there is strength in these weak ties, particularly when combined with or in supporting the stronger ties of socially mediated learning. These context cues are often neglected in most education settings but probably provide significant contributi ons to how information is elaborated and therefore, to how it can be recalled or applied. These context cues may also be of little apparent use at the time of learning but may become more useful later when further or more advanced learning on the subject takes place. When information is presented in such a way that most of the context cues are related to the target content, as in DIAL, the information is more effectively elaborated and an effective context vehicle has been created. In the classroom, lear ners do not cease elaborating information with environmental context cues,

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37 they simply elaborate the context cues of the classroom with the new information, thereby associating academic content largely with academic settings, rather than the real world the y are intended to be applied to. Every learning event is a function of (a) information distributed throughout the environment, including social and communicated information, (b) the experience of the learner, and (c) the current state of activation of the myriad schemata of the learner. However, it is difficult to conceive of any learning event that could truly isolate any singular learning. Rather, we must see learning as an environmentally networked event in which many bits of information are learned t ogether and become, at least in part, associated in memory Through DIAL, we support that process. Method Overview To answer the research questions, a mixed methods, multiple case study design (Yin, 2009) was used. Four high school science classes that participated in DIAL experiences served as the four cases of the study. These cases included 68 students, the teachers of each class, and local experts who participated in the experiences of two of the cases. Students in two of the cases studied various aspects of the winter environment while participating in residential programs situated in montane and alpine ecosystems. Students were often required to travel on skis through the environment. The third case traveled by van to a sandhill crane migration staging area to study the birds and human impact on the birds' habitat. The final case traveled to the Florida Everglades to study that ecosystem while traveling by canoe and on foot. The first research question regarding whether or not students learned through their DIAL experiences was addressed through a pretest posttest design using a graph theoretic

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38 assessment of structural knowledge, Pathfinder Network Modeling (Schvaneveldt, Dearholdt, & Durso, 1988) The Pathfinder process uses students' judgments of relatedness between pairs of germane concepts to create a network diagram, or PFnet, that illustrates the most salient connections that students make amongst the set of concepts. These data were used largely in a quantitative manner by comparing vario us measures of similarity between each students' pre and post PFnet to an expert referent, noting change in similarity to the referent over the span of the DIAL experience. Wilcoxon Matched Pairs Tests were used to assess for statistically significant cha nge at the case level. The PFnets were also used qualitatively to (1) analyze for patterns in the nature of the changes students were making in their knowledge structures as a result of the DIAL experiences, and (2) to drive the interview process used to answer the second research question. That second research question, regarding the contributions to learning made by components of the learning environment, was answered using a qualitative approach. As mentioned, students were interviewed immediately fol lowing their DIAL experiences and they were shown the PFnets from their pre and post assessments. Changes in the PFnets that represented conceptual shifts important to the learning goals of the class were highlighted and pointed out to the students. Fo r each of these, students were asked to describe their current understanding of the highlighted relationship, if the change was indeed a conceptual shift that they felt they made, and how they learned about or made that shift. Follow up questions were oft en asked to help students clarify their self identified learning process. The interviews were audio recorded, transcribed and coded using the method of pattern matching logic (Yin, 2009). Cross case analysis was used to identify common themes and pattern s across the four DIAL experiences.

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39 In order to triangulate the data gathered through the interview process, I directly observed one case, the Everglades class, throughout their DIAL experience. I recorded video, audio, photographs, and field notes of st udent learning and interactions with their environment, conducting on the spot interviews as we traveled. While four students were intentionally highlighted within this process to capture as complete a record of their experience as possible, all students in the class, their teacher, and a local guide hired for the trip, were all included. My role in the group could be described as a quasi participant as I was not involved in the targeted learning but participated in general camp and travel activities and engaged in casual as well as data collection conversations. The data collected through this process were coded and analyzed using the same scheme as for the interview process. The formal interviews conducted on the trip were recorded, transcribed, and co ded, while all other audio, video, and photographic data were coded directly with a qualitative research software tool. The data were compared to the findings from the interview process and included in the cross case analysis. A more in depth discussion of the methods used in this study can be found in Chapter Three. My Background In qualitative research the researcher is the primary instrument and as such it is important for the reader to understand the background and perspective of the researcher as it relates to the methods and data being presented (Creswell, 2007) As this study includes qualitative methods I address my background in this section. My own background in contextualized science education began as a freshly minted wildlife biologist wor king for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In that position it became clear to me that there were many aspects of my undergraduate education that did

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40 not fully come to light until I experienced the use of learned knowledge in the context of a working fi eld biologist interacting with other scientists, wildlife, ecosystems, and a body of focused knowledge. When I transitioned into teaching science at the secondary level, I tried to foster similar approaches to contextualize the targeted information for m y students, using experiential learning, problem based learning, service learning, integrated curricula, and what I am now calling DIAL. It was clear to me that these approaches led to much higher student engagement but it was always difficult to determin e if student learning was greater, categorically different, or longer lasting than that which resulted from more traditional pedagogies. It seemed as though students' interactions with people and their environments were often markedly different during DIA L experiences than they were with more traditional approaches but identifying these differences proved elusive and the literature on experiential education did not offer much guidance. While I often felt as though experiential approaches to learning could be very powerful, I have often observed situations where I doubted that any significant learning was occurring, even in my own teaching. With that perspective, I approached the present research not in an attempt to prove the efficacy of experiential educ ation or DIAL, but to test and explore it. Chapter One Summary In this chapter I presented the problem this study addressed: the need for science pedagogies that foster deeper conceptual knowledge, offering DIAL as a potential but untested solution to thi s problem. I explained the role that situated constructivism played as the theoretical foundation for the study and introduced a new conceptual framework that was tested in this study. I described some of the difficulties of studying authentic

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41 learning e nvironments and provided an overview for the mixed methods approach I used to work around these difficulties.

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42 CHAPTER II LITERATURE REVIEW Introduction Thinking about DIAL as a unique learning process is a new endeavor and as such there is no existing l iterature that directly informs an understanding of it. However, there are a number of bodies of research that inform elements of DIAL. That past work directed the design and implementation of this study. The first part of this chapter provides a more i n depth discussion of the theoretical foundations of the study, what I am calling situated constructivism. That first section explains the contributions of situative, cognitive, and experiential learning theories as well as the thinking of others who have found utility in a combined theoretical view of learning. A simple way to conceive of DIAL is as a pedagogy and a process in which cognitive learning happens in conjunction with a contextualized, real world environment that was specifically chosen by th e teacher to support academic learning. With this framing, the relationship between the environment, the content, and the learner are deeply interrelated through the processes of contextualization and experience. In the second section of this chapter I p resent some empirical evidence on contextualized science learning from existing studies. This is done in three parts outlining (a) understandings of context and contextualization, (b) evidence concerning the role of experience in learning within authentic learning environment s and (c) a look at past studies that have compared facilitated and peripheral learning opportunities.

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43 Theoretical Foundations The theoretical foundation for this study was introduced in Chapter One. The approach was described as bei ng based on the assumptions of situated learning theories that assert learning is a complex process involving all of the animate and inanimate objects within a learning environment, continuously processing information and recording changes within the syste m. The cognitive view is one of learning as an individual process that happens within the learner's head through changing representations of knowledge. The perspective used here combines these two, seeing specific and critical roles for the individual wi thin the more complex ecology of the person plus. Experience is the interaction between the individual and the system. In the next sections, each of these theoretical traditions is explained in isolation. Some more recent thinking on bringing the traditi ons together is then presented. At the outset of this research, the work used experiential learning theory (ELT) as a theoretical foundation. ELT is presented first to capture the evolution of the thinking that went into the development of the present th eoretical basis. Experiential Learning Theory In scanning the experiential education literature, one finds almost as many definitions for EE as there are authors writing about it. Curiously, and perhaps in reaction to the broad sweep of what has been call ed EE, many writers choose to define it by what it is not, as in Chapman, McPhee, & Proudman (1992) : Experiential education is not simply learning by doing.' Living could be described as learning by doing. Often this is not education, but simply a routine prescribed pattern of social conditioning Learning that takes place without

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44 reference to relationships is not experiential as it does not allow learners an opportunity to see how they fit into the bigger picture. (p. 18) In contrast, Kolb (1984) offers an affirmative definition that is deceptively simple, "the process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience" (p.38). The Association for Experiential Education defines EE as "both a philosophy and methodology in which educator s purposefully engage with learners in direct experience and focused reflection to increase knowledge, develop skills, and clarify values" (Breunig, 2008, p. 78) Itin (1999) offers a more complete understanding of experiential education, and a definitio n that most closely resembles DIAL: Experiential education is a holistic philosophy, where carefully chosen experiences supported by reflection, critical analysis, and synthesis, are structured to require the learner to take initiative, make decisions, an d be accountable for the results, through actively posing questions, investigating, experimenting, being curious, solving problems, assuming responsibility, being creative, constructing meaning, and integrating previously developed knowledge. Learners are engaged intellectually, emotionally, socially, politically, spiritually, and physically in an uncertain environment where the learner may experience success, failure, adventure, and risk taking. The learning usually involves interaction between learners, l earner and educator, and learner and environment. It challenges the learner to explore issues of values, relationship, diversity, inclusion, and community. The educator's primary roles include selecting suitable experiences, posing problems, setting bounda ries, supporting learners, ensuring physical and emotional safety, facilitating the learning process, guiding reflection, and

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45 providing the necessary information. The results of the learning form the basis of future experience and learning. (p. 139) Still others identify a theory of experiential education that has emerged in the collective works of scholars who have turned their attention to understanding learning through experience (Itin, 1999; Kolb, Boyatzis, & Mainemelis, 2000; Kraft, 1986; Roberts, 2008 ) Though labeled "Experiential Learning Theory" (ELT) by Kolb et al. (2000) and described as "emerging", it is largely built on the philosophy of John Dewey (1938/1997) For Dewey, understanding the world through experience provided an elegant soluti on for the dispute between the rationalists and the empiricists of his day and it was his philosophical approach to experience that led to his pedagogy (Hunt, 1981) It is experience that unites the physical world (primary experience'), with the reflecti ve and cognitive constructions of the mind, or secondary experience' (Hunt, 1981) According to Dewey, these two levels of experience are continually at work integrating cognitively with past experiences and preparing the individual for future experience s, a concept he referred to as "continuity of experience" (Breunig, 2008) Dewey cautioned against educators who favored primary over secondary experience or vice versa, highlighting the importance of both in the process (Dewey, 1938/1997) One could arg ue that Dewey jumped from philosophy to pedagogy, skipping theory, but this emerging ELT is now filling that void. It was this relationship between experience and reflection that led to and drove the development and evolution of theory that includes cycli cal models of experiential learning, most notably those of Kolb (1984) and Joplin (1981) In these stepwise models, the learner continually enters various stages

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46 of experience or reflection, transitioning to the next step via internal or external impetus (Quay, 2003) More recently, writers have been questioning the insularity of these cycles (Quay, 2003) as well as the nature and role of the reflection within them (Bell, 1993) While these models are useful to the practitioner, they will necessarily co ntinue to evolve over time to accommodate more nuanced understandings of learning. This is where it becomes important to understand experiential learning as a theory that undergirds pedagogy and that can be used as a lens to interpret DIAL. Joplin (1981) for example, warns against assessing a program as experiential simply because it has an action component. A theoretical framework provides a better lens with which to assess. Dewey's empirical naturalism' provides one such theory (Hunt, 1981) but expe riential theory has expanded beyond Dewey's original conception. To, expand on this theory, Carver (1996) describes the individual learner as situated within her environment not as an independent entity integrating experience and reflection, but as one d oing so with myriad contributing and confounding factors, a situated view of experience. Knowledge becomes co constructed by the learner, experience, reflection, environment, and social inputs. Therefore, teaching methods and learning can be couched in t his way: Simple participation in a prescribed set of learning experiences does not make something experiential. The experiential methodology is not linear, cyclical, or even patterned. It is a series of working principles, all of which are equally importa nt and must be present to varying degrees at some time during experiential learning. These principles are required no matter what activity the student is engaged in or where learning takes place. (Chapman, et al., 1992, p. 20)

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47 While the call to incorporat e social and environmental aspects of learning into EE seem relatively recent (e.g. Seaman, 2008) Dewey recognized the importance of considering the social and environmental in his model of learning: "Experience does not occur in a vacuum. There are sourc es outside an individual that give rise to experience; it is constantly fed from the springs" (Dewey, 1938/1997, p. 40) Place based education, considered by some to have its genesis in the EE movement, is an attempt to better understand and utilize the r elationship of the learner to his/her environment and it is also an important piece of the ELT theoretical framework (Gruenewald, 2003) Itin (1999) discusses the role of environment in learning: The educational process does more than take place within t he setting; it interacts and transacts with numerous environmental aspects. The environment would include not only the setting (the context in which teaching takes place), but also the larger social political economic systems, the multiple students in the class, and any other system that impacts the teaching learning process (p. 139) Quay (2003) adds, "Experience itself is often commonly understood as knowledge held in context we have experience in something, we participate in something. These somethings are related to contexts. Transfer cannot be understood apart from the recognition of the importance of context learning" (p. 185). The repositioning of knowledge beyond the individual experience/reflection cycle and into the social, cultural, and environ mental realms marks an important shift in ELT away from pure constructivism and it also relieves an additional tension that accompanies constructivism: if knowledge is constructed in an entirely individual manner, can there be any transfer of canonical kno wledge? This question is of particular interest in science

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48 education as it would be unrealistic to expect even the brightest students to independently develop thousands of years' worth of discovery when presented with even the best experiences. The moder n practice of science requires individuals to be empirical and to construct new ideas but it also requires a solid understanding of the canon from which to proceed. The inclusion of canonical knowledge is also more realistic in a public school system res ponsible for ensuring that students not only learn, but gain specific knowledge and skill sets as deemed necessary by society. As Hunt (1981) jibed "One only need look at some products of innovative education who are very much "in touch with their feelings ," but who cannot write a coherent sentence" (p. 212). Zahorik (1997) wrote: In productive constructionism, a teacher's job is to fuse students' knowledge with what experts know, not to favor one over the other. Teachers do not promote understanding by p ermitting students' constructions to stand even though they clash with experts' constructions. Student engagement in problem solving tasks is crucial, but so is teacher student dialog. (p.38) Despite its long pedigree and foundations in empirical naturali sm, ELT is far from being universally agreed upon. The nature and composition of experience itself is still hotly debated (Bell, 1993; Fox, 2008; Roberts, 2008) One of the more significant tensions within the emerging ELT is the simultaneous importance placed on individual experience and social contributions to learning. ELT values individual experience, both primary and secondary, but recognizes an emergent quality associated with shared experiences, an idea associated with situated learning theories (Q uay, 2003) ELT takes the critical step beyond constructivism in acknowledging the interplay of the individual,

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49 the environment, and the social. It does not, however, describe exactly how these elements work together for learning, nor does it reconcile t he inherent tensions in this. More targeted theoretical tools are required to help frame the assumptions upon which this study is built, namely the roles of social mediation and contextualization in a learning environment as well as the specific role of t he individual in learning. Situated Learning Theories As reflected above, incorporating the role of experience in learning implies an interaction with the learner's environment. Indeed, it is difficult to imagine how learning could take place without fa ctors external to the learner. Theories of situated cognition, situated learning, and the closely aligned theory of distributed cognition address this relationship in a manner that is more directed than can be found in ELT. Within this situative theoreti cal frame, a computer, a book, other people, and cultural elements, for example, all participate with an individual to process information and retain it. In this way, a student might take a math problem from a textbook, use a calculator to solve it, and r ecord the answer in the notebook and so all of these elements become part of the thinking and learning process. Cole & Engestršm (1993) also describe cognition as being distributed across the dimension of time. Significantly, Dewey described what would no w be considered a situated conception of learning: "the idea of environment is a necessity to the idea of organism, and with the conception of environment comes the impossibility of considering psychical life as an individual, isolated thing developing in a vacuum" (1884, p. 285) For Dewey, primary experience is entirely situated in physical and social contexts. In that way, knowing becomes a practice and learning a strengthening of that practice rather than a

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50 possession of an individual (Greeno, et al., 1996) In other words, "intelligence is accomplished rather than possessed" (Pea, 1993, p. 49) Perkins (1993) introduces a useful concept to be used with distributed cognition, the person plus, as a unit of analysis in understanding learning. The perso n plus represents the individual along with all of the external tools, practices, and other individuals that allow for a given cognitive process. This is contrasted with the more conventional view of the person solo the conception of learning as being en tirely in the head' (Perkins, 1993) Thus, the cognitive process as well as any memory or cognitive residue are distributed throughout the learning environment, such that the learner off loads memory (Brown, et al., 1989) into notebooks, other people, e tc (Perkins, 1993) According to Perkins (1993) where the knowledge is stored is irrelevant as long as its retrieval is equivalent, a function he labels the equivalent access hypothesis Perkins (1993) uses the example of executive function to describe the situative perspective. It is quite often that we rely on the external environment to make decisions for us (e.g. laws and directions to follow), noting that this is a more efficient method than processing every decision we are faced with on a daily ba sis. If learning is distributed throughout the environment, how then can transfer ever happen? According to Fenwick: Each different context evokes different knowings through very different demands of participation. This means that training in a classroo m only helps develop a learner's ability to do training better. What is learned in one training or work site is not portable but is transformed and reinvented when applied to the tasks, interactions, and cultural dynamics of another. (2000, p. 254)

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51 That is transfer as it is understood in cognitive psychology does not exist. Rather, new processes are created, informed by the cognitive residues of the person solo, but entirely dependent on the new person plus. Within the situative understanding of learning knowledge is distributed throughout the environment rather than possessed by the person solo but the person solo indexes the knowledge, providing the tools with which to access that distributed knowledge at a later time (Brown, et al., 1989). Again, it is the action and practice that are relevant, rather than where information is stored. However, this does not imply an exclusion of the abstract, as explained by Brown & Duguid (1996) "Because of its emphasis on the implicit and practice, situated argume nts have occasionally been accused of championing the implicit, in denouncing the explicit and abstract as if these were somehow antithetical to practice... But explication and abstraction are themselves situated social practices" (p. 4, emphasis original) It is the context that makes sense of the abstraction. Brown et al. (1989) offer a useful way to understand this concept: "Tools share several significant features with knowledge: They can only be fully understood through use, and using them entails bo th changing the user's view of the world and adopting the belief system of the culture in which they are used" (p. 33). The goal of education within a distributed cognition model is to learn how to more efficiently distribute and access information rather than to possess more knowledge within the person solo (Pea, 1993). The Social Environment Within the situated perspective of learning, there is an appropriately heavy emphasis on the social mediators to learning, recognizing the fact that how we partici pate within a functioning community and how we interact with other individuals is perhaps

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52 the most significant and productive manifestation of learning (Greeno, et al., 1996; Lave, 1988; Lave & Wenger, 1991; Rogoff, 1990; Wertsch, 2007) Salomon (1993a) d escribes this interaction: People appear to think in conjunction or partnership with others and with the help of culturally provided tools and implements. Cognitions, it would seem, are not content free tools that are brought to bear on this or that proble m; rather, they emerge in a situation tackled by teams of people and the tools available to them. (p. xiii) Even in the case of physical tool use, cultural and social factors determine how that tool is to be used, and conversely, tools can be seen as a ref lection of the values and situated knowledge of the community (Brown, et al., 1989) For Vygotsky, all learning originates in the social, such that anything that is internalized by the person solo must have originally been present as a previously existing social construct (Vygotsky, 1978) Even physical tools and abstract signs are manifestations of social processes. Thus, mediation involves the use of a sign or a tool to convey meaning (Vygotsky, 1978) and "in higher forms of human behavior, the individu al actively modifies the stimulus situation as a part of the process of responding to it" (Cole & Scribner, 1978, p. 14) Both signs and tools mediate activity but they can be distinguished by how they are used. Signs are used for internal mediation, suc h as in language, while tools are used for the mediation of interactions with the external environment (John Steiner & Souberman, 1978) The use of language, then, is much more than a tool for communication it is a process that mediates higher thought. I t is language that allows us to internalize and

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53 process stimuli from the external environment. Vygotsky (1978) explains the developmental ramifications of this process: The most significant moment in the course of intellectual development, which gives bir th to the purely human forms of practical and abstract intelligence, occurs when speech and practical activity, two previously completely independent lines of development, converge... as soon as speech and the use of signs are incorporated into any action the action becomes transformed and organized along entirely new lines. (emphasis original, p. 24) The use of language then, allows for an entirely different relationship with the environment, a relationship that is labeled, categorized, and has cultural/ historical relevance. Wertsch (2007) summarizes this idea well: "Instead of acting in a direct, unmediated way in the social and physical world, our contact with the world is indirect or mediated by signs" (p. 178). The Physical Environment The situati ve approach to learning depends on the concept of affordances within the environment. Affordances are the limits and opportunities placed on the process of distributed learning and knowing; the "psychologically significant information in environments [tha t] specifies ways in which spatial settings and objects can contribute to our interactions with them" (Greeno, et al., 1996, p. 21) Affordances of a thing or idea can be actual or perceived (Pea, 1993) While these affordances apply to all aspects of th e environment, they are perhaps most easily understood through the physical aspects. These affordances, often the result of socio cultural history and manifested as physical tools such as books, may actually play a larger role in cognition and learning th an what is

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54 happening in the mind of any person solo and thus, they "constitute a cultural theory of mind" (Cole & Engestršm, 1993) The role of these physical, human elements of a learning environment, or artifacts, may receive less attention than their co ntributions to situated cognition may warrant in current writing on socio cultural learning (Pea, 1993) as they are obscured by the more directly social aspects. They provide a scaffolding that allows the transmission of cultural intelligence beyond what can be done through direct social interaction (Pea, 1993) In essence, "the artifact is to cultural evolution what the gene is to biological evolution the vehicle of information across generations" (Pea, 1993, p. 79) Wertsch (2007) introduced the ide a of a sign vehicle' to explain the concept of a sign conveying socio cultural information that allows for both easy transmission of an idea from person to person and the possibility of mediating understanding even beyond what the user intended. Whether s ocially mediated or not, the non human physical aspects of the learning environment also play a role in a situated perspective of learning. By providing affordances to be used by the learner, the physical environment also scaffolds learning by influencing what can be and what is likely to be learned. The Cognitive Approach to Learning As mentioned in Chapter One, there is some debate as to the compatibility between the situative and cognitive approaches to learning. Some have argued for a completely distr ibuted or situated view of cognition where the role of the individual is seen as essentially irrelevant or secondary (Brown, et al., 1989; Cole & Engestršm, 1993; Rogoff, 1990) while others have argued against situated cognition entirely (J. R.

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55 Anderson, e t al., 1996) I find the more moderate views that allow for some overlap, more compelling and useful for the present study. Understanding the relationship between individual learner and environment as a part of a whole rather than as an inside/outside ph enomenon is important but it does not imply that individual cognition ceases to exist; nor need it imply that all parts of the whole have equal value in a given activity. I contend that understanding the role of individual cognition within a distributed o r situated system of cognition is important for three reasons. First, the role of the individual's mental representations and the role of the individual as a processing nucleus are absolutely critical to even distributed cognition. To remove any one aspec t of the plus' in the person plus system will change the nature of the thinking process but to remove the person' from the person plus system ends the thinking process altogether. The individual is an appropriate unit of analysis and understanding the p rocessing and representations of the individual provides a lens into the infinite nature of the person plus. The individual provides the only access to an insider's view of the person plus system. A second reason to understand the learning from a construc tivist, cognitive perspective lies in the difficulty that situated cognition has with addressing transfer. That is, transfer may not have a significant role in situated theories but it is clearly valued in educational contexts. Particularly as the contex tual distance between learning and application grows, understanding transfer becomes important if theory is to inform educational praxis. Cognitive theories provide a mechanism to understand transfer.

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56 Similarly, a third reason to complement a situative un derstanding with the person solo cognitive theories also lies in praxis. It is not yet clear exactly how to direct instruction or assessment within an entirely situated education model (Greeno, et al., 1996) particularly within a cultural environment tha t places a premium on the value of personal achievement. This may change, but for now informing situated cognition with the empirically rich tradition of cognitive psychology will add to the relevance of the approach. The premise of the cognitive approach is that learning is the accumulation of mental representations within one's memory and that transfer occurs because some of these representations are seen as invariant across situations (Greeno, et al., 1996) As there is a close alignment between these cognitive structures and learning, they can be used as a way to understand individual learning (Shavelson, 1972; Shavelson & Stanton, 1975) Taking this one step further, there is some evidence that mental representations may be very closely tied to actua l physical spaces/relationships (Battista, 1994) as learners create conceptual models, such as which concept is close to or overlaps another or how to get from one concept to another, that reflect geo spatial organization in the physical world. Understand ing mental representations may then provide insight into the environments in which learning occurred. While there are innumerable facets of mental representation and the cognitive approach that offer insight into human cognition (Tulving, 1985) for the mo re bounded purpose of this dissertation I limit this discussion to one aspect that is necessary and sufficient in describing mental representations of the individual with a system of situated cognition schema theory

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57 Schema Theory Originally proposed b y Bartlett (1932) a schema is a data structure that we use within our memory to store generalized information about the world we know and that is used to interpret future events and incoming information (Rumelhart & Ortony, 1977) These schemata are ency clopedic and semantic rather than definitional and declarative in the sense that they record generalized information that is useful for interpreting the environment rather than absolutes to be recalled as a unit (Rumelhart & Ortony, 1977) Schemata repres ent what are normally true but are flexible enough to incorporate new conditions when appropriate. Within schema theory most of our memories; our representations of past events, environments, and ideas are cataloged as generalized meanings based on our i nterpretations of past events (Rumelhart & Ortony, 1977) Remembering, then, is not usually based on a perfect recall of the original information but a recognition through piecing together of discrete bits of information, glued together with the meaning a ttributed by our schemata (Rumelhart & Ortony, 1977) Within this theory, each schema has a set of variables with allowable ranges of information (Rumelhart & Ortony, 1977) For example, a DOG schema would have a variable for size that might range between 2 and 200 pounds, and a number of legs variable that is essentially fixed at 4. Still, the schema variables work together and are flexible enough to accommodate novel events (J. R. Anderson, 1990) such that a dog with only three legs would still be recog nized as a dog. These schemata are not only used for interpreting new information but also for recall. When we do recall what a dog looked like, for example, we use our DOG schema

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58 to provide most of the information and then fill in the details for the p articular dog we saw, thus avoiding the requirement to remember every detail of every dog we ever see (J. R. Anderson, 1990) It has been shown that we actually add information in the recall process that is a function of our schema and not of reality (Bre wer & Treyens, 1981) Similarly, when interpreting information, we tend to accept data that is closer to average values for a given schema rather than values near the extreme (McCloskey & Glucksberg, 1978) Important for the theory and critical for this s tudy is the idea that schemata are constantly in a state of change or adjustment. As more data for a given variable become available, the schema can become either more specialized or more generalized (Rumelhart & Ortony, 1977) The more one studies dogs, the more variables one can add regarding exactly what constitutes a dog but as one becomes aware of hyenas, foxes, and jackals, one must accommodate this new knowledge with a more generalized CANID schema. As we learn then, each related schema must be ad justed to accommodate. As a schema becomes more specific, the depth of our knowledge increases and as that knowledge is more generalized, the more we are able to transfer it (Rumelhart & Ortony, 1977) Because of this, specialized schemata allow us to in terpret the environment more quickly and consistently while more generalized schemata require more time and reasoning but allow for greater flexibility (Rumelhart & Ortony, 1977) Hierarchies and Networks Another important point regarding schemata is that they do not work alone. Rather, they are organized in hierarchical networks with more specialized schemata nested within more generalized schemata, as described by Rumelhart & Ortony (1977):

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59 This organization seems to lead to an infinite regress, in whi ch each schema is characterized in terms of lower level constituents, or subschemata. Presumably, the dependence that schemata have on lower level subschemata must ultimately stop, that is to say, some schemata must be atomic in the sense that they are not characterized by reference to any other constituent schemata. (p. 106) There are implications for both encoding and recall from these hierarchies in that either process can happen from the top down, the bottom up, or simultaneously from both (Rumelhart & Ortony, 1977) We can make inferences about the general based on what we are seeing in the specific or we can use general observations to make assumptions about the details. To use the DOG example, we can see a dog and make the assumption that it barks ( top down) or we can see a dog track in the mud and assume that a complete dog was present at some point (bottom up). The cognitive structure of these schemata seem to be closely aligned with how the information was learned (Shavelson, 1972) Scripts and P lans Scripts are schemata that are specialized for use with events, or as Schank and Abelson (1975) put it, "a script is a predetermined, stereotyped sequence of actions that define a well known situation. A script is, in effect, a very boring little s tory" (p. 151). These scripts allow us to operate in the world and interpret the world without the need to observe every detail. Plans are similar but also connect sequences of events to goals (Schank & Abelson, 1975) These are particularly important in interpreting the actions of others as the assumption of goals leads to the ability to interpret actions (Schank & Abelson, 1975) For example, seeing a person running down the street does not give us

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60 enough information to accurately interpret why but s eeing a person carrying a briefcase and running toward the bus allows us to assume a plan and fill in the story. The Role of Context in Schema T heory It is clear that the environment has a critical role in the use of schemata as mental representations, as described by (Rumelhart & Ortony, 1977) : "The environment provides reference for the mental conceptualizations which become associated with the variables in the schema" (p.102). If the mind serves as an index of knowledge, then the environment activates that index. Context becomes important in a number of ways. First, there is a direct correlation between the ability to recall information and the similarity of the contexts where learning happened and where recall is expected, a concept dubbed the encodin g specificity principle (Tulving & Thomson, 1973) However, when a topic is learned in multiple contexts, two factors lead to greater recall: there are more potential links with which to recall the information and the related schemata become more generali zed and access can occur from a top down direction (Rumelhart & Ortony, 1977). This is particularly true when recall is expected with a long lag time from the learning event (J. R. Anderson, 1990) When learning and recall do occur, any given idea is asso ciated with contextual elaborations from prior knowledge, imaginings and inferences, and the current environmental surround (J. R. Anderson, 1990) Rumelhart & Ortony (1977) offer the example of the phrase "I would like something to drink" (page 129). Th is phrase has a very different meaning at a bar than it does at a children's birthday party. Miller and Gildea (1987) showed that vocabulary learned in a decontextualized environment was often misused during recall while when words were learned in an appr opriate context,

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61 learners were able to transfer that word for appropriate use in other contexts, due to the elaborations surrounding the information. It has also been found that recall is more accurate when learners are allowed to generate their own elab orations from existing contexts as compared to when they are given an a priori context with which to remember it (Pressley, McDaniel, Turnure, Wood, & Ahmad, 1987) A final point to make regarding schema theory for the purposes here is that these elaborat ions play a key role in the cognitive structures we create and maintain as memory. These elaborations can be conceptualized as creating pathways and alternate retrieval routes that the learner can use to access remembered information. Additionally, the e laborations, along with schemata, offer alternate cues with which to infer a forgotten bit of information (J. R. Anderson, 1990) The conclusion then is that diversity of contextual cues at learning leads to greater fidelity and speed at recall. Cognitiv e science has also provided evidence that could be extrapolated to the outcomes of learning in situ It has been shown, for example, that semantic memory is boosted when associated with episodic memory events (Menon, Boyett Anderson, Schatzberg, & Reiss, 2002; Verfaellie, Croce, & Milberg, 1995) That is, direct, personal experiences lead to higher and more permanent rates of information assimilation. Additionally, research has shown that contextual clues allow us to bypass our brain's penchant for filt ering out new information (e.g. Martens & Wyble, 2010) This work done in cognitive science should inform what is happening when an actual learner interacts with her learning environment but there is a dearth of evidence supporting this jump. An unpublis hed work by Hutchins is quoted by Brown et al. (1989): "'[W]hen the context of cognition is ignored, it is impossible to see the contribution of structure in the

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62 environment, in artifacts, and in other people to the organization of mental processes' (p. 67 )." Situated Constructivism The study reported herein was conceptualized from a foundation that considered learning as it exists in a situated context but did so largely by looking at the meanings and representations assigned by individuals through experi ence. Therefore, a theory that combines the cognitive and situative perspectives, and informed by ELT was needed. As discussed in the previous chapter, Cobb & Yackel (1996) offer a theoretical framework for such a union called "the emergent approach," b ut I prefer the label situated constructivism as it is more descriptive and reflects the traditions from which it was developed. Within their framework, it is possible to locate analyses of individual's constructive activities in a social context (Cobb & Yackel, 1996) They describe the impetus for this approach in this way: In general, analyses conducted from the psychological constructivist perspective bring out the heterogeneity in the activities of the members of a classroom community. In contrast, s ocial analyses of classroom mathematical practices conducted from the interactionist perspective bring out what is jointly established as the teacher and students coordinate their individual activities. In drawing on these two analytic perspectives, the e mergent approach takes both the individual and the community as points of reference. This approach seeks to analyze both the development of individual minds and the evolution of the local social worlds in which those minds participate. (Cobb & Yackel, 199 6, p. 180)

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63 How do the roles of the individual and the roles of the environment work together within a conception of situated constructivism then? Perkins (1993) describes the individual as containing and using higher order knowledge, illustrating three re asons why higher order knowledge must exist within the person solo rather than the person plus: First of all, because higher order knowledge is referenced more or less continuously by the executive function in complex inquiry activities it is not like a fo rmula that, checked once a month, might as well be buried in a book. Second, higher order knowledge is fairly stable, not ephemeral like scratch work, and so it might as well sit in long term memory. Third, higher order knowledge is relatively compact comp ared with the mass of facts and procedures in a domain. (p. 104) Perkins goes on to describe the close relationship between higher order thinking and executive function, noting that while executive function can certainly be distributed, when it does occur within the individual, it typically requires ready access to higher order problem solving skills. Greeno et al. (1996) describe the role of the plus' within a view of situated constructivism: "The practices of a community provide facilitating and inhibit ing patterns that organize the group's activities and the participation of individuals who are attuned to those regularities" (p.20). As discussed previously, Vygotsky saw a direct relationship between what occurs in the socio cultural environment and wit h individual thought via the process of internalization. Wertsch (2007) connects this idea of internalization back to that of social mediation: "It is because humans internalize forms of mediation provided by particular cultural, historical, and institutio nal forces that their mental functioning is

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64 sociohistorically situated" (p. 178). All of these ideas are manifestations of development for Vygotsky (Cole & Scribner, 1978) and as such he describes a relationship between the biological and the cognitive b ut also a progression from the biological to the cognitive in the sense that over time, a young learner begins to incorporate more of the external and thus abandon the biological and sensory (Vygotsky, 1978) In this way, the developing learner relies les s and less on sensory stimuli and more on internalized thought and ideas, or artificial stimuli'. This could also be described as a greater reliance on schema in interpreting the world. Context and Learning The immersion aspect of DIAL is an immersion into an authentic context, directly related to the targeted content. There is an assumption then, that context contributes to learning. The academic aspect of DIAL focuses attention on cognitive, academic learning. Although there is no literature base s pecific to DIAL, there has been some work done that looks at the role of context in learning and some specific work that has focused on the role of contextualized learning in science education. This section will begin with a general discussion of what con text is and how it relates to learning. Examination of the role of context in schools and contextualized science education will follow. General Understanding of Context There are countless ways to conceptualize exactly what context is or is not. Tessmer and Richey (1997) provide one definition. Context is "A multilevel body of factors in which learning and performance are embedded Context is not the additive

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65 influence of discrete entities but rather the simultaneous interaction of a number of mutually i nfluential factors" (p. 87, emphasis original) Through contextualization there is a direct connection between experienced events and concepts (Rivet & Krajcik, 2004b) Tessmer & Richey (1997) also point out some important aspects regarding the relation ship between context and learning. First, they point out that we are "condemned to context" in that it is unavoidable. Removing or minimizing some contextual factors only leads to their replacement by different factors. Even an empty room with nobody el se in it is a context for a learner. A second point they make is that an instructional design can accommodate context but cannot create it. That is to say, because context is inevitable, curriculum can work within it but it cannot manufacture it from a v acuum. A third point is that context varies based on the intensity, details, and individualized interaction with each learner (Tessmer & Richey, 1997) Because of this, the meaning of any concept is always under construction as it is reformed within ever changing contexts (Brown, et al., 1989) There are a number of experimental studies that have tested the role of context in learning. Introducing semantic contexts through electronic games, it has been shown that contextualization features promote memory recall and subsequent transfer of information to new settings (CTGV, 1990; Robinson, 2001) as well as learning. Barab et al. (2009) found that students instructed through immersion as an avatar in a virtual world scored better on standardized tests than did textbook instructed students. In a classic study of contextualized learning of language, Miller and Gildea (1987) showed that when children learn vocabulary out of context it is often misused and not retained whereas vocabulary learned in context is b oth useful and retained. Language is a particularly good model to

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66 look at when considering science learning. They are similar in that they are both comprised of fairly simple ideas and rules that become very complex when combined. As Nunberg is credited with writing in 1979: "language use would involve an unremitting confrontation with ambiguity, polysemy, nuance, metaphor, and so forth, were these not resolved with the extra linguistic help that the context of an utterance provide" (Brown, 1989). The w ords themselves have little or endless meaning without a context to place them in. Without a context any knowledge is of limited use and incomplete (Spiro, 1988) Despite this, much of what is taught in schools is decontextualized or is associated with very minimal contextualization (Choi & Hannafin, 1995) In this way, the facts and their meaning are dissociated, leaving the ideas open for confusion or misapplication (CTGV, 1990) In many educational settings, context is seen as a constraint that must be overcome: the socio economic status of the students, the lack of resources, poorly trained teachers, etc. Where we do see learning and context positively associated in the research literature, it typically involves generating a descriptive narrative a round an idea to help students connect the contexts of their out of school lives with what is happening in the classroom. There is little recognition of learning that relies on existing contexts for support. In a telling quote, even researchers who study learning in context express troubling ideas on the role of the complete context for learning: "the physical environment does not so much increase learning when it is excellent as inhibit when it is poor" (Tessmer & Richey, 1997, p. 96) If this is true then DIAL is of little merit. Rather, I contend, the quote reflects a very limited view of learning environments that considers little beyond a traditional classroom.

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67 Though contextualization has been shown to support learning, it can also be a detriment when learning is over contextualized In an experimental study, Son and Goldstone (2009) created three computerized lesson treatments of technical information to compare a lesson with a third person, direct instruction perspective to instruction built aro und a celebrity context and another built around a first person perspective. Though the lessons were short and overly simplistic, and the authors only looked at short term results, they did find that the two context treatments led to the introduction of p ersonal perspectives that were in contrast to accepted ways of knowing. In a more in depth look at learning in context Lave (1988) also found that learning in context could hinder transfer. In her look at how "just plain folks" learn and use math, she fo und that people tend to devise ways of calculating that work well within their own professional contexts but do not transfer well to other applications (Lave, 1988) Personally contextualized learning can be problematic as it can be more difficult to trans fer information when it is learned through that personal context. DIAL, however, does not reposition the content into a personal context. Rather, it takes the learner into the context so that they can use individualized perspective to pick out personally relevant but actual cues and use the context in conjunction with academic instruction. Context in School As with the "just plain folks" of Lave's (1988) work, students in schools are asked to do the opposite task of taking what is learned in school and hopefully applying it to their lives outside of school. The same disconnect is present moving from formal to informal though. Students struggle with applying the clean, perfect, "compliant knowledge" (McCaslin & Good, 1992) of the classroom with the unru ly and messy

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68 applications of the real world (Choi & Hannafin, 1995) Resnick (1987) describes how very few people, including highly trained professionals such as engineers and doctors, use mathematics as they were taught in school, instead inventing their own situation specific algorithms that work for the contexts in which they work, or borrowing them from others within their community of practice. However, Resnick (1987) also points out that formally trained workers can more easily generate a new algori thm or apply a different approach than can people who learned a math skill entirely in context (e.g. Brazilian black market lottery bookies). It seems, then that a compromise is needed between the formal and informal. Students need to learn formal knowle dge and big picture ideas but they must also learn how those ideas fit into the messiness of the real world by experiencing those ideas within a real world context. There are two broad approaches to contextualizing education: introducing context into the c lassroom and bringing the class out into context. Gilbert (2006) describes and evaluates 4 pedagogical models of science education that have been touted as "context based curricula," three of which fit the approach of introducing context into the classroo m. The following list is paraphrased from Gilbert (2006) : (1) Context as the direct application of concepts: a post hoc approach of trying to describe examples that illustrate the formal teaching. It does not include a community of practice, nor language nor behaviors common to the real life application of the knowledge and requires very little background knowledge. (2) Context as reciprocity between concepts and applications: the concept is taught within an interdisciplinary approach framed in a societa l or social need.

