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  • 1.
    Gustafsson, Peter
    et al.
    Mälardalen University, School of Education, Culture and Communication, Educational Sciences and Mathematics.
    Jonsson, Gunnar
    Mälardalen University, School of Education, Culture and Communication, Educational Sciences and Mathematics.
    Nilsson, Tor
    Mälardalen University, School of Education, Culture and Communication, Educational Sciences and Mathematics.
    Teknikämnet i svensk grundskolas tidiga skolår sett genom forskningscirkelns lupp.2018In: NorDiNa: Nordic Studies in Science Education, ISSN 1504-4556, E-ISSN 1894-1257, Vol. 14, no 2, p. 113-124Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Technology has been a compulsory subject in the Swedish school curriculum since 1980. However,many primary school teachers say that they do not feel comfortable with teaching technology. Thisoften results in a teaching time that is a (too) small part of the total teaching time of science andtechnology. In addition, studies show that pupils are probably not given equivalent education asthe syllabi may be interpreted in different ways. Against this background, we have conducted threeresearch circles under the guidance of researchers, in three municipalities in the Mälardalen region,addressing teachers working in preschool class to grade 6. Each circle had up to five participants andhad five meetings during one year. Based on the teachers’ own questions and needs we have studieddidactic literature connected to the subject of technology, discussed the syllabi for technology anddifferent forms of teaching support. An existing model for pedagogical content knowledge in technologyhas been used to interpret the activities in the research circles. The teachers experienced and appreciatedthe opportunities to work with the subject content linked to the syllabi for technology andsaw ways to integrate technology with other school subjects.

  • 2.
    Nilsson, Tor
    Mälardalen University, School of Education, Culture and Communication.
    A Longitudinal Study of Chemistry Students’ Learning Processes in Thermodynamics2006Conference paper (Other academic)
  • 3.
    Nilsson, Tor
    Mälardalen University, School of Education, Culture and Communication, Educational Sciences and Mathematics.
    EDUCATIVE CURRICULUM MATERIALS AND CHEMISTRY: A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN?2018In: Science competencies for the future / [ed] Auður Pálsdóttir, 2018, p. 5-12Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 4.
    Nilsson, Tor
    Mälardalen University, School of Education, Culture and Communication.
    Kemistudenters föreställningar om entalpi och relaterade begrepp2011Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    The aim of this thesis was to construct undergraduate chemistry students’ conceptions of enthalpy and its change, internal energy and its change, heat and work. Conceptions make it possible to identify students’ problems with the taught content. How students’ exam results are affected by qualitative/conceptual questions was also investigated.

    Two chemistry teachers in both secondary school and higher education participated in the first study. Thereafter, three empirical studies with undergraduate students were done, including a total number of 64, 22 and 10 participants. Methods and tasks from chemistry education research were used and new tasks were developed during the research process. Answers to questionnaires, hand-ins, exams and interview transcripts were analyzed qualitatively. The constructed conceptions were descriptive categories divided into two types, the underlying and the logical.

    Nine conceptions were constructed. Students expressed enthalpy change as heat at constant pressure like a mantra, since their responses to specific issues contradicted the explicitly used definition. An artifact was necessary to identify work and expansion work and technical work were primarily described as functions of volume. Enthalpy and enthalpy change were considered as a form of energy or as interchangeable.

    Students argued that enthalpy change and heat were the same, since the reactions were the same, regardless of constant pressure or constant volume. Enthalpy change was heat when no work was done. One possible explanation was that students argued that ΔU was the energy transferred as heat. Students’ interpretations of the tasks clarified that tasks can be further developed. On three of four exams students succeeded better when the qualitative/conceptual questions were excluded. The sample size affected the t-tests and only one result was significant. Implications for teaching and research are given.

  • 5.
    Nilsson, Tor
    Mälardalen University, School of Education, Culture and Communication, Educational Sciences and Mathematics.
    The need to identify the carbon dioxide pressure – taking CaCO3 as an example2013Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Equilibrium reactions are of fundamental importance in chemistry and validity is a key concern in research. Here, a previous used research task was further developed in order to investigate how undergraduate students describe why no calcium oxide is formed when the carbon dioxide pressure exceeds the partial pressure given by the equilibrium constant. The aim of this pilot study was to begin the validation of some of the original research findings. Two groups of students participated. The first group (n=17) took their first chemistry course and answered exam question. The second group (n=7) took a course in chemical thermodynamics and answered hand ins (part of course credit). Data was analyzed iterative and descriptive categories regarding data from the exam were constructed. These categories were used to analyze the data from the hand ins but new categories were also developed. The final step was to merge all the developed descriptive categories. The result shows that in the first group 18 % (3/17) correctly identified the carbon dioxide pressure as too high, whereas 57 % (4/7) in the second group either identified the carbon dioxide as too high or used ΔG. Also, 41 % (7/17) and 14 % (1/7) left blank answers despite the course credit. The incorrect answers in each group 41 % (7/17) and 28 % (2/7) were categorized with different categories, hence in general there seems to be a difference in how the groups described why no calcium carbonate is formed. The results give some implications for the original study, but the small sample size must be addressed in the future as well as the data collection methods.

