Date of Award

Fall 2019

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

School

Center for Science and Math Education

Committee Chair

Dr. Sherry S. Herron

Committee Chair School

Center for Science and Math Education

Committee Member 2

Dr. Kristy Daniel

Committee Member 3

Dr. Brian Gearity

Committee Member 4

Dr. Kyna Shelley

Committee Member 4 School

Education

Committee Member 5

Dr. Christopher Sirola

Committee Member 5 School

Center for Science and Math Education

Abstract

Visualizations is a categorical term that is often used to provide visual imagery to the communication of processes, concepts, exemplar phenomena, and general information. Objects such as graphs, tables, diagrams, animations, and pictures fall in this category. Existing literature focuses primarily on the use of visualizations in the science field at the high school level, collegiate levels, and in pre-service teacher education programs. A gap in the literature exists which examines how science teachers at the middle school level perceive and use visualizations as instructional components in the classroom. The purpose of this study was to examine science teachers views on the barriers and facilitators that guided visualization-based instruction in middle school science classrooms. Participants in this study included three science teachers from a small urban middle school in the Southern region of the United States. Grounded theory was used to collect data through semi-structured interviews, classroom observations, lesson plan analysis, card sorting tasks, and a learning style inventory. Data was deductively coded to determine trends which resulted in the development of the theory, Visualization-based Pedagogical Content Knowledge (V-PCK). Results also indicated that while teachers viewed visualizations in a positive manner, their use of visualizations were limited to methods that produced little to no new student knowledge. Integration into the classroom was heavily influenced by the classroom environment and teachers’ previous experiences with visualizations. The findings of this study indicated there is a need for professional development opportunities in this area to better allow teachers to utilize visualizations as a teaching and learning tool in the middle school science classroom.

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