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69 The concept and application give each other meaning. Shifting meaning can be confusing. (3) Context as provided by personal mental activity : narrative based. A reader empathizes with a story about someone in a community of practice usi ng the concept. Language from the community of practice is used and requires student to develop an empathetic connection. (4) Context as the social circumstance. Learning is considered to take place as experiencing an authentic setting. Students particip ate in a community of practice. DIAL is most closely associated with the final category as students are enmeshed in a real context rather than relying on the assumption that their previous experiences give them the understanding to make sense of a hypoth etical context. Of course DIAL also takes into account many contextual details beyond the social. Bulte, Westbroek, de Jong, & Pilot (2006) also studied different versions of contextualization through 'need to know' curricula and determined that there i s an important difference for a student between what a teacher might perceive as "need to know" information and what a student considers relevant to his life. Context and concept must be truly related and not just linked artificially through a narrative connection. A narrative or couching of a problem within a greater societal context is not automatically relevant for a student and thus it may not truly be contextualization for them (Bulte, et al., 2006) In a large scale, pretest/posttest study of secon dary students, Gerber, Cavallo, & Marek (2001) examined the role of various types of contextualization on students'

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70 scientific reasoning abilities. They found that students who had regular access to contextually enriched, informal learning environments ou tside of school showed greater science reasoning ability than did students whose outside of school environments were contextually impoverished. This suggests an important role for real, lived experience in understanding even the formal science learned in school. Contextually rich inquiry environments in science classes were also associated with higher scientific reasoning ability than were more direct instruction models. In a related study, Adey and Shayer (1990) showed that middle and high school stude nts who developed more extensive experiential knowledge bases also had higher order schemata regarding particular science concepts. This positioned the students to achieve new understanding with less learning than was true for students without the experie nce and schemata. Another large scale project involving about 2500 secondary students in Detroit public schools examined contextualized science learning designed specifically to address learning standards (Rivet & Krajcik, 2004a, 2004b, 2008) One findin g of the project was that: Those students observed in class relating both their personal experiences and the science concepts to the driving question, anchoring events, and overall contextualizing theme of the project appeared to have a stronger performanc e on the pre / posttest assessment. Likewise, students who were not observed engaging with the contextualizing features of the project during classroom observations did not achieve strong pre/posttest gains. (Rivet & Krajcik, 2008, p. 95) Rivet and Krajcik (2004a) also found that students in the project were more able to transfer information and describe relationships between concepts as a result of

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71 contextualization. A drawback to the Rivet and Krajcik (2004a) study and one that is common to most of the w ork that has been done on contextualization, is that it relied on the assumption that students' past experiences were applicable to the classroom work they are doing. The Rivet and Krajcik (2008) study, for example was built around the idea of the importa nce of bike helmets in understanding force. It assumed that the students have experience riding bicycles and falling off of them, an assumption that was probably not valid for all of the 2500 inner city kids in the study. Even if all of the students had ridden and fallen off of bicycles, there was an assumption that that experience had contextual clues that related to the present study of force. This also seems problematic. We cannot assume that the details of the bike riding experience that were import ant during the event shared any commonality with the details that were important for understanding force. The context may be hollow or confusing for students. For this reason DIAL presents a very different approach to contextualization by providing instr uction and context simultaneously. There is a real danger in moving a context from the real world to the classroom where aspects of the context most important for learning are lost. There is also an assumption that the teacher or curriculum developer know s which aspects of the context are relevant and important for any given student, a dubious assumption at best. Brown (1989) addresses these concerns well: In the creation of classroom tasks, apparently peripheral features of authentic tasks like the extr a linguistic supports involved in the interpretation of communication are often dismissed as "noise" from which salient features can be abstracted for the purpose of teaching. But the context of activity is an

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72 extraordinarily complex network from which pr actitioners draw essential support. The source of such support is often only tacitly recognized by practitioners, or even by teachers or designers of simulations. Classroom tasks, therefore, can completely fail to provide the contextual features that allo w authentic activity. At the same time, students may come to rely, in important but little noticed ways, on features of the classroom context, in which the task is now embedded, that are wholly absent from and alien to authentic activity. Thus, much of wha t is learned in school may apply only to the ersatz activity, if it was learned through such activity. (p.34) Past research has shown that contextualization of content knowledge can advance learning in a number of ways, particularly with helping students m ake connections and build schematic knowledge. There are also real dangers with over contextualizing information or with making assumptions about the connections between authentic context, classroom context, and content knowledge. The next sections of th is chapter explore the role of experience in context and how that affects learning. Experience in Authentic Settings In DIAL context should be a contributor to learning as it was in many of the studies cited in the previous section. Experience, then, is t he student's interaction with context, the vehicle that bridges the gap between self and environment. In this section I present a review of studies that have investigated the role of experience in learning, particularly experience in authentic contexts. Few of the studies are focused on what could be called DIAL but we can begin to see the outlines of DIAL when we trace around the periphery. A broader look at the literature than might be desired was needed to

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73 examine the relationship between experience a nd learning. Evidence was drawn from studies on day long or shorter field trips, longer field experiences, science, and geography, all at the elementary through college levels. The lack of deep immersion and the wide range of developmental levels limit t he applicability of these studies to DIAL and to the present study but they do provide some insight as to how learning in authentic environments manifests. Much of the work cited in this section originates from outside the United States where field based p edagogies seem to be more popular and utilized. Outdoor learning in general is examined along with a focused look at experiential science education. Again, DIAL need not take place outdoors but that is where the literature base is and was the setting of the cases reported through the present study. Some of the work stems from international experiential geography immersion learning though it should be noted that the curricula described in those studies would align well with Earth Science curricula in the United States. Two bodies of research were heavily reviewed for this project but included at only minimal levels due to limited parallels. Adventure learning, such as what happens on Outward Bound type courses, has some similarity to DIAL in the use of de ep immersion but the goals as well as the measured results of this type of learning are almost always affective or social as opposed to cognitive in nature. The affective domain is reviewed here but only as it affects the cognitive domain. Adventure lear ning does not tend to have strong, if any, academic components. The literature on museum visits is also compelling and while museums can be incredible learning environments, the presentation

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74 and control of knowledge is much closer to classroom learning th an it is to authentic learning environments. Experience and Activity Without going too far afield, a few studies on the outcomes of general experiential curricula are worth discussing. The first was a very large study conducted by a physics professor in r esponse to an emerging crisis within his field (Hake, 1998) It was becoming apparent that most college physics students finished their courses with very little practical understanding of the concepts being taught. They could solve complex physics equati ons but could not answer simple questions about the application of the concepts. In searching for solutions Hake (1998) conducted a study that included 6542 college and high school students that had taken a validated measure of practical physics knowledge Of the participants, students in classes with any level of interactive engagement scored two standard deviations above students in traditional lecture classes! It should be noted though, that Hake (1988) collected test results from teachers and profess ors who volunteered the information post hoc and so there was likely to be an underrepresented group at the bottom of the performance scale (Hake, 1988). In a more dated look at 27 experience based educational programs, Conrad and Hedin (1982) determined t hrough a meta analytic process that the programs overall had a significant positive impact on the social, psychological, and intellectual development of the adolescents involved. A common claim of experiential education programs is that they foster long term, deeper knowledge yet very few studies have tracked long term effects. In one simple study 96% of respondents ( n= 128), including adults and children,

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75 could remember some details of a field trip they had taken in elementary school, regardless of how l ong ago that might have been (Falk & Dierking, 1997) Cognitive Learning Anecdotal reports on the positive effects of experiential education abound. However, in order to justify the use of DIAL or other experiential practices in a standards based environm ent, there must be empirical evidence of significant content focused cognitive learning as a result of using these pedagogies. This study contributes to a growing body of research that does so, though focusing specifically on DIAL. In a review of outdoo r experiential learning, Dillon et al. (2006) concluded that "fieldwork, properly conceived, adequately planned, well taught and effectively followed up, offers learners opportunities to develop their knowledge and skills in ways that add value to their ev eryday experiences in the classroom" (p. 107). Because most experiential education trips into authentic contexts require small student groups and teachers who are passionate about the approach, studies of them tend to be small scale and difficult to repr oduce (e.g. Knapp & Benton, 2006; Lisowski & Disinger, 1991; Plante, Lackey, & Hwang, 2009) A notable exception tracked students for a year in 11 California schools that used experiential curricula and matched the schools either to demographically analog ous schools, or in a few cases matched experiential/non experiential classrooms within a school (SEER, 2000) Student performance was tracked across a number of parameters including standardized test scores in reading, science, and math as well as attend ance rates, grade point averages, and other measures of engagement (SEER, 2000) Students in the experiential schools scored higher in 72% of the categories suggesting that the experiential approach had a multi faceted impact including

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76 an impact on academ ic performance (SEER, 2000) Similar positive impacts on cognitive learning have been documented in smaller scale studies in which learning was measured with content tests following day trips to nature centers (Eaton, 1998; Milton & Cleveland, 1995; Proko p, Tuncer, & Kvasni!‡k, 2007) Knapp and Barrie (2001) instructed 500, 4 6 th grade students in a half day immersive nature program and recorded ecology knowledge gains regardless of whether the students took part in an ecology based lesson or an issues ba sed lesson. MacKenzie & White (1982) showed that students taught the same earth science content were much more likely to retain that content three months later when they were taught in an experiential manner in an authentic environment than if they were t aught in a traditional classroom. Affective Learning Although DIAL is focused on cognitive learning, there is a clear link between the affective and cognitive domains, both in theory and in practice. The former was reviewed above. Perhaps the closest lin k between the cognitive and the affective domains is through engagement. A number of studies have shown that experiential curricula lead to greater engagement in students (Ballantyne, Fien, & Packer, 2001; Chapman, et al., 1992; Jakubowski, 2003; Shellman & Ewert, 2010) In one in depth look at an experiential program, O'Connor (2009) studied not just increased student engagement in a number of Canadian, indigenous experiential education schools, but the source of the engagement. He found that community partnerships; alternative forms of evaluation; field studies; incorporation of indigenous culture, spirituality, and language; alternative structuring and scheduling; and surprisingly, an acknowledgement of teacher centered curricula all had positive effec ts on student engagement. In other words, the

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77 positive effects of engagement were not simply a function of doing rather than listening, they resulted from a multifaceted interaction with the full spectrum of the students' context. Within the environmental education literature, a primary interest is the role of experience in natural environments on changing students' beliefs about or relationship with those natural environments. In one such study in Switzerland, Bogner (1999) reported on a program in which students studied endangered migratory birds, built nest boxes for them, observed them in the field, and communicated with students in Senegal where the birds winter. He found that the students became emotionally invested in the project, which led to the desire to build content knowledge and positive long term effects on the students' attitudes toward the environment. Ballantyne et al. (2001) found similar lasting attitudinal changes in students following a one day visit to a nature center in Australia. Though these affective changes may not be recorded by a standards based test or be directly linked to any science curricula in the U.S. it does seem reasonable to assume that students who care about an environment would be more inclined to learn more about it as Bogner (1999) reported. Along those same lines, students who feel empowered, connected to their learning community, and take ownership of their learning are more likely to learn more and more deeply (Mink & O'Steen, 2003; Shellman & Ewert, 2010; Shi rilla, 2009) In one report, based on the assessment of two independent experiential education school programs, Shirilla (2009) showed a positive effect of the programs on social skill development though the effect attenuated in one of the schools after on e year. After a similar evaluation of a middle school program based on the Outward Bound model, greater

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78 behavior ownership, personal efficacy, and community involvement as well as much higher scores on standardized tests compared to local and statewide co ntrol groups were found (Mink & O'Steen, 2003) When students are challenged either physically or academically in the course of experiential education experiences, and overcome those challenges, they are often left with a heightened sense of empowerment ( Shellman & Ewert, 2010) which has ramifications for cognitive learning. Novelty The rich sensory environments of authentic contexts and DIAL specifically, offer endless sources of multi sensory information to the learner. This is the primary reason for ut ilizing DIAL. Although our brains filter out much of what we experience (Bransford, et al., 2000) novel experiences bypass much of that filtering as we take in and try to make sense of the new information (Bransford, et al., 2000) The negative repercu ssions of that are that students can be easily distracted in novel environments (Burnett, 1996; Falk & Balling, 1982; Falk, Martin, & Balling, 1978; Martin, Falk, & Balling, 1981; Orion & Hofstein, 1994) One could argue that the highly controlled environ ments of the traditional classroom have developed in response to minimizing student distractions from the world around them and this too is both good and bad for learning. Much attention has been paid to the idea of novelty in experiential education and i t directly informs an understanding of DIAL. Openshaw and Whittle (1993) suggested that successful pedagogy in these sensory enriched environment requires a balance between "the students' desire for a structure within which they can feel comfortable and n ot threatened and the added excitement caused by the unexpected" (pp. 63 64).

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79 Most of the work that has been done with what Orion & Hofstein (1994) refer to as the "novelty space" has been done with day long field trips. In the seminal paper on novelty, F alk et al. (1978) showed that elementary students who were unfamiliar with forest environments spent much more time "off task" and attending to exploration of the environment while students who were familiar with the environment were able to focus more rea dily on learning content knowledge. A pretest/posttest design showed that the unfamiliar students scored as well as the others on setting related questions but not as well on content questions. In a follow up study Falk and Balling (1982) compared degree s of novelty and age differences, finding that the relationship between novelty and learning was curvilinear and opposite such that at very low and very high levels of novelty learning was lowest as students were bored or over stimulated. Age had an effec t as well in that older students needed greater novelty to remain engaged and younger students were engaged at lower levels of novelty. Orion & Hofstein (1994) studied a construct called novelty space a measure of familiarity with the destination env ironment. They found that the educational quality of a field trip is determined by its structure, learning materials, teaching method, and the ability to direct learning to a concrete interaction with the environment. Learning performance was higher when the novelty space was reduced with pre trip lessons, a practice that left students spending less time familiarizing themselves with the environment once in the field. In their study Orion and Hoftein (1994) found that the novelty space was a more central determinant of learning for students than were typical variables such as teacher experience, grade level, or class size.

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80 It can be assumed that novelty plays a role with DIAL but it is not clear how the novelty attenuates over time. It is interesting tha t students seem to be more focused on the environment than on instruction at first but that this changes with greater familiarity. More research is needed in understanding this evolving but seemingly predictable relationship between the learner and her en vironment. Perhaps the heightened exploration phase at the beginning plays an important role in learning when students have the time to pass through that phase and into one in which they are more ready to be instructed. Immersion The length of time that s tudents spend in authentic environments does seem to have an impact on other learning factors. Within the environmental education literature, time is repeatedly cited as an important factor in changing student attitudes toward the environment. In one suc h program, students in Belize spent five days in a residential environmental education program in which that duration was seen be an important factor in allaying fears and generating a positive attitude toward the environment (Emmons, 1997) In another s tudy in Switzerland that looked at similar affective qualities along with cognitive content knowledge, Bogner (1998) compared one day and five day programs and looked at short term as well as long term (one month) changes. He determined that there were cl ear relationships between attitudes and knowledge and that five days was the minimum duration for lasting affective and conceptual shifts. Knapp and Benton (2006) interviewed students of a five day, fifth grade, residential ecology program in Yellowstone N ational Park, one year after their experience. All of the students had retained content knowledge. Students' recall was

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81 highly associated with actions the students had taken during the course; such as hikes and games; and emotional events they had experi enced, such as dramatic wildlife encounters. The program in the Knapp and Benton (2006) study fits the definition of DIAL as do reports from two other studies I found for this review. One of these DIAL programs involved three different, seven day marine b iology courses in the Bahamas and Cayman Islands in which students were focused on learning the content knowledge and deeply immersed in the context. Liskowski & Dissinger (1991) used a pretest/posttest/post posttest design to measure content learning in the short and long term (one month). The students did show significant growth without any interactions including gender, age, identity, and even interest level. There was a correlation between the emphasis teachers placed on a topic and the degree of le arning of that topic. In a final case that can be called DIAL, Nundy (1999) conducted a study to compare the learning of students in two "geography of rivers" classes, one of which took place through a five day residential experience in a field environment and another that took place in a traditional but "active" classroom. Both cases involved students aged ten and eleven in the United Kingdom. Both groups achieved gains in cognitive development but the experimental group was significantly greater. The e xperimental group alone gained significantly on their self perceived academic ability and the authors hypothesized that there may have been a causal relationship between the two findings. Novel events were very closely associated with students' recall of content knowledge whereas the traditional school group cited only events that were focused on peer

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82 relationships. The process of learning also held meaning for the experimental group in that the experiential process was important to them. Environmental C omponents The conceptual framework (Figure 1.1) guiding this study outlines elements of the environment predicted to influence how students contextualize their knowledge when engaged in DIAL experiences. These categories were developed based on the theore tical foundations presented earlier in this chapter as well as the existing research on authentic learning environments. Although much of the evidence leading to the conceptual framework has been presented already, the connections to each of these environ mental components or categories are made in this section. Social Contributions to Learning As highlighted in the theoretical foundations above, the social component of a learner's environment should be a substantial contributor to learning in DIAL. Thro ugh language as a mediating device, communities of practice, and abstraction, social means are an efficient way to learn and otherwise process information. In the research literature related to DIAL, the social milieu is shown to be both a positive and a distracting force in learning. In one New Zealand school camp study, a setting in which secondary students spend a week at an environmental science camp, Smith, Steel, & Gidlow (2010) found that student respondents focused heavily on social interactions an d peer networks, building temporary but supportive communities that did not exist in the schools from which the groups came. In the previously cited study of a five day residential camp in

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83 Belize, the researchers found that students' learning was facilita ted by their shared and direct experience of the surroundings, as well as their teachers' role modeling of their interests and likes about the forest environment (Emmons, 1997) Even on day trips to authentic learning environments there is some evidence to indicate that relationships and power structures between teachers and students may change. Dewitt and Hohenstein (2010) showed through discourse analysis that students in their study asserted more authority temporarily while on field trips while teache rs tended to ask more open ended questions of students. Lai (1999) found that the freedom experienced in field learning changed the social relationships between teachers and students for the day. Students were more proactive and felt like they had better rapport with their teachers. Students also took more responsibility for their learning. While students may feel freer to loosen power structures that dictate the flow of knowledge, they may be more tightly bound by social structures within their peer gro ups in these open ended learning environments. For example, a study by Anderson, Thomas, & Nashon (2009) showed that 11 th grade students who spent a day at a nature center working on collaborative projects were hindered by social power structures that lim ited cognitive tasks. Argumentation and discourse were avoided if they threatened social harmony, even amongst groups that appeared to be on task (Anderson, et al, 2009). The authors reported that "there existed metasocial, metacognitive factors that infl uenced and shaped cognition in ways counterproductive to the effective learning of science" also reporting "that students are highly aware of their social status within groups and of their individual group's social conditions and that this awareness affec ts cognition and

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84 behavior" (Anderson et al, 2009, p. 511). This seems in keeping with other learning environments but in outdoor settings students may be further from adult intervention. There may be a contrast between what occurs over extended time peri ods as in DIAL and what is reported from these one day experiences but existing research does not make this clear. Physical Environment As reported above, there seems to be a general sentiment in education that the physical learning environment can set a g eneral tone but does not contribute directly to cognitive learning. Borrowing from the adventure education literature, one study reported that participants ranked the wilderness setting as being the most significant component of the trip in terms of perso nal growth (Daniel, 2010). The wilderness in some way encouraged introspection, reflection, and the construction of metaphors as well as providing a source of challenge (Daniel, 2010) Even in this example, there is no mention of direct learning from the environment. Indeed, there was no research precedent found at all that addressed the role of the physical environment in contributing to the learning of content knowledge. The theoretical work on which this study is based does not provide much guidance e ither. Vygotsky's (1978) work suggests that our relationship with the environment changes when we can interpret it through language and put labels on it, bringing it into our awareness. Within situated learning theories there is a sense that the physical environment is definitely part of the learning system but I am unaware of any theorist that has addressed exactly what role the physical environment should or does take in learning, with the exception of when elements of the environment are used as

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85 tools or the general idea of the environment limiting experience through affordances. Because there are no available data to suggest that the physical environment does not contribute directly to learning, I am left with the conclusion that it simply has not bee n investigated, leaving an important gap in the literature. Tools Although tool use is well understood in school settings (e.g. CTGV, 1990) and addressed heavily in situative learning theor ies (e.g. Pea, 1993; Wertsch, 2007) to the best of my knowledg e it has not been studied in the context of authentic learning environments. Resnick (1987) offers some insight into the difference between tool use in the real world versus the heavier focus on mentation that is seen in school settings. She wrote, Outs ide school, actions are intimately connected with objects and events; people often use the objects and events directly in their reasoning, without necessarily using symbols to represent them. School learning, by contrast, is mostly symbol based; indeed, c onnections to the events and objec ts symbolized are often lost. (Resnick, 1987, p 14) It would be interesting to know if students engaged in formal learning in authentic contexts tend to operationalize tools and symbols in scholastic or real world pattern s. Affective and Individual The roles of the emotional environment, along with the affective, and the reflective components of the individual learner are all closely related. Experiential Learning Theory describes the individual's role in learning large ly as one of reflection on

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86 experience to make sense of it and connect it to past learning. The more comprehensive view that follows from situated constructivism is that the individual also has the role of representing knowledge through memory and indexing the knowledge by recognizing the places in the environment where the knowledge can be found and applied. These functions have been shown in the research presented thus far as students learn and recall discrete facts along with more schematic knowledge. T he role of affective learning was also apparent in some of the experiential education and the environmental education literature presented above. There is a clear tie between interest, motivation, and connection to the environment that leads to greater co gnitive learning. Culture For this study and its basis in part in a situated view of learning, it is useful to think of culture as funds of knowledge (Moll, Tapia, & Whitmore, 1993) : information that is historically and socially built up over time, collect ively constructed and shared within groups of people that share some element of commonality. Because culture is so all encompassing it would be difficult to pinpoint specific contributions that culture can make to DIAL learning. It certainly seems possib le that specific cultural mores and ways of knowing could have an impact on learning but again it would be difficult to disentangle the cultural elements that each individual student brings with them and those that are in the background of a new learning c ontext. Perhaps one cultural influence that could be somewhat universal across DIAL experiences could be the transition from a scholastic culture to the dominant culture of whatever context in which the students are immersed. Brown (1989) addresses this well, along with the related use of academic tools:

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87 Although students are shown the tools of many academic cultures in the course of a school career, the pervasive cultures that they observe, in which they participate, and which some enter quite effectivel y are the cultures of school life itself. These cultures can be unintentionally antithetical to useful domain learning. The ways schools use dictionaries, or math formulae, or historical analysis are very different from the ways practitioners use them. (p. 34) In two Australian studies, researchers looked at the role of cultural identity in learning outcomes of outdoor education trips. Purdie, Neill and Richards (2002) found that learning outcomes varied significantly with individuals' cultural identities : "Most of the gains were made by students who rated themselves as totally Australian, and not by students who expressed somewhat of a lesser affiliation with an Australian identity" (p. 38). They recommended that outdoor educators "need to devise str ategies to counter the psychological discounting and disengagement processes that are typical of how individuals attempt to cope with stereotype threat" (p. 39). In a preceding study, Purdie & Neill (1999) also found differences in affective changes based on cultural identity; briefly summarize. The implications of these studies are that assumptions made about goal setting and the link between cognitive and affective learning have cultural foundations as well. Facilitated Versus Peripheral Learning The final piece of the DIAL framework is the distinction between facilitated and peripheral learning opportunities. Although past research has not specifically framed these learning opportunities in this way, there is ample research into the role of the direc ted and undirected learning.

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88 Although hyperbolic in their approach, Kirschner, Sweller, & Clark (2006) lump inquiry, problem based learning, experiential learning, and discovery learning together as "minimally guided instruction" and compare the results of experimental studies of them to practices that use "guidance specifically designed to support the cognitive processing necessary for learning" (p. 76). They found that guided instruction has been shown to be more effective than the broad group of minimall y guided instruction. The finding is compelling but the rigid selection criteria for Kirschner et al's (2006) review biased the results toward studies that were experimental and therefore limit ed to studies that showed short term s omewhat shallow learnin g. In one such study a group of young students learned better through direct instruction than through discovery learning but again, the treatments were very rapid and the study assessed only declarative knowledge (Klahr & Nigam, 2004) Proponents of more open learning environments suggest that the process takes more time but produces more lasting results. Mayer (2004) conducted a more detailed review of discovery learning and came up with similar results pure discovery learning pedagogies did not hold up to scrutiny. In a more compelling test of the role of direct instruction on learning, Novak & Musonda (1991) conducted a twelve year longitudinal study of students throughout their primary and secondary school careers. The researchers provided an ex perimental group with audio recorded lessons of basic science concepts periodically throughout each year of their schooling. Instructed students performed much better on science assessments than did a control group, suggesting that this periodic direct in struction and early intervention had important and lasting effects (Novak & Musonda, 1991)

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89 In response to the previously cited Klahr & Nigam (2004) study, Dean and Kuhn (2007) recreated the Klahr & Nigam study but extended the amount of time given for in struction and retention of the learned information. They concluded, in this longer term framework, direct instruction appears to be neither a necessary nor sufficient condition for robust acquisition or for maintenance over time. The patterns of attainme nt observed here point instead to a gradual and extended process of acquisition and consolidation" (2007, p. 384) The work cited above has looked at the role of direct instruction in general versus more open ended instruction methods, all of which happen ed in classrooms. This is informative as it relates to and is encompassed by the idea of facilitation in the DIAL framework but it is not synonymous. Direct instruction is one manifestation of facilitation but peripheral learning opportunities are not th e same as "minimally guided instruction". Rather peripheral refers to learning directly from the environment without any intervention at all from the teacher. One would expect that this would be minimal or non existent in a contextually impoverished lear ning environment but may manifest in a contextually rich environment. A number of studies have examined elements of the roles of facilitated and peripheral learning opportunities in authentic settings. In the previously described MacKenzie and White (198 2) study, the authors compared three treatments with students learning about physical features of coastal environments: a traditional classroom delivery, a passive excursion to a natural area where students were largely instructed, and an active excursion in which students learned through participatory activities. Both of the excursion groups scored better on a content knowledge test than the control group immediately following the learning events.

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90 However, twelve weeks later the active excursion group re tained 90% of their knowledge while the control and passive excursion group maintained around 50% (MacKenzie & White, 1982) While the study did not specifically examine peripheral contributors to the students' knowledge, the results did suggest that stud ents' direct involvement with the environment significantly enhanced their long term recall of the content. Ballantyne & Packer (2010) reported on a study conducted with students aged 8 17 in Australia who took one day field trips to various sites. Before the trip the secondary students reported getting out of school as the biggest thing they looked forward to (33%) followed by equal parts experiencing nature, specific programmatic elements, and learning about the environment (~20% each). All of the stude nts were least interested in "boring" elements such as facilitated talks and worksheets. Following the trip students were asked what had contributed most to their environmental learning. They reported that observing and experiencing the animals or the en vironment (33% of students), instructors or guides (34% of students), seeing the consequences of environmental mismanagement (22% of students) had been the most significant contributors. Those elements that were emotionally engaging proved to be the most compelling. Worksheets and note taking were unpopular with students and were not associated with gains in content knowledge. Again, this study did not specifically categorize facilitated and peripheral learning opportunities but one can see the influence of clearly facilitated opportunities and assume that at least some of the wildlife sightings and the affective connections were probably peripheral. One of the authors' conclusions speaks to the one potentially peripheral element:

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91 If one of the aims of learning in natural environments is to stimulate students to reconsider their environmental attitudes and behaviour, there may be more to be gained by allowing students to engage emotionally with the environment than by attempting to enforce a more cogniti ve response. (Ballantyne & Packer, 2010, p. 229) One additional finding that came out of the Ballantyne & Packer (2010) study was that students who had received instruction related to and prior to the trip had higher levels of anticipation for the trip. T he role of facilitated lessons before and after a trip has been studied by others as well. One such study found that a relevant follow up activity after a field trip but in the classroom led to higher gains on related content test scores than did irrelevan t follow up activities or no follow up (Farmer & Wott, 1995) Uzzell (1999) emphasized the need for clear links to be made between outdoor activities (the world of our physical surroundings') and indoor activities (the world of the school'). Orion and H ofstein (1994) provide a strong rationale for preparatory work that introduces students to the cognitive (field trip concepts and skills), geographic (field trip setting), and psychological (field trip processes) aspects of fieldwork, showing that such pre paration reduces the novelty space and increases learning. The study that best informs the role of facilitated and peripheral learning opportunities in field settings was conducted in Hong Kong and tracked students throughout a day long trip to a remote is land to study geography (Lai, 1999) The day was divided into one half that was very heavily guided by teachers and another half that was much more open ended and self directed. Lai (1999) found that "while some (students) preferred the teacher guided to ur of local physical features in the morning,

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92 others were much happier with the student led field investigation in the afternoon when they could work on their own and hence have more freedom' (p. 248)." That is, students responded differently to the faci litated and the more peripheral elements of the trip. Chapter Two Summary In this Chapter I presented the findings from a review of the literature pertaining to DIAL. The information was presented in four parts outlining the theoretical foundations, und erstandings of context and contextualization, evidence concerning the role that experience in authentic environments plays in learning, and a look at past studies that have compared facilitated and peripheral learning opportunities. To summarize the theore tical foundations, an understanding of DIAL is best accomplished with a view that encompasses the individual mental representations described through schema theory, and a more holistic account of how the schemata and higher order thinking of the person sol o interact with innumerable external physical and social elements to result in a system of learning that is distributed throughout the environment but centered around an individual. Experience becomes a person solo perspective of a learning environment an d provides the connection between the individual learner and her environment. Knowledge is constructed as an individual gives meaning to information that is processed by and distributed throughout the physical and socio cultural environment. The theoreti cal background predicts that learning should be greatest when learners have ready access to experience with contextually rich learning environments. Reviewing work that has been done with the relationship between context and learning, a number of points were highlighted. First, contextualization has been

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93 repeatedly shown to increase learning, transfer and schematic knowledge but it comes with the danger of over contextualizing to the point where learners cannot accurately transfer their knowledge to new settings. It was also shown that there is typically a disconnect between real life context and school context and as such overly simplified contextualization in schools may lose important information by filtering out what seems to be noise. Experience in context has also been shown to increase both cognitive and affective learning. Long term immersion experiences into authentic contexts seem to increase that learning and to overcome learning thresholds in ways that are not seen with shorter trips to authe ntic environments. Novelty is a factor that has been shown to both increase awareness and decrease learning (when too great). There is a strong theoretical and empirical literature base that can explain the role of social interactions and affective facto rs in DIAL. Less clear is how the physical environment, tools, and culture are likely to impact DIAL. The chapter closed with a look at facilitated and peripheral learning environments. Many studies confirmed the advantages of having facilitated lesson s within the curriculum to preface a trip, reflect on it, or to stand alone. Other studies also showed the value of peripheral learning opportunities, if indirectly. There was no evidence to suggest that entirely discovery based curricula were effective.

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94 Chapter III Method Overview In this chapter I describe the research design, methods, and procedures of the study. The study incorporated both quantitative and qualitative methods to achieve the objectives. Those objectives were largely exploratory: to (a) assess student learning during DIAL experiences and (b) describe the environmental factors that influence students' learning during DIAL experiences. The study used the conceptual framework presented in Chapter One (Appendix A) to test the role of faci litated and peripheral components of the learning environment as contributors to individual student's structural knowledge change following a DIAL experience. Two research questions guided the study in addressing the research objectives: Q1: Do students' knowledge structures reflect greater understanding of science concepts following a DIAL experience? Q2: If so, do students' interactions with the components of a DIAL environment contribute to change in their conceptual science knowledge structures? These questions frame the structure of this chapter. Question 1 (Q1) was addressed through a predominantly quantitative method, a pretest/posttest assessment of student learning, described later in this chapter. The results for that part of the study (called Part 1 hereafter) informed Part 2, a multiple case study focused on the second research question (Q2). Student and teacher interviews, field study, and analysis of student work also informed this research. Four high school science classes participating

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95 i n DIAL served as the cases for the study. The qualitative methods are described in the second part of this chapter. The overall research design could be described as a sequential mixed methods design (Leech & Onwuegbuzie, 2007) The study was guided by a pragmatist approach, which is characterized by "the rejection of the dogmatic either or choice between constructivism and postpositivism" (Teddlie & Tashakkori, 2009, p. 86) Pragmatism uses inductive, deductive, and abductive logic and holds an ontologi cal view that an external reality exists but cannot be abstracted from personal belief and understanding (Johnson & Onwuegbuzie, 2004; Teddlie & Tashakkori, 2009) Guided by pragmatism, mixed methods can be seen as a third research paradigm that has some commonality with both quantitative methods and qualitative inquiry but that also requires some new approaches to research (Johnson & Onwuegbuzie, 2004) In addition, a mixed methods approach balances the strengths and weaknesses of qualitative and quantit ative approaches, potentially resulting in a more complete understanding of the problem being investigated (Teddlie & Tashakkori, 2009) In this chapter I first describe the participants, including case selection, sampling, and settings. The overall resea rch design is then presented, followed by procedures specific to each research question, including the data collection, preparation, and analysis procedures. Specifics of bias/reflexivity and validation/legitimation close the chapter. Participants and Sett ings Case Selection and Sampling Yin (2009) urges caution in using the word sample in case study research as the implications of a statistical sample and statistical generalizabilty do not apply. Rather, there is an intentional case selection and analytic al generalizability (Yin, 2009)

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96 However, similarity can be found between case selection and what others describe as sampling such as critical case sampling defined as "selecting a single case that is particularly important to the understanding of a phen omenon because it permits maximum application of information to other cases" (Teddlie & Tashakkori, 2009, p. 175) Throughout this work I use case selection when describing the carefully selected participant groups and sampling to describe the more object ive selection of students within those classes to be interviewed. In this study science classes served as cases and were chosen based on their participation in learning environments that best exemplify DIAL. To select these cases, I compiled a list of pu blic and independent schools in the Rocky Mountain West that regularly incorporate into their curricula experiences that fit the DIAL definition. The list was compiled from my conversations with experiential educators within my own professional network an d from an extensive internet search. I communicated with (via phone or email) administrators at the secondary schools on the list and asked for recommendations of highly qualified science teachers whose classes could be observed in the DIAL process. Tele phone or live interviews were conducted with recommended teachers to determine qualifications and the appropriateness of their class/DIAL experiences for this study. Criteria for selection included clear science learning goals, science as a primary focus of the class, and extended student immersion into a context that was intentionally selected to support the learning goals. Through this process, four high school classes were invited to participate in the study. The characteristics of these cases are des cribed in the subsequent sections of this chapter. Within each case, students were selected to participate in an interview process. A stratified random sample approach was used when possible though this only worked out

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97 for one of the four cases. All avai lable students were interviewed in the other three classes. The goal was for eight interview students to be selected from each class. In two cases this meant the entire class was interviewed and in a third case, most of the students were interviewed. In the fourth class (Case 2) a group of 42 students was divided by the school into two, three, or four groups depending on the nature of the learning activity. That case was randomly sampled for the interviews from the two classroom groups, but maintaining equal representation by gender. For the field study portion of this project, an observational study of Case 4, four students were chosen to be targeted informants in order to maximize diversity across the variables of gender, grade level, and ethnic back ground. However, all students and teachers were observed and became informants on some level. This sample is described more later. Similarities Across the Cases Four high school classes were selected to participate as cases in this study. They will each be described in the next section. Each case was a science class DIAL experience that was either a stand alone course (Cases 1 and 4) or part of a broader semester course (Cases 2 and 3). In all cases, the course and DIAL experience were part of the curr iculum for which students earned credit, rather than extra curricular activities. Each of the schools associated with the cases is an independent (private) school, three of which are tuition based (Cases 2, 3, 4) and one that is foundation funded and free to students (Case 1). A fifth case, a public school, dropped out of the study when the DIAL experience was cancelled for logistical reasons. All of the schools are located in the Rocky Mountain West. By coincidence, rather than by design, all of the cl asses were

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98 focused on some aspect of ecology and included immersion into an appropriate outdoor environment. The names of schools, people, and place names that would compromise the confidentiality of participants have been assigned pseudonyms in this repo rt. Case 1, Winter Ecology The School, Case 1 Case 1 was a five week class in winter ecology, taught at the Bald Mountain Academy (BMA), a residential school in a high mountain valley bordering a national park. The school campus itself is also a park lik e setting with modern facilities scattered throughout a ponderosa pine forest, rolling hills, and dramatic rock outcrops. Residence halls, classroom buildings, and other small structures are scattered around two central administration and dining/gathering buildings. The grounds include extensive holdings of forest and different ecological communities. The school is funded by a private foundation allowing all students to attend for free. BMA is designed to serve high school students from around the countr y who "were not successful in previous attempts at school" (school representative). Many of the students have struggled with addictions or other high risk behaviors in the past but the school is not ostensibly a rehab or therapeutic program. Their missio n, rather, is to help students "have the desire and preparation to make a difference in the world" (school's mission statement). This is largely achieved through a robust academic program with much individual support for the students and a strong socio em otional curricular focus. Students are expected to contribute to the community by helping out with cooking, cleaning, and maintenance tasks. Students tend to come into the school having given up on education and often leave bound for post secondary schoo ling.

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99 BMA does not use a grade level system, instead requiring all students to successfully complete classes with a predetermined curricular formula, a credit system. Students can complete this within a couple years of three trimesters (year round schoo l) or it may take them five or more. In any given trimester students are enrolled in a number of different classes of their choosing, covering the traditional academic disciplines and often interdisciplinary foci. Students are required to present their l earning in an oral defense style periodically throughout their school careers. The school supports a strong socio emotional curriculum that begins with a wilderness orientation trip and is maintained implicitly and explicitly through residential house co mmunities, and regular, deliberate attention paid to the health of the whole community. Each class is also charged with having a deliberate socio emotional component. Most of the classes include some level of experiential education. The Students, Case 1 Many of the students at BMA come from urban areas and the population is intentionally diverse across race, ethnicity, geography, and gender identity and is probably representative of the national population. The teachers report a wide diversity of abilit y levels and learning disabilities as well, though the school claims to avoid labeling students in this way, preferring to meet the needs of each individual student in whatever way is needed. In the Winter Ecology class the teacher described differentiati ng by offering students multiple options on most assignments including "mild" (easier) and "spicy" (more difficult) options for most readings. BMA has a capacity of 96 students and enrollment is determined by a good fit between student and

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100 school rather t han ensuring all seats are filled so the student population can vary from trimester to trimester. There were eight students in the Winter Ecology class with three girls and five boys, all of whom were interviewed for this study. The students came from all over the country including California, Arizona, Colorado, Washington, and Indiana. One student recently emigrated from the Middle East. The teacher of the class estimated that the reading levels of the students (an admittedly faulty proxy for general ab ility) ranged from third or fourth grade to undergraduate levels. None of the students had previously taken an ecology class nor did any of them have much experience in the outdoors, other than their wilderness orientation trip at the beginning of their B MA experience. All of the students selected the winter ecology class but did so for different reasons. Some cited the need for a science credit, while others reported being attracted to the skiing or outdoor elements of the class. The T eacher, Case 1 J acob, the teacher of the winter ecology class has been teaching at BMA for 15 years and teaching the winter ecology class for seven to eight years. He is not trained as a science teacher but has co taught the class with others who were and he has a backgr ound/teaching role in the school in exercise physiology and experiential education. Despite the lack of a formal educational background in ecology, numerous conversations/interviews with Jacob have demonstrated that he has a command of the subject. In ad dition to Jacob, a teacher intern participated in the class, teaching one or two lessons and joining the group for outings. Other school faculty also joined the group

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101 as additional adult support for the outdoor excursions but did not have an explicit teac hing role. The C lass, Case 1 The Winter Ecology class focused on the adaptations that plants and animals have acquired and that enable them to survive the montane winter environment. The learning goal of the class was that students could use specific exa mples from the winter, montane environment to articulate how plants and animals have developed evolutionary adaptations to survive in a particular environment. Learning how to travel on skis in the backcountry and take care of oneself in the harsh environm ent were also big parts of the class. The curriculum relied on the study of very specific examples to connect to broader themes in ecology and biology. For example, deciduous plant adaptations to the winter environment such as the phytochrome clock and th e release of abscisic acid to signal the shedding of leaves were studied with the intent of a broader connection to photosynthesis. For the assessment of concept knowledge, described later in this chapter, the following concepts were chosen by Jacob as re presenting the depth and breadth of the class: montane ecosystem adaptation tree animal winter deciduous coniferous aspen ponderosa lodgepole phytochrome clock dormancy food storage hibernation body insulation subnivean elevation abscisic acid desiccati on photosynthesis The class met three times per week for five weeks through January and February. Two two hour sessions each week were devoted to classroom instruction though there were many occasions where the class left the classroom and entered the n atural areas

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102 immediately adjacent to the building to focus study on the local environment. Once per week the class left campus for the entire afternoon, often traveling to the local national park or national forest land to ski into the backcountry and stu dy the ecology in situ Students were assessed via a variety of means including traditional quizzes, brief reports, graphic organizers, creative writing, and simple group projects. The final assessment was through a complete notebook of the class. The DI AL Experience, Case 1 The mix of classroom instruction and day trips out into a natural environment does not necessarily fit the definition of deep immersion. However, taken with the residential nature of the school and the setting of the school immediat ely within the context being studied, the overall effect did give the sense of deep immersion and this was confirmed by students through the interview process. Even the classroom time itself was punctuated by lessons/activities in the adjacent natural are as and as some students described, a visit from a bobcat that walked up to the window while the students were sitting in class. The day trips added an element of much deeper immersion into the context as students explored and viewed the areas of study in addition to experiencing the harshness of the environment first hand. Case 2, Winter Environmental Science The School, Case 2 The Western Semester Program (WSP) is a nonprofit organization that enrolls high school juniors from around the United States for an intensive residential academic program. WSP is one of the growing numbers of semester programs in the country

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103 though it is one of the more established. These programs accept high school students from around the country and immerse them in focused, contextualized learning environments for a semester. The WSP program incorporates traditional delineated academics into immersion experiences and so there are elements where the science content is more highlighted and other times where it is more in the background. Students enroll in either a fall or spring program intended to provide an alternative to one semester of their high school career. Students continue to earn high school credit through their home institutions and so WSP is charged with providi ng equivalent curriculum, albeit within a very different context. Students take classes in the traditional academic disciplines, complete homework assignments, and are assessed in a variety of traditional and more progressive ways. Students also learn an d practice wilderness travel, safety, and ethics as well as leadership and group building skills. Arguably, the science class the students take is the one class that is closely related to the context the students are learning in. Throughout the semester students are living and learning either at the residential base campus or are out in the field for extended expeditions in the mountains or desert canyons. The sprawling campus is located in a high elevation, mountain setting adjacent to extensive swaths of national forest and, like Bald Mountain Academy, it is built within the montane ecosystem, giving students direct access to the science context they are studying. Students live in modern cabins but are required to chop their own wood to heat them and must walk, often through subzero temperatures, to use the central bathhouse, restroom, classrooms, and dining hall. Also like BMA, students are expected to contribute to the community by helping with cooking, cleaning, and maintenance tasks. During three extended periods (ten days

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104 to three weeks) spread throughout the semester, students dive more deeply into the wilderness by participating in extended backpacking or ski expeditions. During these times students are in smaller groups (eight to ten) with tw o adult leaders and must survive off of what they can carry. During the winter expeditions students live in igloos that they build themselves and otherwise live in tents. Direct instruction is minimal during the expedition periods as teachers are divided up amongst the groups but all students are expected to complete defined, self directed or group projects related to each of the academic disciplines in which they have classes. The S tudents, Case 2 WSP students are recruited from throughout the United States and due to the high tuition, they tend to be affluent or have the support to apply for available scholarship funds. Student diversity is negligible. In order to enroll a student the WSP must work extensively with the sending school to ensure that credits earned in the program will transfer back to a student's home school. The program reports that independent schools tend to be much more accommodating in this regard than public schools they have worked with. Because of this there is a collection of independent schools on the East and West coasts that have built relationships with WSP and tend to send the majority of students to the program. Although student ability levels are variable, the history of supports that most of the students have receiv ed in past schooling is evident. All of the students had previously taken a biology class and a few had taken some version of environmental science. Forty two students were enrolled in the program at the time of this study and all but one chose to partici pate in the pretest/posttest part of the study. An additional student

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105 was not present for the posttest. Sixteen students were selected for interviews via a random sample, stratified by gender. Eight students were selected from each of two identical clas ses within the program. The Teacher, Case 2 Ryan, the teacher of those classes holds an undergraduate degree in geology and at the time of the study was completing a master's degree in experiential science education from an institution with a long histor y in that field. He left the program early to take the job at WSP with the intention of finishing the degree remotely. Despite being a first year teacher, Ryan's content knowledge and leadership skills, likely developed in his previous position as an Outw ard Bound instructor, gave the impression that he had been teaching for much longer. The class also had a teacher intern who taught occasional brief lessons. The Class, Case 2. The curriculum of the Case 2 class was intended to complement the typical hi gh school science classes participants had taken, and also to fully utilize the outdoor environment in which they were learning. The curriculum was a place based view of environmental science and ecology focused on the relationship between abiotic and bio tic factors and the specific conditions/adaptations to be found in the places the students would be living in throughout the course. The curriculum also followed the seasons, focusing on winter adaptations, snow science, patterns of orographic precipitati on when appropriate, and transitioning to migration, geologic foundations of ecology, and ecological events later in the semester. Two learning goals drove the curriculum. The

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106 first goal was that students could describe the thermodynamics of an ecosystem including the abiotic factors that drove thermal changes in the environment and how thermal stress led to different organismal adaptations. The second learning goal was that students could articulate with specific local examples how plants and animals ha ve adapted to the environments in which they live including obtaining energy, travel, and predator avoidance. Ryan selected the following concepts for use on the pretest/posttest: geology biology seasonality animal energy survival strategies plant abiot ic biotic community conifer migration resistance hibernation snow subnivean metamorphism thermal conductivity sage orographic precipitation Assessment of the class content was done primarily through homework assignments and the results from the expedi tion assignments. The DIAL Experience, Case 2 For the purposes of the present study I looked at one 18 day segment of the science course where students were living and learning at the high elevation campus. During the time on campus students had 90 minu te class meetings two times per week and one half day outdoor lab once per week (three in the time span of the study). WSP was similar to BMA in that the curriculum developers found a way to produce a science DIAL experience that did not require a hiatus from other subjects but still resulted in deep immersion into the context being studied.

