Review

Using Texts in Science Education: Cognitive Processes and Knowledge Representation

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Science  23 Apr 2010:
Vol. 328, Issue 5977, pp. 453-456
DOI: 10.1126/science.1182594

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Abstract

Texts form a powerful tool in teaching concepts and principles in science. How do readers extract information from a text, and what are the limitations in this process? Central to comprehension of and learning from a text is the construction of a coherent mental representation that integrates the textual information and relevant background knowledge. This representation engenders learning if it expands the reader’s existing knowledge base or if it corrects misconceptions in this knowledge base. The Landscape Model captures the reading process and the influences of reader characteristics (such as working-memory capacity, reading goal, prior knowledge, and inferential skills) and text characteristics (such as content/structure of presented information, processing demands, and textual cues). The model suggests factors that can optimize—or jeopardize—learning science from text.

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