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      Multidisciplinary exhibit design in a Science Centre: a participatory action research approach

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          Abstract

          In this paper we highlight the issues and opportunities of a participatory action research (PAR) and co-design project, currently being undertaken as engaged research between academics at Durham University and practitioners at the UK’s International Centre for Life in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne (CfL; see creativescienceatlife.com for more information and developments). The focus is on the use of PAR to enable university researchers and Science Centre professionals to co-design Informal Science Learning exhibits that enhance creativity and innovation in young people. We define the principles of PAR and explore reasons for adopting the approach. An account is provided of the iterative co-design and piloting of a novel exhibit within a new exhibition space at the CfL. Reflections collated independently by the practitioners and the academics involved highlighting the development of ideas and insights over the course of the PAR process. We discuss how PAR enabled effective engagement with and creation of enriched knowledge, and innovation, in both the academy and science-learning professionals. The added value of PAR and co-production to our project aligns with current calls for a redefining of how societal impact of academic research is considered.

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          Most cited references 32

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          The equivalence of learning paths in early science instruction: effect of direct instruction and discovery learning.

           D Klahr,  M Nigam (2004)
          In a study with 112 third- and fourth-grade children, we measured the relative effectiveness of discovery learning and direct instruction at two points in the learning process: (a) during the initial acquisition of the basic cognitive objective (a procedure for designing and interpreting simple, unconfounded experiments) and (b) during the subsequent transfer and application of this basic skill to more diffuse and authentic reasoning associated with the evaluation of science-fair posters. We found not only that many more children learned from direct instruction than from discovery learning, but also that when asked to make broader, richer scientific judgments, the many children who learned about experimental design from direct instruction performed as well as those few children who discovered the method on their own. These results challenge predictions derived from the presumed superiority of discovery approaches in teaching young children basic procedures for early scientific investigations.
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            The double-edged sword of pedagogy: Instruction limits spontaneous exploration and discovery.

            Motivated by computational analyses, we look at how teaching affects exploration and discovery. In Experiment 1, we investigated children's exploratory play after an adult pedagogically demonstrated a function of a toy, after an interrupted pedagogical demonstration, after a naïve adult demonstrated the function, and at baseline. Preschoolers in the pedagogical condition focused almost exclusively on the target function; by contrast, children in the other conditions explored broadly. In Experiment 2, we show that children restrict their exploration both after direct instruction to themselves and after overhearing direct instruction given to another child; they do not show this constraint after observing direct instruction given to an adult or after observing a non-pedagogical intentional action. We discuss these findings as the result of rational inductive biases. In pedagogical contexts, a teacher's failure to provide evidence for additional functions provides evidence for their absence; such contexts generalize from child to child (because children are likely to have comparable states of knowledge) but not from adult to child. Thus, pedagogy promotes efficient learning but at a cost: children are less likely to perform potentially irrelevant actions but also less likely to discover novel information. Copyright © 2010. Published by Elsevier B.V.
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              Science Education

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Educ Action Res
                Educ Action Res
                REAC
                reac20
                Educational Action Research
                Routledge
                0965-0792
                1747-5074
                2018
                20 August 2017
                : 26
                : 4
                : 567-588
                Affiliations
                [a ]Centre for Coevolution of Biology and Culture, Department of Anthropology, Durham University , Durham, UK
                [b ]Department of English Studies, Durham University , Durham, UK
                [c ]Centre for Life , Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK
                Author notes
                [* ]Corresponding author. Email: rachel.kendal@ 123456durham.ac.uk
                [‡]

                Present address: School of Creative Technologies, University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth, UK.

                Article
                1360786
                10.1080/09650792.2017.1360786
                6178092
                © 2017 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Page count
                Figures: 2, Tables: 2, Equations: 0, References: 60, Pages: 22
                Product
                Funding
                Funded by: Economic and Social Research Council 10.13039/501100000269
                Award ID: ES/M500586/1
                Funded by: The Wellcome Trust
                Award ID: WT103490AIA
                Funded by: Slovenian Ad Futura studentship
                Award ID: To Zarja Mursik
                Funded by: Wellcome Trust 10.13039/100004440
                Award ID: WT103490AIA
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