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107 Case 3, Crane Migration Study The S chool, Case 3 The Roosevelt School is an independent day school serving students in a mid sized Western city in grades 6 12. The school is tuition based but offers varying levels of scholarship funds to at least 50% of the students. While committed to "educating the whole person", the school has a clear academic focus and college prep mission. This is achieved through innovative teaching and curriculum including place based and experiential approaches. The small student body and focus on a socio emotional curriculum give the sense of a tight community. The curriculum model is very similar to the Expeditionary Learning model ( www .elschools.org ) though they do not have a formal relationship with that organization. Content is taught largely through learning expeditions in which students spend each semester engaged in developing an understanding of a topic from an interdisciplinary perspective. For example, they might be following the guiding question "what does it mean to be human?", and develop an answer based on biology as well as philosophy, literature, and religion. While there is no requirement that a class ever leave the cla ssroom for an expedition, it would be rare that a class would not venture out into a contextualized environment periodically or participate in a DIAL experience at some point within the time span of the expedition. The Students, Case 3 The students at Ro osevelt tend to enroll when looking for a strong alternative to the public school choices available in the city. They are often looking for pedagogy that

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108 is more in line with their own perceived learning styles, including but not limited to the extensive trips that students take or a more socially supportive environment. The school has about 30 students each in the middle and high schools. While there is low diversity overall, there is a wide variety of ability and motivation within the student body. Th ere were five girls and five boys enrolled in the class that served as a case for this study. All were in ninth or tenth grade. Of those students, two were absent for the pretest and two were absent for the posttest, leaving six to be interviewed three boys and three girls. The students do not have a choice in the classes or expedition in which they enroll as only one class/expedition is offered per semester for each grade level. A few of the students reported ambivalence toward the study of cranes or their migration though others were very excited about it. The Teacher, Case 3 Jennifer had been a math and science teacher for seven years at the time of the study and holds a master's degree in education. Though entirely responsible for the science asp ects of the course, Jennifer was co teaching the expedition with another highly experienced educator. During the DIAL experience an art teacher and a parent also participated as chaperones. In addition, Jennifer arranged for the class to work with a loca l expert on cranes, a biologist from the Audubon Society, for much of the DIAL time. The Class, Case 3 The expedition (class) associated with the DIAL experience was an integrated studies class exploring human and animal migrations across time and space This included a focused case study on the sandhill crane migration across North America.

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109 Students were intended to learn about some of the crane physiology and behavior but the major learning goal was that students could articulate the relationships b etween crane habitat and human agriculture and development. Before the DIAL experience stude nts studied these topics through projects, discussions, readings, and films. Students were assessed in the pretest/posttest on the following concepts: Subspecies Sandbars Wet Meadows Roosts Unison Call Reproduction Dancing Display Predation Migration Preening Feeding Agriculture Habitat Behavior Assessment was done primarily through a journal/notebook that each student kept throughout the class and DIAL experi ence with some guided assignments and writing prompts and at times, the expectation of self directed journaling. The DIAL Experience, Case 3 As part of this study the class traveled to the Platte River in Nebraska, which is a major stopping point for ten s of thousands of sandhill cranes as they migrate north in the spring and south in the fall. The group spent three days immersed in the environment of the crane habitat and also in the culture of the biologists and birders that gather to observe the crane s. For much of the time students worked directly with and were instructed by a biologist from the Audubon Society Crane Center. Students spent a significant amount of time in bird blinds near the river, observed the birds foraging in corn fields, and vis ited a local museum that focused on the cranes.

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110 Case 4, Everglades Ecology The School, Case 4 The Walton School is a residential independent school that sits in a 300 acre mountain valley ranch in the western U.S. The school has a long history for a we stern boarding school, having been in existence for almost 60 years. The school follows a traditional curriculum for the most part, including a selection of AP courses, but also offers 8 day interim courses as a break within the winter semester. These co urses are stand alone courses that may or may not reference other classes students have taken and can and do range to just about any subject. The school has a strong science program, offering the traditional science classes (biology, chemistry, physics) a long with a number of additional options including geology and AP Environmental Science. The Students, Case 4 The school enrolls 155 high school students from around the world (20% international students) resulting in wide cultural diversity and while the re is some socio economic diversity due to scholarships utilized by 41% of students, the majority of the student population is affluent. Most of the students are boarders though some are day students from the surrounding community. There is a diversity o f abilities and the school provides dedicated learning specialists for students who need additional support. There were six boys and two girls who participated in the interim class that was the DIAL experience in this study. Three of the boys were in nint h grade, three boys and one girl were in eleventh grade, and one girl was in twelfth grade. One of the girls was from Germany, the other was from China, and the boys came from all over the United

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111 States. The older students had all studied biology and a f ew of them had taken AP Environmental Science prior to enrolling in the class. The ninth grade students were enrolled in Biology during the semester in which interim fell. All of the students specifically chose to enroll in the class. The Teacher, Case 4 Paul had been a math teacher at the Walton School for 15 years at the time of the study and holds a master's degree in math education. He is also heavily involved in the school's wilderness education program. Through interim classes he has co taught a n umber of ecology classes with other educators, including a previous iteration of the Everglades Ecology course. Based on the pre and post teacher interview, he seems to have a command of ecology big ideas, if not always the detailed content knowledge. P aul is also an interested learner of science, something he did throughout the course by reading books, talking with the guide, and studying the environment directly. It was clear that Paul had a good sense of the big picture ideas important to high school ecology as he often discussed how small details connected to the broader ideas. In order to provide a more learned perspective on Everglades ecology as well as to ensure a safe and logistically clean trip, Paul contracted with a local guide to provide mos t of the equipment, suggest routes, and co lead/co teach the course. Kevin, the guide, had trained with and worked for Outward Bound before running the guide service he currently works for. Kevin was not formally trained as a scientist but had an extensi ve naturalist's understanding of the local ecology, which he readily shared with students. Kevin was a member of an Everglades preservation consortium that included scientists and politicians.

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112 The Class, Case 4 Following one pre trip meeting, the entire ty of the Everglades Ecology course happened during the DIAL experience. The learning goals of the class included developing a deeper understanding of the abiotic factors that led to ecosystems' niches and the plant and animal adaptations to those niches, as well as understanding the past and current role of humans in shaping the Everglades ecosystem as it currently exists. There was very little in the way of assignments for the students other than a brief research project that students completed in about an hour before the trip and presented at an appropriate time during the course, along with open ended reflective journals that Paul asked students to write in a couple times but were otherwise up to the students to use or not. Most of the content was del ivered orally or via demonstration during the trip. The following topics were assessed on the pretest/postest: ecosystem adaptation water flow food web shell midden human impact tides invasive species air plants niche marine mangroves biomagnification pneumatophore mercury filter feeding elevation hardwood hammock cypress swamp parasitism The DIAL Experience, Case 4 As mentioned, almost the entire course occurred during the DIAL experience. Over the course of eight days the students traveled from th eir Western school by plane and then van to the Florida Everglades. Camping each night, students first visited the Everglades National Park, using park boardwalks, trails, and interpretive centers to better understand the flora, fauna, and ecology of the area. Students walked within a meter of the wildlife including alligators and endemic birds. Switching to canoes for five days,

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113 students travelled through the freshwater swamps of the inland Everglades, through the estuaries and mangroves that transition ed to the marine ecosystem, and then out into the Gulf of Mexico and the barrier islands that form the edges of the ecosystem. Finally, students spent a day hiking off trail through cypress swamp and sawgrass prairie in a Florida state park. Much of the time was spent canoeing or hiking from one place to another but Paul and Kevin, the teacher and guide, would stop occasionally to deliver a brief natural history lesson or demonstration. There were a few times when the group would get together for more le ngthy, formal lessons where students would participate in discussions and take notes. Research Design In this study I used a sequential mixed methods design. In order to answer the first research question of whether students learn science content conce pts during DIAL experiences, an assessment of science knowledge structures was administered in a pretest/posttest design (Part 1). Building from the results of Part 1, I used a multiple case study design in Part 2 to further explore the nature of that lea rning and the environmental contributors to it (Q2), as outlined in the conceptual framework (Appendix B) described in Chapter One. The case studies included the four previously described cases using individual students as the embedded units of analysis. The procedures used to investigate each research question are described in the following sections of this chapter. The synthesis of this research was conducted through cross case analysis of the data from the case studies, along with the test results from Part 1. The flow of how the various data contributed to the synthesis is diagrammed in figure 3.1.

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114 Procedures Research Question 1 To answer the question, "Do students' knowledge structures reflect greater understanding of science concepts following a DIAL experience?", Pathfinder Network Analysis (Dearholt & Schvaneveldt, 1990) a network analytical tool, was used to

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115 measure students' concept knowledge structures before and after their DIAL experience by comparing both to an expert referent. The unde rlying assumption behind Pathfinder and other measures of structural knowledge is that knowledge of a domain can be reflected by an understanding of the relationships between concepts important to the domain (Branaghan, 1990; Goldsmith & Johnson, 1990; Sch vaneveldt, Durso, Goldsmith, Breen, & Cooke, 1985) As described in Chapter One, the DIAL approach focuses on content knowledge within a given domain but it remains open to indefinite contingencies in which the material may manifest in different ways, con texts, and emphases. An assessment of structural knowledge allows for an assessment of domain knowledge that is less confounded by contextual differences between assessments and experiences (Goldsmith & Johnson, 1990; Schvaneveldt, et al., 1985) As the goal of this study was to explore change in student understanding of big picture concepts within domains rather than discrete facts, the Pathfinder process provided a measure that illuminated change in conceptual knowledge while simultaneously being open t o a wide variety of ways in which that knowledge could be contextualized. Pathfinder is a graph theoretic algorithm that considers either similarities or distances between a series of pairs of items in a network and arranges them into a PFnet graph (Dear holt & Schvaneveldt, 1990) Figure 3.2 shows an example of a PFnet from this study.

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116 ?.%"*&<5#/@7" & !"#$%&'()* ;,,F<#*03",)>,#,52%"+,8"%"$#+"4,>$)*,$"3#+"4%"11,$"10)%1"1,)%,+6", F'"$83#4"1,#11"1 1*"%+; These PFnets arrange all of the nodes of the network in an economical network graph such that (a) every link (edge) between two nodes is assigned a weight that r eflects how closely associated the two nodes are; (b) the sum of the weights of the edges that must be passed through to move from one node to another is the path weight and therefore the lower the path weight, the closer the connection between two nodes; and (c) any edges are removed if the path weight between the two nodes is less when following an alternate route through the graph (Dearholt & Schvaneveldt, 1990) The result is that the graph shows the most salient relationships, a more intuitive positio ning of nodes, and

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117 more accurate local relationships than do other measures of structural knowledge such as multi dimensional scaling or cluster analysis (Dearholt & Schvaneveldt, 1990). Goldsmith, Johnson, & Acton (1991) sum up the justification and the nature of both Pathfinder Analysis and the associated C measure: If it is assumed that knowledge implies the understanding of the interrelationships among the important concepts in a domain, then the methods that best capture this structural aspect of know ledge will possess the greatest validity. In this regard, the Pathfinder algorithm considers each concept's proximity to all other concepts in the proximity matrix in determining its location in the network. Similarly, the C measure assesses global similar ity of networks by considering the relationships that each concept has with other concepts in the network. It is in this manner that Pathfinder and C can be seen to capture the configural character of domain knowledge. (p. 94) C is a set theoretic measure used to determine the closeness between two PFnets by comparing the "neighbors" of each of the nodes in the two PFnets (Acton, Johnson, & Goldsmith, 1994; Goldsmith & Davenport, 1990) and therefore it requires common nodes between the two PFnets. When use d together, C can show the degree of similarity between two PFnets (Acton, et al., 1994). Values for C range from 0 to 1 where a 1 is a perfect match between the two graphs and a 0 indicates no relation between them. In testing this procedure as a predic tor for student test performance, Acton et al. (1994) compared students' PFnets representing their conceptual knowledge structure on a given topic to a series of different referent PFnets to determine which one was the best predictor of student test perfor mance. They found that an average of experts' representations was the best predictor. Pathfinder results are a good indicator of

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118 conceptual understanding within a given domain (Acton, et al., 1994) Thus, for this study, student responses to the Pathfin der assessment were compared to an averaged expert referent both before and after the DIAL experience and the similarity was expressed as C A further manipulation corrected C for chance by subtracting the value that could be achieved through random answe rs on the Pathfinder assessment and this was represented as similarity corrected for chance (csim) The csim measure accounts for differences in the number of pairs being compared, allowing for comparison of csim values between different sets. For each ca se's assessment a referent was generated by averaging the relatedness scores judged by three experts: the teacher of the class and two ecologists. Preparing the Pathfinder Instruments For each class/case, a new instrument based on the target science conc epts for their DIAL experience (shown in class descriptions earlier in this chapter and representing the learning goals of each class) was created in order to serve as the PFnet nodes for each student's concept knowledge structure. Results of the Pathfin der process have been shown to be a reliable representation of student knowledge (Durso & Coggins, 1990; Gammack, 1990; Goldsmith & Johnson, 1990; Goldsmith, et al., 1991; Rubin, 1990; Schvaneveldt, 1990; Schvaneveldt, et al., 1985) but each individual ins trument needed to be created to assess the specific concepts of each individual class. The student interviews conducted after the posttest were used to validate each instrument for the purpose of accurately representing students' understanding of the rela tionships between concepts. The students were asked to describe their understanding of the relationships between concepts that were captured by the PFnets and for each class

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119 at least one concept was common for all interviewed students (Case 1 = elevation, Case 2 = thermal conductivity, Case 3 = habitat, Case 4 = tides). With one exception (Case 1, Student 104) students were able to describe relationships to the concept in a manner that reflected the structure and weights shown on the student's PFnet and w hat would be considered canonically accurate domain knowledge. That is, the arrangement of concepts within each PFnet matched their descriptions of the relationships between concepts. The interview process is discussed later in this chapter. Because stu dent interviews were not conducted prior to the pretest, the instruments were not validated only for the purpose of representing knowledge structures and not for the purpose of showing change from the pretest to the posttest. Students were able to describ e these changes post hoc. The "Knowledge Network Organizing Tool" (KNOT, http://www.pathfindernets.com/KNOT.html) software program was used to generate the PFnets for each student. To do so, the program requires that the subject(s) rate the relatedness of each target concept to every other target concept. A rating scale of 1 7 was used such that a 1 indicates the two concepts have no relationship, a 7 indicates a very close relationship between the two concepts, and a 4 indicates that the student does n ot know if a relationship exists, likely because they do not know one or both concepts (Acton, et al., 1994) Determining how many pairs of concepts to include required a balance between validity and workload for the students. If n is the number of conce pts, then n ( n 1)/2 is the number of relatedness scores that a student must consider. For example, for n =20 concepts, a student would need to consider 190 different concept pairs. Goldsmith et al. (1991) found a linear relationship between the number of c oncept pairs considered and the predictive validity of the tool, finding no asymptote even at n =30 (435 pairs).

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120 Therefore, the greater the number of concepts, the greater the accuracy of the assessment. Although Goldsmith et al. (1991) did not report pro blems with longer tests, it can be assumed that increasing the number of pairs and the amount of time would also increase fatigue and ennui amongst students taking the test. For this study, the number of concepts to be used was determined in conjunction w ith the teacher for each class, with a goal of 20 and a minimum of 10. For Cases 1, 2, and 4 we used 20 concepts, while for Case 3 we decided on 15 to focus on the most salient concepts for that course. The concepts, listed earlier in the chapter, were d etermined in a pre DIAL interview with the teacher. The criteria were that each concept needed to be relevant and important for the DIAL part of the class and taken together, the concepts needed to cover the diversity of the content to be taught. Taken t ogether, student understanding of the concepts needed to reflect achievement of the learning goals for each class. Using lesson plans and supporting materials, each teacher was given the opportunity to generate a list of concepts prior to the interview and then we negotiated the finalized list in the interview. Once the list of target science concepts (TSCs) was complete for a class, the pairs were randomized and printed in numbered rows with an associated series of 1 through 7 for the students to circle. An abbreviated example is shown in figure 3.3. All of the concepts were listed at the top of the first page. Students were asked to first create "anchors" by choosing the pair that was most similar and assigning a seven to that pair, choosing the pair t hat was least similar and assigning a one to it, and then using that as a scale for the remainder of the relatedness judgments (Acton, et al., 1994) Students were intentionally not given any further instructions on what "relatedness" meant as it is impo rtant for them to decide that on their own (Acton, et al., 1994)

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121 A10&B"7#*"C&#$"&);":"&41%>"@*:D Name: ______________________________________ School:________ Date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ecosystem adaptation water flow food web shell midden human impact tides invasive species air plants niche marine mangroves biomagnification pneumatophor e mercury filter feeding elevation hardwood hammock cypress swamp parasitism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122 Creating the Referent The most consistently predictive referent for this procedure is an average of the ratings of several experts (Acton, et al., 1994) To do this, three content experts were recruited to rate the relatedness of each pair of concepts, exactly as the students did. One of the experts for eac h assessment was the teacher for each class. Two ecologists were also asked to complete the assessment for each of the four cases. For each pair of concepts, the experts' scores were averaged (mean), and the referent PFnet was generated as described in t he next section. For example, if the three experts rate the relatedness of "plant" and "animal" as 5, 5, and 7, the referent used the averaged and rounded score of 6. The rounding is necessary so that it would be possible for students to show an exact ma tch where appropriate. Administering the Assessments The assessments were printed on double sided paper and distributed to students during regular class time. In most cases I administered the assessments to all students within one day of beginning or end ing the DIAL experience and up to three days in two instances. One student in Case 2 opted out of the study. Students were given as much time as they needed to complete the assessment and ranged from 15 to 30 minutes to do so. Data Analysis for Q 1 Due to the requirements of the Pathfinder software (KNOT), each student's response data were first entered into an excel spreadsheet that was programmed to generate a matrix in text form (.txt). The excel step allowed for more accurate data entry

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123 and quality control. In the text matrix form the Pathfinder software could process the data and generate a PFnet as well as values for C, csim, and coherency (described below). Pathfinder determines the similarity or closeness ( C or sim ) between two PFnets by determi ning the number of links in common between the two PFnets and dividing that figure by the total number of unique links in both PFnets, showing the proportion of links that the two PFnets share (Goldsmith & Davenport, 1990) Pathfinder also calculates a va lue showing the similarity or closeness between two PFnets that is corrected for the similarity predicted by chance ( csim ), a figure that expresses the difference between actual and random predicted values. This was the primary value used in comparing PFn ets for this study. csim = links in common total unique links # $ % & ( 1 + probability of links in common by chance Csim scores were first compared from pre to post to look for change in each student's knowledge structures (" C ). The PFnets were also qualitatively examined as it was possible to have a change in structure that did not necessarily make the PFnet more similar to the expert referent but represented an important semantic difference. These differences could then be examined through the student interviews. Descriptive statistics were calculated on students' pre and post C scores to determine the distribution of content knowledge structure changes and where each individual fell within that distribution (Z score). This also allowed for a stratified comparison through the grouping of individuals based on their pre existing knowledge. That is, through the pre test, it was possible to determine if there was a difference in learning for tho se whose content knowledge structure was already close to the experts' as compared to those who started with a more rudimentary knowledge structure. Inferential statistical analysis on a case

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124 level was not possible due to insufficient sample sizes and the refore insufficient power. A Wilcoxon Matched Pairs test was run across the entire sample ( n= 65) to determine if there was significant growth from pre to post. A priori power was determined to be .97 (very high) with this sample size and an alpha level o f .05. Procedures Research Question 2 In order to answer the second research question, "do students' interactions with the components of a DIAL environment contribute to change in their conceptual science knowledge structures? the data generated in Par t 1 of the study were considered in conjunction with qualitative data in a multiple case study format. Table 3.1 shows the data that was collected and analyzed across the four cases in the study. All cases used the Pathfinder data (Part 1), pre/post teac her interviews, and student interviews that followed the DIAL experience. For two of the cases student notebooks/journals were available and used. In Case 4, the Everglades experience, I conducted a full field observation of the DIAL experience as well. The procedures for the collection and analysis of these data are described in this section beginning with the common elements and concluding with the field study.

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125 Table 3.1 Data Used to Inform the Multiple Case Study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eacher Data Semi structured interviews w ere conducted with the teacher of each class prior to the DIAL experience. The interviews were open conversations lasting about one hour, intended to guide the teacher in laying out his or her expectations for how they planned to use the DIAL experience t o facilitate their target content. Each interview was driven by the goal of co creating these final products: A list of science concepts to be used with the Pathfinder analysis. A collection of course materials.

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126 An outline of the anticipated facilitated e vents of the DIAL experience and their related target concepts. A list of the teacher's predictions of peripheral contexts that could influence students. The teacher interviews were digitally audio recorded, transcribed, and coded using HyperRESEARCH quali tative data analysis software ( http://www.researchware.com ). These data were primarily used to later categorize students' descriptions of events as either facilitated by the teacher or peripheral to their instruction/facilitation. Following the DIAL exp erience teachers were interviewed again in a semi structured format, and again recorded, transcribed and coded for facilitated/peripheral events. The post DIAL interviews followed the outline of anticipated events created in the pre DIAL interview to dis cuss additions, deletions, and deviations from the plan as well as events that the teacher thought to be particularly valuable to learning. Teachers were also asked about learning events for the group or individuals that they did not anticipate. Though t he teacher interview data were used predominantly to frame and reference the student data, their perspectives on learning events did inform some aspects of the case analyses and cross case analysis. Student Data Student interviews were conducted within a few hours to a day after students took the posttest and so they fell within a few days (usually just one day) of completing the DIAL experience. With the exception of Case 2, all available students were interviewed for this study. Case 2 was randomly sam pled, though stratified by gender.

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127 The 30 minute interviews followed a semi structured, two part format based on an interview protocol (Appendix C) and the student's pretest and posttest PFnet knowledge maps. The interviews were audio recorded, transc ribed and notes were recorded and digitized. In the first part of the interview students were asked to discuss any changes that occurred in their pre to post PFnets including significant changes in individual relatedness scores and, more importantly, sign ificant changes in the more global structure of their concept knowledge representation. I identified the most significant changes before the interview and a list of salient pattern changes was generated to discuss with each student. For each of these pat tern changes the following general questions were asked, although the actual wording was altered to promote the conversational nature of the interviews: 1. "According to your relatedness responses, the concept mapping program organized your ideas like this be fore the trip and like this after the trip (showing the PFnets to the student). If you look at the second one, you can see how it changed here. Does that seem accurate?" 2. "Can you tell me about your present understanding of this concept or this connection "? 3. "Why do you think that relationship/understanding changed for you? (or) How did you learn that?" Often, additional follow up questions were asked to further probe a student's understanding or learning process. An excerpt from one interview can be found in Appendix D. This question pattern continued for the first 15 minutes of the interview. The second half of the interview was also used to both probe for more depth on the answers from part one, and to ask targeted questions about the components of the

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128 learning environment outlined in the conceptual framework of this study (Appendix B). Though the conversation was allowed to go in any direction that continued to inform an understanding of the student's learning experience, questions were asked or adapte d from a predetermined list when the conversation stalled or when prompted by the student's previous answers: Did you have any aha! moments during the course? Where there any places or settings that you found particularly educational? Did you learn from an y other students in the course? Did the field and classroom components work well together or did they feel separate? What was (Teacher's/Guide's/Expert's) role in the course? Did you have any personal discoveries; something you noticed or realized without being taught? Were there any concepts for which it was helpful to see it, experience it, or hear about it multiple times or in multiple settings? Was there any part of the course that you had/have a strong emotion associated with, either good or bad? Were you nervous or scared about anything on the trip? Was it resolved? Data Preparation, Coding and Analysis All of the interviews were transcribed from the audio recordings and both the original audio files and the transcriptions were uploaded and aligned us ing HyperRESEARCH qualitative data analysis software (http://www.researchware.com). This program was used for all of the transcript, video, audio, and image coding.

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129 Descriptive C odes The interview coding began with descriptive a priori codes aligned wit h the conceptual framework for the study (Figure 1.3) and was further developed as emergent codes reflected patterns I was observing in the data. For example, the code of Social Interactions was originally used to indicate any reference a student made to a social interaction associated with their learning. This was later refined to include more specific codes such as Group Discussion Peer to Peer and Guided Observation Any of the broader codes were later revisited and recoded with the more specific co des if appropriate. Some codes were later condensed back to more general codes if there were few references across the cases, such as Good Emotion The codebook for descriptive codes is shown in Table 3.2. All of these codes in this first level of codin g were descriptive codes rather than pattern codes or interpretive codes as they simply labeled what the students were directly reporting (Miles & Huberman, 1994) These codes were applied to any segment of text that fit the code's definition with the pur pose of later defining pattern codes within specific units of analysis and clarifying aspects of those patterns. In order to focus on a small group of codes at a time, I typically made six passes through each transcript in the original coding process. Be fore any manual coding, each transcript was auto coded by the software through a word search feature. The auto codes were used exclusively to show references to the target science concepts selected for the Pathfinder assessment. Please see Appendix D for an example of a coded transcript.

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130 Table 3. 2 Codebook for Qualitative Analysis : Descriptive Codes 4#*"(1$I 41C" +"9'%'*'1% -@@7'>#*'1%& !"="7 N:"&F&O6:*'9'>#*'1% @6#%8", (%, @)%/"0+, [%)-3"48", G>$)*, 5#+6>(%4"$H F<+$"*", ;:K,\ /-"F , T+94"%+, G"%+($", +$#%1/$(0 +H 5$)'(4"1,$">"$"%/",+), $"193+1,>$)*,5#$+,:,)>,+6", 1+947O,+6",5#+6>(%4"$, #11"11*"%+1 ](86 ;QN,\, /-"F \,;:K U)4"$#+" ;QI,\, /-"F \,;QN !(++3",)$,%), C ;QI,\, /-"F \,;QI U)4"$#+"37, ^"8#+('" C ;QN,\, /-"F \, C ;QI ](8637, ^"8#+('" ,,,,,,,,,,, /1(*,\ C ;QN !"#$%(%8, 2#/+)$1_, T)/(#3, W%+"$#/+()%1 , V"#/6"$,1#(4` , V"#/6"$,/)%'"7(%8,'"$=#3, (%>)$*#+()%O,919#337,(%,+6",>)$*,)>,aY, 1#(4`b , 56$#1" X33,91"4,+),(%4(/#+",6)-, 1)/(#3,>#/+)$1,/)%+$(=9+",+), +6",3"#$%(%8,)>,VT@1;,, c">3"/+,+6",1)/(#3, /)*0)%"%+,)>,+6", /)%/"0+9#3,>$#*"-)$. S",+#3."4, #=)9+` X%7,$">"$"%/",)>,+6",>)$*,a-",+#3."4, #=)9+bO,a-",4(1/911"4bO,"+/; , 56$#1" d$)90,#/+()% X/+()%,+6#+,+6",8$)90,0"$>)$*"4, +)8"+6"$ , 56$#1" d$)90, 4(1/911()% T0"/(>(/,4"1/$(0+()%,)>,#,>#/(3(+#+"4O, #/#4"*(/O,0#$+(/(0 #+)$7,4(1/911()% , 56$#1" V"#/6"$ X%7,$">"$"%/",+),-)$41,)$,#/+()%,)>, +6",+"#/6"$,)>,+6",/3#11 , S)$4 !)/#3,"<0"$+ X%7,$">"$"%/",+),-)$41,)$,#/+()%,)>,#, 1/("%/","<0"$+,$"/$9(+"4,+),0#$+(/(0#+", (%,+6",/3#11, , S)$4 d9(4"4, )=1"$'#+()% V"#/6"$,)$,"<0"$+ 4$#-,#++"%+()%,+), 1)*",#10"/+,)>,+6","%'($)%*"%+,#%4, 4"1/$(=",(+,)$,1)3(/(+,1+94"%+,+6)986+1, )%,(+ , 56$#1",+), 0#$#8$#06 !"/+9$" T0"/(>(/,$">"$"%/",+),3"/+9$",)$, 4"1/$(0+()%,)>,+"#/6"$,>)$*#337, 10"#.(%8O,)>+"%,-(+6,'(19#31 , 56$#1" 5""$,+),0""$ 5""$,+ "#/6(%8&3"#$%(%8,="+-""%, 1+94"%+1, , 56$#1" ]"#$4, 8"%"$#337 T)*"+6(%8,1+94"%+,$"*"*="$1, 6"#$(%8,=9+,/#%E+,$"*"*="$,1)9$/" 56$#1" ,

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131 Table 3.2 (con't.) 4#*"(1$I 41C" +"9'%'*'1% -@@7'>#*'1%& !"="7 N:"&F&O6:*'9'>#*'1% !"#$%(%8, 2#/+)$1_, T)/(#3, W%+"$#/+()%1 T*#33,8$)90 c">"$"%/",+),#%7,4(1/911()%,)$,#/+()%, (%,1+94"%+,8$)901,4('(4"4,>$)*,-6)3", /3#11 , 56$#1" X33,91"4,+),(%4(/#+",6)-, 1)/(#3,>#/+)$1,/)%+$(=9+",+), +6",3"#$%(%8,)>,VT@1;,, c">3"/+,+6",1)/(#3, /)*0)%"%+,)>,+6", /)%/"0+9#3,>$#*"-)$. ?"*)%1+$# C +()% V"#/ 6"$&"<0"$+,0$)'(4",'(19#3,)$, .(%"1+6"+(/,4"*)%1+$#+()%,)>,VT@ , 56$#1",+), 0#$#8$#06 V"#/6"$,#%4, (%4('(49#3 ?(1/911()%,)$,#/+()%,="+-""%,Z91+,+6", 10"#.(%8,1+94"%+,#%4,+6",+"#/6"$,)$, "<0"$+ , 56$#1" , V"#/6"$,1#(4` , V"#/6"$,/)%'"7(%8,'"$=#3, (%>)$*#+()%O,9 19#337,(%,+6",>)$*,)>,aY, 1#(4`b , 56$#1" S",+#3."4, #=)9+` X%7,$">"$"%/",)>,+6",>)$*,a-",+#3."4, #=)9+bO,a-",4(1/911"4b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c">"$1,+),1,10"/(>( /O,8")8$#06(/,03#/", #1,#11)/(#+"4,-(+6,3"#$%(%8 F*=)4("4, "<0"$("%/" , c">"$1,+),0671(/#3,(%+"$#/+()%,-(+6, "%'($)%*"%+,#11)/(#+"4,-(+6,3"#$%(%8 U)'(%8, +6$)986, "%'($)%*"%+ c">"$1,+),*)'"*"%+,)$,+$#'"3,+6$)986, "%'($)%*"%+,#1,#11)/(#+"4,-(+6, 3"#$%(%8

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132 Table 3.2 (con't) !"#$%(%8, 2#/+)$1_, V))31 e)).1,)$, c"#4(%81 , c">"$"%/",+),=)).,)$,$"#4(%8O, #11(8%"4,)$,)+6"$-(1" 56$#1" ?"1/$(=",+6",$)3",)>,'#$()91, +))31O,)%",/)*0)%"%+,)>, +6",/)%/"0+9#3,>$#*"-)$., (%,+6",3"#$%(%8,0$)/"11 e)#$4,)$, 5$)Z"/+()%1 c">"$"%/", +),(%>)$*#+()%,0$"1"%+"4, )%,-6(+",=)#$4O,0$)Z"/+"4,13(4"1O, '(4")1O,0)1+"$1O,"+/ , 56$#1" S)$.16""+&, 0$"0#$"4, *#+"$(#31 , c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f#+()% , 56$#1",+), 0#$#8$#06 W%4('(49#3, $"#1)%(%8 ?"1/$(="1,#,0"$1)%#3,$"#1)%(%8, 0$)/"11,+6#+,3"4,+),9%4"$1+#%4(%8,)>, VT@ , 56$#1",+), 0#$#8$#06

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133 Table 3.2 (con't) 4#*"(1$I 41C" +"9'%'*'1% @@7'>#*'1%& !"="7 N:"&F&O6:*'9'>#*'1% !"#$%(%8, 2#/+)$1_, W%4('(49#3, !"#$%(%8, 5$)/"11"1 W%+"$%#3, $">3"/+()% T0"/(>(/,$">"$"%/",+),+6(%.(%8,#=)9+, )$,$">3"/+(%8,)%,#,+)0(/ , 56$#1",+), 0#$#8$#06 T"",#=)'",/"33 S$(+(%8, U"%+()%,)>,-$(+(%8,#1,0$)/"11(%8,)>, VT@ 5 6$#1",+), 0#$#8$#06 A"$=#3, #$+(/93#+()% 5$)/"11,)>,#$+(/93#+(%8,#%,(4"#,+), #%)+6"$,0"$1)% , 56$#1",+), 0#$#8$#06 W%4('(49#3, !"#$%(%8, 2#/+)$1_, U)+('#+()%#3, #%4, F*)+()%#3 X%+(/(0#+()%,)$, %""4 C +) C .%), ?"1/$(=",*)+('#+()%,+),3"#$%,VT@,49", +),#%+(/(0#+"4,>9+9 $",%""4 , 56$#1",+), 0#$#8$#06 ?"1/$(=",+6",$)3",)>,+6", "*)+()%#3,#%4,*)+('#+()%#3, "%'($)%*"%+,#1,$"3#+"4,+), +6",3"#$%(%8,)>,VT@1,#%4,#1, 4"1/$(="4,(%,+6",/)%/"0+9#3, >$#*"-)$.; ,, , X31), W%4(/#+",+6",1+94"%+E1, *)$",(%+"$%#3(f"4, "*)+()%#3,"*)+()%#3, $"#/+()%1,+), +6",0$)/"11,)>, 3"#$%(%8,+6",VT@1 @9$()91&, W%+"$"1+(%8 F<0$"11"4,(%+"$"1+,)$,/9$()1(+7,(%, 1)*",#10"/+,)>,+6",VT@1,)$,3"#$%(%8, "%'($)%*"%+ , 56$#1" F%8#8"4 ?"1/$(="4,"%8#8"*"%+,-(+6, 3"#$%(%8&VT@ , 56$#1",+), 0#$#8$#06 @6#33"%8"4 F<0$"11"4,0671(/#3O,"*)+ ()%#3O, #/#4"*(/,/6#33"%8",(%,1)*",-#7, , 56$#1",+), 0#$#8$#06 e)$"4&, 4(1(%+"$"1+"4 ?"1/$(="4,4(1"%8#8"*"%+,>$)*, 3"#$%(%8&VT@ , 56$#1" , d))4,"*)+()% , g+6"$-(1",9%/#+"8)$(f"4,0)1(+('", "*)+()%,G>9%O,6#007O,"+/H , , 56$#1" T"%1",)>, #//)*03(16 C *"%+ , 5$(4 ",(%,/)*03"+()%O,)'"$/)*(%8, )=1+#/3"1O,#//)*03(16*"%+ 56$#1",+), 0#$#8$#06 X*#f"*"%+O, 2#1/(%#+()% F<0$"11"4,#*#f"*"%+,)$,>#1/(%#+()%, #11)/(#+"4,-(+6,VT@ , 56$#1",+), 0#$#8$#06 T9$0$(1" F<0$"11"4,19$0$(1",)$,#1+)%(16*"%+,#+, #%,(4"#&"'"%+ , 56$#1" e#4,F *)+()% g+6"$-(1",9%/#+"8)$(f"4,%"8#+('", "*)+()%,G#%8"$O,>$91+$#+()%O,"+/H , 56$#1" ^"$')91&, 1/#$"4 F<0$"11"4,>"#$,)$,%"$')91%"11, $"8#$4(%8,1)*",#10"/+,)>,"<0"$("%/" , 56$#1",+), 0#$#8$#06 @)%>91"4, ?"1/$(="4,/)%>91()%,)$,3#/.,)>,/3#$(+7, )%,VT@,$"3#+"4,( 4"# , 56$#1"

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134 Table 3.2 (con't) 4#*"(1$I 41C" +"9'%'*'1% -@@7'>#*'1%& !"="7 N:"&F&O6:*'9'>#*'1% @)%/"0+1 X9+)/)4"1, G ,K NLH W%4('(49#3,/)4"1,>)$,"#/6,)>,+6",+#$8"+, 1/("%/",/)%/"0+1,GVT@1H,(%,+6", 5#+6>(%4"$,#11"11*"%+1 S)$4,)$, 06$#1" X9+)*#+(/#337,#11(8%"4,+ ), 1"#$/6"4,."7-)$41;,]"30"4, 4">(%",/)%/"0+,9%(+1,#%4, #11"11,*)1+,(*0)$+#%+, /)%/"0+1 , c"3#+"4, 1/("%/" T+94"%+,$">"$1,+),#,$"3#+"4,1/("%/", /)%/"0+,%)+,3(1+"4,(%,V#$8"+,@)%/"0+1 56$#1" X//)9%+1,>)$,$"3#+"4,1/("%/", 3"#$%(%8,%)+,#44$"11"4,)%, 5#+6>(%4"$,#11"11 *"%+ , c"3#+"4,%)% C 1/("%/" T+94"%+,$">"$1,+),#,%)% C 1/("%/",=9+, $"3#+"4,#/#4"*(/,/)%/"0+, 56$#1" X//)9%+1,>)$,)+6"$,3"#$%(%8, /)%/"0+9#337,=9+,%)+, 1/("%+(>(/#337,$"3#+"4,+),VT@1 , ?(1+#3,1/("%/" T+94"%+,$">"$1,+),#,1/("%/",/)%/"0+, +6#+,(1,%)+,4($"/+37,$"3# +"4,+),/)9$1", /9$$(/939* , 56$#1" X//)9%+1,>)$,)+6"$,1/("%/", 3"#$%(%8,9%$"3#+"4,+),VT@1 U(1/)%/ "0+()%,, )$, %#h'", /)%/"0+()% T+94"%+,"<0$"11"1,#,'("-,)>,#,1/("%/", /)%/"0+,+6#+,(1,/)9%+"$,+),/#%)%(/#3, .%)-3"48" , 56$#1",i T6)-1,"$$)$,(%,)$, (%/)*03"+",3"#$%(%8 0$)/"11 Environmental c omponent s/ learning factors descriptive c odes The codes associated with the components of the learning environment were the most heavily used and important to the later pattern coding and inferences made in the cross case analys is. As such, they are described in more depth here. A code category was created for each of the environmental components of the conceptual framework (Appendix B): social interactions, physical environment, internal dialog and expression, tools, emotional environment, and cultural environment (Table 3.2). In the process of early analysis and assigning descriptive codes, it became clear that these environmental components were better defined as learning factors as they were internal to the learner as well as external

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135 environmental contributors to learning and so they are listed in the descriptive codebook (Table 3.2) as "Learning Factors". Codes within each of these categories were created as trends emerged in the way students discussed their learning. F or example, within the code category of the physical environment many students discussed seeing visual evidence of a target concept within the environment and this became a code. As more students mentioned this, it became clear that there was an important distinction between seeing a static visual reference and observing a process that was occurring, or being able to detect a relationship between TSCs within the physical environment, and so these became independent codes. When more specific codes emerged in this way, I would revisit text formerly coded as visual evidence to see if it also fit the more specific codes, recoding as needed. In the case of the code category internal dialog and expression it became clear that the group also needed to include mor e elaborate but internalized learning processes that the students were describing. This addition is described in Chapter Five. Conversely, the category of the Cultural Environment resulted in almost no references in the interviews and this will also be d iscussed later. The categories of Academic Tools and Non academic Tools were combined into a single group due to the difficulty of reliably making the distinction between the two in the coding process. Pattern C odes Once the descript ive codes were assigned to a transcript, I assigned pattern codes to indicate the thematic elements relevant to the research question (contributors to change in knowledge structures). The descriptive codes were used in conjuction with broader patterns wit hin each unit of analysis to determine the application of the more inferential

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136 pattern codes. These pattern codes are shown in Table 3.3. The first step was delineating concept units or sections of the transcript that tracked a student's discussion of a target science concept (TSC) or relationship between TSCs and the student's description of how they learned about the concepts. At times these were brief sections of one question and one answer and at other times they were extended discussions and dialog. These concept units served as an embedded unit of analysis that allowed me to individually track the learning process for any given concept for each student. An example of one of the shorter concept units is shown in Figure 3.4 and a more extensive exam ple is shown in Appendix D. Table 3. 3 Codebook for Qualitative Analysis : Pattern Codes 4#*"(1$I & 41C" & +"9'%'*'1% & -@@7'>#*'1%& !"="7 & N:"&F&O6:*'9'>#*'1% & @)%/"0+,R%(+ _, R%(+,)>, X%#371(1 T"/+()%,)>,+$#%1/$(0+,+6#+,>)33)-1, 1+94"%+E1,4(1/911()%,)>,#,/)%/"0+ )$, $"3#+()%16(0,="+-""%,/)%/"0+1O,#%4, #11)/(#+"4,3"#$%(%8,0$)/"11;,, , '#$(#=3" C :i, j1;,,@#%, )'"$3#0, 10"#."$1 F*="44"4,9%(+,)>,#%#371(1, +),+$#/., 1+94"%+E1, 4"1/$(0+()%,)>,#,VT@,)$, $"3#+()%16(0,="+-""%,VT@1 !"#$%(%8, g00)$+9% C (+("1 2#/(3(+#+"4 c">"$1,+),3"# $%(%8,0$)/"11,+6#+,+"#/6"$, 10"/(>(/#337,0$)'(4"4,>)$O,"(+6"$, +6$)986,03#%%(%8,)$,10)%+#%")9137 , @)%/"0+, R%(+ ?"1/$(=",>9%4#*"%+#3, 4(1+(%/+()%,(%,/)%/"0+9#3, >$#*"-)$.,="+-""%, >#/(3(+#+"4,#%4,0"$(06"$#3, 3"#$%(%8,)00)$+9%(+("1,)>,+6", 3"#$%(%8,"%'($)%*"%+ ;,, , ?"+"$*(%"4,=#1"4,)%, #%#371(1,)>,4"1/$(0+('",/)4"1, -(+6(%,/)%/"0+,9%(+; 5"$(06"$#3 c">"$1,+),3"#$%(%8,0$)/"11,+6#+,+"#/6"$, 4(4,%)+,#%+(/(0#+",)$,10"/(>(/#337, >#/(3(+#+",=9+,1+(33,#44$"11"4,VT@1 , 2#/(3(+#+"4&, 0"$(06"$#3, (%+"$#/+()% , c">"$1,+),3"#$%(%8, 0$)/"11,(%,-6(/6, =)+6,03#7"4,#,10"/(>(/,$)3"

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137 Table 3.3 (con't) 4#*"(1$I 41C" +"9'%'*'1% -@@7'>#*'1%& !"="7 N:"&F&O6:*'9'>#*'1% @)%+"<+ C 9#3(f#+()%, T/)$"1 , , Y C @T ^),VT@,(1,*"%+()%"4,(%,/)%/"0+,9%(+ , @)%/"0+, R%(+ c"3#+"1,+),+6",a/)%+"<+, '"6(/3"b,(%,+6" /)%/"0+9#3, >$#*"-)$.;,, , ?"1/$(="1,6)-,*9/6, 1+94"%+,$"3#+"1,3"#$%(%8,#%4, .%)-3"48",+),$"#3O, "<0"$("%/"4,/)%+"<+1,)$, (1)3#+"1,+6"*,#1,#=1+$#/+, (4"#1; , ?"+"$*(%"4,=#1"4,)%, #%#371(1,)>,4"1/$(0+('",/)4"1, -(+6(%,/)%/"0+,9%(+; Q C @T VT@,(1,*"%+()%"4,)$,4(1/911 "4,-(+6,%), $">"$"%/",+),/)%+"<+ , : C @T VT@,(1,*"%+()%"4,)$,4(1/911"4,=9+,(1, (%/)$$"/+,(%,1)*",-#7 , I C @T VT@,(1, F&,."0,&8 (%,$"3#+()%,+), 9%"3#=)$#+"4O,8"%"$#3(f"4,/)%+"<+ , J C @T VT@,(1, 8&-/%"D&8 (%,$"3#+()%,+), 8"%"$#3(f"4,/)%+"<+,)$,1"/)%4#$7, 1)9$ /",/)%+"<+ , K C @T VT@,(1, F&,."0,&8 (%,/)%Z9%/+()%,-(+6, 4($"/+O,0"$1)%#3,"<0"$("%/",(%&-(+6,+6", /)%+"<+ , L C @T VT@,(1, 8&-/%"D&8' (%,/)%Z9%/+()%,-(+6, 4($"/+O,0"$1)%#3,"<0"$("%/",(%&-(+6,+6", /)%+"<+ , M C @T ?($"/+O,0"$1)%#3,"<0"$("%/",(1,(%&-(+6, +6",/) %+"<+,(1, &L:3"/".3?'/%&8".&8 -(+6, "3#=)$#+"4,VT@ , , Figure 3.4 shows a screen shot from the coding window of the HyperRESEARCH qualitative data analysis software I used to code interview transcripts. The codes are displayed on the left side of the scree n and can be highlighted or hidden as needed within the program, showing which codes overlap each other and fall into each concept unit. This example shows the concept unit highlighted and displayed with the embedded pattern and descriptive codes for that excerpt.

