See Related: Science PD Models
  1. Jacqueline Miller
  2. http://ltd.edc.org/people/jackie-miller
  3. Senior Research Scientist
  4. Electronic Teacher Guide: Its Development and Use in Supporting Educative Curricula
  5. Education Development Center
  1. Nevin Katz
  2. http://ltd.edc.org/people/nevin-katz
  3. Technical Associate
  4. Electronic Teacher Guide: Its Development and Use in Supporting Educative Curricula
  5. Education Development Center
  1. Katherine Paget
  2. http://ltd.edc.org/people/katherine-paget
  3. Senior Research Scientist
  4. Electronic Teacher Guide: Its Development and Use in Supporting Educative Curricula
  5. Education Development Center
Public Discussion
  • Icon for: Sean Smith

    Sean Smith

    Facilitator
    May 11, 2015 | 09:01 a.m.

    A picture really is worth a thousand words, and the coherence animation is no exception. I’m curious how the project has used the tool with teachers. For example, I can imagine teachers having very different experiences depending on their context. A teacher with an excellent instructional material might use the tool to reveal the material’s coherence. A teacher with an incoherent text may have a very different experience. Can the project shed light on how teacher context affects use of the animation?

  • Icon for: Katherine Paget

    Katherine Paget

    Co-Presenter
    May 12, 2015 | 10:24 a.m.

    Because this animation was the last “asset” we developed for the eTG, responses from only 3 teachers was obtained. A teacher from North Dakota wrote:“The emphasis on deeper learning…teachers need to cover less more deeply…this helped me think about how to show students that the information is connected.”This teacher of AP Bio used a few inherited traits with known DNA sequences and mutations to study chromosomes, the DNA sequences inheritance, meiosis.
    KP

  • Icon for: Brian Drayton

    Brian Drayton

    Co-Principal Investigator
    May 11, 2015 | 01:01 p.m.

    A thought provoking video, Jackie. I was thinking that if I were learning a complex set of ideas, my concept map part way through would have to be revised every time a new component was encountered. It’s not always clear how to know that one needs to reorganize one’s knowledge on the basis of some new information. In the history of biology, a lot about heritability and variation was worked out (and remains valid) pre Watson-Crick. Do you give the teachers the map of the Big Idea up front? Do they give it to the students?

  • Icon for: Jacqueline Miller

    Jacqueline Miller

    Presenter
    May 12, 2015 | 10:33 a.m.

    That is definitely one of the beauties of making mental maps. As a new concept is introduced the “mapmaker” has to rethink the concepts and how they relate to one another and the Big Idea. I’m sure that continual rethinking is part of the resulting deeper learning. The history of science, as you suggest, is a continual rethinking of ideas, how they connect, and even as a test of the validity of certain concepts. Our work with teachers in this area has been more on user testing our animations but in ensuing discussions they have made many suggestions based on the genetics big idea. The circulation of this tool has been very limited, but as it increases I would not be surprised if teachers share it with students. We have learned that teachers have been showing students some of the other tools designed for the teacher.

  • Icon for: Davida Fischman

    Davida Fischman

    Facilitator
    May 11, 2015 | 01:13 p.m.

    I wonder if these tools could be used directly with students? It seems that the process of constructing such a network of ideas would be a very valuable one for students. The discovery and articulation of connections, along with the realization that others might see the connections from a different perspective, could be a very powerful experience and help them develop a deeper understanding of the material.

    A second question: would it not be useful to utilize the connectors to provide a (very) brief description of the relationship between two ideas?

  • Icon for: Jacqueline Miller

    Jacqueline Miller

    Presenter
    May 12, 2015 | 10:25 a.m.

    We haven’t used this directly with students, just with teachers, but our experience with students and concept maps has been very successful. Students see that no two maps are exactly identical and they have a chance to understand different ways the connections can be made and the rationales behind their decisions. As a PD tool, teachers can make their connections and share them as a group, using the connectors to explain their thinking. Making mental maps among concepts and adding connectors could be a very informative assessment.

  • May 12, 2015 | 03:11 p.m.

    Thanks for your effective representation and use of coherence.

  • Icon for: Jacqueline Miller

    Jacqueline Miller

    Presenter
    May 12, 2015 | 04:46 p.m.

    Glad you liked it!

  • Icon for: Janet Kolodner

    Janet Kolodner

    Facilitator
    May 12, 2015 | 04:35 p.m.

    I’m thinking, Jackie, that this particular video might be really effective in getting teachers to think about the coherence of concepts. Is that what it is designed for? Sure, it gets across some of the coherence of concepts in genetics, but it seems more powerful as an example of what coherence looks like.

