In recent years, the Danish society has seen increased recognition of the importance and economical utility of scientifically and technologically educated citizens. In 2004 the then Prime Minister appointed three specific areas, Denmark should focus its future on, which were remarkably all science and technology areas: IT, biotechnology and nanotechnology. Nanotechnology was predicted to be the leading new forces in global economy (Aagaard, 2004; Osborne, Simon, & Collins, 2003).Unfortunately, relatively fewer and fewer Danish students choose to pursue studies in scientific and technological areas. Therefore, it is important to research how to identify aspects of science teaching that might raise pupils’ interest in studying science and technology and give them positive attitudes towards science (Au.dk, 2010; OECD, 2004; Osborne, et al., 2003).This study is a cross-case study, and the cases are three ph.d.-students’ instructions for high school students in ‘The rolling University ’ - an outreach initiative from Aarhus University. The high school students’ interest in the lesson caused by their teachers’ didactical choices are investigated, and so are the high school students’ knowledge about nanotechnology and their attitudes towards nanotechnology. The study has a mixed methods design and uses several complementary triangulated methods: Focus group interviews, classroom observations, video recordings, object rankings and finally clicker measurements for situated student interest during the lesson. The clicker measurements are, as far as I know, a prior to this study untried method. The study’s underlying interest theories are based on Hidi and Renninger’s four-phase model. This model acknowledges situational and individual interest as two distinct but interrelated components of interest. The situational interest can be triggered from content aspects, novelty, character identification, and activity level. The four phases in the model are: Triggered situational interest, maintained situational interest, emergent individual interest and well-developed individual interest. The four phases are considered to be sequential and distinct and represent a form of cumulative, progressive development in cases in which interest is supported and sustained. Without support, any phase of interest can become dormant, regress to a previous phase, or disappear altogether (Hidi, 1990; Hidi & Renninger, 2006).The fact that interest can disappear altogether made me come up with an expansion to the four-phase model, so that my version includes a phase of lacking interest. Furthermore, I also recognize that interest has a quantitative part. I therefore consider a person’s interest at any time as both belonging to a qualitative phase and having a quantitative element.The examined high school students’ interests during the lessons in The rolling University were distributed over all interest phases, including the lacking interest phase, and situational interest was found triggered by all four factors mentioned above. This study finds that situated interest is far more situated than generally assumed, which calls into question many other studies of so-called situational interest, where measurements are often carried out retrospectively (Palmer, 2009). Likewise it was shown what a difficult entity interest is to observe. This was partly due to the fact that a student’s interest at any given time contains both situational and individual interest elements. The high school students’ attitudes towards specific nanotechnological applications were dominated by what they found necessary and beneficial for themselves, not society. Their attitudes towards nanotechnology in general were positive, but the students pointed out that they were not interested in studying nanotechnology further despite their positive attitudes. This indicates that in spite of positive attitudes and despite increasing necessity in the society, students are still not motivated for studying science (nanotechnology). Personal interest is needed for students to select science and technology studies. According to the four-phase model, before students can develop personal interest they need to have passed the triggered situational interest and maintained situational interest phases. This entitles situational triggering teaching.
|Status||Udgivet - 2010|