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138 Learning opportunities Learning Opportunities and Contextualization Scores were the two pattern code categories. The learning opportunities codes (Table 3.3) were used as an overall characterization indicating how the students describe d they had learned a given TSC or relationship between concepts: Facilitated Peripheral or Both This code group indicated whether the student had described learning opportunities that were entirely facilitated by their teacher, that they had encountere d on their own without the specific facilitation by the teacher, or some combination of these opportunities. At times these judgments were made with other data outside of the concept unit being considered. For example, a student may have described the sa me event multiple times in the interview and provided information beyond the given concept unit. To preserve the 2(89$",J; K ;,,T/$""%,16)+,)>,#,/)4"4,+$#%1/ $(0+,"+-#$" ;,,](863 (86+"4,+"<+,(%4(/#+"1,)%",/)%/"0+,9%(+O,+6",9%(+,)>,#%#371(1;

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139 perspective of each informant, data external to the interviewee were not considered for these judgments. Contextualization The contextualiz ation score codes were used to judge the degree to which students were relating their understanding of a given concept unit to their real world experience. These scores were adapted from Rivet & Krajcik (2008) who present a rubric, designed for use with P roject Based Learning applications, that allows the researcher to analyze a learning event and determine a relative measure of how a student relates target knowledge to their environmental contexts. The process focuses on how a student refers to anchoring events from the learning context, the relationships the student detects between target concepts and contextual events, and the student's own contextual experience outside of class. For example, a student might explain inertia by referring to a class lab or to an experience he had falling off of his bike (Rivet & Krajcik, 2008) Their scoring system includes a scale of 0 to 5 that simultaneously measures student participation (e.g., speaking up in class or in a group discussion), level of expressed unders tanding, and contextualization. A 0 indicates no student participation and therefore no way to measure contextualization, while the rarely scored 5 (in the Rivet and Krajcik study, 2008) indicates a detailed explanation of the science content in conjuncti on with a clear example of the concept that is related to the learning context. For the present study, a modified version of the Rivet and Krajcik (2008) contextualization scale was used that expands the range by one level and removes the participation asp ect. This latter adjustment was possible because the scale was used on student recollections of their own experiences and student work and so participation is implied but not possible to differentiate. This revised contextualization scoring scale is pres ented in the pattern codebook, Table 3.3.

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140 Student Notebooks Student notebooks/journals were available for Cases 1 and 3 and varied in their extent of use. The teacher in Case 1 required a complete notebook from each student as a final assessment piece and so they were generally complete, well developed, and provided an accurate view of the work generated by the students throughout the class. Case 3 was more variable in the quality and extent of the work. Each notebook was scanned into digital image files entered into the HyperRESEARCH database/program and coded with the same scheme as used for the interviews (Tables 3.2 and 3.3). PFnets The results of each student's Pathfinder assessment was coded as a categorical level of change from pretest to posttes t, and assigned to a student's entire transcript. The categories ranged from highly negative change to exceptional learning (Table 3.2). Although no formal scale exists with which to correlate Pathfinder similarity values ( C or csim ) to level of mastery or learning, Acton et al. (1994) found that the experts in their study of Pathfinder referents tended to show C values of .30 between experts. In the present study, between expert values were closer to .35. In another study, college undergraduates ranged from an average similarity ( C) with their instructor of .24 at the first week of class to .32 by the 15 th week, a change of .08 C (Goldsmith & Johnson, 1990) Though future work is needed in this area to further explore valid levels of mastery and learni ng, these existing studies provided some guidance on creating the scale presented here, though note that the csim values used in this study are an average of 50% less than the raw C values. Based on these numbers, a csim value of about .04 should be ave rage and this was indeed the case for the values found in this study (mean = .046).

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141 Using the standard deviation of this sample (.079) as a loose guide, a classification of csim based learning levels was developed and is presented in Table 3.2. This allowed for analysis by degree of learning as a variable. In addition the images for each student's Pre and Post PFnet were entered into the HyperRESEARCH program along with the referent for each class, to be used for analysis of the nature as well as th e degree of change for each student. Field Study In addition to the assessment and interview processes, I also conducted a full field study of Case 4, the Everglades group. There were three goals behind this additional layer of data collection: (a) to tri angulate by adding an outsider's perspective of the DIAL experience to the insider's perspective gained through the interviews, (b) to capture in the moment experience, lost after time and reflection, and the details of the experience that are not easy to capture through interview, and (c) to test the validity claims of the interview process by triangulating those data with the data collected through field study. To conduct the field study I traveled with the teacher and eight students of the Everglades gro up throughout their eight day DIAL experience. I met the group at their school, flew with them to Florida, traveled with them in the field and camped with them at night. The group knew my purposes as a researcher but did not know the specific research qu estions I was asking, nor which behaviors and interactions I was observing most closely. My role in the educational aspects of the experience was non participatory in the sense that I did not do any instruction, answer science questions, or plan any aspec t of the experience. However, I did participate in camp chores and other "expedition behavior" as well as being a social member of the group rather than an entirely separated

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142 observer. Another important difference between the approach I used with this fi eld study and participant observation was that I was not tuned in to my own experience of the events, nor recording them, rather I was trying to record the experience of the students; albeit through my own interpretations, along with their in the moment ob servations that they shared with me (e.g. Stake, 2010) The observations and recordings that I made were all focused on evidence of learning and the roles of the environmental components outlined in the conceptual framework. The observations and recordin gs were made on a number of levels. An attempt was made to video or audio record lessons, discussions, demonstrations, and group activities when possible. Extensive field notes were made in both descriptive and interpretive forms (Anderson Levitt, 2006) The descriptive notes captured my perspective on actions, relationships, conversations, settings, and on the spot interviews (often one or two questions) as well as time and place stamps. Interpretive notes involved preliminary analysis of trends and pa tterns I was beginning to see in the nature of the learning process within the contextualized environment. During the majority of the trip the group was traveling by canoe and would become spread out, gathering periodically for mini lessons, breaks, or d iscussions. The teacher and guide were paddling the same canoe. I traveled by kayak in order to paddle along with different sets of students, write field notes in a waterproof notebook, catch up to the group, and so on. During the mini lessons I tried t o video or audio record as much as possible in addition to writing field notes on the events. I did not interrupt students or teachers during learning events but would record audio, photo, and video evidence; practices that the group quickly became comfor table with. I would often follow up with them shortly afterward, asking about those recent experiences. An effort was made to

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143 also engage students in casual conversation in order to diffuse the sense that they were being scrutinized. At times students wo uld offer their unsolicited reflections or thoughts on an idea or an event, or they would have conversations with each other about the content or events. On land, the process was similar though I used a notebook and pen that simultaneously recorded a digi tal as well as a physical copy of the notes ( www.livescribe.com ). Each night, I transcribed all of my notes onto a laptop computer, completing thoughts and adding interpretative and analytical comments while the experiences were still fresh. This process was useful for early analysis, creating an audit trail, and guiding the next steps of data collection during the DIAL experience (Esterberg, 2002) Throughout the experience all of the students, the teacher, and the guide became informants for the study. However, four students were asked to participate more heavily in order to ensure more complete and consistent perspectives from a subsample. These students were chosen through purposive sampling, representing the two girls on the trip (11 th and 12 th grad e), a high performing 11 th grade boy (based on the pretest), and a low performing 9 th grade boy. Having these focus students helped me to choose which groups to track when they were spread out and provided a structure/reminder to make sure I spoke with th em about their experience at least twice per day, even if briefly. In addition I conducted at least one, sometimes two, more formal interviews during the trip, asking about specific learning events and students' individual learning experiences. Conversat ions with the teacher and guide throughout the trip helped to delineate aspects of the day that were facilitated and those that were peripheral.

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144 Following the field study all of the digitized notes, videos, photos, and audio were added to the HyperRESEARCH database to be coded and analyzed with the other data. The mid trip formal interviews with the focus students were transcribed. Analysis This study was driven heavily by the research questions and the conceptual framework. As such, the qualitative analy sis was best addressed through an overall approach of pattern matching logic (Yin, 2009) or the similar prestructured case analysis (Miles & Huberman, 1994) Through this process, the data and patterns within the data are compared to expected outcomes, r elationships or a conceptual framework. Similarities, differences, and unanticipated phenomena are explored (Miles & Huberman, 1994; Yin, 2009) Analysis proceeded by asking a series of iterative, analytical questions that were based on the conceptual f ramework and contributed to answering the second research question, "do students' interactions with the components of a DIAL environment contribute to change in their conceptual science knowledge structures? Using selective sorting of the assigned codes within HyperRESEARCH, various data displays illustrated the data germane to these analytical questions at multiple levels. These data patterns and trends were saved and displayed in matrices for further analysis. As potential answers to the analytical q uestions emerged, they were recorded along with the evidence from each data source and then checked for consistency or important differences across the individual informants and the four cases. To illustrate this process, we can look at one example. If we start with the very broad question of "how did students use the physical environment in their learning?" I

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145 first looked at code frequencies and displayed the frequencies of the physical environment code group as a percentage of all of the environmental co mponent codes, by case, by individual students, by Pathfinder results, by facilitated or peripheral opportunities, or by any combination of variables. I would also look at the sub codes within the physical environment code group to tease out which aspects of the environment were most heavily referenced. Looking at code frequencies across or within cases was a first step but it was not assumed to be equated with importance. Rather, the code frequencies indicated places to begin analyzing the relationship s between learning and the components of the learning environment. The relative importance of the data was also determined by how the students discussed the learning within a concept unit, the importance that the informants assigned to a given learning ev ent, their measured learning (Pathfinder), and the way in which their connections between the TSCs and the learning factors suggested deep understanding. Once some direction was established through code frequencies, I would ask more specific questions and use the QDA software to display various groupings of text based on the code references. For example, if the code frequencies indicated that seeing visual evidence was often described as a way that students learned through the physical environment, I could ask more specific questions such as "was the visual evidence usually facilitated or peripheral?", "did the evidence confirm learning or initiate it?", "Was this an important factor across all cases or just one or two?", "how did students describe how this contributed to their understanding?" and so on, calling up custom displays to highlight each of those questions. Because the displays include hyperlinks back to the original text sources, it was possible to quickly toggle back and forth between

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146 the summa ry displays and the context of the students' more complete thoughts, developing a better connection between patterns and context. Based on the co occurring codes and the way that students talked about the topics, patterns were identified, described and tes ted within and across cases by looking for confirming and disconfirming examples. As these supporting sub questions were answered, additional questions developed and were pursued through the same technique. This process continued until saturation was re ached and no further patterns emerged. The results of each query were recorded in a series of matrices for big picture, cross case analysis. Field study data analysis There is little or no separation between data collection and data analysis with a fiel d study approach (Anderson Levitt, 2006) Data is constantly analyzed in the head of the researcher and within the pages of the field notes. That being said, further analysis continued beyond the event and was conducted using the HyperRESEARCH program. For consistency, fidelity to the research question, and smoother cross case analysis, the same coding and questioning scheme was used on the field study data as it was for the interview data. The text associated with those code references tended to be ric her than what was possible to elicit from the half hour interviews. Synthesis The final level of analysis for this study was a cross case analysis using the method of pattern matching logic by examining the data as compared to the predicted pattern (Yin, 2009) in this case the conceptual framework (Appendix B). Cross case

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147 analysis highlights patterns and differences amongst the cases studied, allowing for triangulation of the data (Yin, 2009) Patterns that agree with, conflict with, and expand beyond the conceptual framework were identified. As shown in Figure 3.1, there are three clusters of data that informed the cross case analysis: (a) the case analyses for each class experience that are, in turn, generated from the PFnets, contextualization score s, student work samples, and interview data; (b) the rich descriptions from the field study of the focus class DIAL experience; and (c) the statistical analysis of the student knowledge development (" C ) across the four cases. In addition to the previously described data displays produced through HyperRESEARCH, a content analytic summary table (Miles & Huberman, 1994) was used to help facilitate the data analysis. This type of table displays data in a meta matrix by highlighting characteristics of two vari ables that have some commonality across multiple cases (Miles & Huberman, 1994) At times, variables were substructed as described by Miles and Huberman (1994) Through this process, two of the analytical questions described earlier were placed opposite e ach other on a matrix, along with potential answers. Cases that met the resulting criteria within the matrix were listed within appropriate cells. The purpose of this process is to help clarify an overly general variable (Miles & Huberman, 1994) The f inal level of analysis and the transition to interpretation was facilitated largely through the process of writing the descriptive multiple case report (Wolcott, 2009) Interpretive notes were maintained as comments within the evolving text and were later collected and synthesized for more global interpretation.

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148 Data Handling and Protection of Informants The anonymity of all informants was maintained throughout the study. Pseudonyms were used for all students within field notes and computer files. A har dcopy of the key is stored in a secure location. Class level PFnet data was provided to the teacher of each class for the purpose of generalized formative assessment but the data were aggregated across the class, removing any personal identifiers of the s tudents. All participating students signed a document of assent (Appendix E) and were provided with both verbal and written briefings on the project. Parents of the students and teachers also signed consent forms (Appendix E) that included a description of the project and how the data were to be used. It was made clear to all participants and guardians that any participant could choose to not participate in the study or withdraw without any academic or other penalty. All participants were given pseudony ms that are used in this dissertation and any other communication regarding the study. The protocol for this project was subjected to review by the University of Colorado Denver's Human Subjects Internal Review Board. The approved version of the protocol was followed throughout this study (Appendix F, approval letter). All of the data for the project were digitized and organized using the HyperRESEARCH database. All of these files and the database itself are backed up to an external hard drive and to a disaggregated cloud site Validity / Legitimation Assessing what is called validity in quantitative research, trustworthiness in qualitative research (Morrow, 2005) and legitimation in mixed methods research (Onwuegbuzie & Johnson, 2006) becomes difficult when the use of both quantitative and qualitative data are part of a study. Although the goals are similar, these constructs are

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149 not the same things and do not measure exactly the same things. Onwuegbuzie & Johnson (2006) describe these goals as assessi ng the ability to make inferences that are credible, trustworthy, dependable, transferable, and/or confirmable. Because each of these research traditions also has its own vocabulary to address these constructs, an additional tension is added to the proble m of communicating them. The validity framework offered by Yin (2009) and specific to case study research, helps alleviate some of that tension as the vocabulary should be recognizable to most researchers and the categories are defined broadly enough to e ncompass both quantitative and qualitative data. Yin's framework was used in this study to assess validity. An important idea within this framework is in considering each case to be akin to a single experiment rather than a single subject or sample. In this multiple case study, we can see the cases as four replications testing a theory rather than a sample size of four. Within each of those cases there are embedded units of analysis comparable to multiple subjects in an experimental design. Construct V a lidity A number of factors were used to establish strong operational measures for the constructs being explored in this study. First, the measures, including the Pathfinder assessments, interview protocols and observational focus were tied very closely to the theory upon which they were built, linked through the conceptual framework. Second, multiple sources of evidence including student and teacher interviews from four distinct cases, student notebooks, field observations, and a pre/post test were used t o converge on and establish chains of evidence that support the developed constructs, what Patton (2002) refers to as "data triangulation". Four cases, each comprising numerous

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150 informants, provided perspectives through multiple means. One case added an o utsider perspective through the field study. "Methodological triangulation" (Patton, 2002) also added to the construct validity of the study through the utilization of both qualitative and quantitative methodologies where appropriate. An established cons truct of knowledge was assessed through the quantitative measure of knowledge structures before and after the experiences. This provided a more objective framework on which to base the qualitative inquiry within the study. Some member checking (Stake, 201 0) added to the construct validity as students were able to confirm or disconfirm that their PFnets accurately represented their states of knowledge before and after the DIAL experience. In one case, students did not feel that they did, which allowed me to identify and correct a problem with the generation of the PFnets for their class and prior to the interviews. Member checking of the constructs produced through the qualitative leg of the project would have strengthened the study but were not logisticall y possible as most students were no longer associated with the classes or schools following the analysis of the data. Internal V alidity Although this study was non experimental and not intended to make causal inferences, a number of structures were in pla ce to increase internal validity of the relational inferences that were made, as described by Yin (2009). Again, the cross case analysis relied heavily on the convergence of evidence across cases and from multiple sources/types of sources. In addition, t he inferences were drawn predominantly from the informants' actual descriptions of their experiences rather than interpretations of their

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151 words. The patterns in the qualitative data presented in Chapter 5 are supported heavily by the direct quotes of the informants. While I cannot claim that there are no rival explanations for the inferences made, much consideration was given to considering and ruling out rival explanations in the data analysis process, predominantly in the cross case analysis phase, as pr esented in Chapter 6. All inferences were based on patterns across the cases rather than single instances. External V alidity In the statistical measure used (Wilcoxon matched pairs test for Pathfinder data) the assumptions of the test were met, the sample size was sufficient for appropriate power, and the results were significant. The case study approach relies on "analytical generalization" rather than statistical generalization (Yin, 2009) and thus, external validity relies on the ability of the data to consistently support the theory upon which the study is built rather than on statistical significance. The greater the number of cases (equated to experiments) that support the theory, the greater the external validity (Yin, 2009) This study used four c ases with embedded units of analysis for that purpose. The study's results delineate which aspects of the theory were supported across multiple cases and which were not. As explained in Chapter One, we need to be cautious about comparing learning experie nces across only loosely similar learning environments and pedagogies. The external validity of the inferences made in this research becomes increasingly limited as applied to more dissimilar cases. It would be inappropriate to apply the results reported here to science education, or experiential education, or informal education, or outdoor learning writ large.

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152 Reliability While a case study can never truly be replicated (Yin, 2009) measures can be taken to maximize the ability of others to review the work. To this end, the data for this study are centrally stored in a database with easy and replicable access via the qualitative data analysis software HyperRESEARCH. In addition, the protocols used for interviews and field observations are shared in Ap pendix C To further enhance the reliability of the work, the process of researcher debriefing (Onwuegbuzie, Leech, & Collins, 2008) was used following the field study in order to help interpret the results and examine issues of reflexivity, bias, and leg itimation. In this process, the researcher is interviewed by a knowledgeable party who asks the researcher questions, that pertain directly to bias including those that tap the researcher's interview background and experience; perceptions of the participa nt(s); perceptions of nonverbal communication; interpretations of interview findings; perceptions of how the study might have affected the researcher; perceptions of how the researcher may have affected the participant(s); awareness of ethical or political issues that might have arisen before, during, or after the interview(s); and identification of unexpected issues or dilemmas that emerged during the interview(s). (Onwuegbuzie, et al., 2008, p. 6) The debriefing was conducted with Dr. Deanna Sands of the University of Colorado and was audio recorded. The data from this debriefing session helped to guide further analysis and was used as a filter to reconsider early analysis that I had conducted.

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153 Researcher Bias and Reflexivity Though an attempt has been m ade to reduce researcher bias in this study there are still some elements that must be acknowledged. First, I have been working in experiential science education and using DIAL for the majority of my career in education. As such I am committed to its suc cess and this could have the potential to bias the results. Recognizing this, the study is not aimed at defending or challenging the practices but at better understanding the machinations of them. This bias has also been reduced through much of the resear ch design. The quantitative measures used to determine knowledge development remove some of the potential for bias. For the qualitative portions of the study, a heavy reliance on direct quotes and insider perspectives was used to balance my own perceptio ns and interpretations. It should be noted that Case 3 took place through a school where I was formerly employed. As such, I knew the teachers and some of the students who attend, but I did not know any of the students who took the class I studied. The field study aspect of the research was probably both benefitted and compromised by my past experience with DIAL. Having led many such experiences, I had a better sense of what key events and interactions to look for and was able to both anticipate and und erstand student actions from a perspective of past experience. Of course, this could have also been a detriment as it may have limited an openness to interpreting the events. One mechanism for evaluating and minimizing bias in the field study was the pro cess of researcher debrief described above. It is likely that the Pathfinder assessments, my presence during the Case 4 DIAL experience, and the nature of being studied changed the experience for students and

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154 teachers somewhat. A couple of the students sp ecifically mentioned being more keyed in to thinking about some of the TSCs after taking the pretest. When they did hear them, they paid more attention. While this may have affected the results slightly, it is unlikely that this had a big impact and all of the TSCs were ideas that the teacher had intended to teach before knowing about the study. Because the combination of the Pathfinder assessment and the follow up interviews tended to elicit understanding much deeper than awareness of an idea, again thi s problem was mitigated. My presence on the trip did not seem to have a big impact on learning either. The teacher, guide, and students all acted very naturally around me and did not seem to be trying to prove their teaching or learning prowess. Still, we must assume there was some effect. Chapter Summary In this chapter I described the design and implementation of the study, outlining the sequential, mixed methods case study design. The methods behind three key aspects of the study were described: an a ssessment of student learning via Pathfinder Network Analysis, a student interview process to explore the contributors to that learning, and a field study investigation of one of the cases. The collection of supporting data was also described. The multip le levels of analysis were explained, including the statistical analysis of the pathfinder data, pattern matching analysis of the qualitative data, and cross case analysis that encompassed all of the data from all of the cases. Finally validity, bias and reflexivity were addressed.

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155 Chapter IV Pathfinder Results Overview The findings for Research Question 1, "do students' knowledge structures reflect greater understanding of science concepts following a DIAL experience?" are presented in this chapter. In other words, was there evidence to suggest that the students in the study learned as a result of their DIAL experiences? Descriptive data of the Pathfinder assessment results across all four cases are first presented along with a statistical analysis of these data. Some analyses of the emergent patterns are then presented. Pathfinder Results The results for the Pathfinder assessments, measured as the similarity to the expert referent and corrected for chance ( csim) were recorded for each student's prete st and posttest. The distribution of the sample was somewhat positively skewed. To address this, the pretest/posttest pairs were compared using the Wilcoxon Matched Pairs Test. The test indicated a significant difference between pretest and posttest ( Z = 4.24, p < 001 ) across the full sample. This shows that students' content knowledge structures did become more like the experts' over the course of the DIAL experiences, and therefore it suggests that the students developed a deeper understanding of the concepts Though the test was also run for the four cases individually, the small sample sizes of Cases 1, 3, and 4 lacked the power for a robust comparison. Like the full sample, Case 2 showed a

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156 significant positive difference from pretest to posttest ( Z = 4.24, p < .001 ). These data are presented in Table 4.1. Table 4.1 Wilcoxon Matched Pairs Test: Results of Pre to Post Assessments , ( %, /-"F' 0$"&0)1+ *#<, /-"F 0$"&0)1+ *"4(#% : /-"F 0$"&0)1+ T?, 0$"&0)1+ M N : X33, @#1"1 LL C ;Q:&;QI ;JM&;J: ;: &;:L ;QN&;QM :Q:I K;IK !"#$$% @#1",: N ;Q:&;QI ;QM&;:N ;QL &;:I ;QI&;QL Ik %&# I K')O@ @#1",I JN ;QI&;QK ;JM&;J: ;:I &;:k ;QN&;QM KKQ J;JI !"#$$% @#1",J M Q&;QN ;IQ&;:L ;:J &;:Q ;QN&;QK C J %&# I P')OG @#1",K L C ;Q:&;:: ;QM&;II ;QI &;:N ;QJ&;QK :L %&# I %,(1,+)), 1* #33 1 Wilcoxon test uses assigned ranks and median rather than mean I For n < 10, Wilcoxon test uses exact sampling distribution Despite the small sample sizes, the pretest and posttest medians for each case, along with the W values, show a trend of pos itive change for Cases 1,2 and 4, suggesting positive learning for these students. In other words, following the DIAL experience, these students structured their ecology knowledge in a more expert manner. Case 3 showed a negative trend, though the small overall change seems more in character with no change than with backsliding. In some respects this is not overly surprising. Pathfinder measures knowledge structures as relationships between concepts that are often complex and full of subtlety rather tha n the declarative knowledge more often seen in assessments. Case 3 was a brief, three day DIAL experience which served as a

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157 capstone to previous learning and so the degree of change would not be expected to be as great as for an extended and stand alone D IAL experience such as Case 4. This is discussed in more depth in Chapter Six. Learning Levels Although no formal scale exists with which to correlate Pathfinder similarity values ( C or csim ) to level of mastery or learning, Acton et al. (1994) found tha t the experts in their study of Pathfinder referents tended to show C values of .30 between experts. In the present study, between expert values were closer to .35. In another study, college undergraduates ranged from an average similarity ( C) with their instructor of .24 at the first week of class to .32 by the 15 th week, a change of .08 C (Goldsmith & Johnson, 1990) Though future work is needed in this area to further explore valid levels of mastery and learning, these existing studies provide the rea der with some limited guidance on interpreting the results presented here, though note that the csim values used in this study are an average of 50% less than the raw C values. Based on these numbers, a csim value of about .04 should be average and this was indeed the case for the values found in this study (mean = .046). Using the standard deviation of this sample (.075) as a loose guide, a classification of csim based learning levels was developed and is presented in Table 4.2 along with the distributions for each case. As indicated by the standard deviation, there was a wide spectrum in the distribution of change in knowledge structures that students made foll owing the DIAL experiences with some far exceeding what would be expected based on p ast studies, and some actually becoming less like the referent.

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158 The results presented in Table 4.2 further elucidate the degree of learning for the students in the study. Again, some caution needs to be used in comparing across the cases due to small sample sizes. Broadly we see that almost 70% of students showed growth over the course of their DIAL experiences and that almost 40% showed high or exceptional levels of growt h. Case 4 is particularly interesting in showing high or exceptional growth in all cases. Note, however, that three students' data were not included for this analysis, as described below. Table 4.2 Learning Levels and Distributions Within and Across Ca ses , ?(1+$(=9+()%,)>,!"'"31,S(+6(%,@#1"1 !"#$%'%(&!"="7 & +"9'%'*'1% &&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&& & -77&4#:": & 4#:"&J & 4#:"&K & 4#:"&L & 4#:"&M & ](8637,^"8#+('" ,,,,,,,,,,, /-"F' \, C ;QN Nl Q Ll :Nl Q U)4"$#+"37,^"8#+('" C ;QN,\, /-"F' \, C ;QI Pl Q kl JJl Q !(++3",)$,^),@6#%8 C ;QI,\, /-"F' \,;QI :Ll IPl :Ml :Nl Q U)4"$#+",!"#$%(%8 , ;QI,\, /-"F' \,;QN J:l :Kl KQl :Nl Q ](86,!"#$%(%8 , ;QN,\, /-"F' \,;:K J:l KJl IKl :Nl kQl F, 1+94"%+1,(%/394"4 LL N Jk M L %,$"193+1,%)+, ( %/394"4 $"Z"/+"4, -6"%,0)1++"1+, /)6"$"%/",\,;IQ k : I I J Some student test data were excluded from the statistical analysis. There is always a danger that students will randomly rather than purposively complete the tests.

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159 The Pathfinder software provi des a measure of Coherence that indicates the consistency of the data by considering the network level of relatedness scores (Goldsmith & Davenport, 1990) For example, if A is very closely related to B and B is closely related to C, we would usually expe ct A to have some relationship with C, although this is not always the case. If random values are used, we would see very low coherence, usually below .2 (Goldsmith & Davenport, 1990) For this reason, any student score pair with a posttest coherence val ue below .2 but a pretest that was greater than .2 was excluded from these data. This resulted in the exclusion of one student from Case 1, two from Case 2, two from Case 3, and three from Case 4. Distributions of Student Learning Figures 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, a nd 4.4 show the pretest to posttest change in csim for individual students in each of the four cases. Individual students are shown on the Y axis (e.g. "S104") and the csim values for both their pretest and posttest are shown on the X axis. For each stud ent and within each case we can see the level of learning from pretest to posttest. For example, Student 101 started the class with a very low similarity to the expert referent and this did not change by the end of the course while Student 103 also starte d out very low but exceeded all other students by the end of the class. As measured by this assessment and the Pathfinder algorithm we can assume that learning was greatest for student 103 in this case. The patterns of learning in Cases 1 (Figure 4.1) an d 4 (Figure 4.4) were what one would hope to see: low levels of target knowledge before the experience and moderate to high levels afterward.

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160 !" !#!$" !#%" !#%$" !#&" !#&$" !#'" !#'$" !#(" )%!*" )%!%" )%!'" )%!&" )%!+" )%!," )%!$" !"#$% !"#$%$#&'()*+&#,"+-) -./0"%")123041/5"-6.470"84"94:;<0370")1=2>12=0/" -)?@"A=0" -)?@"A:/1" !"#$%&'C)@ ;,,@#1",:O,S(%+"$,F/)3)87,L,-"".,/)9$1"O,(%4('(49#3,1+94"%+1E,0$"+"1+,#%4,0)1++"1+, '#39"1,>)$,1(*(3#$(+7,+),+6","<0"$+,$">"$"%+O,/)$$"/+"4,>)$,/6#%/",G/1(*H;,,

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161 !"#$%&'C)* ;,,@#1",IO,I ;L,-"".,0)$+()%,)>,$"1(4"%+(#3,/)9$1",(%,S(%+"$,F%';,T/(;O,(%4('(49#3, 1+94"%+1E,0$"+"1+,#%4,0)1++"1+,'#39"1,>)$,1(*(3#$(+7,+),+6","<0"$+,$">"$"%+O,/)$$"/+"4,>)$, /6#%/",G/1(*H;

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16 2 !"#$%&'C)( ;,,@#1",JO,J C 4#7,(**"$1()%,+),1+947,/$#%",*(8$#+()%O,(%4('(49#3,1+94" %+1E,0$"+"1+, #%4,0)1++"1+,'#39"1,>)$,1(*(3#$(+7,+),+6","<0"$+,$">"$"%+O,/)$$"/+"4,>)$,/6#%/",G/1(*H;,, TJQkE1,0$"+"1+, /-"F '#39",-#1,Q;

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163 Negative Change Case 2 (Figure 4.2) also shows some interesting patterns. Like Case 3 (Figure 4.3) t here are examples of students who seem to regress, in that their PFnets are more similar to the referent before the DIAL experience than after it. In most of these cases we see students who already seem to have a solid understanding of the material who th en show big changes to their knowledge structures following the experience. Student 224 is an extreme case of this, starting with a csim value of .36 and ending with a csim of .11. A !"#$%&'C)C ;,,@#1",KO,k C 4#7,(**"$1()%,+),1+947,F'"$83#4"1,"/)3)87O,(%4('(49#3,1+94"%+1E, 0$"+"1+,#%4,0)1++"1+,'#39"1,>)$,1 (*(3#$(+7,+),+6","<0"$+,$">"$"%+O,/)$$"/+"4,>)$,/6#%/", G/1(*H;

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164 look at Student 224's PFnets (Figures 4.5, 4.6, and 4.7) helps us unders tand this pattern. In Figure 4.5, the student's pretest PFnet, we see patterns that do match pretty well with those in the expert referent (Figure 4.6). In both cases energy snow plant and seasonality are central, highly inter related ideas, indicatin g that they are important and unifying ideas within the topic of winter ecology. In contrast, the concepts orographic precipitation, conifer and community are less important on the referent and on Student 224's pretest. !"#$%&'C)G ;,,5#+6>(%4"$,%"+-)$.,8$#06,16)-(%8,$"3#+('",$"3#+"4%"11,)>,/)%/"0+1,#1, Z948"4,=7,1+94"%+,IIK,=">)$",+6",?WX!,"<0"$("%/" 52%"+,)> 1+94"%+,IIKE1,5$"+"1+;,,

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165 What we see when we move to the student's posttest PFnet (Figure 4.7) is that some of these have shifted. Some TSCs such as energy and snow remain central. However seasonality and plant for example, move to the periphery while orographic precipitation and community both become more interrelated to the other concepts. While 52%"+, )>,@#1",I,c">"$"%+ , !"#$%&'C)Q ;,,5#+6>(%4"$,%"+-)$.,8$#06,16)-(%8,$"3#+('",$"3#+"4%"11,)>,/)%/"0+1,#1, Z948"4,#%4,#'"$#8"4,=7,+6$"","<0"$+,"/)3)8(1+1

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166 these two concepts are not as important as other ideas for an understanding of winter ecology writ large, they were topics that were important and heavily covered in the course durin g the time between tests (as indicated by lesson plans and teacher interviews). Seasonality and plants are important to an expert level understanding of winter ecology but they were not well covered in this segment of the course. 52%"+, )>,T+94"%+,IIKE1,5)1++"1+ , !"#$%&'C)=)'' 5#+6>(%4"$,%"+-)$.,8$#06,16)-(%8,$"3#+('",$"3#+"4%"11,)>,/)%/"0+1,#1, Z948"4 =7,1+94"%+,IIK,#>+"$,+6",?WX!,"<0"$("%/" ,

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167 What can be s een for these students who are decreasing in their levels of knowledge is that they seem to be shifting their focus from a fairly well developed understanding of the overall topic, learning more, and then apparently assigning an undue importance to a few o f the new ideas. It is not clear if the students are reacting to the novelty in the short term or if these will become lasting knowledge structures. The pattern was true for all of the students in this study who started out relatively close to the refere nt on the pretest, and then were less so on the posttest. There were two students in Case 2 who started out low and moved lower but these students did not seem to have the same shift in focus to newly introduced ideas and their interview data confirmed th at they did not have a command of the content. Growth in the Middle The larger sample size of Case 2 allows us to examine patterns that cannot be detected in the other cases. One such pattern is that students in the middle two thirds of the distribution o f pretest scores tend to show more change in knowledge structures than do the students who scored well on the pretest or those who scored low on the pretest (Figure 4.2). As discussed in the previous section, some of the top performing students decreased substantially while others only changed by small amounts. Because these top tier scores are very close to what we would expect for between expert PFnet similarity, a ceiling effect is possible. Another possibility is that the material these students were exposed to in the course was all review for them. There would be little change if they did not have an opportunity to learn new information or understand new relationships amongst the concepts.

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168 Students at the low end of the pretest csim range also ten ded to show less dramatic change than those in the middle (Figure 4.2). If they started low they tended to stay low, or as mentioned, move even lower. Again, it's not clear why this is but it could be due to ability levels or it could be related to a thr eshold of required background knowledge that these students did not have at the outset of the course and did not make up along the way. For those students in the middle of the pretest distribution, who accounted for most of the growth across the case, we see again what might be a ceiling effect. Despite what they scored on the pretest, students in the middle and upper ranges all seemed to score within a fairly narrow range around the average of .15 csim on the posttest (Figure 4.2). This could be the li mits of sensitivity of the assessment, a ceiling effect, or an indicator of the limits to the learning opportunities the students in the class had. Patterns in the Other Cases When one looks at the other three cases: 1, 3, and 4, we do not see the patterns of negative change in csim at the top of the pretest distribution, the most change in the middle, and very little change at the bottom. Rather, Cases 1 and 4 showed positive change for all students and fairly even distribution across the groups. If anyt hing, the Case 1 data suggest that learning was greater for students at the bottom as they caught up with those students who started ahead. In Case 4 all students started out with low csim scores and ended up much higher, showing the greatest and most con sistent gains of the four cases. Recall though that some students were dropped from the analysis for lack of coherence in their posttest scores and these scores would have been less positive.

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169 Chapter Summary The results presented in this chapter address t he question: "Do students' knowledge structures reflect greater understanding of science concepts following a DIAL experience?" A Wilcoxon Matched Pairs Test of the Pretest and Posttest Pathfinder assessments suggest that students' knowledge structures of targeted science content did change significantly over the course of their DIAL experiences. Descriptive statistics suggest that positive learning occurred in three of the four cases. Some patterns identified in the data suggest that the Pathfinder asse ssments may have a ceiling on their sensitivity. Qualitative analysis of the PFnets helps to illuminate patterns in the data that were not apparent in the statistical analysis. There also may be differences in patterns of learning across cases. These ar e examined further in Chapter Five.

