Chemistry education research as a field is gradually advancing at university level. When speaking of chemistry educators and researchers, two distinctive groups of expertise emerge. One group, Group I, is made of chemists in pure science. This group of experts conduct their research in chemistry and take teaching role for chemistry courses close to their expertise. Another group, Group II, is composed of chemistry educators, who teach introductory level chemistry courses and all levels of pedagogical courses. Research-wise, chemistry educators conduct social and behavioral research on teaching and learning of chemistry. While informing policy makers and practice of teaching, chemistry education research needs to embrace both the depth and breadth of issues in chemistry and pedagogy. Thus, to ad- vance chemistry education research, it is imperative that both group of experts need to cooperate mutually.
One of the key obstacles today is falling interest of youngster’s towards science, as recently reported by European Union. Huge efforts have been made towards better science teacher training across Europe. To support this action, the direction of chemistry education research should align the focus towards alternative and innovative methods for teacher training and practice of chemistry teaching.
In response to the need for innovative methods in chemistry education research, I propose two directions as out- lined below.
New theoretical perspectives on how affective factors are the determinants of decision-making process and their implications to chemistry learning and teacher training are of interest. My suggestion is to adapt Dual-Process Theories into chemistry education research context. Dual-Process Theories attempt to ex- plain how behavior is generated through impulsive and reflective systems. The adaptation simply leads one to consider more affective aspects than usual and less cognitive aspects than usual. Therefore, practice of chemistry education from both teaching and research perspectives will likely to be more human-friendly.
Educational Technology for Rich Interactivity
Advancements in computing power and reduction of their cost to individuals make educational technology more available to the public at large. This fact brings new opportunities for chemistry educators. The foci here are rich interactivity and self-study environments provided by the media through adaptive systems. Two emerging possibilities have been the topic of my recent projects at undergraduate level chemistry classrooms:
- Easy deployment and use of Learning Objects(LO),and
- Integration of Student Response Systems (SRS).
Both of these projects required me to closely work with chemistry professors (Group I) and so the projects provided enough room to merge our expertise for innovative chemistry education projects. LOs support high student interaction with chemistry content through adaptive feedback loops and sustain student engagement through self-study. On the other hand, SRSs support in-class interaction which is ideal for face-to-face instruction and developing two-tier instruments in the context of chemistry education research to discover student conceptions.
The Organizing Committee of ECRICE 2016 kindly sponsored this Keynote Lecture. Canakkale Onsekiz Mart University Scientific Research Programs (BAP) funded the following projects:
- Physical chemistry education and learning objects: An implementation and development of the materials on inquiry-based approaches at higher education (Grant No. 2011/132)
- Impact of instructional interactivity in chemistry education (Grant No. SBA-2015-569)