My thesis in a word cloud


I finally found a moment to Wordle my thesis (actually, I used, which I prefer, not sure why). And here she is:


So what is she telling us? The biggest words that stand out to me are:

  • Measurements
  • Experiment
  • Uncertainty
  • Students
  • Reflection
  • Year
  • Data
  • Iteration
  • Evaluate
  • Physics
  • Lab

Putting these together: I compared two physics lab pedagogies across two different years to see how students reflect on their dataiterate to improve their experiments, and evaluate physical models, to better understand the nature of scientific measurement and uncertainty.

Words that I think are missing (or are surprising small):

  • Compare/comparisons: Quantitative comparisons were the key to structuring students’ reflection and motivating the need to iterate to improve measurements.
  • Inquiry: These comparison cycles led to inquiry processes as they identify the impact of changes to their measurement procedures on the results and the physical models under investigation.
  • Structure/Scaffolding: The lab instructions and activities were very deliberately structured to induce the desired behaviours from students and then this scaffolding was carefully deconstructed (faded) over time until the behaviours became independent.
  • Epistemology: The comparison cycles helped develop students’ ideas about the nature of scientific measurement and how the quality of a measurement is linked to how well we understand the physical model, identifying limitations, unidentified assumptions, and systematic errors in the measurement.

I’m still working on putting some publications together that summarize some of the research results, but I thought this was a nice teaser. I’ll also post a link here to my final dissertation when it’s approved by my committee, which should happen in early December.



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