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170 CHAPTER V RESULTS, CONTRIBUTORS TO LEARNING Overview The results presented in this chapter address the second research question of this study: If (students' knowledge structures reflect greater conceptual understanding ), do students' interactions with the components of a DIAL environment contribute to change in their conceptual science knowledge structures? The conceptual framework outlined in Chapter One (Appendix B) presents a theoretical answer to this question, s uggesting six environmental components that might contribute to learning: the social environment, the physical environment, the cultural environment, tools, the emotional environment, and internal dialog and expression. Based on the conceptual framework ( Appendix B) all of these components have the potential to influence learning through either facilitated or peripheral means. Qualitative data from a number of sources, predominantly student interviews, were analyzed through pattern matching logic to deter mine if they aligned with the conceptual framework. Thus, the chapter is organized according to the conceptual framework but diverges according to the patterns that emerged from the data and deviated from the conceptual framework. Data on the role of lea rning opportunities (facilitated, peripheral) are first presented followed by data explaining the role of the various environmental components to student learning in these four cases. In this chapter an attempt is made to present the data as authentically as possible, resulting in extensive use of the direct language of participants. Quotes presented are from student interviews unless otherwise indicated. In those interviews students

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171 described either their understanding of a given topic or they described the learning process that led to that understanding. Again all of the names have been changed to pseudonyms for this report. Learning opportunities The fundamental dimension of the conceptual framework guiding this study is the distinction between learni ng opportunities in DIAL that are facilitated by the teacher and those learning opportunities that are available within the learning environment but are more peripheral and accessed without the direct intervention of the teacher. These learning opportunit ies have the potential to support learning of the targeted science concepts. The student interview transcripts and work samples were coded to indicate the opportunities students used to learn each of the concepts mentioned. Students were not asked to mak e these judgments themselves. Rather, pattern codes were assigned after consulting a list of activities/events that the teacher described as facilitating and through cues in how students described their learning (e.g. I think I noticed a lot of examples by myself" Student 401, Everglades Trip ) within a given "concept unit", the unit of analysis. The resulting code frequencies are presented in Table 5.1. Overall 53% of the concepts that students discussed were learned through exclusively facilitated oppo rtunities while 15% were learned through exclusively peripheral opportunities. Another 32% of learning processes were described by students as involving an interaction of both facilitated and peripheral opportunities such as when a student would learn som ething from the teacher and then develop that knowledge further through interaction with the environment. The percentages in the table represent the proportion of frequencies within the column categories such as the percentage of codes that were

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172 facilita ted, peripheral, and combinations across all cases. Because the number of students per case and the number of concept units per student varied by case, percentages provide a more useful comparison that raw counts. Also shown in the table are the percenta ges of learning opportunities that are associated with the achieved learning levels of students. Meaningful statistical analysis was not possible with these data due to small sample sizes but the patterns in the data suggested areas to focus the qualitati ve analysis. Table 5.1 Frequencies of Learning Opportunity Codes Across Cases !"#$%(%8,g00)$+9%(+("1 , 2#/(3(+#+"4 5"$(06"$#3 e)+6 X33,@#1"1 LJl :Ll JIl @#1",: K:l ::l KNl @#1",I Mkl Nl IKl @#1",J LLl kl Jkl @#1",K KLl JIl IJl ^"8#+('"O,!(++3"O,)$, ^), !"#$%(%8 LKl :Il JLl U)4"$#+",!"#$%(%8 KPl :Ll JMl ](86,)$,F
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173 The data suggest that facilitation was an important element for student learning as 85% of the l earning opportunities involved some level of facilitation and 53% involved facilitated opportunities alone. Peripheral opportunities alone accounted for only 15% of the learning but almost half of all the learning described, when considered in interaction s with the facilitated opportunities. This latter finding on peripheral opportunities suggests that these DIAL experiences were creating opportunities for students to learn targeted content knowledge in ways that were not anticipated by the teachers. Stu dents were developing a proportion of their knowledge through peripheral means. It is also clear though that those peripheral opportunities were not as powerful alone as they were in conjunction with facilitated aspects of the course. The bottom portion o f Table 5.1 shows the relationship between student learning (based on Pathfinder data) and how often students at each of those levels used facilitated and peripheral opportunities. There is not a big difference between students at the lower and middle lev els but we do see a slightly greater reliance on facilitated over peripheral opportunities for the learners with the greatest gains. How these opportunities contributed to student learning is discussed in the next sections. Facilitated Opportunities The d ata in Table 5.1 show that the teachers and the facilitation they provide have critical roles in DIAL. Learning did happen without those opportunities but it was less common. The teacher's role will be discussed further in the Social Interactions section of this chapter but in this section I show how (F1) guiding observations, (F2) providing instructional resources, (F3) facilitating assignments and activities, (F4) making connections, (F5) demonstration, (F6) providing expertise, (F7) direct instruction, and

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174 (F8) synthesis all played important roles in students' knowledge development Each of these manifestations of facilitated learning emerged as patterns from the interviews, field study, and student work samples. To be included in this report, each of these forms of facilitation were described as important for learning by multiple students across all four cases. F1 Guiding Observations Students engaged in DIAL are operating in an environment where much of the surround has the potential to support the ir learning of TSCs. Examples of the content they are learning exist throughout the environment. However, these environmental cues may not be obvious to the untrained eye. Students in this study often described how a teacher, guide, or local expert help ed them to see examples of TSCs in the environment. In one such case, a student in the Everglades class (Case 4) describes a situation where the teacher led the group up to and into a copse of trees on an otherwise grassy plain in order to illustrate the concept of hardwood hammocks and how those plant communities are a function of the physical conditions of the environment: I definitely didn't know what a hardwood hammock was before we went on the trip. And then within the second day or so when we pulled up in the van to go check out the hardwood hammocks and stuff, then Paul explained how even 2 feet of elevation can create this whole different ecosystem for plants to live in. Once you're inside, then you... he pointed out how it was on the limestone, I think it was. And so then you could, I could see the elevation change and then he explained how the elevation change allows for the water to not totally cover the

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175 hardwood hammock. And the sawgrass prairie still has water flowing through it. (Austin, Stud ent 405, 11 th grade, Case 4) As in this case, the teachers across the cases would address the whole group in this way as they pointed out and described aspects of the environment. The teachers and students described numerous occasions like the one Austin describes above where spontaneous occasions or "teachable moments" would present themselves. Teachers would recognize some element of the environment that was a good example of one of the TSCs and capitalize on the situation through guided observation. O ther times the pattern seemed to start with the teacher asking students to generally observe the area and then ask a series of more focused questions until the illustration of the TSC was clear. Students described this pattern in all of the cases. Guided observation was also important as teachers interacted with individual students through impromptu lessons. Mei, a 12 th grade student, described such an event on the Everglades trip of Case 4: When Kevin (guide) was talking about the white mangrove, he pull ed out the leaf to see that on the roots of the leaf, you have two little black dots, and he was saying that the ants are eating the sugar (excreted at the dots) but then the ants are keeping away other insects. I think that's another time that I had a dee per understanding of it (Niche). (Student 408, 12 th grade, Case 4) Some of the guided observation reported by students and teachers was more planned, as in this series of events from Case 2, the Winter Environmental Science class:

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176 Ryan will show us a Powe rPoint and then we'll also go outside. Like today we went outside for a couple minutes and Ryan was just showing us certain things. Even today he just went outside today to show us that surface hoar had formed on top of the snow and I think it was yesterda y we went out and Ryan dug a pit earlier so we could just look at the snowpack and examine the different snow crystals and certain things like that. (Kelsey, Student 230, 11 th grade, Case 2) In this series of events, the teacher prepared the lesson and t hen dug a pit in the snow. He later used the pit by bringing the class out to see it and illustrate the point he was making in the lesson about crystal formation and snowpack. He prefaced both lessons by bringing students outside first thing to see a cr ystal feature that would disappear shortly. These guided observations were a function of the teacher both planning ahead and reacting to evolving conditions. Many of the students in Case 2 reported this lesson sequence as being helpful to their understan ding of snow metamorphism. Most students in the study described guided observation as being important for their understanding of at least one TSC, though which one was highly individualized, despite the more or less common experience within each case. Fo r Mei the relationship between the ants and the mangrove became clear to her through the process while for Kelsey the digging of the snow pit was important. There was no way to measure how many of these guided observation events took place but it was clea r that their effectiveness was dependent on more than the fact that they occurred. Based on my field observations of Case 4, these guided observation events happened very frequently and

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177 while some were described by multiple students as being influential l earning events (e.g. the hardwood hammock lesson), others were not mentioned at all. F2 Providing Instructional Resources Like most teachers, the participant teachers in this study provided learning resources to their students and, in turn, students oft en reported these resources as being useful for developing understanding. An important difference in DIAL learning is that once immersed, resources can be hard to come by. Students cannot necessarily do an internet search for a topic of interest, particu larly in the outdoor settings where much of the experiences in this study occurred. Across the cases the teachers provided photocopied handouts and/or had resources available for students in the field. In Cases 1,2, and 3 which had some classroom compone nts, students also reported videos shown by the teacher as being useful for learning. A student from Case 3, the crane migration group, described the role of handouts in understanding some of the crane behaviors they observed: Before we left we got a coup le different handouts. One was just about flight and function of the different birds, and you know sort of the internal. And the other one was about behavior, which sort of allowed me to grasp the more complex behavioral attributes that the cranes have. ( Nate, Student 309, grade 9, Case 3) Many of the students in Cases 1,2, and 3 reported that their understanding of some topics changed from the pretest to the posttest as a result of new information that was made available to them via these types of resou rces given as intended assignments. In other instances teachers or guides facilitated resources to be available as students needed

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178 them as on demand information. The teacher of Case 4 did not provide any handouts or other resources at all to the students However, the local guide brought a waterproof bucket full of guidebooks, maps, and other resources for students to use. Some students used them regularly and others did not. During my field observations of this group, I often observed the teachers rea ding or looking up information in the books as well. Similar to the process of guided observation, teachers often expected the students to make observations of their environments with the aid of resources such as dichotomous keys or field guides to help them interpret, as in this case: Well the first time we stopped and looked at some trees, a student and I were partnered up to find, to identify, two different trees and we had these books and going through the books, we could tell what they are. Like "oh there's a lodgepole because it has the same consistency trunk throughout", you know, and "oh the the needles are in packets of two or three." You know, stuff like that. I definitely think that helped us have a greater understanding of trees. (Jason, Studen t 103, Case 1, no grade levels) The teachers of Cases 1 and 4 described a part of their role as helping match the right resources to the right students, particularly around ability and interest. They described their students as having a wide range of abi lity levels and grade levels that were best served by choosing specific resources that best matched those abilities. F3 Facilitating Assignments and Activities Even when teachers were not directly involved with the social interactions of instruction, the role of facilitation remained important. Assignments and planned

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179 activities were both cited by students as important for their learning. In Cases 1 and 2, the residential programs, students were assigned homework to be completed outside of class time, t hough still within the context of the immersion experience. Students often described the role of these assignments as priming them for what they would experience during instruction time or helping them to process their learning in a way that they could re late to. The teachers in Cases 1 and 2 also set up more activities that were bounded and targeted (but still allowed the students to build a sense of discovery) than did the teachers in Cases 3 and 4. In these activities students would be given instruct ions and a goal and then sent out to accomplish it, as was described above with the students using field guides to identify trees. Another student described how they were sent out following a classroom lesson to look for real examples of what was diagrame d on the board: So subnivean is the environment under the snow, between the ground and the snow. I guess there are a few ways we learned about it. We talked about it in class a fair amount. And then actually, we did an activity where we went out and we we re looking for tracks and we found, or my group found, 6 or 7 burrows that went all the way down to the ground. It was a pretty good idea of what subnivean actually looked like for me. (Mitch, Student 207, 11 th grade, Case 2) These facilitated discovery activities were important for a number of students but they were also a gamble. The teachers predicted what the students would experience during these activities but they did not always happen as planned. In the case described above many students did not see any burrows and did not have the opportunity to link the

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180 classroom lesson with the field observations. They were still able to describe the TSC "subnivean" and link it to other contexts they had experienced but they did not seem to have the same appr eciation for the idea nor the level of detail in their descriptions as did the two students who described seeing the burrows. Interestingly, the students in Case 1 described activities that the teacher, Jacob, facilitated much more often than information t hat he simply said. The opposite was true for the other cases. When students did describe Jacob speaking, they usually referred to his questioning rather than what he directly told them. The students of Case 1, with one exception, also described themsel ves as not being very good at learning in traditional settings. While it is possible that Jacob used less direct instruction and more facilitation of activities, this was not the impression he gave in his teacher interview. That proportion was on par wit h the other cases. It seems likely that this particular group of students learned more through facilitated activities than through direct instruction. Daniel described how this distinction was important to him: Instead of being told that coniferous trees have these (adaptations), we'd actually go out, look at trees, draw them, like literally taste them. Just anything we could to like learn more about the tree in the field and get a better understanding of why trees adapt to what environments or anything l ike that. It was really fun. (Student 102, no grade levels, Case 3) F4 Making Connections Whether living in a subalpine environment, traveling through the jungle like Everglades, or being surrounded by the cacophony of tens of thousands of cranes, the

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181 students who participated in these DIAL experiences were generally not in familiar environments. The teachers helped bridge the gap between the exotic settings and the students' personal experience. Similarly, the teachers helped the students bridge the gap between their own experience and the also unfamiliar science content. One way teachers did this was by helping the students to see the immediate connection between the environment, content, and the students' experience. In teaching about tides, the t eacher and guide in Case 4 elicited the students' experience in paddling against the tides and then paddling with the tides to illustrate how the force of the tides was a geometric function determined by the gravitational pull of the sun and moon. Reversi ng the process, they used the students' new understanding of tidal flow to plan canoe travel the next day. I observed this sequence during the field study of the case and then both students and the teacher described aspects of it in their interviews, most of whom described it as a first time they truly understood what tides were. In a similar process, the teacher in Case 2 built interest in learning about the subnivean environment (under the snow) by making the connection to the knowledge students would n eed when they were living out in the snow themselves, as one student recounts: "With the snow unit we talked about our application of making (igloos) during the winter trip, those being insulated and that being really the same way animals can use underneat h the snow to stay warm" (Andrew, Student 211, 11 th grade). There was, however, a downside to this metaphoric teaching style as it may have led to some misconceptions. This is explained at the end of this chapter. By making connections between experience and the TSCs teachers harnessed the excitement of novelty to serve the learning of the TSCs. An alligator sighting a few feet

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182 from one's canoe is certainly attention getting but the teacher and guide I observed in the field often acknowledged the excitem ent and then linked it to a lesson. In this case, pointing out how the animal had created a niche for other organisms by keeping bank areas clear. A student described another case of her teacher connecting novel experience to a TSC, snow metamorphism : Th ere was one day where we went out and tested out our skins (traction devices for skis), sort of in the backcountry and we sort of looked at the snow and sometimes when we would walk on it, or like, break a trail, it would "whump", make noises and stuff li ke that, and Ryan took the opportunity to be like, "hey, snow, it's probably faceted because it's making that noise". (Amy, Student 240, 11 th grade, Case 2) Helping students understand their experiences was important but experience is also limited in th at some concepts are too broad or abstract to encompass within personal experience. Understanding tides through personal experience is possible on one level but to understand the role of gravitational pull and global movement of the ocean requires some ab straction. In that case I observed the teacher using an effective kinesthetic demonstration to help the students make the conceptual jump. In another case the guide on the Everglades trip was trying to help students see the entirety of Southern Florida a s a single interactive system. Dante recalled that lesson: I remember Kevin saying one time, when they put all the those dikes up, he said it was pretty much blocking all the arteries of the heart. Once you do that, nothing

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183 can go anywhere from there and it dies. I thought that was a good analogy. (Student 406, 9 th grade, Case 4) F5 Demonstration Demonstrations are used by most science teachers and these DIAL experiences were no exception, as illustrated with the kinesthetic tide demonstration. As in other settings, students found demonstrations useful to help them build content knowledge and make connections. We often see demonstrations in classrooms or lab science used to model natural phenomena that are inaccessible from within the classroom. In these DIAL cases teachers could rely on guided observation to illustrate many concepts that could not be shown in a classroom setting and so they would not need to model them. Still, they used demonstration and modeling to illustrate more abstract ideas, as described above. In these DIAL environments scientific apparatus were not readily available as they might be for a laboratory demonstration. Note that this need not apply to DIAL in general. Instead, the teachers would co opt other materials or stude nts to serve as models within the demonstrations. In the tides demonstration mentioned above, Paul (teacher) used one student to represent the Earth and two more to represent the Moon and Sun, showing the two different orbital patterns. Two more students held hands and encircled the "Earth" representing the water on the surface. As the Moon revolved around the Earth and they both revolved around the Sun, the two water people moved their arms to show how the water bulged out in response to gravitational pu ll. This demonstration could be effective in the classroom but in the DIAL setting Paul could also use guided observation to point

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184 out the high tide line on the mangrove roots, note how the area they were standing in was under water a few hours before, an d discuss the impact of tides on people trying to paddle against them, all of which I observed in the field. Austin (Student 405, 11 th grade) reflected on this during our conversation: Austin: On tides, I knew generally they came in every once and a whi le and went back out, and it had something to do with the moon and gravitational pull. But yeah, after Paul's demonstration on the beach, that kind of... that was sort of like an "aha moment" I realized what caused all of that and how it looked on a globa l scale. Mike: What does it look like? Austin: Depending on where the sun and the moon are, the oceans can be stretched and so like in on one side of the earth and out on the other side. Or just since the sun and the moon are in different places all the ti me, the tides are all over the place, basically. Ryan, the teacher in Case 2 used a surprisingly similar set up to demonstrate to his students the role of Earth's angle in relation to the sun in creating seasonality while students directly experienced the resulting cold. There were a number of other events where teachers used demonstrations that could work in the classroom but made them more salient by using the local context to support the learning, as in this example from Case 2: I think the thing th at registered most for me was that he put outside two water bottles, one that was open and had a fan on it, and one that was closed and deeper

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185 in the snow and also with a black wrapper around it. And he asked us.... The temperatures were very different and they've been there since the same time of day, and he asked us why the temperatures were different. We talked about all of the ways that one had lost heat and all the ways one had kept its insulation and that really registered on a lot of different levels I think. (Rachel, Student 204, 11 th grade, Case 2) By conducting the experiment outside, Ryan was able to reduce one layer of abstraction and put the students within the experimental conditions. Through that set up hee was also able to make the connect ion to how a person or an animal can reduce heat transfer. F6 Providing Expertise We would hope that every science teacher has some level of expertise to share with their class. In these cases of DIAL, that expertise seemed to manifest in more ways than i t might in a typical classroom. Students described teachers as not only sharing knowledge through lessons but also helping students to interpret their environments and responding to questions inspired by the surround. In addition, students experienced or witnessed the modeling of an expert as he or she became interested in notable observations and communicated about the environment as an expert would. This was apparent in the observations I made of Case 4 and was also described by students in the other cas es, particularly Case 3 as Jennifer, the teacher pursued her own interests in learning more about the Cranes, as she led the class. In Cases 3 and 4, the teachers recruited local experts to assist with instruction/interpretation and thus modeled for

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186 stude nts conversation between experts. Two quotes from students reflect the contribution the local experts made: "He's (Kevin, the guide) really knowledgeable I guess in his field. He knows this stuff about the Everglades. He really knows like a lot about all the plants and animals. He obviously is really enthusiastic about it all." (David, Student 404, 9 th grade, Case 4). The two things that taught me most of this was....a little bit of stuff that I learned in the classroom that was mainly just in general about all birds and just talking to Kelly who was the bird...the crane expert." ( Nate, Student 309, 9 th grade, Case 3). Many students expressed awe at the knowledge of the local experts and commonly discussed times where they gained clarity on a topic bas ed on a question answered by the teachers or the local expert. A number of students in Cases 3 and 4 discussed how their teacher's role changed rather drastically when the local expert was brought on board, how the teachers would become more like parent figures or administrators while the local experts delivered the knowledge. I detected a more subtle shift in my observations of Case 4. Before Kevin, the guide, joined the group, Paul, the teacher, readily dispensed facts, prompted students for interpret ations of what they were seeing, and guided the learning toward the big ideas and TSCs. After Kevin joined, Paul was more reserved, let Kevin share most of the declarative knowledge, and typically asked for confirmation from Kevin when he did share inform ation. However, Paul also often made critical instructional moves to help students move beyond natural history and develop big picture connections and schematic ideas. It was clear that Kevin had much local knowledge but perhaps did not understand why th e information was important for the bigger picture. Also, Paul often modeled his intrigue by asking Kevin questions or consulting a field guide and sharing his findings.

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187 While I did not observe Case 3, interviewed students reported some similar interacti ons between the teacher and local expert. Teachers acting as experts in context also seemed to help students understand scientific language. Students were able to pick up vocabulary when the teacher as expert used it in context. This was true for both scientific words and common words used in a scientific way. The following quotes illustrate these ideas: Robert: Well, Ryan (teacher) I guess we've been talking a lot about snow and snowfall and the snowpack recently, and those words just sort of came up and I guess they're sort of vocabulary words that he kept on repeating. We all just understood it eventually. At first I had no clue what he was talking about by "orographic precipitation", but he did a good job explaining it and how what it really means (Student 215, 11 th grade, Case 2) Robert: Before I thought of resistance as...I didn't really understand it. I just sort of understood it like the common definition of being stubborn or not really moving. Then we talked a lot about survival strategies and how resistance is one of them. It's like hibernation, migration, resistance. And how it's not really related to the geology anymore, it's more related to snow and seasonality, because in the snow it's an adaptation or an acclimation I guess, rather tha n just a common term anymore. (Student 215, 11 th grade, Case 2)

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188 F7 Direct Instruction For the purposes of this study direct instruction refers to a teacher centered pedagogical approach defined by a direct transfer of information and learning supports f rom teacher to student and that stands in contrast to a more inductive inquiry method of instruction (Kirschner, et al., 2006) The use of the term "direct instruction" here describes learning events rather than the overall pedagogical approach of any giv en teacher. Of all manners of facilitation that students reported as helping them develop understanding of the TSCs, direct instruction was one of the most prevalently coded within the student transcripts. Quite often students reported that they learned a given idea simply because the teacher or local expert had said it. At times students identified very specifically what was said along with the context. More often they reported in generalities such as "I think he just told us what it was" or "we talked about" When pressed on what "we talked about" actually meant or looked like students typically described lecture with questions and answers or a teacher focused discussion as Andrew describes here: That was generally Ryan (teacher) and sometimes the appr entice Andrea lecturing about different types and we would generally take notes but it wasn't a full lecture. There would be some class participation. We would shout out ideas about why we thought certain adaptations would help. It was more of a team effor t than purely just note taking and lecture. (Student 211, 11 th grade, Case 2) The direct instruction led to a mix of both declarative knowledge, such as describing an adaptation to a particular niche, and to schematic knowledge such as the complex relation ship in this description:

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189 He wrote thermoconductivity. he wrote a lot of the equations on how to figure out what the thermoconductivity of an object or and animal is. And we sort of defined it and explained it and sort of I guess reviewed how that actually affects animals and basically everything in winter and summer, I guess. (Robert, Student 215, 11 th grade, Case 2) Direct instruction seemed to be prevalent in the field as well as when students were actually sitting in classrooms. Teachers brought por table white boards, printed photos, or drew in the sand to simulate classroom practices. F8 Synthesis A final and critical way that facilitation played a role during these DIAL experiences was through bringing all of the lessons learned together to info rm the big idea(s) of each course. Because there was such a variety of experiences and many of them were impromptu, it would be easy for students to come away with a collection of disconnected information. Across all of the cases the students described m any instances of the teachers helping them to see how it all fit together. Interestingly, none of the teachers identified this as a specific teaching goal. In the following quote, a student in Case 3 describes how the teacher brought the field and classr oom lessons together: The layout of the class in the week we would have a class on Monday, in class to introduce concepts and then (Ryan would) say, "be ready, have boots and gaiters on Wednesday, we're going to go trek around in the snow looking for thes e tracks that we've talked about today in class". And then generally the field classes being three hours long, we wouldn't necessarily always be out for the full three

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190 hours, but we would come back to the class and rehash what we learned and utilize the f ield knowledge and then translate them into note form and more straightforward information. I think he did a good job of relating the two and it never felt like a field class was totally disjointed from our unit, we were not just going outside to go outsid e and take advantage of the time and do something else. It was always pretty grounded in the unit that we were studying, which was good. (Andrew, Student 211, 11 th grade, Case 2) This deductive process of learning a concept in a more formal setting and t hen going out in the field to look for examples or to test a theory was commonly described by students and seemed to empower them by making them feel like they were knowledgeable about what they were observing. The opposite, inductive tack of moving from observations to ideas was also reported by students as effective to help synthesize knowledge, as in this example: We went and dug snow pits and then we had to identify each storm that had happened like each layer of snow and then measure the temperatures We learned that and we went back to the class and the next day or something he gave us a worksheet that had the different layers of snow and then he told us what they were. So we learned we did it and then we learned what it was. (Ashley, Student 105, no grade levels, Case 1) All of the teachers described in their pre DIAL interviews intentional plans to create a blend of formal and informal lessons specifically intended to work together to

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191 help students learn the TSCs. They also all described wanting students to see how all of the information fit together into a bigger scheme. In Case 1 everything came back to adaptation, Case 2 was founded on the relationship between biotic and abiotic, Case 3 came back to habitat needs of cranes and humans and what happens when they clash, and Case 4 was similar, in understanding micro environments and their sensitivity to disturbance. In comparing teacher plans and student descriptions of their learning, much but not all of the synthesis that students described w hen talking about their PFnets seemed to happen as a result of the plans that teachers designed and enacted. Students reported that as they moved from one lesson or activity to another, teachers would often help them see how it all fit together either thr ough direct instruction, synthesis assignments, or reflection. Cases 1, 3 and 4 all used prompted written reflection to help students synthesize information. The teachers in Cases 2 and 3 explicitly outlined the big ideas for students as described here: I remember our first homework assignment, he just asked us to answer a question, what is energy? And just certain things to get us thinking about it ahead of time. And then in class he'll kind of ask a central question to what we're gonna be talking about at the beginning of the period maybe. Like maybe how something relates and usually we'll discuss it a little bit and then he'll have a PowerPoint to show us pictures and that sort of stuff. (Kelsey, Student 230, 11 th grade, Case 2)

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192 Peripheral Opportuniti es As indicated, peripheral learning opportunities were discussed in conjunction with students' learning of TSCs much less than were facilitated opportunities. Peripheral opportunities in isolation accounted for few accounts of direct content learning. R ather, peripheral learning opportunities accounted for a different class of learning built largely around the affective domain, and at times an abductive learning process where students began to form loose hypotheses based on their direct observations. Th ere was a strong supporting connection to academic learning as will be discussed in the following sections. Four forms of peripheral learning opportunities were supported with evidence from multiple students from each of the four cases: (P1) personal disc overies, (P2) discordant observations, (P3) affective connections, and (P4) other resources. P1 Personal Discoveries In some instances students did seem to learn TSC related content directly from peripheral opportunities. It is difficult to know if these instances were truly without any facilitation but a few students attributed some learning to ideas that they picked up entirely on their own. One student in particular described a number of such cases. An 11 th grade student on the Everglades trip, Jake d id not express any of these ideas during the course while I was observing, nor did I hear others instructing him or mentioning these ideas themselves. His impression that he discovered and internalized these ideas seems credible. In the following exchange Jake explains two interrelated ideas that he discovered. Jake: I didn't realize that the air plants relied so heavily on the mangroves. Because 90% of the air plants were on mangroves it seemed. Like going through

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193 the tunnel, the mangrove tunnel, there was a ton of them so that was kind of, the mangrove tunnel mainly was what made me really connect mangroves and air plants Tides and water flow I connected, I related those to mangroves because they were so a part of that because the mangroves it seemed, were mainly in zones that affected, that were affected by the tides. Mike: was that something you just noticed (responding to an earlier claim)? Jake: Yeah. It seems like once the water started getting brackish and there was I mean it started pretty early in the tunnels you could notice where the tide was going up and down. Mike: how could you tell? Jake: just by like the mud, you could see where the water used to be and had come down a little bit. You can't really tell that much at high tide but I think when you're going through it, the tunnels, that's the part where I really noticed that. (Student 401, 11 th grade, Case 4) Jake also described an experience of using an available resource to support an observation he made: There was one shell, I don't r emember what it was, but I saw it when I was tide pooling, or when we were tide pooling. I didn't really point it out but I looked at it, and later on after the swamp hike, we had some books and I saw the shell and that was kind of like a personal learning moment I guess. (Student 401, 11 th grade, Case 4)

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194 While Jake seemed to simply internalize this learning without applying or sharing it, Rebecca, a student from Case 1, explains somewhat the opposite. She described taking a lesson that she learned about her own relationship to the context of high altitude living and was able to apply that on the Pathfinder assessment more broadly, making connections to the TSC desiccation that she had not made before: I think it's like how the moisture gets sucked out of you right? And so I know that happens up here just being up here and (sigh) Mike: Just from your personal experience? Rebecca: Yeah, from my personal experience being up here and my hair and my lotion...gotta oil every day and so I just remember learning I'm pretty sure it just sucks the moisture out of you which I know has to do with elevation. (Student 106, no grade levels, Case 1) In a final example of students making conceptually related personal discoveries Shannon, a 9 th grade student in Case 3 desc ribes an idea that was not specifically important to the big idea but indicated skill in observation and possibly set the stage for future learning: Seeing their...like how the cranes fly and their wing rhythms. It was just their call sounded so much li ke a goose, but their wing beats were so different. Mike: Can you describe it? Shannon: Instead of being a straight flap, like up and down and even, they took their wings straight up and then lowered them slowly. (Student 302, 10 th grade, Case 3)

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195 The exam ples presented in this section were among a small set of such examples. Overall, there was little evidence to support that much direct, conceptual learning happened directly as a result of peripheral opportunities for most students. However, for one stud ent in each of the cases, this was a proportionally important avenue for learning. These students seemed more anxious to talk about this peripheral learning than that which was facilitated. For most of the other students the peripheral learning opportuni ties became important as supports that led to or enhanced the conceptual science learning. This is addressed in the remainder of this chapter. P2 Discordant Observations Another learning phenomenon that emerged and was, by definition, peripheral to the t eachers' facilitation occurred when students were confronted with the situation of having preconceived notions that were discordant with observations they were making. No such events in this study were described by students in ways that could be considere d paradigmatic shifts or major conceptual changes for students but they seem to have contributed to the students' understanding of some TSCs or created a reason for the students to become more interested. In the student descriptions that follow, all of th e information students report could have been simply told to them but based on their descriptions, discovering it on their own seemed important to their learning processes: Anna: On the first day we saw this alligator swimming and I never really thought ab out it but they only swim with their tail. That was kind of surprising to me. And even I don't know why that's so surprising to me but I definitely thought

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196 they're using their feet and that was something I discovered just from looking at them. (Student 202, 11 th grade, Case 4) Jake: We found that turtle on the swamp thing. I never realized when they go into their shell, just how secure they are in there. I kind of thought they, I mean if you really wanted it you could probably pull it out or something b ut that thing was in there and that was kind of a learning moment, it was just like whoa! (Student 401, 11 th grade, Case 4) Mei: I guess when I first imagined that kind of ecosystem, I couldn't picture, because the creeks they're just narrow and running a ll the time and the ocean is always that bluebird color, but like....like I would hate the color of black water running, 'cause I would think of coffee. But then I actually understood it was because the cypress turn the waters that color. And I guess it wa s just far from my expectations. This was just really different from what I thought. (Student 408, 12 th grade, Case 4) This last quote implies learning that is perhaps broader than the first two. Before the experience, Mei tried to imagine what a cypres s swamp would look like but had trouble reconciling her images of the ocean and mountain streams with this third potential that was repugnant to her. Once she saw the cypress swamp and came to terms with it, it was both more understandable and palatable. Had she maintained the schema of black

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197 water as repugnant it seems unlikely that she would have been as interested in exploring that ecosystem. P3 Affective Connections The most important role for peripheral learning opportunities across all cases was i n students developing affective connections to the curriculum, as determined by both related code frequencies and the manner in which students described their experiences. Some students described these connections as helping them become engaged in the cur riculum and for others, emotionally stirring events seemed to create memorable connections to examples of TSCs. Within their narratives of learning events they would often weave together their affective memories with the concepts they were learning. Mos t of the students involved in the study had a great deal of choice as to whether or not to participate in these DIAL experiences. However, in Case 1 some students enrolled simply because they needed a science credit and in Case 3, the students could choos e to attend the school or not but could not choose the class. Heather (Case 3) was a student for whom crane migration was not an interesting topic. Her evolution of attitude over the course of the brief DIAL experience that led to her becoming more inter ested in the subject can be attributed to peripheral, affective events: Heather: Actually seeing the cranes made me a lot more interested in them. So I mean that's...besides all the factual stuff, like what we learned here (home) and what we learned there (Nebraska), which are almost the same things. It really just related because it makes me want to learn more about them Mike: Why do you think that is? Why do you think it is that seeing the cranes changed that for you?

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198 Heather: 'Cause I've never liked bir ds and I just kind of stereotyped them into a bird. Instead of like a specific kind of species. And so, you know, whenever I'd go bird watching with my grandma, I'd always find it so boring and... So I thought it was gonna be a super boring trip and it w ould just be sitting there for hours watching cranes and I wouldn't have fun at all. But ...at first the noise that they make was annoying, but then it's kind of hypnotizing, or entrancing after a while and it's like, I don't know. It's almost close to m editation for me or something. It was cool. There was one moment. It was when we were in the blind, I think it was the first night. And I saw Eva and George standing really close together and he had his arm around her and they were looking out at the cran es and I just like...it was really cool, 'cause it just kind of... I don't know how to describe the feeling. Just made me feel really happy, because it just kind of made me realize that cranes are so much like humans. Mike: What do you mean? Heather: That like when they mate for life, it's just... it's so much more important than just having a bunch of different mates. So when you have one person you depend on them, it's a lot bigger of a deal. (Student 301, 10 th grade, Case 3) In all of the cases, studen ts witnessed awe inspiring natural events that seemed to become deeply seated in their memories. They were not, however, always well connected to the curriculum, and therefore did not come up in interviews in conjunction with learning the TSCs. Rather th ey would be described when I asked students about

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199 general memorable events. One such event I will describe from my field notes rather than student accounts for that reason. The Case 4 group had been canoeing since mid day through claustrophobic mangrove t unnels that would occasionally widen into areas the size of a small pond. It was dark and the group had not eaten nor had much of a break but we could not stop until we reached the only suitable place to camp. One could barely see the canoe in front of t hem and there was a real danger of taking a wrong turn, ending up separated from the group. Students were nervous, tired, hungry, cold, and generally down. From the middle of the group a student yelled and raised his hand in the air holding a glowing jel lyfish. Within a few minutes what were actually comb jellies began to luminesce all around us and we could see that we had made it out into a wide body of water. For at least an hour more every paddle stroke resulted in comb jellies lighting up. It was a truly amazing sight to behold and this was not lost on the students. They acted excited by the find and seemed reinvigorated for the trip. Surprisingly, neither the teacher nor the guide ever referred to it again or turned it into a teachable moment. They did not use the event to talk about pulse breeding, tidal influence on marine life, or any similar topic. It seemed like a surprising omission. Students mentioned the event throughout the rest of the trip but I never heard them refer to any associat ed science content. Events like this, with strong emotional content, seemed to become spatial and temporal markers that students used to index their experiences. While the comb jelly event was not used by students to provide a context for the learning th ey described in the interviews, there were many other events across all of the cases in which students did begin their recall of learning with descriptions of these emotionally moving events.

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200 As with Heather and the cranes, students were keyed into wildlif e encounters which were necessarily peripheral events. A bobcat walked up to the window where the students of Case 1 were working and numerous students reported seeing snowshoe hares in both of the winter courses. More than any other topic, students repo rted wildlife as prompting them to seek out more information about what they saw. Students in Case 3 reported emotional reactions to the noise and sight of 10,000 cranes. There were many wildlife encounters that students reported as stirring on the Case 4 Everglades trip. Being surrounded by dolphins, seeing rare birds, watching alligators face off for territory, seeing giant orb weaver spiders in their webs, and following an endangered 6' long prehistoric sawfish as it patrolled the length of a beach we re all described by students as memorable events for which they had a visceral reaction. Of course those visceral reactions were not always positive. In many cases the novelty of perceived threat from the environment, including cold, drowning, avalanche, spiders, alligators, pythons, or just a general sense of exposure were distracting elements of the periphery. When asked about these feelings of fear or nervousness, every student who brought it up also said that the fear was alleviated after some time in the environment. Anna described her transition while walking through waist deep water in a cypress swamp: When we started walking in the water, I was not like super scared but it was like freaking me out with all the woody stuff around my feet and I didn 't know what was going on. We had just talked about pythons and what they are, they are everywhere and we were like looking out for alligators I kind of knew I was safe

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201 but it still did not make me feel good. But in the end I liked it. Like I like when s tuff is not super comfortable to you. (Student 402, 11 th grade, Case 4) When students made this transition, it seemed to come with other important shifts. Many students described a sense of empowerment over perceived threats and their own emotions. In a few cases students described how the distracting affects of novelty were reduced once they became familiar with some aspect of the environment that at first felt threatening and how that familiarity allowed them to notice details about the environment th at they perceived inaccurately at first. This last point is illustrated by Teddy's account: There was one little moment when I was...when David and I were paddling...I don't know which day it was, second day. Third day maybe. I don't know. But we were pad dling and I looked off to my left and I saw something chasing stuff in the water. And it was like a fin and I thought it was a shark. My heart started pounding and I then I noticed it was a dolphin. (Student 407, 9 th grade, Case 4) Having observed this ev ent, I would add that it took place over several minutes and the boys were somewhat panicked and paddling very fast to catch up to the group before they realized it was a dolphin. With the panic dissipated, the boys noticed details of the dolphin's anatom y and behavior that they were previously closed to. I observed this pattern multiple times during my observation of Case 4 as the group or individuals at first reacted sensationally to alligators, spiders, swamps, etc. and then began to express curiosity and observe details about the elements that were previously seen as a threat.

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202 P4 Other Resources Though not prevalent, there were some reports of students using resources that provided information but that were not facilitated by their teachers. Examples included park signage, overhearing other park visitors talking, learning ski skills from other students, and even a poster on a bathroom wall. Overall, these were minor and infrequent events though present in all of the cases. Interactions Between Facilit ated and Peripheral Opportunities In the DIAL cases presented here the development of conceptual science knowledge was more associated with facilitated than with peripheral learning opportunities. However, peripheral opportunities were more associated wi th affective elements of student learning and with students building personalized relationships to the content knowledge. A synergistic effect seemed to present when the two types of opportunities were used together. In learning events in which students reported both types of opportunities together, their learning also tended to take on characteristics that were different than they were for either one alone. Four themes emerged across the cases. Students described (B1) a sense of completing a picture whi ch at times led to a much deeper understanding of the TSC by filling in a missing but critical piece. There were often (B2) critical events that led to a deeper understanding of a concept. The (B3) application of knowledge in an undirected, personally re levant way was also cited as an important learning process outcome for many students. Finally, some students described situations where they were able to consider information gained through facilitation in conjunction with peripheral observations to (B4) extend their conceptual understanding beyond the intended curriculum.