  • Icon for: Janet Kolodner

    Janet Kolodner

    Facilitator
    May 12, 2015 | 04:41 p.m.

    That being said, …

    1. I wonder if the particular shape of the coherence graph shown here — a big concept at the top, a set of concepts that make up the big one underneath, and for each of those, a set of concepts that makes up each — is overly emphasized here. There could be connections between the subconcepts in the lowest row of the hierarchy. I wonder if you are giving teachers the idea that at that level, there are not explicit connections and overlaps.

    2. I wonder where there is space in concept hierarchies of this type for discussing progression towards understanding and developmentally-appropriate incomplete understandings of concepts. For example, in the middle school genetics unit in PBIS, kids learn very little about proteins, but they do develop a really good qualitative understanding of variation and inheritance that includes the idea of genes and mitosis and meiosis but without learning a lot about what genes are made of.

    Janet

  • Icon for: Jacqueline Miller

    Jacqueline Miller

    Presenter
    May 12, 2015 | 04:56 p.m.

    We certainly did not mean to imply that connections were hierarchical and there certainly can be overlaps among the subconcepts that the first graphic does not illustrate. Content coherency is more complex than this simple animation shows and, if used as professional development in some form, we hope that the discussion would go much deeper. We see it as a starting place. As to your second point, I think it relates to Brian Drayton’s comment above. As new concepts are introduced such as the relationship between protein function and trait or mutation and protein function, new connections are made and the mental map for the big idea gets more developed and complex. In that sense, this could also be a tool for students to continue to add to as their understanding expands and deepens.

  • Icon for: Jacqueline Miller

    Jacqueline Miller

    Presenter
    May 12, 2015 | 04:46 p.m.

    Yes, our intent was to make this applicable to concepts and big ideas in any discipline. This is one of several teacher supports we developed as part of our electronic teacher guide project using learning experiences in genetics from Biology: Concepts and Practices as examples. We hope teachers will see this as an example of how coherence can play out in their curricula. Thanks for the opportunity to clarify that, Janet.

  • Icon for: Sean Smith

    Sean Smith

    Facilitator
    May 12, 2015 | 08:03 p.m.

    Jackie, a few years ago I worked with a group at BSCS (led by Kathy Roth) that developed a classroom observation protocol focused on coherence. What an enlightening experience to see how coherence plays out (or not) even at the lesson level. Surely there’s a learning progression for coherence—helping teachers see it at the lesson level, unit level, and even course level. Really interesting to think about.

  • Icon for: Jacqueline Miller

    Jacqueline Miller

    Presenter
    May 12, 2015 | 09:54 p.m.

    Janet Carlson of BSCS was on our advisory board and described that experience. Her point was well taken that the best way for teachers to understand content coherence was to do it…and do it again and again. There is definitely a learning progression best supported by discussion with others doing it. You also bring up an important point of the levels of content coherence. In our Biology: Concepts and Practices coherence exists within a learning experience, within a unit consisting of several learning experiences, and across the entire course of 5 units. Ideally a teacher would teach the entire curriculum in sequence to get the deeper learning that comes with the deliberate building of conceptual connections but even doing a unit in sequence would be great. For a fleeting moment I thought it would be an interesting challenge to develop a concept map of the entire curriculum…but I came to my senses very quickly. We have short text that accompanies this animation for the teachers describing these levels. Thanks for bringing up this important issue.

  • Icon for: Sean Smith

    Sean Smith

    Facilitator
    May 13, 2015 | 06:01 p.m.

    Thanks, Jackie. I know teachers who think deeply about coherence across lessons when they plan instruction, but I think they are not in the majority. And the prominent science textbooks do not help the situation. The 2012 National Survey of Science and Mathematics Education found that over half of elementary (K-5) teachers essentially cobble together their instructional materials from multiple sources. That worries me a lot. All that is to say that I think the need for what you’re doing is great. Now if you could just get textbook publishers to buy in.

  • Icon for: Janet Kolodner

    Janet Kolodner

    Facilitator
    May 13, 2015 | 10:46 a.m.

    So, I wonder what you are referring to as a learning progression. My understanding is that the idea of learning progression is attached to a context in which the learning is happening; it isn’t simply about development but about development given the learning experiences of the learners. You seem to be talking about a developmental progression in cognitive model building that is independent of a context in which it is done.

  • Icon for: Jacqueline Miller

    Jacqueline Miller

    Presenter
    May 13, 2015 | 11:29 a.m.

