Research focuses on cognitive, socio-cultural and affective aspects of learning and teaching science and mathematics, including learning environments and the didactics of specific subjects. It ranges from small-scale studies of the learning and teaching processes to large-scale studies of achievement, attitudes, implementation and teacher development, using a wide variety of quantitative and qualitative research methods. Most of the research is discipline-based education research that reflects the discipline’s priorities, worldviews, knowledge and practices (using a term from NRC (2012). A significant advantage of the department is the availability of complex and authentic contexts for carrying out the investigations. Practitioners, such as experienced classroom teachers who work part-time in the department, participate both in the design processes and their trial. The research results and the insights gained in the process in turn influence the shaping and refinement of the activities in the other two strands.
- Research-based development and implementation.
A major activity is the development and implementation of learning, teaching and assessment resources (such as textbooks and teacher guides), as well as pedagogical models concerning students, teachers and learning environments. The process is informed by the perspectives of experienced teachers, experts in science and science education, and other areas relevant to the particular development (e.g., technology experts). It involves several cycles of design, trial, feedback and reflection, often accompanied by design research. The graduate students of the department, many of whom have had rich practical experience, play an important role in this strand, both as those who design the innovations and as those who study them. The activities are carried out in formal and informal contexts, and in a variety of physical settings (classrooms, outdoors, laboratories, industry).