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203 B1 Completing the Picture Students often described an interaction between facilitated learning opportunities and their own peripheral observations that they were making in the field. This typically involved a process of taking a framework of abstract ideas learned through instruction and filling in visual or conceptual cues learned through concrete experience. Jared of Case 3 did an excellent job of describing this phenomenon: It (a detailed lecture by the teacher) was before the trip and it was just pure facts. And that was really cool and then kind of the duality of that was kind of the first night we were on the trip, we were in the blind and we were watching the cranes and the su n was kind of setting and all those facts that Jennifer had told us were starting to just like come together and make sense. And then I was able to visualize, put a face to all of those facts that she gave us. So that was kind of cool. So the lesson I don't think the lesson would have been important if I hadn't ended up seeing that. And I don't think the blind experience would have been quite as helpful if I hadn't learned all that. So those kind of come together and I think learning and then visualiz ing was good. (Student 305, 9 th grade, Case 3) As described previously, both inductive and deductive processes were at work. For some students the peripheral would precede the facilitated and this would still lead to significant learning. Rather than an idea being supplied with an illustration, an illustration of a concept was given an explanation. Anna also described such a process

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204 when discussing how she came to understand the relationship between tides and pneumatophores, a specialized root system found on mangrove trees: T he first time it actually came up was when we went through those mangrove tunnels and that was just like the tunnel was impressive but I didn't really know what was going on. And then the first time I actually understood that t hey were actually living from the saltwater and that they use it was at the chickee thing (an elevated camping platform). And I think we woke up the next morning and looked at all the roots and Kevin explained that to us. ( Student 402, 11 th grade, Case 4) Following that series of events, Anna continued to notice and be amazed by the mangrove islands growing in the salt water. Because she had noticed the pneumatophores peripherally, Kevin's explanation made sense to her. She had a picture that was comple ted by the explanation. For other students and/or other ideas, the picture seemed to be filled in gradually as more information or visual evidence was acquired. Students described noticing multiple examples, subtleties amongst examples, and counterexampl es to build deeper understanding of a concept, as Jake describes: I think I learned little by little about the niche, like I was talking about before, like how I kind of knew basically what it was but as we kind of went along and saw different animals and plants in their habitat I kind of realized what makes it, what puts it into its niche more. (Student 401, 11 th grade, Case 4)

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205 It was clear from student explanations of their learning processes that seeing an actual event, object, animal, etc., was more p owerful than seeing a recorded image and it was more likely to help them develop a more complete conceptual understanding. This was a common idea, though when pressed, most students had difficulty articulating why that was an important difference. Student attempts to describe this are highlighted in the following quotes: Kelsey: I think it's really cool when we get to go outside and stuff like that, because we learn about it in the classroom and we see pictures on the PowerPoint which is really nice and yo u know what the information is and then going out and actually getting to see what it looks like is kind of a cool thing to be able to say, "oh well that's what that actually is." So it's kind of a really good balance between being able to learn outside an d see what it is and getting to learn the information in the classroom. (Student 230, 11 th grade, Case 2) Vern: You can only do so much in a classroom and talk about something of that sort, and leave the rest up to imagination. But going out and seeing wh at it would look like, it kind of implants a memory into your head a lot easier. (Student 107, no grade levels, Case 1) Robert: So we sort of learned the theoretical aspect of it in class "and this happened because of this", "how the sun affects the snow ". Then by going outside and really experiencing it, it just proved to all of us that this really does happen and here's the proof right in front of us. I guess just those two together it really

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206 makes an effective learning style for me I guess. (Student 2 15, 11 th grade, Case 2) Jared: If you're writing an essay or if you're trying to describe it, it's definitely going to be a lot easier. It's going to come to you a lot more naturally after having seen it rather than having heard about itIt would be a lot more difficult to explain it because I heard it from an outside source but it's much easier to explain it coming from the source. (Student 305, 10 th grade, Case 3) From these and other accounts, it seems that the difference between words or pictures and personally seeing a phenomenon is not entirely a function of the type or details of the information but the perspective that comes along with it. To consider crane behavior, for example, a video would do a better job of highlighting specific behavior s and seeing them up close but all of the students in the Case 3 reported that actually seeing the cranes was more important for their learning than seeing the more detailed videos. They seemed to trust their own observations and had a sense of ownership of their own personal observations that made their peripheral observations more powerful than provided images, videos, or other evidence. Despite this apparent trust in personal, peripheral observation, students did not seem to use their observations in opposition to the more abstract information they were receiving, as is often the case with "folk knowledge." Rather, they seemed comfortable fitting their observations into the conceptual frameworks they learned from teachers or fitting explanations into their observations. It is possible that the concepts were

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207 straightforward enough to mitigate that potential clash but a number of the topics, including tides and thermal conductivity, are notorious for the common misconceptions associated with them. B2 Keystone Events Some interactions between facilitated and peripheral learning opportunities led to more than simply filling in details of a concept for students. The combination would lead to a conceptual breakthrough for a student. A barrier to under standing would be lifted or a much deeper level of understanding would be developed. I labeled these occurrences keystone events as one event would complete and hold together a concept much like a keystone in a stone arch holds everything else in place. In most of these instances, a peripheral event would provide that one last piece of information or perspective that allowed the student to fully understand a facilitated concept. Mei described how one such keystone event helped her better understand the c omplexities of one natural system: I read my research, I realized tides are related to pneumatophores, but not until when Kevin explained this and really pointed that out for us. That visual really helped me to remember it. But the day when we were at the Pavilion Keys, we had the day off, I was laying right next to that red mangrove...actually a white mangrove I was writing in my journal and I was watching the tide, the high tides just coming in on my right and I saw the high tides like slowly covered the pneumatophores. I think that was the moment of like, yeah, this is how it works. It just all makes sense suddenly. (Student 408, 12 th grade, Case 4)

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208 In Mei's case, the timing and sequence of the facilitated opportunities worked well with her chance encou nter and visual cue. As she described it, the facilitated learning opportunities provided the critical information to understand the phenomenon but the peripheral experience of seeing it in context provided the piece that allowed her to truly understand t he concept and the relationship between the concepts. For Robert and situations similar to the one he describes below, the peripheral opportunity was more embodied. Again the facilitated opportunity provided most of the information but physically experie ncing the concept helped him put everything together: For example he (teacher) was talking about how the days change with how the earth rotates in the winter time and how that affects the temperature and I guess it just really... I guess, we were outside a nd it was sort of a cold day and because we were experiencing a lot of those same conditions that he was talking about, it just made that connection in my mind that oh, this is what he's talking about, and sort of just really assisted me. 'Cause I guess I would have understood it if we hadn't been outside, but definitely not as well, and it definitely helped me remember and fully understand it. (Student 215, 11 th grade, Case 2) As in the previous two examples, in all of the students' references to keyston e events, context was a critical ingredient along with the content knowledge and the personalized perspective. For Mei it was not just a simple visual and the declarative information she had received that led to the keystone event, it was the full experie nce of having all of those pieces come together and seeing how all of the details fit together. Similarly for Robert, he had surely had other experiences of being cold before but the

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209 contextualization of the lesson through the experience of being cold as a result of the concept being taught helped him solidify his understanding. The students did not imply that they could not understand the abstract ideas. Instead, they indicated that the concrete experience helped them develop a deeper understanding that allowed them to then better comprehend the abstract idea, and see how it manifested in actual contexts. B3 Personal Application of Facilitated Learning The application of facilitated knowledge was another way in which peripheral experience added to a mo re complete understanding of concepts. In all of the examples of application of knowledge within these cases, the application was also described as physically embodied and there were indications that the students felt they were personally relevant. As di scussed earlier, students in Case 4 became acutely aware of the tides and their influence on how hard their paddling would be. At the beginning of the DIAL experience the students paddled with or against the tides without understanding what was behind the m but as they learned more those embodied experiences seemed to become reminders of the lessons and the lessons informed the way in which they interacted with the tides: When we first started I kind of knew about the tides but I didn't really pay that much attention to it and then when we were on the island (formal lesson on tides) I understood it and then when we were on the last day, when we were paddling to Chockoloskee it was really like applied to the situation so I think that went step by step right t here. Jake (Student 401), 11 th grade, Case 4

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210 Similarly, the students in Case 2 were able to apply their facilitated learning about snowpack and crystal formation to peripheral situations when they were traveling on skis, reportedly strengthening their und erstanding, as Nick describes: We would go out skiing in the mornings and we would have class often in the afternoons. We'd talk about avalanche danger and how that will impact us on expedition. We talked about why the snow felt a certain way on our skis, for instance, especially 'cause we had so much snowfall this week. With all the powder we would be able to see the difference between skiing on the packed down groomed surfaces, which is kinda promoted, destructive metamorphism, as opposed to the fresh sno wfall which is kind of a week layer in the snow pack. (Nick, Student 201, 11 th grade, Case 2) In both of the winter courses, students discussed how their own experiences of trying to stay warm and move on snow helped them to understand how organisms' ada ptations were useful for the winter environment and how they could take lessons from those adaptations to better their own experiences. This also may have led to some misconceptions by misapplying the metaphor, as will be discussed at the end of this chap ter. The immersion aspect of these DIAL experiences seemed to be particularly important as it provided opportunities for facilitated and peripheral learning opportunities to work together. The application of lessons learned reportedly happened for stude nts at various times, not just when they were participating in facilitated activities. Rachel and Amy from Case 2 explained how this immersion element worked for each of them:

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211 Rachel: I definitely started thinking about the concepts that we learned in cla ss a lot outside of class. Just living here I guess, I'm not used to this climate and this environment. I think it's really cool, but we learned a lot about taking care of yourself here properly and so I think it really registered learning about thermocond uctivity and then thinking about the layers that I had on. We had ski week and I had to think a lot about if I was going to wear cotton then I would get wet and if it was a cloudy day how I should protect myself that way. I think what I learned in class, a lot applied to what I was doing every single day here. (Student 204, 11 th grade, Case 2) Amy: It's not like we're learning about something that's really distant from us, it's just right outside. And I felt like we would reference a lot of times to lab in class, and so you could picture in your mind what you saw and sort of use that to help think about new concepts or stuff like that. (Student 240, 11 th grade, Case 2) As with keystone events, the personal connection to the material seemed to attach rel evance to the learning as the previous two examples indicated. It was not simply a matter of using the knowledge, it was important because the information was useful and relevant. Students described need to know information such as reducing thermal conduc tivity at 10,000 feet in the middle of winter as having a direct impact on their immediate life. It was relevant because it had direct personal ramifications. In this way students described an appreciation of facilitated science concepts when they could apply

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212 them to directly influence the quality of their own experience within the context in which they were living and learning. B4 Extension of Learning A final theme that emerged from the analysis of the interaction between facilitated and peripheral lear ning opportunities was that the combination led to students extending their learning beyond the intended curriculum. Armed with facilitated knowledge, students described using it to reinterpret their environments on their own, developing hypotheses, quest ions and conclusions. In one of the more interesting examples, Nick from Case 2 used his peripheral observations along with facilitated learning and came up with a conclusion that has been a hot topic within ecologist circles in recent years, unbeknownst to him: I thought it was interesting to see when we went out on our tracking lab, the way that animals did interact with manmade elements. There's snowmobile trails and nordic skiing trails just out there and there would be birds that walked across the gro omed trail. There was a snowshoe hare that had gone on the snowmobile trail. I thought it was interesting that an animal might make use of human elements. We talked a lot in the field about leave no trace, backcountry ethics and why if you leave your scrap s from dinner out on a rock and an animal eats it, it reduces the animals' ability to survive on its own. It was interesting to think of how a snowshoe hare might use a snowmobile trail and how because we have given it this trail to work with, it's not hav ing to jump through deep snow and it's saving itself energy. For me, that clicked back to the leave no trace thing. How we're impacting the ecological community, just by having a Nordic trail or having a

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213 snowmobile trail, because these animals will use it. (Student 201, 11 th grade, Case 2) When I asked during the interview Nick did not realize that his thought process was paralleling those of experts in the field, it was simply an interesting observation to him, and one that he continued to inform with la ter observations. His interest and observations combined with the facilitated learning opportunities of the class allowed him to extend his knowledge to a higher level. It seems unlikely that this same scenario would have played out without either the pe ripheral or the facilitated learning opportunities that were available. In the previously discussed example of learning about the tides in Case 4, the students used a variety of peripheral and facilitated means to come to a complete understanding. One stu dent sought to go further after independently observing how drastic the tidal change was where we were staying and where perhaps 400 meters of ocean floor were bare at low tide: After Paul's demonstration in the evening...or he gave his demonstration in th e morning, but in the evening I realized that I'd only seen the...like the tide went in and out pretty drastically, where we were staying. And the only other ocean or beach I'd really been at was at a sea, and so I was wondering if maybe I just hadn't spen t that much time there. I kind of thought maybe a smaller body of water has less of a visible tide than a big body of water. I asked Paul about that and he kind of confirmed that. (Austin, Student 405, 11 th grade, Case 4)

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214 Again, Austin's learning sequence began with a facilitated lesson, was pursued further based on a peripheral observation and moved further still with a student initiated facilitated conversation with the teacher. In this case it also seems unlikely that Austin's realization would have ha ppened without both the facilitated and peripheral opportunities. When students were given choice in the assignments they were given or the research they needed to conduct, they often described how their choices were driven by peripheral events that had pi qued their interest. In this way, they informed a facilitated aspect of the class based on their peripheral experiences and extended their understanding of a concept beyond the level facilitated by the teacher. In the following exchange Ashley from Case 1 explains her choice in such a project: Ashley: we saw a bobcat while we were in class the other day. It was really cool. Mike: You were sitting in the building and you saw it? Ashley: Yeah, you know where the (classroom building) is? Well we were sitting in the door that's facing west and the windows and we saw the bobcat like walk by. And it wasn't even scared of us. It was cool Everybody was all excited. They were like "oh my god, it's a bobcat!" Only half of us saw it so it was cool. I was like "yeah I saw a bobcat." Then I decided to do bobcats (for an assignment) because we had to pick from like an elk, a bobcat and a bunch of different animals and I was like oh we saw a bobcat so I'll pick that. (Ashley, Student 105, no grade levels, Case 1)

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215 En vironmental Components In the previous sections evidence of student learning was presented as framed by the roles of facilitated and peripheral learning opportunities. The contributions of the environmental components outlined in the DIAL conceptual frame work (Appendix B) were evident in much of the data presented, though it was not highlighted. One could rescan those passages and note the influences of social interactions, the physical environment, tools, and individual/affective factors in each pattern of learning opportunities. For example, there is a strong relationship between the facilitated opportunities and social interactions, between peripheral opportunities and the affective component, and between the combination of peripheral and facilitated o pportunities with the physical environment. However these are not exclusive relationships. In the following sections evidence is presented that illustrates the role of each of the environmental components from the DIAL framework on student learning. Th e patterns that are presented in this section are the themes that emerged in multiple student interviews across all of the cases through the process of pattern matching logic (Yin, 2009) during cross case analysis. The emergent patterns were considered aga inst the theory presented in the conceptual framework (Appendix B). Because the data did not fit the conceptual framework perfectly, they are presented here with some small changes to the organization to reflect the evidence that supports the conceptual fr amework as well as the evidence that does not. Evidence describing the roles of (E1) social interactions, and the (E2) physical environment are first presented. Very little evidence suggested a role for non academic tools in these four cases and therefo re the role of (E3) tools is presented as one category. The role of culture was also very difficult to detect or disentangle from

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216 the social component with the methods used. As such, the few detected cultural elements are presented in conjunction with th e social elements. Similarly, the emotional surround was difficult to detect. However, there were strong individual emotional connections that came up and these were associated with a much more complex set of (E4) individual learning factors and processe s than what was proposed in the conceptual framework. Supporting data are presented in sections on the general (E5) emotional component following the discussion on individual learning factors. E1 Social interactions Based on both the frequency that studen ts mentioned the social component of the learning environment in conjunction with their learning and the directness with which they made connections between learning and social aspects, the social component of the environment was the most prominently repr esented contributor to student learning for most of the students in these DIAL cases. For the purposes of this study there was no distinction made between formal and informal social interactions, though all of the interactions that were coded and that are described here contributed in some way to the learning of the TSCs. Even when other factors were involved, students often referred to a social interaction that added to their learning process. Figure 5.1 shows code frequencies of the most common social code references applied to the collected data. These were descriptive codes that were applied to the transcripts prior to the delineation of the "concept unit" unit of analysis and thus reflect all references that students made within each of the social c omponent categories across all four cases. The distribution of code frequencies in this case accurately reflects the relative importance of each of the codes. These codes were later aggregated into broader pattern groups that are discussed below:

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217 (E1.1) te acher student interactions, (E1.2) group interactions, (E1.3) peer to peer interactions, and (E1.4) cultural interactions. E1.1Teacher Student Interactions The codes "teacher said" and "we talked about" were prevalent across the cases and usually i ndicated a direct, top down transmission of information from teacher to student. Even though students' sentences would literally begin with the phrase "we talked about" they would then indicate that the situation was actually more teacher centered than i t was balanced discussion. As many of the quotes within the facilitated !"#$%&'G) @ ;,,2$"B9"%/7,)>, 4"1/$(0+('", /)4",$">"$"%/"1,-(+6(%,+6",1)/(#3, (%+"$#/+()%1,/)4",8$)90 =">)$",+$#%1/$(0+1,-"$",4('(4"4,(%+),9%(+1,)>,#%#371(1,>)$, (%>"$"%+(#3,/)4(%8;,,W%/394"1,#33,K,/#1"1;

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218 learning opportunities section show, the students relied very heavily on these traditional teacher student interactions as they learned the TSCs. This was true regardless of where th e learning took place. There does seem to be the sense from students that these types of interactions with their teachers were an agreed upon exchange of information rather than a mandate to receive information. They spoke of receiving information from t heir teachers as a natural course of action and none of the students described lectures as a burden Vern described the interplay that he perceived between the teachers' and students' roles in these interactions: "there's a lot of effort put in by Jacob to introduce that kind of stuff, but to me it felt like, if you weren't interested in it, like with anything else, you wouldn't be able to pay attention" (Student 107, no grade levels, Case 1). That is, he seemed to see the teacher as having the specific role of delivering information but that students were only capable of learning that information if they had some interest in it. This was a uniquely expressed viewpoint amongst the cases though almost all of the students spoke of receiving information ve rbally from the teacher and ascribed some of their learning to this pathway. As was also previously described (section F1), the teachers played an important role in helping the students to notice and interpret their environments through guided observatio n. In the two cases in this study where local experts were brought in, the roles those experts took on, as described by students and teachers, were more aligned with teaching as an expert rather than working as an expert and so these codes can be added to an understanding of how teacher student relationships informed the learning process. In some cases described by the students these teacher student interactions were used to facilitate formative assessment, such as when teachers would quiz students in the

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2 19 field on identifying organisms or processes and then fill in the gaps in the students' understanding. Students reported these interactions to be good learning experiences as well. A student from Case 3 described his experience with them during his DIAL experience: I think that it was just like implanted in our heads in the classroom and then when we actually got into the field, we would talk about them (the TSCs) and then we would know what we were talking about. We were just put in that situation of "w hat is this tree and tell me how you know", you know. "Look at the bark, look at the needles, how many packets I mean how many needles are in each packet?", you know. "Tell me about the berries, tell me about the cones", all that kind of stuff, you know. And once we figured out what kind of tree it was, I mean of course there was just a bunch of questions running through your mind like, "oh I wonder what the adaptations are for?" (Jason, Student 103, no grade levels, Case 1). Not all social interactions d escribed by the students involved the direct transmission of information, nor verbal exchanges at all. Students also described the teachers modeling learning and actions for the students. Although this passage is focused on paddling technique rather than learning science, Teddy describes an alternative way that he learned from the teacher and guide: "I learned by listening to them and watching them probably. By watching Kevin and Paul paddle, made my paddling better" (Student 407, 9 th grade, Case 4). As described above (section F6) students noticed how teachers modeled the practice of inquiring into the environment they were exploring together and how they conversed with other experts when they were available.

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220 The roles of the teachers during these DIAL experiences was described by students as being quite different than one might experience with a classroom teacher, even these same teachers when they were in the capacity of classroom teachers. Teachers were often described as either "parental" or "more h uman" than normal. In an impromptu conversation during the Everglades trip Mei (12 th grade) and Anna (11 th grade) described to me how they liked that during these DIAL experiences the teachers still acted like teachers at times but other times they joked around and were less intense. Teachers in all of the cases were described by students as being very approachable and easy to relate to though students other than Mei and Anna did not specify whether these traits were qualities that they always noticed in these teachers or if the qualities were somehow enhanced during DIAL experiences. E1.2 Group Interactions Based on the frequency and quality of student descriptions of their learning processes, group level interactions were much less important than the teacher student interactions but they did register as contributing to learning. It was difficult to compare small group and large group interactions because three of the four classes were small groups already. Some students described valuing the perspect ives and insights of other students, though when asked directly, very few of the students could cite any cases of learning from other students. It is possible that students may not have recognized the degree to which group learning was happening. One stu dent described her perspective of the interactions in a typical classroom session from her course: "in class when we're discussing, people ask a lot of really good questions. So it's not so much learning new stuff that they bring in, but just learning fro m the questions they ask and then Ryan

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221 answering the questions or even other students attempting to answer the questions" (Kelsey, Student 230, 11 th grade, Case 2). Perhaps the greatest disconnect between the interview data and the data that I collected in the field with Case 4 involved the role of the group in influencing the learning of individual students. As in the other cases, students in the Everglades class did not attribute much of their learning to group or peer related interactions but in my fiel d notes I recorded many instances of this type of social learning. Teddy (Student 407, 9 th grade), for example, became enamored with roseate spoonbills, a rare and charismatic bird with a pinkish hue and a large spoon shaped bill that they use to filter fo od out of the mud. Teddy is an avid hunter and though the spoonbills are not a game species, he was able to notice them and most other wildlife before anyone else. The few times we did see them he would point them out, ask questions about them, and get t he other students involved. At one point the canoes were lashed together to form two catamarans. When Teddy's group passed some feeding spoonbills they excitedly pointed out and discussed how the birds were using their bills and other behavioral characte ristics. The other group noticed the birds but then quickly returned to a social conversation. Later, in the interviews, all of Teddy's group indicated being interested in the birds while none in the other group did. It seemed as though Teddy served as a catalyst for their interest but they did not recognize his role in it. There were a few other cases where I noted significant peer influenced, group learning during my field observations that were not described as such during student interviews either du ring or following the DIAL experience. It is unclear if this disconnect was isolated to Case 4 or if students across the cases did not recognize peer/group influence on their learning.

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222 There were a few other situations in which students described group pr oblem solving or interpretation as being beneficial to their learning, particularly when they were working in small groups without an instructor present. Kelly described an exchange resulting from an animal tracking activity they did: "we'd be outside an d we'd see footprints and I'd say oh it's a cougar' and then we'd get into this heated discussion about it and then it turned out it was the snowshoe hare we saw minutes ago. It was the same prints because a snowshoe hare has really big feet" (Student 106 no grade levels, Case 1). It was the group exchange that helped her detect and correct her originally erroneous interpretation of the tracks she was seeing. In a very similar encounter in Case 2, Mitch also described being corrected on identificati on of a track but through another student using a field guide as evidence. In each of the Cases 1,2, and 4, students described this type of group problem solving to interpret their surroundings, usually as a facilitated activity but at times it happened i n passing. It did not come up in Case 3 but students in that case also did not discuss any individual problem solving. During my field observations I noticed many examples of brief exchanges between small groups of students as they worked together to ide ntify what they were seeing. Dante (Student 406, 9 th grade) was particularly adept at learning to identify an organism from a single interaction with the local expert and then sharing the information later in a small group. In one notable instance he demo nstrated to a small group how the large snail he was holding was a channeled apple snail (invasive) rather than the native apple snail. This was a peripheral event. I do not have any data indicating that students ever took that to a higher conceptual leve l beyond identification of

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223 organisms or behaviors though all of the students in Case 4 accurately discussed invasive species as they talked about their PFnets in the interviews. E1.3 Peer to Peer Interactions As with Teddy's roseate spoonbills, individ ual students would take an interest in a particular idea or individualized assignments would lead them there. All of the students on the Everglades trip, for example, were assigned a research topic that they were expected to present at some point in the t rip. They each spent an hour or less before the trip preparing for it and so most were lackluster. A few were higher quality and other students cited these talks as being informative. In particular, Thomas (Student 403, 11 th grade) presented on the natu ral history of epiphytes (air plants) and a few students cited that presentation or follow up conversations with Thomas as the chief way in which they learned about those plants, despite the topic being heavily discussed throughout the trip. It is unclea r and difficult to detect if or to what degree students were motivated by their peers. It is probably difficult to detect even within oneself. It is worth reporting one interview segment in which Daniel candidly explains the role of his peers in his own motivation: Daniel: I felt like in the tree part we went really quick and I wasn't able to learn a lot of it. When we did our first assessment, some of the other guys knew everything, and I was like "how the hell do they know this". And I just found th ey just became really interested in it and I started asking them, I was like "what do you like about the tree adaptions (sic)?" and they would start telling me all this cool stuff and I was like "that does sound pretty cool" and that's when I started getti ng more interested. Just following the crowd I guess.

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224 Mike: And were those interactions happening in class, or in the field or outside of class? Daniel: In class, out of class, talking while we're hiking, just everywhere. Always trying to talk to people ab out why they think the class is fun. (Student 102, no grade levels, Case 1) Again, there were a few cited instances of students seeking out help from other students, particularly for skills such as skiing and clarification on assignments, but it was not commonly discussed in the interviews. As with the group interactions, it seems likely that there were more peer to peer supports than the students realized. E 1.4 Cultural Interactions As discussed in Chapter One, the cultural component of the conceptual framework does not try to capture culture writ large. The component is intended to account for cultural elements of the environment that are novel for the students and related to the target concepts, as might be experienced while students worked on a pro ject with practicing scientists or while immersed in another culture. This component rarely came up directly in the student interviews or it was not made clear through the analyses I conducted. It could be argued, and situative learning theories would su ggest that cultural elements were operating in the background, determining such things as the student teacher relations and the relationship between students and the origins of knowledge but these background levels of influence were beyond the scope of the study. There may have been some manifestations of learning that could be considered cultural in the field observations I made but their influence seemed minimal based on my

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225 observations and their absence from the interviews. Kevin, the guide/local expert seemed to approach the Everglades from a natural history perspective in which there were human and non human members who all had identities and life stories. The instruction that I observed him providing was typically providing oral mini lessons and sto ries to the students when some environmental cue such as a particular place or species presented itself. During a mid trip interview with Kevin he presented his viewpoint of the environment as containing stories that could influence the student's trip thr ough it. He did not seem to see the environment as providing examples of broader ecological concepts as Paul, the teacher, did. For example, when teaching about tides, Kevin focused heavily on what that meant for paddling, travel, and camping while Paul focused on using those observations to understand the big picture of tidal fluctuations. Students associated both perspectives with important learning of relationship between tides and other TSCs. E2 Physical Environment Second to social contributions, th e physical environment seemed to be the most heavily cited and valued source of learning for the students. Figure 5.2 shows the frequency of descriptive code references assigned to the data in this study. These codes were used in the preliminary coding p rocess and were later organized into three thematic categories describing how these elements contributed to student learning: (E2.1) providing evidence of concepts, (E2.2) embodied experiences, and (E2.3) geographic cues.

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226 E2.1 Visual Evidence of Conc epts Across all of the cases the physical environment was described by students as an important contributor to their learning. In the majority of described instances, the environment provided evidence of concepts that students learned in lectures, reading s or through otherwise formal means as was described above in the "completing the picture" (B1) section. Whether facilitated or peripheral, there were a number of ways that the physical environment was seen by students to provide evidence of the TSCs. Fi rst, students discussed seeing direct examples of the TSCs, giving them a personalized visual image to attach to the concept, as in this example: !"#$%&'G) ;,, 2$"B9"%/7,)>, 4"1/$(0+('", /)4",$">"$"%/"1,-(+6(%,+6", 5671(/#3, F% '($ )% *"%+,/)4",8$)90 =">)$",+$#%1/$(0+1,-"$",4('(4"4,(%+),9%(+1,)>,#%#371(1,>)$, (%>"$"%+(#3,/)4(%8;,,W%/394"1,#33,K,/#1"1;

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227 What gave me that connection was seeing it (an air plant) attached to those plants in person and seeing its connection to the environment, like seeing the strap fern or the vanilla orchid, those that were attached to the actual trees themselves rather than just having this concept. I can actually relate them by seeing them together" (Thomas, Student 403, 11 th gr ade, Case 4) In Case 4 students described having difficulty with visualizing the role of human impact on the Everglades but when Jake did find some evidence, it stuck with him: "The logging that we saw when we did the swamp hike, like we saw the stumps whe re there had been logging like a long time ago" (probably 70 years, Student 401, 11 th grade). When I asked Jake in his interview about human impact, one of the TSCs for his course, that was the image that first came to mind for him. Other students in Cas e 4 recounted different images that reminded them of the human impact TSC and allowed them to begin their discussions of how human impact was related to other TSCs. Related to the same TSC of human impact Jake also made connections to niche and invasive s pecies but not immediately. It took a series of observations throughout the ecosystem: Jake: We are introducing invasive species and making some species go extinct so it's really connected. Niche and invasive species I connected because invasive species are kind of taking over niches and driving other organisms out of their specific niche. Mike: Was there any one moment where either you or something you learned connected all of those things to niche? Jake: I think it happened or it happens throughout the trip. Really like before, I never really had known all of how these things have their own niche and how they

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228 kind of affected everything and have their own place in it. I think it happened a little by little during the trip I think I just understood it more and more because I think when I did niche in school it was kind of a basic understanding of it. (Student 401, 11 th grade, Case 4) Not only did Jake find evidence to build a deeper understanding of a concept from this course but the visual evidence h e accumulated allowed him to extend his learning from a previous class. He held what sounds like a declarative understanding of the concept that became a much more nuanced, schematic understanding of niche. As he describes it, this change was largely due to the accumulation of visual evidence across the duration of the course. The process of looking for visual evidence also seemed to foster the development of procedural knowledge of how to make detailed observations, a requisite skill in science (N. R. C. NRC, 2012) When students were guided through observations they began to do so on their own as well. This was a common theme in my field notes of Case 4 and is described by Joseph here: (I learned) how to pay more attention to my surroundings I guess. L ike the colors, texture, the leaves, the pines, the cones, the animals, the season, everything. And just realize what they go through. What the animals and plants go through because they are all living organisms. Just learning that was amazing. Just being more aware of your surroundings. (Student 108, no grade levels, Case 1)

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229 In Joseph's case the procedural knowledge of observation also supported his understanding of adaptations, one of the TSCs for the course, as he begins to describe in the above passag e. In all of the classes observation was an instructed and assessed skill according to the teacher interviews. Even when information was first presented through traditional means, students described relying more heavily on their own observations, suggest ing they were in some way more powerful or complete than transmitted information. In the following dialog, the student describes his assumption of how what was presented in the classroom was somehow wrong or incomplete and how he was surprised to find tha t was not the case when he was able to make his own observations in the actual context. His observations confirmed what was taught in the classroom: Mitch: I guess the idea of when snow crystals facet they're actual small pyramids and I thought it was mor e of an abstract idea where it's not really like that but when we looked at the snow layers we had some really huge clear facets and it was actually really amazing to see. Mike: Why was that amazing or surprising to you? Mitch: In class when we talked abou t it, it was drawn on the board. I guess I didn't really.... I thought they were more solid and instead when we looked at them they were hollow in the middle, which was kind of a cool thing... Like a little cup. Mike: And you could see that with a magnifyi ng glass? Mitch: Yeah, the snow crystals we got were huge. (Student 207, 11 th grade, Case 2)

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230 Natural processes, which often need to be abstracted to be taught in the classroom were instead observed directly by students during these DIAL experiences an d they reported that the observations supported their understanding of the related concepts. In this way students could pick out complexities within those processes lost through abstraction and also see realistic versions that are not overly dramatized as they might be in a video, for example. Students could see the dramatic plunge of an osprey as it caught a fish but also saw the more realistic events in which the bird missed a few times before finally succeeding. Prior to the Nebraska trip Jared had c ompleted a research project on bird flight and he described having a good sense of the science behind it but he also described how seeing the actual process helped him understand the concpet much better: When I originally read about Bernoulli's principle i t made sense to me, like I got the theory down, but I didn't really picture it in my head. I got how it worked, but then seeing it, I was able to visualize how it would work. 'Cause their wings are curved like this. You know, air has to move faster over th e top to meet up with the air on the bottom. So... it made...it brought it together. Like I had thoughts and then I could put an image to those thoughts. A more defined image...refined image. (Student 305, 9 th grade, Case 3) When snow science is taught, d ramatic examples of avalanches are often used but the reality is typically subtler. In the next quote a student from Case 2 describes a process related to snow metamorphism, one of the TSCs, that he observed while in the field. To describe the phenomenon to a class would not be very riveting but for this

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231 student, seeing this fairly subtle process and knowing what had caused it was an exciting moment: Mitch: We've talked about snow compacting, where all of a sudden the surface of the snow will compact We actually saw that happen when we were walking five minutes that way, and it was really cool to see. Mike: What did that look like? Mitch: It's like, if this is the snow right, it's like a jagged line of snow, it just goes. A certain section of it just goe s down. Mike: So like settles lower than the surrounding area? Mitch: Yeah. Only like a half inch but it's still really cool to see. (Student 207, 11 th grade, Case 3) It seems unlikely that Mitch would have noticed the event if he had not had the knowledg e of snow compacting and as he describes it, he may not have had the appreciation for the information without also seeing an example of it in context. Students also described being in the field and interpreting evidence of former processes to extrapolate back again helping them to better understand the TSCs. In Cases 1 and 3 many students talked about animal tracking activities helping them to understand the lives and adaptations of the animals. This use of evidence was common in both facilitated and peripheral opportunities to learn. A final way that environmental evidence seemed to contribute to learning was through the illustration of relationships. Some of these described relationships were simple such as air plants growing on trees, or birds ga thering around alligator wallows. Students also described more complex relationships that they detected, suggesting the

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232 importance of being able to experience and see how an idea fit into a much bigger scheme. In all of the cases students implied how tha t helped them to develop an ecosystem level understanding, though they also tended to struggle articulating this idea: "I guess you could kind of just ...it was more... you kinda see the scale of everything, how many birds there actually were and you could hear it a lot better" (Meghan, Student 304, 9 th grade, Case 3) and "I guess the thing is when we were in the blind, there were literally thousands of birds flying in all around us. It gave me actual, sort of, real world context about what this was and wh y it's so important" (Nate, Student 309, 9 th grade, Case 3). E2.2 Embodied Experience In three of these four DIAL experiences, students described learning some concepts in an embodied way. Moving far beyond simple kinesthetic learning in which some physic al movement is incorporated into a lesson, students fully and physically experienced tidal changes by paddling against them, experienced behaviors and materials that allow organisms to resist the cold and desiccation of winter, and other topics. The stude nts in Case 3, the crane migration class, did not report any embodied experiences. The most heavily cited example of a concept that students physically experienced, reported in Cases 1and 2, was thermal conductivity and the resistance to cold. This phys ical embodiment of the concept occurred in both facilitated and peripheral situations, as in this report in which the student describes how different materials affect thermal conductivuty: So talking about thermal conductivity we... I've been sitting in sn ow with just basically a base layer and then snow pants on and then also with fleece pants and snow pants, and there's a huge difference. And then also the sit pads that we had,

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233 which are basically 1/2 inch thick foam pads, those help a ton with conserving energy. (Mitch, Student 207, 11 th grade, Case 2) Kelly (Student 101) described the embodiment of the concept simply as "you are one of the animals" to explain how she came to understand how animals have adapted to the cold conditions. According to stud ents, in a simple exercise, Ryan, the teacher of Case 2, had them stand outside with one shoe on and one shoe off to illustrate the difference in conductivity even a very thin sole can make. Tara explained how that simple, embodied activity helped her to grasp the idea of applied thermal conductivity: Tara: One time we took one shoe off and that was to talk about insulation we went out onto the porch with one shoe on. Ryan doesn't mind the cold, which is weird, but everyone else does. And so then you're like, "so now your foot is freezing and the other one's not, why?" So it's different than "IF you went outside your foot WOULD be cold". Mike: Is that a big difference for you? Tara: Sometimes. Mike: Why is that? Tara: 'Cause things can make more sense if you're experiencing them and you can talk about them more accurately without hypothesizing about what it would be like. You know exactly what it's actually like. (Student 224, 11 th grade, Case 2) In another lesson Ryan was teaching about seasonality and how the angle of incidence of the sun's rays on the atmosphere is what determines the amount of thermal

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234 energy available (as described by Ryan in his post DIAL interview). Rachel reflected on that lesson: Rachel: I think because we were outside it was w e're in winter it registered more than it would have inside the classroom. Mike: Why do you think that is? Rachel: Because we could feel the sun and it's sunny but it's also really cold and you're sitting in the snow. It just registers on a lot of levels that it probably wouldn't if you were just sitting inside. (Student 204, 11 th grade, Case 2) The discrepancy between what her eyes were telling her and what her body was feeling helped her understand the target concept. Experiencing the tidal changes (C ase 4) was described earlier in the chapter. Also in the canoes, the students of Case 4 experienced the density of the mangroves and what it would be like to live in that ecosystem, including the difficulties caused by heat, dampness, mosquitoes, and the diversity of other life. Anna describes making her way through the mangrove tunnels: I think it was the first day we started canoeing through the mangrove tunnels, not in the beginning because they were really cut down and stuff, but then afterwards when we canoed through it and we had to push the sticks away and get stuck, and there were spiders and I kind of liked that (the whole experience). ( Student 402, 11 th grade, case 4)

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235 Through directly experiencing the difficulties of trying to paddle through tha t ecosystem, Anna and other students described developing a better sense of its structural complexity and both the difficulty of living in that ecosystem and the many niches within it. Students in Cases 1 and 2 also described their difficulties with trave ling through the snow and how that led to an appreciation for animal adaptations for doing so. On the much anticipated, or much feared swamp hike at the end of Everglades trip students described going in with expectations that the ecosystem would be an en dless body of water with malevolent elements trying to do them harm at every turn. By leaving the trail and hiking through the swamp, students seemed to discover that it was not a bottomless pit and that they could make their way through the water and pat ches of dry land to successfully traverse the ecosystem. In my field notes and videos for that day I chronicled that gradual change in students as they became more accustomed to the environment and their discussions and actions became less hyperbolic in r eaction to the environment. At the beginning of the hike students were jumpy and spoke almost exclusively of pythons, alligators, and spiders. By the end of the hike they were walking more assertively and discussing the plants and more benign features of the ecosystem. The embodied experiences seemed to allow the learners to use all of their senses to interpret their surroundings. Students recalled using all of their senses within the DIAL experiences, including smell from time to time. Joseph described a multi sensory experience in trying to identify a tree during an assigned task: we looked around the tree, we didn't know. We went ok, so how does the bark feel? How does the color look? How does the pines look? What's the elevation of this area?"

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236 E2.3 Geographic Cues Another consistent theme that emerged across the four cases as students discussed their learning was the connections they made between their understanding of concepts and specific geographic places where they learned it. Particularly for Case 4, in which the students visited many places, but also for the other cases, students quite often described their learning as situated in a specific place. Their descriptions implied a narrative and contextualized understanding of the concepts they sp oke about but they did not seem to then only associate a concept with a given place. Rather, the place seemed to provide a memory stamp that helped them access and communicate the idea and to recall a specific event or visual sequence. It seemed to be a tool they used to help index their knowledge, if inadvertently. I asked some of the students to try to articulate this process when they mentioned it. The following is an example of a resulting dialog: Robert: I guess I would have understood it if we had n't been outside, but definitely not as well, and it definitely helped me remember and fully understand it. Mike: So when you think about that concept now, do you think about.... do you put yourself back in that place? Or do you think of it more abstractl y? Robert: I guess I don't go back to where we were in the woods but it just sort of helped me understand it really well. I guess it just sort of cemented the ideas rather than drew me back to a place where I could"Oh this is where I was, it must be that ". It sort of is hidden back in my mind somewhere that it's just like this. I don't know how to put it in words. (Student 215, 11 th grade, Case 2)

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237 The students tended to use to these geographic memory stamps with novel settings and seemed to use them in such a way that one place was associated with one concept. While these associations were individualized, there were some places that multiple students associated with a given topic. There was one particular camp in Case 4 that students connected to under standing pneumatophores and another camp that students associated with tides. One of the blinds that Case 3 students visited was more associated with understanding flight while another one was associated with understanding crane behavior. Moving through a landscape or moving from one landscape to another also seemed to support student learning by providing contrast between places that emphasized different aspects of a concept, as in this instance: I think I was skiing on one day I don't know what happene d but I was skiing and I was just thinking to myself and I was looking at the trees because we were trying to figure out which tree was which and I was thinking "well it can't be this tree because this tree wouldn't survive in this environment" because I m ean we were high in the park (elevation) and there is I don't remember what tree it was but that tree is at Bald Mountain Academy so it's on campus there but I was thinking it's not going to be able to survive that high in the park because it's branches w on't be able to hold up the snow. (Kate, Student 101, no grade levels, Case 1) Based on their descriptions of their learning experiences students often seemed to be wrapping their understanding up within a geographic context that made the concept real fo r them. They tended to explain the TSC(s) at a schematic level when they could

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238 fill in the full narrative of a concept's application with specific examples. When asked to recall the information, the geographic place was often recalled with it. To search back through the previous quotes, one can find many examples in which students refer to specific geographic places as they explain their understanding of various TSCs. E3 Tools Students indicated using tools and resources to help in their learning of the TSCs. Figure 5.3 shows the relative use of the most commonly referenced tools. Again, these data reflect frequencies of descriptive codes assigned prior to the inferential coding stage and represent the four aggregated cases. There were no patterns of to ol use that clearly emerged in the cross case analysis other than the broad idea that students did report using various academic tools in their learning processes. The pattern matching analysis within the cross case analysis did not support the prediction within the conceptual framework (Appendix B) that non academic tools would play a significant role in science concept learning. Rather, students made few references to non academic tools in relation to the learning of TSCs. Even the 11 references report ed in Table 5.3 represent very loose connections between the tools and the TSCs.