    Talking about a “learning progression” in this context is a misapplication of the term here. Kathy Paget is continually reminding me of that. What we mean is as you describe – a skill development in building mental maps or or models that most reasonably is done in a context (discipline taught).

  • Icon for: Arthur Lopez

    Arthur Lopez

    Facilitator
    May 13, 2015 | 11:53 a.m.

    Very interesting and engaging project Jacqueline. I am a pilot instructor for the College Board’s pilot AP Computer Science Principles course, and many of my students are English Language Learners and are on free or reduced lunch programs. For many of them, it is their first exposure to Computer Science, computing and computational thinking. They, and I, are challenged by the abstract concepts that are taught in this course. You have made me really think of imagery and visuals, and developing and mapping out concepts that can be related between the middle and high school computer science courses and also connecting and relating students experiences with computing concepts. Can or are you able to describe any challenges in regards to content coherency with English Language Learners and the impact of incorporating coherent content with this group? I look forward to your thoughts on this.

  • Icon for: Jacqueline Miller

    Jacqueline Miller

    Presenter
    May 13, 2015 | 01:18 p.m.

    Thanks for your comments, Arthur. We have not had the opportunity to work with ELL students on this project so I cannot share anything with you there. But I have become very aware of the importance of presenting ideas and strategies in multimedia formats for teachers who represent a diverse population of learning styles. For example we have short text that accompanies this animation. In another instance we present ideas related to classroom discussion in a primer, a table, a graphic, and a set of video with accompanying transcripts. As a text learner myself, I have come to appreciate the power of visuals and simulations in making visible the invisible (such as events at the molecular level) and in making very abstract concepts more concrete..

  • Icon for: Katherine Paget

    Katherine Paget

    Co-Presenter
    May 13, 2015 | 06:37 p.m.

    Sean,
    We are currently developing 3 more animations concerning modification of curriculum materials since we know teachers always modify whether they are following an NSF standards-based curriculum, a textbook or something else. Issues in modification and attention to learning/understanding goals as well as modification stories from teachers should be ready this summer.
    KP

  • Icon for: Jacqueline Miller

    Jacqueline Miller

    Presenter
    May 14, 2015 | 12:51 p.m.

    One more note. One of the new animations will describe the features of an effective core curriculum. In addition to coherency there are many other aspects such as inquiry/student centered orientation, student collaboration, problem-solving, evidence-based conclusions and discussion, and so forth. We will address the difference between cobbling materials together vs. thoughtful curriculum construction

  • Icon for: Joni Falk

    Joni Falk

    Co-Director
    May 14, 2015 | 09:36 p.m.

    Hi Jackie and Kathryn, I really enjoyed the video animation and even more the rich discussion above. If I were at a poster session I would not have been able to hear all those that came before me! Certainly it seem like a challenge to get teachers to think how different elements fit into a coherent whole, especially when the curricula is not helpful in that regard. But I do agree with Janet, that too much emphasis on the animation “tree” has the potential to separate concepts lower down rather than integrate them. None the less, I think this is fascinating and agree that students will be far more likely to remember what they learn if it is not presented as unrelated factoids. Have you done any research yet on changes in the classroom and student understanding?

  • Icon for: Katherine Paget

    Katherine Paget

    Co-Presenter
    May 14, 2015 | 09:56 p.m.

    Joni
    The Foundations Science 4 years of high school science curricula (physics, chemistry, biology and earth science) which are characterized by “coherence” have had positive results for pre-post testing in the physics and the chemistry units. For the biology units we have not looked at changes in student understanding yet.
    Kathy Paget

  • Icon for: Joni Falk

    Joni Falk

    Co-Director
    May 14, 2015 | 09:59 p.m.

    Thanks, I knew you were on top of this. It would be interesting to see if those who had more of a “coherent curricula” remembered more one year later than those who did not. Really interesting presentation. Thanks!

  • Icon for: Jacqueline Miller

    Jacqueline Miller

    Presenter
    May 15, 2015 | 08:26 a.m.

    Thanks for your thoughts about this, Joni. I also agree that the tree diagram is a bit misleading and hope that the later illustrations gave a better indication of connections and integrations. We would love to be able to sort out the components of our curricula as to their effectiveness and impact on student learning. We believe coherency is a definite factor in student learning and other features such as use of narrative nonfiction and productive discussion also play an important role. I also agree about your comment about how more informative and rich this format for viewing each others’ work has been. It would be great if this occurred as a regular way to share.

  • Further posting is closed as the showcase has ended.