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Final Conference Agenda

Overview and details of the sessions of this conference. Please select a date or room to show only sessions at that day or location. Please select a single session for detailed view (with abstracts and downloads if available).

Session Overview
SYM-06: Introducing Real Life into School: Lifelike Learning Environments and Student Interest Development
Time: Wednesday, 29/Aug/2012: 9:00am - 10:30am
Session Chair: Doris Lewalter, TUM
Discussant: K. Ann Renninger, Swarthmore College
Organizer: Doris Lewalter, TUM
Organizer: Susan Nolen, University of Washington
Location: 251

Session Abstract

The challenge of supporting the evolution of students’ interest in formal school education has encouraged the development of various new learning environments that leverage students’ interest in “real life” outside of school. However, connecting real life to the world of school work is not a straightforward process, particularly in working with groups of students with varying interest in and understanding of real world domains. Within the scope of the symposium research findings on the impact of three different learning environments on adolescents’ motivational processes are presented. All three papers raise questions about the significance of specific features of interactive learning environments with a close connection between learning content/process and real life issues for motivational processes. Symposium contributors discuss this relation by presenting research findings on various learning environments which especially aim for learners to experience this relation. While Nolen et al. and Knogler & Lewalter investigate learning environments which highlight elements of simulation and role-play in their design, Dohn explores motivational processes in social networks located in Web 2.0. In all three studies a longitudinal perspective on motivational development as well as potential influencing factors are investigated. Although all three papers focus on group activities comprising discussions of real life issues, the three research groups bring different theoretical frameworks to bear on the question of supporting situational interest as well as different methodological approaches. This diversity provides an opportunity to explore aspects of the theories that intersect and diverge. Our discussant, K. Ann Renninger, will lead this discussion.


Engagement in simulation activities: Adolescents juggling figured worlds

Susan Nolen, Gavin Tierney, Kendall Becherer, Susan Cooper, Susanna Eng

University of Washington, United States of America

The paper presented by Nolen, Tierney, Becherer & Cooper describes how adolescents’ engagement evolves during a multi-week simulation in a project-based course. Students acted as legal teams researching, preparing and delivering an argument to a mock US Supreme Court on a civil rights case. We analyze the affordances and constraints for engagement of small-group roleplay activities as groups negotiated (1) what they were engaged in (legal battle? moral crusade? schoolwork?), (2) what each student’s role was in the simulation, and (3) how to manage the sometimes conflicting demands of multiple meaning systems or “figured worlds” (legal system, civil rights as a moral issue, peer relations, “doing school.”)

Development of situational interest in the context of simulation and roleplay

Maximilian Knogler, Doris Lewalter

Technische Universität München, Germany

Fostering the development of adolescents’ interest in many curricular topics seems quite difficult to achieve within formal secondary school contexts. One reason for this situation is students’ lack of a perceived connection between the subject matter to be learned and the requirements of real life. For this reason, the study presented by Knogler & Lewalter investigates students’ motivational development in the course of an authentic goal-based scenario which is assumed to be a promising tool to promote the evolvement of situational interest. The extended goal-based scenario examined includes elements of simulation and roleplay. Within the scope of the study students’ motivational development as they progress through the different stages of the goal-based scenario were assessed. Based on theoretical assumptions about influencing factors on interest development the impact of basic need satisfaction is examined. Finally, specific roleplay and simulation related experiences are considered, which until now have not been investigated for their motivational potential, as important for the development of situational interest. Results indicate changes in students’ situational interest in the course of the learning sessions. Moreover, the predictive power of the considered emotional und roleplay related experiences varies as a function of the different stages of the extended goal-based scenario session. Findings are discussed with regard to theoretical and practical implications.

The effect of a social networking web site on student interests in the context of upper secondary biology

Niels Bonderup Dohn

Aarhus University, Denmark

The paper presented by Dohn describes how upper secondary students’ engagement in Facebook activities in the context of upper secondary biology can trigger situational interest. Virtual activities were closely connected to real life issues and related to taught subject matter. The research was conducted as a case study providing an explorative investigation of students’ engagement and interest. Preliminary findings indicate that the connection between themes from real life and shared Facebook activities trigger interest and engagement, whereas taught subject matter only create little interest.

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