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Slowmation: Preservice elementary teachers representing science knowledge through creating multimodal digital animations

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Abstract

Research has identified the value of learners using technology to construct their own representations of science concepts. In this study, we investigate how learners, such as preservice elementary teachers, design and make a narrated animation to represent their science knowledge. The type of animation exemplified is called a “Slowmation” (abbreviated from “Slow Animation”), which is a simplified way for preservice teachers to make an animation that integrates features from claymation, object animation, and digital storytelling. Drawing on semiotic theory, a case study of three preservice elementary teachers, who were audio and video recorded as they created a slowmation, illustrates how the construction process enabled them to engage with a science concept in multiple ways. Findings suggest that when preservice teachers create a slowmation, they design and make a sequence of five representations, each being a semiotic system with particular affordances that link as a semiotic progression: (i) research notes; (ii) storyboard; (iii) models; and (iv) digital photographs, which culminate in (v) a narrated animation. In this study, the authors present their theoretical framework, explain how the preservice teachers created a slowmation using a sequence of representations to show their science knowledge and discuss the implications of these findings for learners in universities and schools. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 48: 985–1009, 2011

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