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239 Student descriptions of tool use were overwhelmingly facilitated rather than peripheral though there were a few instances of students finding and using tools on their own such as park signage. Most of the references to the tools that students used cited assigned readings, videos, and notes that were written on the board. As such, students described these as more often used in the more formal settings of classrooms or as homework. Even in Case 3, in which the group traveled to the natural habitat of the cranes, students described learning much of their declarative knowledge within a classroom at the Audubon Center where the local expert showed videos and wrote notes. On e student from Case 2 described a PowerPoint slide that she connects to her understanding of thermal conductivity: !"#$%&'G) ( ;,,2$"B9"%/7,)>, 4"1/$(0+('", /)4",$">"$"%/"1,-(+6(%,+6",#/#4 "*(/, +))31,#%4,%)% C #/#4"*(/,+))31,/)4",8$)901 =">)$",+$#%1/$(0+1,-"$",4('(4"4, (%+),9%(+1,)>,#%#371(1,>)$,(%>"$"%+(#3,/)4(%8;,,W%/394"1,#33,K,/#1"1;

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240 The image that comes to mind most is the Power Point image of an elk standing in the snow and there are arrows going in and out, for insulati on, metabolism, and then there's also the heat loss through the feet, through the contact with the air, and that sort of thing. (Student 224, 11 th grade, Case 2) When tools were used in the field, they seemed to take on a supporting rather than a central role. Students described using thermometers to measure temperature within the snowpack and shovels to access the layers of snow. Field guides and dichotomous keys were used to identify trees. Skis and canoes were used to move through the environments a nd students and teachers described those vehicles being used to illustrate concepts such as tidal changes and snow crystallization. All of these tools seemed to remain in the background and none were identified by teachers as important learning tools. A couple of the teachers described bringing small whiteboards or printed pictures into the field to illustrate concepts or write important notes when needed and some students refered to these during their interviews. In the following passage, Vern describes a learning process that was dependent on the tools at the various stages but they are not heavily acknowledged and become an important part of the learning environment background: It was near the end of class and we were kind of reading. We went out into the park with shovels and we shoveled out snow. What we were trying to get to exactly was the bottom of the ground. It was about 5 1/2 feet and 2 big around. Jacob was explaining there were different layers. So we were taking, we were testing the rigidity of it so the top layer was kind of soft. The middle was kind of hard. It was just more packed. We were taking temperatures of the different

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241 levels. For the surface it was pretty cold. Near the middle it was warmer. And then when you get lower into the gro und it's still pretty cold, 'cause the earth is kind of a conductor. So we were learning about that and we came back to class the day afterwards and he gave us a sheet and it was like, "nivean means snow not lotion". And it was explaining how they're diffe rent layers of snow and they all have different terms. And so there's the supernivean which is the top layer. Subnivean and then the 3rd one I seem to have forgot. (Vern, Student 107, no grade levels, Case 1) In this sequence the group needed skis and rel ated equipment, shovels, thermometers, notebooks, pencils, and the worksheets to make it happen. We can assume the tools fundamentally changed the experience by considering what the experience would have looked like without them but in the student's descr iption the tools were part of the background rather than critical elements of the lesson. This illustrates the possibility that tools played a more important role than I was able to discern from the interview process. As described in a previous section of this chapter (F5), teachers readily co opted available materials to use as demonstration tools when needed: balls and students to represent celestial bodies, water bottles to simulate thermal conductivity in organisms and tidal changes. Associated with t he theme of geographic links to learning (see section E2.3), students and teachers described the regular use of maps in the four cases, both for planning travel and for helping students to understand landscape level concepts such as water flow through the Everglades or trans national migration of the cranes. In one

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242 sequence captured in a video from the Case 4 field study, the guide gathered the students around a nautical chart of the area they were traveling through and the group spontaneously created a TS C referenced narrative of the events that unfolded as they retraced their route. They then used the map along with a tide chart to predict and plan the best route and timing for the next day. E4 Individual Factors Within the DIAL conceptual framework (A ppendix B) the individual learner contributes to a situated learning process through representation, indexing, and higher order processing. In this section some evidence is presented on how indexing and processing seemed to contribute to students' learnin g in this study. However, in the cross case analysis, it became clear that the patterns as they are presented in the framework were not well supported by the data across these four cases. Rather, there seemed to be a collection of learning processes that could be described as being attached to the individual learner instead of to the whole learning environment as are the other identified contributors to learning. To use Perkins' (1993) terms, there were manifestations of the learning process that were ass ociated with the person solo rather than the person plus These have been included into the heading of Individual Factors that influenced learning in this chapter. Figure 5.4 shows the frequencies of the descriptive codes that were used to define the them es of individual learning processes that emerged from the data. Some of these code references, including application and personal discovery were discussed in previous sections (sections B3 and P1, respectively) when they were closely tied to learning oppor tunities. The development of deeper understanding is related to many of the other codes and has been referenced throughout

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243 this chapter. The pattern themes (E4.1) of individual reasoning and internal reflection, (E4.2) writing and verbal articulation, (E4 .3) linking across events, and (E4.4) making connections to past learning were informed by these descriptive codes (figure 5.4) and emerged as consistent trends through cross case analysis. These themes are described below. !"#$%&'G) C ;,,2$"B9"%/7,)>, 4"1/$(0+('", /)4",$">"$"%/"1,-(+6(%,+6",(%4('(49#3,0$)/"11"1, /)4",8$)90 =">)$",+$# %1/$(0+1,-"$",4('(4"4,(%+),9%(+1,)>,#%#371(1,>)$,(%>"$"%+(#3, /)4(%8;,,W%/394"1,#33,K,/#1"1;

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244 E4.1 Individual Reasoning a nd Internal Reflection It is well beyond the scope of the study to understand student thinking processes in much depth. Rather, the goal for this aspect of the learning environment was to develop some sense of how these processes of the individual learne r interacted with the other components of the learning environment. It is clear from the data that these person solo centered processes were informed by and, in turn, informed the other environmental contributors to learning in these four cases. For this study, the individual reasoning code indicated a student described process or event in which they indicated needing to reason through a conceptual connection or in some way add an extra layer of thinking or processing to make sense of incoming information This was a fairly common code across the four cases. The following passage came at the end of a dialog with Heather about a realization she came to regarding migration: Mike: And how did you learn about that? Heather: More of my own mind figuring it o ut. Mike: Do you have any sense of when that came to you? Heather: Well yeah. Jennifer was drawing out a chart of when and where they (the cranes) are. At what times of the year, and I just kind of noticed...I started thinking about why they migrate and i t's obviously because they can't survive in the cold in the winter up in Canada, and they can't...it's too hot for them down in the south in the summers. So kind of tied in with habitat. (Student 301, 10 th grade) Another student captured the role of indiv idual processing in his learning:

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245 He (teacher) teaches it to you but then I guess you sort of have to come to a certain point of realization to fully understand the concept. He brings you 99% of the way but then that last 1%, to really have a full underst anding of the concept, that sort of has to come from within, I guess. (Robert, Student 215, 11 th grade, Case 2) These two examples reflect an interaction between directly facilitated learning opportunities and the individual students' role in processing the garnered information through a unique thought process. Peripheral and synthetic learning opportunities were also involved in cited instances of individual reasoning interacting with information from other elements of the learning environment. In cont rast, a number of students also described the purely abstract development of understanding about a given concept by learning how other concepts related to it, and without ever being taught about the original concept. Ashley describes one such sequence in which she is referring to a conclusion she correctly came to as a logical certainty born of learning the related concepts: If the trees didn't stop growing in the winter, then it would die because it would be cold and it wouldn't have enough nutrients beca use the sun doesn't shine a lot. And I don't know yeah I guess I got to that by learning everything around it. (Ashley, Student 105, no grade levels, Case 1) By learning about photosynthesis, seasonality, and snow load, Ashley pieced together the reason why trees stopped growing in the winter. Though this information

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246 was generally available as declarative information, Ashley reasoned it out into a schematic understanding through her own logic processes. The Internal reflection code was used somewhat diff erently, to indicate instances where students recalled thinking about or reflecting on an idea in the moment, when they learned an idea rather than a more general sense of having processed the information. The previously used example of Austin (Student 40 5) reflecting on past places where he had seen tidal changes and thinking about the relationship to the size of the body of water is a good example of this. As in that case, reflection was often associated with a peripheral learning opportunity, though th e teachers in all of the classes also assigned reflective journal prompts and thus encouraged this type of processing. Like instances of individual reasoning, internal reflection could be considered a person solo phenomenon that occurs within and is influ enced by the person plus. Student descriptions in this study usually described the internal processing and the external influence as asynchronous. Internal reflection was also described by students as being helpful for keeping the momentum of their learni ng progress. One learning event would lead to reflection which would then lead to new hypotheses or questions and so on, as in this instance: Once we figured out what kind of tree it was, I mean of course there was just a bunch of questions running throug h your mind like "oh I wonder what the adaptations are for it?" you know. And just like that kind of stuff. (Jason, Student 103, no grade levels, Case 1) There can be no doubt that the role of the individual learner and her thought processes add a laye r of complexity well beyond what was captured here. For the

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247 purposes of the study the data suggest that there was a close link between internal reasoning and bringing together the other elements of the learning environment as students often described them in conjunction. This seemed to be particularly true in cases where both facilitated and peripheral learning opportunities contributed to learning. When both were discussed as contributing within a concept unit, some level of reflection or internal reaso ning was often described as bringing those pieces together. E4.2 Writing and Verbal Articulation Neither the process of writing nor the process of verbal articulation were described by students as playing a significant role in their learning of the scienc e concepts. Journals/notebooks were collected and coded for Cases 1 and 3, as described in Chapter Three. Most of the descriptive codes assigned to the notebooks within those two cases were references to the TSCs though there were few other codes to indi cate that the journals were used by students for much beyond the recording of declarative knowledge and events. Although a few students used the notebooks more openly, the majority of entries were in response to facilitated prompts from the teachers to re cord information (based on teacher interviews and similarity in entries across each of the two classes. Similarly, during the interviews students rarely described the processes of writing or verbally expressing their ideas to others as contributing to the ir learning or in conjunction with their understanding of the TSCs. In one previously described case, that of Mei (Student 408, Case 4) coming to a deeper understanding of the relationship between tides and mangroves as she observed the tide coming in, th e student was in the process of journaling when she came to that realization. A few other students reported that written assignments or thinking about the assignments helped them pull their thoughts together

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248 but this was not common. This is not to say th at these processes did not contribute to learning, only that the data collected for this study do not lead to that conclusion. E4.3 Linking Across Events The Pathfinder assessments offer one view into how students are indexing their knowledge by showing t he structure of their knowledge organization. Another indicator is how students conceptually link different learning events, recognizing that one has a conceptual similarity to another. Within a given concept unit in which students described their curre nt understanding of a TSC, relationship between TSCs, and changes in their understanding of them over the course of the DIAL experience, I looked for patterns in how students recognized different events as representing or illustrating the same concept. Be cause these patterns were often associated with the longer and more elaborated concept units it is difficult to present concise examples here but the following excerpt is a more contained example in which Jake responds to the question of how he learned abo ut invasive species, illustrating the trend of linking disparate events through a TSC: Jake: Probably, the thing, just everything where Kevin stopped and showed us an invasive species, like when he was talking about the Burmese python, Mike: where was that ? Jake: let me think about that. I'm not really sure but I remember him talking about it, and the competition between alligators and pythons for like food and territory and stuff. And like when we stopped along the road before the swamp hike and looked at the Australian pine or something I think it was. And on the swamp hike there was that, it was a tree from Brazil that had all the little red berries on it, that he was talking about how the trees are hard to get rid of it. And that they'd

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249 probably never ge t rid of it completely. That's all I can remember. (Student 401, 11 th grade, Case 4) Linking across events was often associated with the combination of peripheral and facilitated events as students not only recognized a link but created or applied one in an informal setting as Rachel describes: I definitely started thinking about the concepts that we learned in class a lot outside of class. Just living here I guess, I'm not used to this climate and this environment. I think it's really cool, but we learned a lot about taking care of yourself here properly and so I think it really registered learning about thermal conductivity and then thinking about the layers that I had on. We had ski week and I had to think a lot about if I was going to wear cotton then I would get wet and if it was a cloudy day how I should protect myself that way. I think what I learned in class a lot, applied to what I was doing every single day here. (Rachel, Student 204, 11 th grade, Case 2) As students experienced learning situation s that linked conceptually to past events, either form their personal experience or the course events, they often described developing a deeper understanding with each new event. Their conceptual understanding and organization was seemingly becoming more elaborated with new experiences and new types of experiences in a manner suggesting an important role for a constructivist person solo aspect of learning as well as the environmentally centered person plus aspects of learning. Jake also described this pr ogression in his understanding of tides:

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250 When we first started I kind of knew about the tides but I didn't really pay that much attention to it and then when we were on the island I understood it and then when we were on the last day, when we were paddling to Chockoloskee it was really applied to the situation. (Student 401, 11 th grade, Case 4) E4.4 Connection to Past Learning Similar to the previous section, student references to past learning indicate some indexing within the structures of their conceptu al knowledge, though in relation to pre DIAL experience learning. Some of these connections were simple associations, some were described as present continuations of past learning, and others were connections to big picture ideas. As an example of the as sociations students made, Robert described how a word he originally associated with another topic took on an entirely new meaning for him within this new domain of ecology and thus changed the structure of his domain knowledge to include a new way to under stand the term, a change that was confirmed by his pre to post PFnets: Robert: Before I thought metamorphism was changes in the rock and I don't know. I didn't really know it. I'd heard the word a couple times.... Mike: And it is by the way. Robert: Yeah. I guess it still is, but now I more think of metamorphism as change in the snow pack, like constructive and destructive and how that changes the snow into facets and rounds and how that really impacts the stability of the snow pack and how through metamorp hism that can really increase or decrease the danger of avalanches and things like that. (Student 215, 11 th grade, Case 2)

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251 At this point in his learning, the association he made is only through the word, apparently not seeing any conceptual connection.. As reported in Chapter 4 and reflected in the PFnets there were times when students who performed well on the pretest performed much worse on the posttest and this seemed to be a result of these students reorganizing their structural knowledge around the ir recent learning rather than a broader view of the domain knowledge. This example is one such case in that Robert almost abandoned a previous and correct understanding of metamorphism within a different domain in favor of a new concept he had learned th rough DIAL. He did not seem to make the connection that they were essentially the same idea applied to different contexts. Of course the potential exists that he will see the word again in the future in an entirely different context and begin to see how m etamorphism is a common theme across the natural sciences In other instances students did describe building on their past learning. One student described learning about photosynthesis in fifth grade and how that made it easier for her to understand the to pic when they learned about it in this course. Interestingly, she still referred to the process in naive phrases such as the plant "eating the sunlight". Another student also described still being in the process of trying to connect past learning with he r DIAL experience: Tara: I didn't know what thermal conductivity was before but I assumed it had to do with energy because heat has to go in with energy and thermal has to do with heat and then we learned about thermal conductivity which still kind of conf uses me, and I still don't understand what the difference is between it and specific heat capacity, but apparently there is one.

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252 Mike: Is specific heat capacity something you talked about in class? Tara: No, but I took chemistry last year. (Student 224, 1 1 th grade, Case 2) For many of the students who discussed these past connections, they seemed to sense that there was a connection, as in the cases above, but could not make a complete conceptual connection in a manner consistent with canonical domain kno wledge. This suggests that closer formative assessment and facilitated support may have helped the students make more conceptually sound connections between past and recent learning. Finally, a few students indexed their learning within big picture ideas that they had developed or picked up previous to the DIAL experience and found a role for the new knowledge within that big idea. Although the theme that Thomas describes here was not an overt lesson of the course, he found that there was ample evidence to support his developing idea: I guess "aha moments" came when I connected humans' motivations for further conquest of natural areas for simply monetary reasons for the most part. I've noticed that in the past but seeing it also in the Everglades solidifi ed that and made it more concrete. (Student 403, 11 th grade, Case 4) Austin expressed a very similar idea, and while human impact, in general was a TSC, the broader themes were not: I think over the past couple years I've been interested more and more in like human impact and environmental studies, and global warming and stuff. And so that was kind of something I was experiencing first hand and it was cool to be

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253 able to be there and also know what was going on. (Student 405, 11 th grade, Case 4) For these two students, the conceptual science knowledge they developed over the course of the DIAL experience informed personally relevant schemata that they had already been developing previously and that had applicability within but also external to the learning goals of the course. E5 Emotional Contributors to Learning The DIAL conceptual framework (Appendix B) includes the contributions of the emotional environment to student learning. Figure 5.5 shows the frequencies at which emotional environment descriptiv e codes were assigned to the data. Good emotion and bad emotion each encompass infrequently used codes that fit those general characteristics. At an early stage of the coding process it became clear that most of these codes referred to students' descript ions of how they were feeling at different times throughout their DIAL experiences rather than capturing the originally intended emotional atmosphere of the whole group. There was little evidence to support the notion that students retained an explicit me mory of the emotional environment except in a few cases. Based on field observations of Case 4, the emotional environment was a contributor but it may not have been obvious to participants and, more importantly, times of heightened emotional intensity see m to have been disassociated from learning events. The data concerning both personal and group emotional factors are described below.

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254 Students in Cases 1, 2, and 3 cited personal emotional ups and downs but there were not many events that multiple stud ents cited and that would suggest an overall emotional environment. This is not to say that this was not the case but that students did not explicitly detect it or articulate it. That being said, there were emotional highs and challenges for students. A lmost every student mentioned times when they were particularly excited by the learning or events, engaged in the learning process, or generally enjoying the course. A few students in Case 1 also cited the skiing as being a challenge that they were nervou s about or struggled with. With one exception, they saw !"#$%&'G) G ;,,2$"B9"%/7,)>, 4"1/$(0+('", /)4",$">"$"%/"1,-(+6(%,+6","*)+()%#3, "%'($)%*"%+,/)4",8$)90; =">)$",+$#%1/$(0+1,-"$",4('(4"4,(%+),9%(+1,)>, #%#371(1,>)$,(%>"$ "%+(#3,/)4(%8;,,W%/394"1,#33,K,/#1"1; ,

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255 that as a challenge that they were proud to have overcome and enjoyed in the end. The student who never really came to enjoy the skiing describes her experience in this way: I kind of feel like when I was out there (skiing) I was in such a bad mood that I wasn't really paying attention and I just liked being in the class working on my own. I just prefer that you know. But I did feel like it did connect because everything we were talking about we saw out there. And sometimes even if we didn't talk about it when we were out there, there were some days we would talk about like what we were learning in class out there, but some days we didn't. I feel like people were just kind of noticing, you know. I kn ow that sometimes I was noticing. (Student 106, no grade levels, Case 1) Rebecca goes on to describe a series of highly relevant observations she made while out skiing. Although she felt she was not paying attention to direct instruction, she was still learning in that situation. In the same case, Kelly described the opposite problem. She was so engaged in the non academic element of the course that she had trouble focusing on the academics: "It was really hard to balance my work and fun in that class and I was challenged by just trying to stay on task and just getting my work done when all I was thinking about was going skiing the next day (Kelly, Student 101, no grade levels, Case 1)." She does describe overcoming that challenge with increased focus and with a sense of accomplishment that she developed through the physical challenge: I'd be the fastest one out of everybody and it was just cool because I feel like even though maybe I wasn't in the best shape, out out of everyone, I still like I

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256 pushed myself most out of everyone. And I got like a really it was like really gratifying for me because it felt good. (Student 101, no grade levels, Case 1) In Case 3 a few students described being bored at times or uncomfortable watching the cranes for exten ded periods in the blinds or in the hot sun: They (cranes) are all doing the same things and we'd be out there for a couple hours and it got really cold and we couldn't talk at all. We couldn't make any sound. We were hiding behind these little squares of wood. I was pretty bored the whole trip. (Meghan, Student 304, grade 9) Despite these occasional reports of motivational struggles and disengagement overall sentiment and indicators of motivation/engagement across the cases were overwhelmingly positive. Most students described some degree of engagement or interest generated by the experiential aspects of the course, as Daniel does here: That's kind of what I thought was so cool about it. Like we would hear about, I don't know, certain like an example of an adaption (sic) of a tree, we would have a reading on it and then like I said, we would go up to the park and actually see it doing it. And it's like "whoa, I know what that is!" We learned about that. I just think that's one of the coolest parts of the class is actually going to watch it instead of just hearing about it which is boring. (Daniel, Student 102, no grade levels, Case 1)

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257 As an outside observer of Case 4 I was in a better position to observe the overall emotional environment of the group tha n were the members of it who were enmeshed within it. At most times the emotional scene was pretty level as students moved through the environment, listened to mini lessons, observed, and socialized. There were a number of emotional highs and lows that t he group experienced together and these did seem to have a direct impact on learning. As described with the jellyfish scene earlier, there were times when the whole group was excited together. Teddy mentioned a few of these: We'd seen so much stuff that day, like the roseated (sic) spoonbills. What else did we see? We saw the...oh yeah, like right before, I think the dolphins cheered everybody up and then once we saw the roseated spoonbills that cheered people up too. Once we got up to the ocean everybod y was all happy and that was just a good day. (Student 407, 9 th grade, Case 4) In this passage you can detect the ebb and flow of the emotional surround and this was confirmed by my field notes and videos for the day. The dolphins that Teddy mentions we re not the first the group had seen. The group had been struggling mightily against tides and headwinds for a number of hours. At the first chance to stop on dry land, we were attacked by swarms of mosquitoes. Once back out on the water, everything had calmed down, the tide was with us, the sky was turning pink with the sunset, and finally a large pod of dolphins began breaking the surface of the water all around us. A few students mentioned this as a highlight of the trip but, as with the jellyfish, no ne expressed any association with any TSC learning during the interviews.

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258 Some students did describe feeling a personal connection to the Everglades after the trip and cited these types of experiences. It seems likely that these feelings led to greater e ngagement overall but they did not seem to lead to peripheral learning. It is unclear if facilitation could have influenced the making of connections at these hyper emotional events though it seems likely based on the abundant data showing the learning li nked to other events in which the teachers followed peripheral observations with facilitated lessons. On the opposite end of the spectrum, there were a few times during my Case 4 field observations in which there was an overall sense of nervousness or unea se surrounding the whole group. During interviews most students also described some of these, though from a personal level rather than as an overall emotional environment. The previously described swamp hike of Case 4 seemed to be one of the most anxiety provoking. It was an unfamiliar environment with real and perceived dangers including snakes, spiders, and scenes that are classically associated with foreboding places. There was a similar sense at the onset of the canoe trip. Students were paddling t hrough tunnels carved out of the mangrove forests with barely enough room overhead beneath the branches and tight maneuvering amongst the roots. Alligators sat on the banks and the air was filled with exotic bird sounds. Large orb weaver spider webs were set at eye level as students bumped through the thickets. In both the hike and the paddle, students responded to the stimuli in a way that reflected a sensationalized view of the places they shouted and tried to scare each other, pointed out the danger s, and over reacted to minor events such as kicking an underwater stump or seeing a spider web. Also in both cases the teacher and guide let them

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259 experience that but then reset the emotional tone. After the introductory period of novelty during both the hike and the canoeing, the guide asked that students spend the next 20 minutes in complete silence. There was an immediate shift in both instances where students still pointed out the dangers to each other but they also began pointing out orchids, birds, ferns and other less threatening but more interesting objects. Although my recordings on the trip captured some very interesting and TSC related topics pointed out by the guide during those introductory periods of novelty, none of it was described by stud ents in the subsequent interviews as contributing to their learning. However, there were many examples in the periods of silence that were discussed by students in the interviews, some of which have been described already. Interestingly, none of the stud ents mentioned the imposed silence but almost all of them mentioned a personal shift in their comfort level. Austin described that transition: Austin: On our swamp hike I was nervous, especially after we saw the big orb weaver or banana spider, cause I'm pretty afraid of spiders. And then at first getting in the water, I was a little uncomfortable, but I think after 10 minutes or so, I felt comfortable and was able to just go along with it. Mike: Any idea what that transition was... like why you made tha t transition or how? Austin: At first it was like, that I've never done something like this. Mike: Walking through a swamp? Austin: Knee deep in swamp water you can't really see. And we had already seen alligators and all that stuff. So... but then Kevin s eemed pretty confident and everybody else was so I just went for it. (Student 405, 11 th grade, Case 4)

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260 The codes describing emotional references (figure 5.5) were common across the four cases but, again, the references that students made were related to personal emotional responses rather than as factors of an emotional surround. For Case 4 these codes often (but not always) closely matched my field observations and what I recorded as a more collective emotional environment. As I did not conduct full fi eld studies of the other three cases it is not possible to determine if this pattern existed across all of the cases. What is apparent is that students either attributed emotional elements of their learning experience to personal emotions or they did not recognize/describe them at all, good or bad. If the other three cases did indeed have emotional elements that were manifest at the environmental level, they were not recognized or described by students and were perhaps operating as a subtle background ele ment, much like the cultural environment may have been. Contextualization The final component of the DIAL conceptual framework (Appendix B) is the context vehicle, the construct that describes how the learner combines multiple cues from the environment and associates them with a target concept, resulting in either a contextualized understanding or a decontextualized understanding of the concept. The level of contextualization was a concept unit level assessment of the degree to which a student discussed TSCs within a concept unit in relationship to the environment in which they were learning. Therefore it allowed for analysis beyond how students learned a given TSC and elucidated how described interactions with the environmental components influenced stu dents' understanding of the concept at the time of the interview.

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261 The contextualization scores used (See table 3.3) reflect a spectrum of knowledge that ranges from decontextualized to complete and contextualized. Figure 5.6 shows the level of contextua lization achieved across the four cases. Each pattern code reference, assigned to a complete concept unit includes one student's description of a TSC or relationship between TSCs and the level to which that idea was associated with experienced contexts at the time of the interview. The lowest level, 0, indicates no contextualization. A score of 1 indicates that there is some misconception or incorrect element in their description of the science. The remaining scores indicate an increasing level of both understanding and association with real contexts. Based on these scores 68% of the knowledge that students described was contextualized to some degree. That is, across the concept units coded in student interviews, 68% were scored as a 2 or above, a high value compared to past research (Rivet & Krajcik, 2004a, 2004b, 2008) as is discussed in Chapter 6. Through the lens of the DIAL conceptual framework, this is evidence that the conceptual knowledge structures that these students developed were heavily b ut not entirely influenced by context vehicles constructed with the components of their DIAL environments.

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262 Figure 5.7 shows the breakdown of mean contextualization scores by case, presented with the mean changes in csim for each case, the measure of learning determined through the Pathfinder procedure. This four case study does not provide sufficient power to conduct meaningful statistical analysis though the pattern in Figure 5 suggesting a relationship between contextualization and learning is bor ne out in the qualitative data. Students in Case 4, the group that showed the greatest learning, all relied heavily on real world examples from their own experiences when describing their concept knowledge. Case 3 students spoke more about decontextualize d ideas that were pulled from readings, lectures and videos, though not to the exclusion of contextualized knowledge. Case 1 and 2 students were more balanced in the manner in which they !"#$%&'G) Q ;,,, @ )%+"<+9#3(f#+()% 3"'"3,>$"B9"%/7 Z948"4, >)$,"#/6,/)%/"0+,9%(+,-(+6(%,1+94"%+, (%+"$'("-1, #/$)11,#33,>)9$,/#1"1 ;,,](86"$,1/)$",(%4(/#+"1,8$"#+"$,/)%+"<+9#3(f#+()%;

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263 learned and discussed the TSCs. This suggests that there may be a r elationship between the degree to which these students contextualized their learning and the degree to which their conceptual knowledge structures became more expert like following their DIAL experience. However, if that relationship were to prove true wi thin a larger sample it is not clear if contextualization leads to more advanced knowledge structures or if more expert knowledge allows for a greater ability to contextualize. !"#$%&'G) = ;,,V6",=#$1,$"0$"1"%+,+6",3" #$%(%8,#1,16)-%,(%, 5#+6>(%4"$,m, /1(*,'#39"1,#/$)11, +6",/#1"1;,,V6",3(%",8$#06,$"0$"1"%+1,+6",*"#%,/)%+"<+9#3(f#+()%,1/)$"1,>)$,/#1"; ,, @#1", J,6#4,#,*"#%,/)%+"<+9#3(f#+()%,1/)$",)>,Q;

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264 Misconceptions The contextualization score of 1 deserves some special att ention. It refers to cases in which the knowledge expressed may or may not have been contextualized but was incorrect in some way when compared to accepted understandings among scientists. There was only one of these misconceptions that came up within th e study and it may be directly related to contextualization. In three of the four cases (1, 2, 3) students used two different definitions of adaptation interchangeably. They seemed to equate the behavioral adaptations that people need to make when encoun tering new situations with the idea of evolutionary adaptation driven by natural selection. This is a fundamental misconception of evolution (Engel Clough & Wood Robinson, 1985) and it seemed to be supported by the metaphor students, and perhaps teachers, were making between the environments they were trying to survive in on a daily basis and the adaptations that organisms had made over millennia. The following is one example, "when I first came to Bald Mountain Academy, I had to adapt to how high it was because I'm from Seattle and that's sea level. And then deciduous, that's a tree and then also connected to trees because trees have to adapt" (Kelly, Student 101, no grade levels, Case 1). In this way contextualization by making connections between TSCs and experience with the environment probably moved some students' understanding of this common TSC away from the way that scientists in the domain understand it. Chapter Five Summary In this chapter I have presented analysis of qualitative data to answe r the research question "do students' interactions with the components of a DIAL environment contribute to change in their conceptual science knowledge structures??" Through

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265 pattern matching across cases and aligned with the DIAL conceptual framework, a c omplex picture emerged to explain how the identified environmental components and learning opportunities did contribute to learning for the students in the four cases of this study, based largely on associations that students made during their post DIAL in terviews and supported by my field study observations, teacher interviews, and student work samples. Both facilitated and peripheral learning opportunities contributed to learning in these cases through largely different means. Facilitated opportunities w ere more directly associated with the learning of the targeted science concepts, particularly through elements of direct instruction. Teachers played an important role in this facilitation as they guided student observations, provided learning resources, helped make conceptual connections, and provided information directly to students. Peripheral opportunities, however, added personal connections to student learning largely through individual discoveries and affective connections that students made. Stu dent described learning processes that included an interaction between facilitated and peripheral learning opportunities tended to be associated with understandings of the TSCs that could be described as more schematic and complete than when the learning p rocesses were either facilitated or peripheral alone. This combination often resulted in students generating a "complete picture" of a concept as facilitated information and personal experience informed each other. K eystone events occurred when a periph erally learned idea or piece of evidence led to a much deeper understanding of a concept that was otherwise learned through facilitation. Students'

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266 peripheral application or extension of previously facilitated learning also proved to be an important inter action for changes in students' conceptual knowledge. The construct of a context vehicle, presented in the DIAL framework (Appendix B), was supported in that students did associate many of the environmental components with the learning and recall of conce pts and this contextualization seemed to bolster student learning. Of the environmental components, social interactions seemed to be associated with the greatest contribution to the change in knowledge structures. Most of the social interactions that stu dents associated with learning were facilitated and involved teacher centered practices. The physical environment also played an important role in learning, particularly in helping students to create visual, embodied, temporal, and spatial associations t o their knowledge. Individual learning processes, including the affective elements, seemed to provide a bridge between the various environmental components as students reasoned about the connections between disparate events and concepts, their relevance, and gave personal meaning to the context vehicles formed from those parts. Based on the data collected for this study the other components of the learning environment from the conceptual framework (Appendix B), including the cultural and emotional environm ents and the tools used played a less central role in learning for most students in these four cases. It seems unlikely that they simply did not play a role but they may be operating in the background at a level that the students do not readily recognize, a finding suggested by the data collected in the field study portion of this project. Details of how each of the environmental components contributed to learning were summarized in the chapter.

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267 CHAPTER VI DISCUSSION Overview This study was an investigati on into the process of deep immersion academic learning (DIAL) and was guided by two research questions: Q1: Do students' knowledge structures reflect greater understanding of science concepts following a DIAL experience? Q2: If so, do students' interactio ns with the components of a DIAL environment contribute to change in their conceptual science knowledge structures? The first goal was to determine if DIAL experiences can be an effective tool to support the learning of targeted science content knowledge. If so, the second goal was to determine how the contextualized environments of DIAL and opportunities to access those environments contributed to any learning. A theoretical framework of situated constructivism along with a review of the relevant liter ature on learning in authentic contexts was used to conceptualize and design the study. From those foundations a conceptual framework (Appendix B) was proposed to model the DIAL process. The conceptual framework highlighted the role of facilitated and pe ripheral opportunities to interact with various components of the learning environment in creating a context vehicle to interact with and add to an individual learner's knowledge structures. That conceptual framework has also been used throughout this di ssertation to outline the various chapters; connect the work to previous research; provide the structure for pattern matching, cross case analysis; and to present the results in discrete chunks. A

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268 discussion of those results is presented in this chapter, followed by the limitations and contributions of the study, a revised conceptual framework developed based on the results of this study and a discussion of future, recommended research. Discussion and Implications: Research Question 1 Aggregated student data in this study did show significant changes in structural knowledge following the DIAL experiences. As a whole, the DIAL experiences were effective in that regard as 70% of students showed changes in their conceptual knowledge structures that made th em more similar to expert knowledge structures, and almost 40% showed high or exceptional levels of change. These results are in agreement with other studies that have shown cognitive learning in contextualized environments (Eaton, 1998; Knapp & Barrie, 2 001; Milton & Cleveland, 1995; Prokop, et al., 2007) though this study adds two important contributions. First, the use of the interview process in conjunction with the structural knowledge assessment of Pathfinder allowed for a greater depth of understan ding of the state of the students' knowledge. The knowledge structures assessed through the Pathfinder process and then discussed in student interviews often seemed to show the development of schematic knowledge as students discussed not only declarative facts about the concepts, but also the complex relationships between those ideas in applied contexts. Most of the students spoke of the relationships highlighted in their PFnets at a schematic level, confirming DIAL practitioner anecdotes. Second, this s tudy followed students who were deeply immersed in context over longer durations of time than the more typically studied daylong field trips (see Chapter Two for review). As has been shown with affective changes in students (Bogner, 1998; Emmons, 1997) i t is possible that the longer duration of the experiences may have contributed to the students'

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269 cognitive learning, though this was not sufficiently measured in this study to definitively say. Case 3, for example was the shortest experience (three days) a nd had essentially no aggregated change while Case 4 students experienced the most concentrated immersion and showed the greatest growth. This is not to say that there was a direct causal relationship between immersion and learning but it is a relationshi p that deserves further study. It is important to note that the learning was not consistent across the cases. Cases 3 (zero growth) and Case 4 (highest growth) represent the starkest contrast while Cases 1 and 2 showed moderate changes in knowledge struc tures. Based on the analysis of student descriptions of their learning, field study data, and the other supporting data, it appeared that these differences were a function of many factors, including differences in access to or utilization of the environme ntal components described in the next section. Case 2, with the largest sample ( n =41), was instructive in that it allowed for the examination of how a larger distribution of students learned through the same DIAL experience. One important pattern that e merged was that most of the growth was in the middle of the distribution of students' pretest values. That is, students with the highest and lowest pretest values did not tend to show as much change in knowledge structures as those students with pretest v alues closer to the mean. This suggests that students at the bottom might need more support. It could be that these students have insufficient background knowledge to begin to access the information in the course or it could be a difference of ability lev els. It is clear that these students could have benefitted from a teacher administered pretest, early formative assessments, and extra supports throughout the class to help address any gaps.

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270 Those students who were at the top of the pretest distribution m ight also need more supports with moving beyond the intended curriculum and with teasing out subtleties of the content knowledge to develop more expert knowledge. In Case 2 as well as Case 3, a number of students with high pretest scores actually changed their knowledge structures to be much less similar to the expert referents following the DIAL experience. Based on the PFnets and student interviews, these students appeared to be coming in to the classes with strong background knowledge and then keying i n on particular aspects of the content that were interesting or new to them. As described in the previous chapter, two of the students in this category reliably described accurate conceptions of TSCs that they held before the experience and then described new understandings of these ideas that were more highly focused on the specific content of the class rather than the broader understandings reflected by the expert referents. Because of this, they assigned greater importance to these new ideas and assigne d higher levels of relationship to other TSCs in the Pathfinder assessment. Perhaps this was a function of the novelty, moving former learning to the periphery, even if that past learning was more conceptually central to an expert's way of organizing the knowledge. This was a fascinating phenomenon within this case that deserves further attention from both researchers and practitioners. It would be important to know if these over highlighted ideas remain so in students' schemas or if they attenuate once the novelty is past, leaving a more expert view of the content. It would also be important for practitioners to be able to identify this process and to help students see their newfound knowledge within the bigger picture. DIAL practitioners could use som e guidance on this in the form of longitudinal research.

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271 The Case 2 distribution also showed that in addition to those middle level learners showing more growth than the high and low pretest scorers, they also tended to reach about the same level of sim ilarity to the expert referent by the end of the course. The similarity ( csim ) scores could have theoretically gone much higher, suggesting that a ceiling effect was not the explanation for this. It is possible that the Pathfinder assessment tool or proc ess has a limited sensitivity that made it difficult to distinguish structural similarities beyond a certain point but this is not reflected in other research using Pathfinder. It is also possible that the Pathfinder assessment process accurately reflecte d the extent of the learning opportunities available to students such that the apparent ceiling on the students' csim scores did accurately show the extent of the learning opportunity within the class. In either case, the largely consistent change in stru ctural knowledge that was detected in this study suggested that these students were learning conceptual science knowledge to a degree that led to significant positive changes in their knowledge structures though there were also important differences from c ase to case. Further investigation into the limits of Pathfinder sensitivity are warranted for future research. Some of the difference in learning between cases might be explained by the design of the study. To look at the contrast of Case 3 (zero growt h) and Case 4 (highest growth), the background knowledge of the students coming in to each experience was quite different. In Case 3, the teacher had spent a significant amount of time preparing the students and teaching content in class before the experi ence and before the pretest, while in Case 4 the students had not had any pre instruction, thus they had more room to

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272 grow. However, it has been shown that on day trips, pre instruction improves learning (Orion & Hofstein, 1994) so it is difficult to teas e out the differences with these longer experiences. One conclusion to draw from the results of the first research question is that although DIAL can lead to significant learning, the process and context do not automatically do so. There are clearly varia bles that must be addressed well to increase the chances of student learning. Some of these variables are addressed in the next section but it is clear that more work needs to be done to better understand what makes one DIAL experience a successful suppor t of cognitive learning and another one less so. The next section discusses both the findings from this study on how some of these variables affected learning in these cases as well as a discussion of further work that needs to be done. Discussion and Imp lications: Research Question 2 Learning Opportunities Because DIAL tends to provide ample opportunity for both independent and directed learning, a central aspect of the DIAL framework (Appendix B) is the distinction between facilitated and peripheral lear ning opportunities. How students used these learning opportunities in DIAL was a key finding of this study. Facilitated learning opportunities were more often cited as influences on the development of TSC knowledge than were peripheral opportunities, tho ugh the most important learning processes in which students developed personally relevant schematic knowledge of the TSCs tended to involve interactions between both facilitated and peripheral learning opportunities.

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273 I found that the students with the grea test positive changes in structural knowledge tended to rely more heavily on facilitated opportunities, though there were important exceptions. It is not surprising that the facilitated opportunities were more often associated with cognitive learning than were peripheral opportunities alone as facilitated learning has been shown to be generally more productive than "minimally guided instruction" (Kirschner, et al., 2006; Klahr & Nigam, 2004) What is surprising is that peripheral learning accounted for as much of the learning as it did. It is difficult to think of another formal education venue in which students pick up a substantial portion of their information in a peripheral manner. They may do internet research or similar tasks but these are generall y assigned and therefore facilitated by a teacher. In these cases of DIAL, students were picking up some important lessons directly from the peripheral opportunities. For one student in each of the cases, they described the peripheral learning opportunit ies more often and in ways that suggested they were more important to the students' learning than the facilitated opportunities. This suggests that for those individuals the opportunity to interact directly with the contextualized environment was critical to their learning. Past studies of authentic learning environments have shown that peripheral events are more highly anticipated by students than are facilitated events prior to a field trip (Ballantyne & Packer, 2010) and that learning is more resilient over time when students are more actively engaged in the environment on a field trip (MacKenzie and White 1982) but it was unclear if or how peripheral opportunities contributed to the learning process. This study has shown that peripheral learning oppor tunities helped students to make personal and affective connections to the target concepts. The immersion aspect of

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274 DIAL allowed students constant access to the context they were studying and through peripheral learning opportunities, students extended the ir learning into events that did not have educational intent. Neither Mayer's (2004) detailed review of discovery learning in which he concluded that pure discovery learning pedagogies did not hold up to scrutiny, nor other studies of open ended learning e nvironments (Dean & Kuhn, 2007; Klahr & Nigam, 2004; Novak & Musonda, 1991) considered the learning of individual students. This study confirms Lai's (1999) finding that access to peripheral learning opportunities may be an important way to differentiate instruction for the minority of students for whom that is important. Based on the positive affective connections to the TSCs that students described in conjunction with aspects of the TSCs they had discovered on their own, they seemed to be more invested and attached to what they had discovered on their own than to the information learned through other means. If this is true across other DIAL experiences, it would be important for teachers to recognize and honor this type of learning, and to assess the a ccuracy of it. There are two other important differences between those studies and this one. First, in the cited studies that decry discovery learning (Dean & Kuhn, 2007; Klahr & Nigam, 2004; Novak & Musonda, 1991) the learning takes place in contextually impoverished learning environments contrived experiences in classrooms. This study suggests that the context and the environment are critical contributors to this type of learning. How could discovery learning be effective when there is nothing to actu ally discover? The second and more important difference between those studies and this one is that the discovery aspect was considered in isolation and in contrast to directed

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275 learning while in this study, the interaction between facilitated and periphera l learning opportunities emerged as the most important learning pattern for the students in these DIAL cases. This study confirms that discovery learning or peripheral learning opportunities alone were not highly effective for most students but to think o f the issue in such a dichotomous manner misses the point that peripheral learning was one effective tool for some students and when facilitated and peripheral opportunities were available to students in conjunction, the most powerful learning seemed to em erge. Although the facilitated learning opportunities were more associated with cognitive learning across the cases, it is important to consider the needs of the individuals who did not fit those patterns. If these trends that wer e consistent across the cases a re also consistent across the wider population, DIAL practitioners would need to keep in mind the importance of the teachers' facilitation on student learning but also recognize that some students may benefit from an alternative, peripheral path to knowledge development. D eeper learning seemed to most often come from learning processes that included both facilitated and peripheral opportunities, often in the pattern of peripheral opportunities providing the keystone event that made sense of the facil itated learning. This may be due to the types of learning and cognition that were associated with each. Students reported cognitive understanding more often with facilitated opportunities and affective understanding more often through peripheral means. It seems then, that the combination of facilitated and peripheral opportunities tends to result in a more holistic understanding that involves a personal connection as well as external information. Students gained declarative or schematic knowledge but al so contextualized the information and gave it relevance. Students were able to combine the canonical

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276 knowledge gained through facilitation with their own observations and affective connections. They could make connections that were personally relevant. Because students were immersed in authentic contexts while receiving instruction along the way, they could quickly move back and forth between the facilitated and peripheral allowing for both inductive and deductive learning processes to build their knowle dge. This pattern of learning that includes both personal constructions of knowledge and a heavy influence from the learning environment, particularly the social aspects of it, is in agreement with the idea of situated constructivism presented in earlier c hapters. The learning for these students was neither a "person solo" (Perkins, 1993) gathering and processing of information nor an entirely social construction of knowledge, but an interplay of both elements, situated within a physical, geographical spac e. It was a "person plus" (Perkins, 1993) system with a spectrum of learning from highly individual sourcing of knowledge development to highly social constructions. Within that spectrum, however, the deepest learning seemed to be associated with the con struction of knowledge that included both elements in conjunction, although not necessarily at the same time. When students described their understanding of concept relationships and described learning events across the person solo/person plus spectrum, t hey most often described the events as temporally distinct but conceptually linked. The situated and constructivist aspects of learning seemed to be integral rather than distinct processes. The lesson in these findings is that both facilitated and periphe ral learning were critical for these DIAL experiences. It was important for teachers to lecture, guide student observations in the field, create contextualized demonstrations, and facilitate discussions, but it was also important for students to have oppo rtunities to explore the

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277 environment and discover evidence on their own. Case 4, which had by far the greatest learning gains, had a much higher proportion of undirected time within the DIAL experience than did the other cases, but also provided students instruction, largely through guided observations. Because each student was picking out their own peripheral opportunities that were meaningful to them, it seemed advantageous that there were a wide variety of opportunities available to them. In Case 3, w ith essentially zero gain in learning, students had very little opportunity for peripheral learning due to the short duration and a sequence of events that was described by the teacher as being highly scripted. Of course, there were other factors identifi ed in this study that may have contributed to the difference in gains between Cases 3 and 4 but the difference in peripheral learning opportunities may have contributed as well. Although students involved in these DIAL experiences were using peripheral con text cues for their learning, just knowing how to make use of those opportunities may have had its genesis in the facilitated. Guided observation, for example, may have become internalized to the point where the practice was personally useful, a process d escribed by Vygotsky (1978) Seen in other terms, by working within a community of practice, students seemed to be observing through legitimate peripheral participation until they were competent enough to make meaningful observations on their own in more expert ways (Lave & Wenger, 1988). The students who relied most heavily on the peripheral learning opportunities were those students who had either high or particularly low background knowledge (based on pretest). The former seemed like it led to product ive learning while the latter led to observations and experiences that students could not easily connect to big picture science concepts. This study suggests that the

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278 balance between facilitated and peripheral learning opportunities in DIAL should not be a fixed formula but may depend on the level of expertise of the class and individual students. It may be helpful for students to be scaffolded/facilitated through the process of how to effectively take advantage of peripheral learning opportunities though it seems unproductive in most educational settings that the balance should ever move to entirely peripheral learning opportunities, certainly not in DIAL if the data presented here are an indication. It is also important to reiterate that facilitated ins truction is not synonymous with classroom instruction. As shown in these four cases there are ways to facilitate learning that are not typically associated with classroom learning such as impromptu observations of the environment, and it seems conceivable that a creative classroom science teacher could foster opportunities for students to discover peripheral learning within the classroom. The data presented here indicate that it is important in DIAL to heavily rely on the context of the environment but to also use demonstration, and guided observations along with the occasional lecture. Experiential Learning Theory in general, and the cyclical models of learning in particular (Chapman, et al., 1992; Kolb, et al., 2000) rely on students making sense of thei r experience through reflection. This study suggests that individual reflection, while important, may not be as effective as teachers more directly helping students to understand the connections between abstract ideas and the students' experiences, often in what could be described as social reflection. Although a controlled study would be helpful in comparing these avenues for making connections, students across these four cases were more likely to report the role of teachers in facilitating the students' making of connections than they reported making connections on their own, particularly in writing.

