ReleQuant Competence is a research and development project where physics teachers and teacher students collaborate with researchers and teacher educators in developing digital learning resources in quantum physics and general relativity aimed at upper secondary physics students. Through Design-based research methodology, we develop web-based learning resources through several rounds of development and classroom trials in our collaborating schools. The learning resources ?Quantum physics? and ?General relativity? are available through the digital platform run by our collaboration partner, the Norwegian Centre for Science Education (https://www.viten.no/eng/ )
In addition to the Norwegian Centre for Science Education, ReleQuant Competence collaborates with physicists and physics education researchers from the University of Oslo (UiO) and from the Norwegian University for Science and Technology (NTNU), with a learning specialist at UiO, with the Science teacher education programme at the University of Oslo (UiO) and with the programme?s cooperating upper secondary schools in the greater Oslo area. The project has included two PhD students, and a number of Masters? students are or have been part of the project both at UiO and NTNU.
The ReleQuant learning resources emphasise pupils' use of oral and written language to express and develop their understanding. The resources visualize abstract concepts and principles by means of animations and simulations, short videos of physicists describing their research, and examples of modern physics technological applications. They also invite pupils to reflect on the philosophical implications of modern physics.
The project combines research on pupils' learning processes in physics with research on how the collaboration develops competence in the involved practitioner groups: teacher students, teachers and researchers. The data that we analyse in the project include written and oral student responses to assignments given in the learning resources, and interview data with students, student teachers, and practicing teachers. Questions that we address through our research include for instance: Which challenges are involved when implementing innovative teaching/learning strategies in traditional upper secondary physics classrooms? Which competencies and skills does a good physics teacher possess, and how can these be improved through teacher education and in-service training? How do metaphors and thought experiments function in students? learning processes in general relativity? In what ways can small-group discussions support student learning in quantum physics?
ReleQuant Competence is (as of 2019) in its final stage; the development work and data collection are completed, whereas data analysis and reporting from the project are still ongoing. A number of research articles have been published through 2018 and 2019, and several more are under review or close to being ready for submission to science education research journals. A PhD thesis was submitted in September 2019.
In November 2016, the project entered into a collaboration with a research group at the University of Western Australia (UWA), and a delegation with researchers, teacher students and one teacher from the project visited UWA and the Gravity Discovery Centre near Perth in late 2016. This collaboration has led to a research proposal to the Australian Research Council which received funding in 2019 (LP180100859 - International collaboration in teaching and learning of Einsteinian physics), allowing the project to be extended to include a number of international collaboration partners and possible new rounds of data collection and international publications. The collaboration has also engendered several conference papers presented in Europe in 2017-2019, and an international seminar, ?General Relativity as a Challenge for Physics Education?, was held in Bad Honnef, Germany, in February 2019. Both the PhD students associated with ReleQuant Competence have been visiting scholars in Australia during 2018-2019. An international, edited book on teaching and learning «Einsteinian Physics» is planned, with a physicist from Australia (UWA and one of the RelerQuant Competence PhD students as editors.
The learning resources on https://www.viten.no/eng/ , as well as results from ReleQuant Competence?s research on students and teachers, are being presented in relevant for a nationally and internationally: pre- and in-service physics teacher education; physics teacher conferences, science teacher education conferences, science education research conferences, and in relevant books and research journals.
1. Freely available, research-based learning resources in quantum physics and general relativity for upper secondary physics
2. Research results on student understanding and learning and teacher competence development
3. Dissemination to target groups: pre- and in-service physics teachers, teacher educators, cognitive scientists, educational authorities, science education and teacher education researchers
4. One PhD and six Master?s degree theses
5. Strengthened collaboration relations between physics education researchers, teacher educators, physicists, and practicing teachers in the involved institutions; international collaboration relations in ?Einsteinian physics? with Australia, Germany, Scotland, and other countries.
6. Increased professional competence for teaching quantum physics and general relativity among pre-and in-service teachers in Norway
7. Increased competence among physics education researchers and teachers concerning collaborating in design-based research
Although science education is declared as important by the Norwegian government, not much research has been conducted on teaching and learning science in secondary school or on science teachers' competence development. ReleQuant Competence is a research and development project where teachers and teacher students collaborate with researchers and teacher educators in developing web-based teaching modules and new teaching approaches in modern physics for upper secondary school. The project combines research on pupils' learning processes in modern physics with research on how the collaboration develops competence in the involved practitioner groups.
Development of teaching modules draws on a sociocultural view of learning, emphasizing use of language, conceptual development, visualisations and philosophical reflections. Modules will be developed and tested using an educational design research methodology. Data will consist of written and oral pupil responses, classroom observations and focus group interviews.
Our research will identify success criteria and challenges in a school-university collaboration that aims to generate research-based teaching innovations and foster schools as learning organizations. We will develop and research a model where physics teacher students are involved in research as part of their training, fostering their innovative skills and knowledge of how research can benefit education. This way, we aim to contribute to building a professional community of practice among teachers, teacher educators, researchers and students in physics education. The collaboration will be documented and researched using individual and focus group interviews as main data sources.
Research-based innovations will contribute to competence in schools by implementation in science teacher education at the involved institutions and will be disseminated to a wider audience of teachers and teacher educators through conferences, journals and professional development courses.