• Epistemological activators and students' epistemologies in learning modern STEM topics

Ravaioli, Giovanni


FIS/08 Didattica e storia della fisica


This dissertation is a collection of studies developed during my Ph.D. program within the Physics Education Research group of the University of Bologna. The entire work is driven by the role of epistemology in science as a means to orient learning and identity construction. Specifically, the study aims (i) to characterize epistemologically the design of teaching modules for High School on two main modern STEM topics: Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Quantum Physics (QP), and (ii) to investigate the so-called ‘students’ epistemologies’ in the context of learning QP. In the first part, the use that I do of epistemology involves the individuation of transversal themes, activities, and ideas – that I define ‘epistemological activators’ - that can structure students’ knowledge on a meta-level and foster them to reflect on the nature of disciplines and knowledge in general; this results in the proposal of teaching paths and insights for High School both in the contexts of QP and AI. In the second part, I conduct a qualitative study on students’ epistemologies in learning QP. Previous analysis showed evidence of three specific requirements that students show in learning QP, which I referred to as epistemic needs: the needs of visualization, comparability and ‘reification’. Along with these results, I decided to conduct a study on the nature of the factors that trigger students’ stances towards and acceptance of QP, building on the research literature on personal epistemologies. To this extent, I collected extensive written and recorded data of High School students participating in an introductory course on QP. The analysis mainly highlighted (i) evidence of expectations about the role of ‘visual modeling’ and ‘math’ as two personally reliable means to bridge classical and quantum domains., and (ii) evidence of entanglement between specific students’ epistemologies and their meta-affective stances towards challenges in learning QP.




Tesi di dottorato






Ravaioli, Giovanni (2020) Epistemological activators and students' epistemologies in learning modern STEM topics, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Fisica , 32 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/9482.