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279 If this were to hold true across other DIAL experiences teachers would need to rely heavily on formative assessment so they may be aware of where each stud ent falls on this spectrum and so they can give more exploratory freedom to those students who will benefit from it and more supports to help students who are struggling with making those connections. Although it was important for students to pick up pers onally meaningful information peripherally, facilitation was almost always required to help students see how that information fit into the big picture. Teachers also need to be aware of the metaphors that students are picking up directly from the environ ment. While these metaphors can be powerful learning devices that the teachers in all of the cases used well, they can also lead to misconceptions, as was the case for students in Cases 1 and 2 who confused behavioral and evolutionary adaptations. The role of novelty in field trip learning has been shown to be both beneficial and problematic in that it heightens awareness and engagement but also compromises task oriented learning (Falk, et al., 1978; Martin, et al., 1981; Orion & Hofstein, 1994) In all of the cases described novelty was interpreted as being important for developing student interest, even for students who came into the experiences disinterested. Student curiosity led them to explore further, even if those explorations were not directly associated with the concepts they were intended to learn. In all but Case 3, there was some element of risk and therefore distraction associated with the novelty. However, for every student who mentioned the feelings of risk, they described a transition from threat to understanding that occurred over time. Trying to connect content to context, facilitated to peripheral, may be ineffective when the novelty space is too high but once students

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280 have adjusted to the novel situation, they may be poised for muc h deeper learning, armed with the contextual inputs. This process seems to be important for DIAL as the time exists for students to make this transition. Teachers who use DIAL can allow the novelty to engage the students but then use that novelty to deli ver the lessons, as all of the teachers in this study did. Facilitating that transition was important as students in Case 4 did not tend to notice much beyond the sensational aspects of the environment until they had moved past the novelty space. A bette r understanding of the process and the time required to effectively use it deserves further study. Environmental Components Through pattern matching during cross case analysis, the findings of this study supported some aspects of the conceptual framework (Appendix B) and did not support others when considering the contributions of the environment to the DIAL process. These are discussed in the following sections. Social Interactions and Cultural Elements The environmental components did not contribute eq ually to learning across the four cases of the study. The students in these cases associated their learning more heavily with social interactions than with any of the other components. The heavy emphasis on the social aspects of learning are in agreement with situative conceptions of learning (e.g. Brown, et al., 1989; Cole & Engestršm, 1993; Rogoff, 1990; Vygotsky, 1978) as well as theories that could be called situated constructivism (e.g. Cobb & Yackel, 1996; Pea, 1993; Perkins, 1993) As in many educ ational settings, there was a very heavy reliance on teacher centered interactions where the teacher was the dispenser of knowledge.

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281 Students seemed to value that traditional relationship. However, students and teachers described and I observed in Case 4, teachers adopting non traditional roles as they acted more as experts, interacted with other experts, modeled learning for the students, and acted in non instructional roles, as also observed by Lai (1999) and DeWitt & Hohenstein (2010) It is important to understand the role of social interactions in DIAL. When thinking about examples of DIAL experiences, including those in this study, it is easy to think of the exotic physical or geographical settings or the non traditional academic activities in whic h students are engaged. All of this is important to DIAL but the social interactions, particularly the teacher centered instruction, seem to be of critical importance to the learning of the content knowledge. Context is important but the teachers largely provided the primary conceptual connections between the environment and the learners' experiences. The findings of this study suggest that social interactions were an important mediating factor (Vygotsky, 1978; Wertsch, 2007) for the cultural and emotio nal components. Based on student perceptions of their learning processes, the cultural and emotional environments seemed to contribute very little directly to the learning of the content but it was clear that there were emotional and cultural contribution s to learning associated with the other identified components: Social Interactions, Physical Environment, and Tools. This suggests that environmental contributors to DIAL may be operating at different levels and in different ways as they influence the con text vehicle. Though not specifically addressed in this study, cultural norms must have contributed heavily to establishing the relationships with a given group. That is, all of the social

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282 interactions are based on cultural foundations and influenced by t he emotional environments. Both Dewitt & Hohenstein (2010) and Lai (1999) found that power structures between teachers and students as well as relationships between them changed on field trips. This also seemed to be true for these DIAL experiences. I n all of the cases students had interacted with the teachers as both classroom teachers and during the DIAL experiences of the study. A number of students reported that they appreciated the more informal affect of their teachers and how they appreciated s eeing their teachers learn alongside them. The relationship between teachers and local experts in Cases 3 and 4 (as described by teachers, students and observed in the field) also seemed to change the learning environment by modeling expert dialog and a c ulture of professional interaction as scientists. A more in depth look at these relationships would add much to our understanding of DIAL and science education and thus deserves attention in future research. One of the more surprising findings regarding t he role of social interactions in learning was the almost universal agreement amongst students that they had learned little or nothing from their peers. Students did not report being distracted by social relations and tensions, as reported by Smith et al. (2010) in a study of high school science camps run as part of the public school curriculum in New Zealand. Based on a comparison between student interview data and my field observations of Case 4 regarding peer interactions, it seems that student learnin g may be influenced heavily by peers but they do not seem to recognize that influence. In many cases students shared information with each other, generated interest in a TSC, and discussed content knowledge together. This

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283 was an ongoing process in Case 4 and so it is unclear if those students did not recognize these as learning processes, did not remember the encounters, or if there was some other factor that led students to believe they were not learning from each other. Again, further investigation is warranted. There are three primary implications of these findings on social interactions for DIAL learning, centered around the idea that teachers need to recognize the importance of their role in the process. It is not enough to simply provide the conte xt or the experience for students. Teachers must (1) guide students through the process, (2) directly provide information for the students to interpret in context, and (3) help students make connections between their experience and targeted information. T he use of local science experts was a useful tool in many ways but it was also important for teachers to help students make sense of the experts' information and see how it fit into the big picture. Although the majority of data in this study did not sugg est a strong peer influence on learning, the discrepancy between field and interview data suggest that it should be considered as potentially important. Physical Environment The physical environment was the second component that directly contributed many contextual cues to the individual learners as they elaborated their understandings of the TSCs. This is in contrast to existing research and one of the more important findings of this study. To repeat a previous quote, "the physical environment does not so much increase learning when it is excellent as inhibit it when it is poor" (Tessmer & Richey, 1997, p. 96) This was absolutely not the case in these DIAL experiences. Rather, students picked up much important information directly from the physical e nvironment as

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284 they developed their understandings of the TSCs. At times the teachers guided the students' observations and at times the students noted examples of TSCs and relationships on their own. In many cases these context cues were described by stu dents helping to develop complete pictures of the concepts or understand the ideas in a broader context. Often these context cues from the physical environment became keystone events that allowed a given student to finally understand a concept they had be en wrestling with or understand it at a much deeper, even schematic level. The physical environment provided context cues through all of the senses and allowed students to embody some of the concepts in ways that could not be done in an abstracted way. Seeing examples of TSCs was described as important, as was the association of information with geographic places. For students there was something categorically different about direct experience with the physical environment that allowed them to understan d the concepts in ways that they could not when the information was entirely abstract. This you had to be there" effect was described as important by most of the students in the study as they listed the many ways in which they felt that direct experience provided some level of information that was different than they could access through other means. though they had trouble defining the mechanism behind it. Students struggled with explaining why that was so categorically different but their descriptions suggest that this effect might have something to do with trusting one's own senses more than secondary information (even if implicitly) and the ability to judge scale and complexity which cannot be done through description or recorded media. This is certa inly another area that needs further study.

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285 The significant role of the physical environment in DIAL was an important finding. DIAL hinges on the idea that students should be deeply immersed in authentic contexts to enhance learning. If the physical set ting of a place does not contribute to learning then there is little sense in the logistical and financial difficulties associated with providing many DIAL experiences. This study overwhelmingly showed that students were using the physical environment to support the learning of conceptual knowledge and in a number of ways that were not available through other means. The implications of this finding are clear for the implementation of DIAL experiences: the choice of the physical environment in which the e xperience takes place is critically important. Although logistically challenging, bringing students into an authentic context, conceptually linked to a relevant context, seems to be a powerful way to add depth and relevance to science learning. Conversel y, it may make more sense to match the teaching to existing contexts, making use of schoolyards and even school buildings as the context to teach ecology or engineering principles, for example, so that the physical environment can be effectively utilized t o support science learning and it is no longer seen simply as a source of distraction. Tools Tools, including predominantly traditional academic tools, made up the third category of environmental components that contributed cues directly to the formation of a context vehicle. However, tools did not contribute to learning as heavily as social interactions and the physical environment. The students in Case 4 had no required reading, and very little access to other tools, and yet they showed the most learn ing. It seems plausible that the role of tools could be more substantial in other cases of DIAL,

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286 such as an experience that is more heavily driven by text based source material or an experience in which the context is a working science lab. The distinctio n between academic and non academic tools in the original conceptual framework was not borne out in the data. Tools either contributed to learning or they did not, regardless of the intentionality behind them and students rarely saw non academic tools as directly contributing to their learning. Ballantyne & Packer (2010) reported that students prior to field trips had very low interest in using tools such as worksheets during the trip and reported them as among the least useful for learning after the trip Students in this study did not necessarily report academic tools as being particularly exciting to them, but they did often discuss them as important aspects of their learning. Perhaps one difference is that the students in this study tended to use or access tools when they needed them (e.g. dichotomous keys, thermometers) or saw the tools as helping them understand what they were observing in the field (e.g. readings, videos). This may have added the relevance that was lacking for the students in the Ballantyne & Packer (2010) study. In agreement with Orion & Hofstein (1994) the use of readings and preparatory materials was valued by the students who had them (Cases 1,2,3), allowing them to interpret the environment once there, but this did not seem t o be critical, as evidenced by large changes in knowledge structures for Case 4 students despite the lack of such materials. The implications for DIAL are that tools should be chosen and used very carefully. Educators are used to relying very heavily on tools such as books and computers to deliver information. Certainly this role still exists for tools in DIAL but a more important role might be in helping students interpret the information that is already

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287 present in the environment. Tools should be used to preface an experience but not so much that the information supersedes the students' experience. Tools should be ready on an on demand basis so that students can bridge their own experience with established scientific knowledge. Of course, this proces s needs to be modeled and facilitated by the teacher, particularly at first. Individual Role and Emotional Environment Although I originally conceptualized the role of the individual and the emotional environment as different elements in the DIAL conceptua l framework (Appendix B), the findings of this study indicated tha t they were more blended. Largely the role of the individual seemed to be bringing all of the environmental components together. The emotional environment, apparent during the field study but rarely reported by students, seemed to be influencing learning as more of a background element than as a direct contributor much like the cultural environment The emotional / affective elements of learning were expressed by students as individual ra ther than environmental factors. When there were instances that could be considered as influenced by the emotional environment, that influence was mediated by the social interactions and physical environment components. For example, the comb jellies or do lphins in Case 4 were emotional highs that were mediated by the physical environment (Wertsch, 2007) Perhaps the most significant role of the individual was indexing the knowledge distributed throughout the environment and within the mental representati ons of that individual, as described in situated constructivism (Brown, et al., 1989; Cobb & Yackel, 1996; Perkins, 1993) Although the teachers often helped students to make connections between concepts, the environment, and student experiences (past, pr esent, and future), it

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288 was up to each student to determine their relevance, accept those connections, or build on them to incorporate past learning or their own unique perspectives. This indexing was strengthened through the interactions of peripheral and facilitated learning opportunities as students readily built contextual understanding around TSCs by associating them with events, places, visual examples, embodied experiences, and communicated information. Each student created these elaborate context v ehicles by incorporating many elements of the learning environment though teachers often facilitated the connection making process. This conception of the context vehicle is reflected in the conceptual framework but the role of the individual learner is p robably more active than originally proposed. In the framework the learner adds context back into the learning environment through reflection, a central theme in Experiential Learning Theory (Chapman, et al., 1992; Kolb, 1984) The results of this study made it clear that the role of the individual is more significant than simply reflecting. When one considers the emotional reactions, reflection, reasoning, and indexing that students seemed to be doing consistently throughout the learning process, it was clear that this role was what unified the information into a rational, whole context vehicle. The case of the novelty space (Falk, et al., 1978; Orion & Hofstein, 1994) is a good example of how the individual has a pivotal and flexible role in DIAL. Nove lty can be seen as recognition that the context cues are unfamiliar to the learner and in need of assimilation into her existing schemata or adjustment of her schemata (Rumelhart & Ortony, 1977) Students often described this process as involving an emoti onal response as well as a heightened sense of engagement for them, though perhaps this was engagement in the event rather than in the TSC. Although the affective sphere includes

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289 more than engagement, this study's results do agree with past work showing th e ties between engagement and cognitive learning (Ballantyne, et al., 2001; Bogner, 1999; Chapman, et al., 1992; Jakubowski, 2003; Shellman & Ewert, 2010) The field study data from Case 4 confirmed student descriptions showing that once the novelty wore off and the experience became de sensationalized, the relationship to the context changed and both the learning and understanding also changed character. When the learner was taking in information in reaction to a perceived threat (avalanche, pythons, col d) his reaction seemed to be more emotional and though students still described context during those heightened emotional events, there seemed to be a disassociation from the TSCs. Once the sense of threat or excitement wore off, students were open to new types of context cues which they did not seem to perceive during the heightened emotional period. Some emotional connection helped engage the students in the TSCs but too much, either positive or negative, seemed to temporarily hinder content learning. It is possible that these heightened emotional events changed the course of future learning for students when the situation was de sensationalized but it was not clear from this study. Further study is needed in this area. The most important implication o f these findings is that teachers who use DIAL need to be cognizant of the individualization of the learning. When the environment is so complex physically, emotionally, socially, and conceptually, students are working with much more information than they are in a typical classroom learning environment. What's more, students are potentially associating all of this information with the target knowledge. Science teachers using DIAL experiences need to recognize and capitalize on this environmental diversit y and use highly individualized formative assessments to

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290 make sure each individual student is developing their knowledge in ways that agree with scientifically accepted understanding. Contextualization The results of this study confirmed that the students did associate many context cues with the target knowledge and used them for indexing (Perkins, 1993) and recall. The contextualization of the target knowledge happened in a number of key ways. First, students acquired real world visual examples of the con cepts they were tasked with learning and could use these to recall and articulate their understanding of the concepts. By seeing the concepts and processes illustrated in authentic contexts, students could pick out subtleties based on a series of observat ions or note how the concept was not the clean and precise concept it might have appeared to be when first hearing about it. In short, they were able to develop more expert representations of the concept by understanding the context that was now bound to the target concepts. In addition to visual representations students also seemed to be adding geographical references to the contextualization process an idea that was not found through the literature review and not accounted for in the conceptual framew ork. When asked about a given topic, students often referred to the geographical place where that concept was most clearly illustrated for them. However, this was truer for the cases in which there was much geographical variety such as Case 4 in which st udents were constantly on the move and each place was substantially different than the others. Thus, geographical association was important for those students in contextualizing their knowledge. In Case 2, the students experienced much less variety and, in turn, they spoke more generally about place and did not seem to associate specific concepts with

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291 specific places. This is an important finding in that the role of geographical contextualization has not come up in the science education literature but it may be a useful tool in helping students to understand and contrast concepts. By highlighting the connections between specific places and concepts, teachers could help students recall ideas and develop common understanding. Through all sources of context ualization there was an observed relationship between the level of contextualization and the level of learning across the cases, as shown by the Pathfinder results and the student interviews. As in Rivet and Krajcik (2008) contextualization was tied to l ea rning. C ontextualization did much more than help students see how a concept could be applied in the real world, it actually helped the students understand the concepts and helped them to develop knowledge structures that were closer to the way experts organized their knowledge. The contextualization led to more expert concept knowledge structures, in part by helping the students to see how the various concepts were interrelated in the real world and giving the students a basis for deciding how related two topics were. This was particularly evident in the described cases of student PFnets in which a concept was entirely unconnected in the pretest and then connected in a manner that agreed with the expert referent in the post test. In all of those cases interviewed students accurately described their new understanding of the concepts and did so by framing them in the authentic contexts in which they were learned and could be applied. Students were able to learn about a discrete concept but then observe the concept within the entire ecosystem. This is perhaps the most important and broadly applicable finding from the study. Authentic contextualization is a powerful pedagogical tool that can significantly enhance

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292 science learning. The levels of contextual ization found in this study through DIAL, though not directly comparable, seemed to far exceed those found in classroom centered, problem based learning activities (Rivet & Krajcik, 2004a, 2004b, 2008) During the DIAL experiences it seems that there were vastly more opportunities to access contextual information from the authentic environment than can be done through more abstract means in the classroom. Providing opportunities for students to generate contextualized understanding of science concepts may have many applications beyond DIAL experiences though it is unclear if this level of contextualization is possible without DIAL and this too deserves further study. Revised Conceptual Framework The process of pattern matching analysis in case study resear ch tests a theoretical conceptualization against relevant data collected from multiple sources (Yin, 2009) In the current study the DIAL conceptual framework (Appendix B) was built based on relevant learning theory and past findings in contextualized lea rning. Based on the discussion above, some elements of that framework were supported by the data and some were not. In order to illustrate those differences a revised conceptual framework is shown in Figure 6.1 and is shown side by side with the original framework in Appendix B, to reflect the results of this study. The purpose of this revised framework is not to definitively say that DIAL writ large is more accurately reflected by the new framework but that it more accurately reflects the findings of th is study. It is my hope that these two versions of the framework will form the foundation of future study and that future work will continue to test the patterns illustrated in both as we better develop our understanding of contextualized learning and DIA L. In this section I highlight the

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293 changes in the framework and discuss how the results of this study led to those changes or to maintaining original elements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e#/.8$)9%4 F%'($)%*"%+ U"*)$7 W%4"<(%8 c">3"/+(%8 @)%%"/+(%8 F*)+(%8 );"&+""@&,//"$:'1%&->#C" /'>&!"#$%'%(&?$1>":: &

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294 One of the changes to the framework is the reduction in the nu mber of components directly contributing to the context vehicle. A situative learning perspective (e.g. Brown, et al., 1989; Greeno, et al., 1996) suggests that all elements within any given context are contributing to learning, as was reflected in the or iginal framework. The results of this study suggest that those components may be contributing in different ways. Social interactions, tools, and cues from the physical environment all seemed to directly contribute to context cues that students associated directly with the TSCs they learned. In contrast, students made only vague references to the cultural and emotional environments as they described their understanding of concepts or the ways in which they felt they had learned new content though the fie ld study data suggested these elements were operating in the background of the learning process. For this reason, the new framework shows the cultural and emotional environment components as background elements that have the potential to indirectly impact the other aspects These background elements probably influence the entire process and become elaborated into a learner's representations (memory) through mediation by social interactions and tools as previously discussed. This idea agrees closely with V ygotsky's (1978) description of the learning process along with other situative learning theorists (Brown, et al., 1989; Brown & Duguid, 1996; Cole & Engestršm, 1993; Greeno, 1991; Lave & Wenger, 1991; Pea, 1993; Perkins, 1993; Rogoff, 1990; Wertsch, 2007) Although the student interview data did not support this, the revised conceptual framework (figure 6.1) maintains these elements because they are so consistently represented in learning theory, the field study

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295 data did support their inclusion, and one of the goals of this new framework is to encourage future research and these are elements that clearly deserve further study. Based on student descriptions of their learning, three components of the environment were regularly and directly associated with the learning of the TSCs: social interactions, the physical environment, and tools. A fourth component, the individual learner's contribution was also important but seemed to be of a different nature, one of processing rather than contributing new informatio n. The three external components were reconfigured on the revised framework to reflect a number of findings from this study. First, the (now) three contextualizing environmental components are represented as three different sizes to indicate the degree t hat each seems to contribute to DIAL. Social interactions contribute most heavily, followed by the physical environment, and then tools. The proportional sizes of the environmental components in the conceptual framework should be seen as somewhat flexibl e and the contributions each one makes to DIAL should be tested across a wider range of DIAL experiences. Another distinction in the revised framework as compared to the original is the connectivity of the environmental components. The original framework acknowledged that the various components all became mingled as overall context but the results of the study indicated that the components were interrelated at a process level as well. Social interactions, for example, changed based on the physical setting while the interpretation of the physical setting was dependent on social interactions, particularly guidance from the teachers. Tool use was almost entirely driven by social interactions, again predominantly based on guidance from the teachers. To accou nt for this connectivity, all of the components are now grouped together as a body of sources that together create

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296 multi faceted context cues for the learner. This higher degree of connectivity is also more in keeping with a situated perspective of learni ng. In the original conceptual framework, each environmental component was represented as having equal contributions from facilitated and peripheral learning opportunities. The revised framework indicates both the dominance of facilitated opportunities as well as the interaction of both facilitated and peripheral opportunities in forming context cues for learning. A final and important change to the framework reflects the greater and multi faceted role of the individual learner in the DIAL process, showin g the role as not simply reflection but indexing, emoting, and making connections between all of the other elements of the learning environment. Limitations This study provides a view into how students use the components of a learning environment to deve lop conceptual science knowledge. By looking at multiple cases, one can get a better sense of how trends hold up in diverse settings. However, there are infinite variables that go into any DIAL experience and each experience is therefore unique. The abi lity to generalize is limited by this fact and thus this study should be seen as a testing of the conceptual framework, a first step into exploring DIAL, rather than a definitive account of the DIAL process. A fundamental limitation of the study is that it relied largely on self report of student learning experiences. Although the assessment driven interviews helped students to recall learning events, it is still unrealistic to assume that their meta cognitive processes would recognize all aspects of lea rning. I can be more confident in reporting what did contribute to DIAL in these cases than in ruling out elements that did not. This

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297 study should be seen as a report on some contributors to DIAL rather than all contributors. Similarly, the relative imp ortance of each environmental contributor to learning reflects students' perceptions to a large degree as was shown by the disconnect between field study data and interview data regarding the role of peer contributions to learning. The reliance on stickin g close to students' own accounts of their experiences was used to increase the trustworthiness of the account (Creswell, 2007) but it also adds these inherent limitations. The sampling design also limited this study, particularly for th e quantitative aspe cts Larger samples within each case would have allowed a more robust comparison between them. The intensity sample likely introduced a level of bias into the results. All of the schools were independent schools and all but Case 1 served white, middle t o upper SES students. Although Case 1 represented a diverse and generally low SES subsample, there are a number of selection mechanisms within the school that alter the make up of the student body. Further, almost all of the students had specifically cho sen to participate in the DIAL experiences. If the DIAL experiences had been implemented in a school where not all of the students were excited about the experience, the results might have been quite different. There was some suggestion of that in Case 3 with one or two students who were not as engaged. Though case selection was limited in this study to outdoor learning of ecology, DIAL is conceptualized more broadly and it is likely that DIAL manifests differently when the context changes substantially. Caution should be used in how the results are generalized to other populations. Analysis of the data could have been strengthened with multiple coders and the creation of a coding system that was cooperatively created and tuned. A measure of

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298 inter rat er reliability would have strengthened the trustworthiness of the study. Similarly, the use of member checking was more limited than what would have been ideal. Students were able to review the PFnets to confirm that they truly reflected how they organiz ed their knowledge but due to the timing of the analysis coinciding with the schools' summer breaks and the lack of a database to t r ack students when they left these programs, it was not practical to conduct further member checking. The Pathfinder process also has a number of limitations. First, it is a fluid assessment that could be expected to fluctuate to a small degree even in repeated measures with the same subject. The referents used are based on expert knowledge that is also somewhat fluid. Acton et al. (1994) showed that the average of expert responses was the best metric to determine student learning but that within the experts there could be significant differences. As such, the expert referents should not be seen as an absolute benchmark of co rrect answers but as a guide with which to judge general changes. As the sample size increases the csim scores are more telling but qualitative examinations of the PFnets are probably more valuable at the individual student level It also seems that ther e may have been a ceiling effect with the assessments. In two of the cases, there seemed to be a csim value that may have reached a maximum. Within this study the use of the Pathfinder assessments would have been strengthened with a more formal instrum ent validation process. The role of facilitation in this study was important but it was treated as either contributing or not. Clearly there is wide variety in what facilitation looks like along with associated efficacies and this was not taken into acc ount in this study. Class size was also an issue not only from the perspective of small sample sizes but also because it

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299 most likely affected the interactions between students and teacher student interactions, both of which were shown to contribute to lea rning in this study. It seems likely that some of these dynamics would change as class size increased. Contributions This work represents a number of contributions to the fields of science education, learning theory, and experiential education. First, the DIAL construct and the two associated conceptual frameworks define a heretofore undefined but practiced pedagogical approach to contextualized science (and other disciplines) education. In providing a way to conceptualize DIAL, practitioners and resea rchers have a more defined starting point from which to manipulate and test the various aspects of it. The data presented in this study suggest some trends within the framework that can also provide some guidance in how teachers might approach DIAL to enh ance student learning and guidance to researchers for areas that need further study. As outlined in Chapter Two, the fields of experiential learning and contextualized science education suffer from a lack of empirical evidence on if and how the learning o f content knowledge occurs as a result of these pedagogical approaches. This study does provide both quantitative and qualitative evidence to show that science concept learning did take place for most of the participating students and outlines how those s tudents interacted with their learning environments to lead to that learning. This study was based on a theoretical foundation that encompasses both cognitive and situative conceptions of learning in a manner that is gaining traction in learning theory li terature and discussions (Cobb & Bowers, 1999; Greeno, et al., 1996; Pea, 1993; Perkins, 1993; Salomon, 1993a, 1993b) but also needs further empirical testing. The

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300 cases studied here provided strong support for this idea of "situated c onstructivism" showi ng that the r e was an ever present interaction between the individual and environmental learning processes as students built their concept knowledge within the given domains. This study illustrated an evaluation tool that could be used by both practitioner s and researchers to measure the efficacy of DIAL experiences or other similarly open learning environments. The Pathfinder algorithm proved to be an effective tool to measure conceptual knowledge within the content domain of each class that allowed conte nt specific feedback but also seemed to be responsive to multiple ways of knowing or contextualizing the given concepts. Pathfinder has much potential for future use as an assessment or evaluation tool in many aspects of experiential and contextualized ed ucation and addresses the dearth of rigorous assessment tools typically available for these pedagogical approaches. The Pathfinder algorithm and the resulting graphics of structural knowledge (PFnets) were shown to have much potential for mixed method s research. The quantitative nature of the process allowed for meaningful statistical analysis of the sample while the highly individualized graphic results shown in this study provided for an efficient interview process that allowed the questions to imme diately focus on each students' individualized knowledge structures. Overall this study introduced a new line of research into DIAL, a newly defined approach to learning contextualized academic content through immersion in a relevant learning environmen t. The implications of this line of research extend beyond the practice of DIAL and have the potential to inform science and other disciplinary

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301 education from the field to the classroom as we come to better understand the learning process in contextualize d, authentic learning environments. Recommendations for Future Research Because this study was largely exploratory, it generated more questions than answers, providing much fodder for future research. Probably the most needed study in this line of inquir y would be a large scale, comparative study of DIAL and a more traditional approach with matched curricula and students. The most direct offshoot of this study should be the further testing and adjusting of the original and revised conceptual frameworks ( Appendix B). It was developed based on theoretical constructs and adjusted based on the results of this multiple case study but there are a number of related questions that still need to be answered: 1. Facilitated and peripheral learning opportunities: a. Do s tudents interpret or value information differently when it comes from facilitated versus peripheral sources? b. Can a learning environment with more peripheral than facilitated learning opportunities be as effective under the right conditions or with more adv anced learners? c. How do variable approaches to facilitation affect DIAL? d. How can facilitation be used to enhance peripheral learning? e. Do the relative benefits of peripheral and facilitated learning opportunities shift with the expertise of the students? Do es expertise allow for greater learning potential from peripheral learning opportunities?

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302 f. Are there identifiable characteristics of individual students that would allow practitioners to predict whether facilitated or peripheral learning opportunities are m ore likely to be effective for them? 2. Contributions of the environmental components: a. Are all of the environmental components needed to lead to effective contextualization or can it be achieved with just one ore two? b. How consistent are the proportional con tributions of the environmental components across DIAL experiences? c. Why do students not readily recognize peer to peer learning in DIAL? Is this common across DIAL experiences? d. How do teacher expert interactions affect learning in DIAL settings? e. When stu dents index their learning in association with geographical places, what are the implications for long term recall? f. D o heightened emotional events occurring in context prime students for later learning? 3. Contextualization: a. Can the levels of contextualizatio n found in relation to the DIAL experiences be transferred to or fostered in classroom settings through creative facilitation by teachers and curricula? b. Why or how does one's physical presence in an authentic context change the way information is learned? What explains the y ou had to be there effect "?

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303 4. DIAL: a. Does the conceptual framework accurately model learning in other and different DIAL environments? b. When students focus their attention on new learning to the detriment of past learning, does that effec t attenuate over time or are students left with a skewed sense of importance? c. Are learning gains achieved through DIAL resilient over time and new learning? d. Is there a relationship between the duration of a DIAL event and the level or type of learning that students achieve? e. How does novelty space attenuate over the course of a DIAL experience and how does this impact learning? 5. Methodology: Are there predictable limits to the sensitivity of the Pathfinder algorithm and process? Chapter Six Summary In the fi nal chapter of this dissertation I discussed the findings of the study, following the two research questions. First I discussed the science concept learning that occurred in the four cases and concluded that although DIAL can lead to significant learning, the process and context do not automatically do so. There are variables that must be addressed well to increase the chances of student learning, as was shown in comparing Case 3 (zero growth) to the other cases Those variables were discussed and a rev ision of the study's conceptual framework was presented as a result. Although facilitated learning opportunities were more often associated with science concept

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304 learning, both peripheral and facilitated learning opportunities were important for DIAL, each contributing different qualities to the learning process, and a synergistic effect seemed to lead to greater or deeper learning when they were used together. In agreement with past work, the social aspect of the learning environment proved to be the most important source of contextualizing cues. In contrast to the literature, the physical environment also proved to be an important direct contributor to learning. Tools were less so. Contextualization led to more expert knowledge structures, and occurred as a result of the individual learner indexing and making connections amongst all of the environmental components. The implications for DIAL teaching and further research were discussed.

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APPENDICES APPENDIX A : Important Terms and Abbreviations Concept Unit : The primary unit of analysis for this study. Defines a block of tran scribed interview in which a student describes a complete thread of the understanding of a given science concept DIAL : deep immersion academic learning, an approach to learning in which students are immersed within an real life, authentic context directly related to the subject being learned, usually for an extended period of time. ELT : Experiential Learning Theory Facilitated : Used in this dissertation to describe learning opportunities in which the teacher has a direct role in supporting the learning. Key stone Event : an event that allows a student to complete a conceptual picture of a concept and thereby develop a deeper understanding. Peripheral : Used in this dissertation to describe learning opportunities in which the teacher does not have a direct role in facilitation, in which the student discovers relevant knowledge on their own. PFnet: The graphical network output resulting from the Pathfinder algorithm and representing an individual's structural knowledge in a given domain. TSC : targeted science con cept, the concepts associated with the learning goals of each class involved in the study. They are contrasted with science concepts that may be important but were not specific learning goals of the course. 319

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320 APPENDIX B : Original and Revised Conceptual F rameworks !"#$%"$&"%'($)%*"%+ %"+-)$.,/)*0)%"%+1 2#/(3(+#+"4,1)/(#3,(%+"$#/+()%1 5"$(06"$#3,1)/(#3,( %+"$#/+()%1 ,,,, 2#/(3(+#+"4,0671(/#3,"%'($)%*"%+ ,,, 5 "$(06"$#3,0671(/#3,"%'($)%*"%+ 2(89$",e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321 2(89$",e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e#/.8$)9%4 F%'($)%*"%+ U"*)$7 W%4"<(%8 c">3"/+(%8 @)%%"/+(%8 F*)+(%8 );"&+"" @&,//"$:'1%&->#C"/'>&!"#$%'%(&?$1>":: &

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322 APPENDIX C : Student Interview Protocol Student # (teacher initials and #): Date: Class: C (pre/post/change): Part I Procedure: 1. Remind student about project, ability to opt out, non assessment. 2. Show student the second concept map and ask if it seems like an accurate representation. 3. Show student original map and point out major differences, one at a time (table below to be filled out before interview) Differences in pair scores or clu sters (list in order of decreasing significance) Notes i.e. ecosystem keystone +4 i.e. ecosystem highly linked i.e. in first map ecosystem was only connected to symbiosis (space expanded for actual use) 4. "Your relatedness score for concept X and Y changed quite a bit from the pre to the post (adjust to fit) does that seem accurate?" (space expanded for actual use) 5. Can you tell me about your present understanding of the concept(s)? (space expanded for actual use) 6. Why do you think that relation ship/understanding changed for you? (space expanded for actual use) 7. Move on to next concept. Part Two: clarify answers from part one and/or key experiences listed by teacher (focus on: physical emotional cultural env ; social interactions academic/no n academic tools & f acilitated vs. peripheral) Notes from part 1 to follow up with: (space expanded for actual use) Notes from Part two: (space expanded for actual use)

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323 APPENDIX D : Coded Interview S ample The following graphics are screen shots o f a student interview coded for this study using HyperRESEARCH qualitative analysis software. The graphics represent a series of concept units (the inferential unit of analysis) and the associated descriptive and pattern codes assigned. In practice all of these codes would not typically have been shown together. Rather, the codes of interest at any given point in the analysis would have been highlighted or compiled.

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328 APPENDIX E: Consent and Assent Forms Student Assent Form Date: Vali d for Use Through: Study Title: Investigating Learner Networks in Contextualized Science Learning Environments Principal Investigator: Michael Giamellaro, PhD Candidate Advisor: Dr. Deanna Sands HSRC No: 11 1708 Version Date: 3/28/12 Versi on No: Jeffco_3 Student Assent You are being asked to be in a research study. This form provides you with information about the study. Why is this study being done? The goal of this study is to better understand how high school students learn during e xperiential trips. About 90 students will participate in the study. Your class, led by teacher XXXXXX, has been asked to participate in the study because it is a good example of learning science during a long field trip. What will I need to do/ what can I expect if I agree to join this study? If you agree to participate in Level One of this study, you will be asked to fill out a form. The form allows a computer to create a diagram of how you organize your ideas about the class topics. You will be asked t o do this before and after the trip. Some students in the class will be randomly selected to be interviewed after the trip. Samples of your work from the class may be collected. If you agree to participate in Level Two of this study, a researcher will b riefly interview you during the trip. The researcher will use video, audio, photo and written recordings of trip events. You can ask that we erase any report about your learning that you do not agree with. You can ask us to erase any recording you do no t wish us to keep or use. What are the possible discomforts or risks? There are no physical, mental, legal or emotional risks in this study. What are the possible benefits of the study? Results of this study will help teachers and researchers understand h ow learning happens during field trips. You will receive copies of your before and after computer diagrams that you can use to see how your knowledge changed over the course of the trip.

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329 Who is p ay ing for this s tudy? This study does not have any externa l funding. Will I be paid for being in the study? Will I have to pay for anything? You will not be paid for participating in this study and i t will not cost you anything to be in the study. Is my participation voluntary? Taking part in this study is voluntary. You have the right to choose not to take part in this study. If you choose to take part, you have the right to stop at any time. Participating or not participating will no t affect in any way your grades or your re lationship with your teacher, school or school district. Who do I call if I have questions? If you have questions, you may call Michael Giamellaro at 720 352 4796 or email him at michael.giamellaro@ucdenver.edu. Your teacher can also provide you with more information. Who will see the research information? We will do everything we can to keep the re cords from this study a secret. The results from the research may be shared at meetings and in published articles. Your name will be kept private and a pseudo nym will be used to identify your words or work. Agreement to be in this study I have read this paper about the study or it was read to me. I understand the possible risks and benefits of this study. I know that participation in this study is voluntary. I agree to participate in Level One of the Study (pre/post test & possible interview)_____ initial here I agree to participate in Level Two of the Study (on trip interviews and observations)______ initial here I agree to be audio recorded during the study______ initial here I agree to be video recorded during the study______ initial here I agree to allowing my recorded voice or im age to be used in presentations ______ initial here Student Signature: Date: ___ Print Name:

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330 Parental Consent Form Date: 1/25/12 Valid for Use Through: 1/25/13 Study Title: Investigating Learner Networks in Contextualized Science Learning Environments Principal Investigator: Michael Giamellaro, PhD c andidate Advisor: Dr. Deanna Sands HSRC No: 11 1708 Version Date: Version No: Your son or daughter is being asked to be part of a research study and information will be collected about your child as part of this study. This form provides you with in formation about the study. Why is this study being done? The goal of this study is to better understand how high school students use their learning environment to learn science during extended field trips. Five teachers from different schools and 90 stud ents will participate in the study. Your daughter's/son's class, led by teacher XXXXXX, has been asked to participate in the study as it is a good example of this type of approach to learning science. What happens if I consent to my son or daughter joinin g this study? If you consent to allow your child to be included in this study, the following will occur: Your daughter/son will be asked to complete a survey before and after the trip. Changes in their responses between the before and after surveys will he lp show how much they have learned about the science in the class. Samples of your daughter's/son's class work may also be looked at. Your son/daughter may be briefly interviewed during or after the trip and observations of them may be audio or video reco rded during the trip. The class and the experience will not be different from normal, however some class events may be recorded. These recordings will make it easier to describe how students are learning in their environment. Names of students will be bl eeped out' in any recordings and changed when a written report is made. Students will have an opportunity to ask that any recording or observation is erased and not used. Any document for this study will be scanned into a computer, password protected and the hard copies will be destroyed. What are the possible discomforts or risks? There are no physical, mental, legal, social or economical risks with this study. Professional standards of protecting confidentiality will be followed; pseudonyms (fake name s) will be used; consent forms will be kept separately from the information we collect; information will be stored in a password protected electronic file or stored in a locked file cabinet. What are the possible benefits of the study? Results of this stu dy will be available to all educators to help them better understand how students' learn science during extended field trips. This should help educators to improve how they teach and support student learning. The teacher of this class may be able to use t he results to enhance his/her teaching of this class for the rest of the semester and in future years. Your daughter/son will be given a report showing the change in their knowledge from before to after the trip.

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331 Who is paying for this study? This study does not have any external funding. Will I be paid for being in the study? Will I have to pay for anything? Neither you nor your son/daughter will be paid to be in the study. It will not cost you anything to be in the study. Is my participation voluntary? Taking part in this study is voluntary. You have the right to choose not to let your daughter/son take part in this study. If you choose to take part, you have the right to stop at any time. Your son's/daughter's grade s will not be changed based on your decision to be in the study. Who do I call if I have questions? The researcher carrying out this study is Michael Giamellaro. If you have questions, you may call Michael at 720 352 4796 or email him at michael.giamellar o@ucdenver.edu. You can also call the Human Subject Research Committee (HSRC) at the University of Colorado Denver at 303 315 2732. Who will see the research information? We will do everything we can to keep the records from this study a secret. It cann ot be guaranteed. The consent form signed by you may be looked at by others. They are: Federal agencies that monitor human subject research Human Subject Research Committee at UCD The group doing the study Regulatory officials from the institution where t he research is being conducted who want to make sure the research is safe The results from the research may be shared at meetings and educator professional development opportunities. The results from the research may be in published articles. The name of your daughter/son will be kept private. Agreement to allow my son/daughter to be in this study I have read this paper about the study or it was read to me. I understand the possible risks and benefits of this study. I know that allowing my son/daughter to be filmed as part of this study is voluntary. I agree that my daughter/son may be audio recorded during the study______ initial here I agree that my daughter/son may be video recorded during the study______ initial here I agree that the r ecorded voice or image of my daughter/son may be used in academic presentations. _____ initial here Parent/Legal Guardian Signature: Date: ___ Print Name: Print Student Name: _________________________________________

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332 Teacher Co nsent Form Date: 1/25/12 Valid for Use Through: 1/25/13 Study Title: Investigating Learner Networks in Contextualized Science Learning Environments Principal Investigator: Michael Giamellaro, PhD Candidate Advisor: Dr. Deanna Sands HSRC No: 11 1708 Version D ate: 1/12/12 Version No: 2 Teacher Consent You are being asked to be in a research study. This form provides you with information about the study. Why is this study being done? The goal of this study is to better understand how high school students use different aspects of their learning environment to support their development of science concepts during immersive, experiential trips. Five teachers and 90 students will participate in the study. What happens if I consent to joining t his study? If you consent to allow yourself to be included in Level One of this study, students in your class will be given a concept map assessment before and after the trip experience and some of your students will be interviewed following the trip. If y ou consent to allow yourself to be included in Level Two of this study, a researcher will accompany and observe your class during the trip. You will be interviewed briefly before and after the trip. What are the possible discomforts or risks? There are no anticipated physical, psychological, legal or emotional risks in this study. What are the possible benefits of the study? Results of this study will be made available to all educators to help them better understand how components of experiential learning environments can contribute to students' concept development This should allow educators to highlight key contributors or shift the focus to better achieve learning targets when appropriate. This study holds promise for improving experiential education p ractice and increasing student achievement. Your par ticipation may also give you specific feedback into how elements of your class/program contributed to students' conceptual development You will be given the assessment results from your class within one month of test administration, which may be used in a formative manner. A full presentation of the results and implications of the study can be scheduled for your school/faculty

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333 Who is p ay ing for this s tudy? This study does not have any external funding. Will I be paid for being in the study? Will I have to pay for anything? You will not be paid for participating in this study and i t will not cost you anything to be in the study. Is my participation voluntary? Taking p art in this study is voluntary. You have the right to choose not to take part in this study. If you choose to take part, you have the right to stop at any time. Participating or not participating will no affect in any way your relationship with your schoo l or with the school district. Who do I call if I have questions? The researcher carrying out this study is Michael Giamellaro If you have questions, you may call Michael at 720 352 4796 or email him at michael.giamellaro@ucdenver.edu You can also call the Human Subject Research Committee (HSRC) at the University of Colorado Denver at 303 315 2732. Who will see the research information? We will do everything we can to keep the records from this study a secret. It cannot be guaranteed. The consent form signed by you may be looked at by others. They are: Federal agencies that monitor human subject research Human Subject Research Committee at UCD The group doing the study Regulatory officials from the institution where the research is being conducted who want to make sure the research is safe The results from the research may be shared at meetings and educator professional development opportunities. The results from the research may be in published articles. Your name and the names of your students will b e kept private. Agreement to be in this study I have read this paper about the study or it was read to me. I understand the possible risks and benefits of this study. I know that participation in this study is voluntary. I agree to participate in Leve l One of the Study (pre/post assessment & student interviews)_____ initial here I agree to participate in Level Two of the Study (class observed by a researcher)_ N/A ____ initial here Teacher Signature: Date: ___ Print Name:

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334 APPENDIX F : IRB Approval

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