  • 6.
    Nilsson, Tor
    et al.
    Mälardalen University, School of Education, Culture and Communication.
    Niedderer, Hans
    Mälardalen University, School of Education, Culture and Communication.
    An analytical tool to determine undergraduate students’ use of volume and pressure when describing expansion work and technical work2012In: Chemistry Education Research and Practice, ISSN 1109-4028, Vol. 13, no 3, p. 348-356Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In undergraduate chemical thermodynamics teachers often include equations and viewmanipulations of variables as understanding. Undergraduate students are often not able todescribe the meaning of these equations. In chemistry, enthalpy and its change are introduced todescribe some features of chemical reactions. In the process of measuring heat at constantpressure, work is often disregarded. Therefore, we investigated how undergraduate studentsdescribe expansion work and technical work in relation to enthalpy and its change. Threeempirical studies (ntot = 64, ntot = 22, ntot = 10) with undergraduate chemistry students takingtheir first or fifth chemistry course at two Swedish universities were conducted. Questions onenthalpy and its change, internal energy and its change, heat and work were administered inquestionnaires, exam questions, hand-ins and interviews. An analytical matrix was developed andqualitative categories with respect to pressure and volume were formed. The results indicate thatwork in general and even more so expansion work and technical work are difficult processes todescribe and relate to the definition and formula of enthalpy change. Work is mainly describedwithout reference to pressure and volume. The properties of volume are more likely to bedescribed correctly than the properties of pressure. The definition of enthalpy change at constantpressure is generalised to constant volume/varying pressure cases. This study gives further insightinto the way in which students use pressure and volume as they describe expansion work andtechnical work as well as the contextual correctness of these descriptions. The matrix andcategories can be used by researchers, teachers and students.

  • 7.
    Nilsson, Tor
    et al.
    Mälardalen University, School of Education, Culture and Communication.
    Niedderer, Hans
    Mälardalen University, School of Education, Culture and Communication.
    Chemical engineering students’ qualitative understanding of enthalpy and enthalpy change2007Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This study investigates chemistry engineering students’ qualitative understanding of enthalpy and enthalpy change. Data was collected in 2006 at different times and in different educational settings with different qualitative and quantitative methods. A first version of two sets of categories of students’ qualitative understanding of enthalpy prior to instruction has been constructed from pre-questionnaire answers (n=64). Four students were selected for a deeper qualitative analysis. Data analysis is presently conducted and at the moment there are only preliminary results concerning enthalpy and enthalpy change available. One of the four students has difficulties discerning between the system property enthalpy and the energy transfer, i.e. enthalpy change. As the same pattern can be found among many students we wonder why enthalpy and enthalpy change is difficult for the students. The analysis of data continues in order to improve the definitions of the categories.

  • 8.
    Nilsson, Tor
    et al.
    Mälardalen University, School of Education, Culture and Communication.
    Niedderer, Hans
    Mälardalen University, School of Education, Culture and Communication.
    Undergraduate students’ conceptions of enthalpy and enthalpy change2010In: ESERA10 Summer School, Udine, July 25-31, 2010, 2010Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 9.
    Nilsson, Tor
    et al.
    Mälardalen University, School of Education, Culture and Communication, Educational Sciences and Mathematics.
    Niedderer, Hans
    Mälardalen University, School of Education, Culture and Communication, Educational Sciences and Mathematics.
    Undergraduate students’ conceptions of enthalpy, enthalpy change and related concepts2014In: Chemistry Education Research and Practice, ISSN 1109-4028, Vol. 15, no 3, p. 336-353Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Research shows that students have problems understanding thermodynamic concepts and that a gap exists at the tertiary level related to more specific chemistry concepts such as enthalpy. Therefore, the aim of this study is to construct undergraduate students’ conceptions of enthalpy, its change and related concepts. Three explorative small-scale studies were conducted at two Swedish universities. Questionnaires, exam questions, hand-ins and interviews covered a range of issues from chemical thermodynamics in general to specific questions about enthalpy and its change, internal energy and its change, heat and work. Data were analysed iteratively and qualitative categories were constructed (F1-2, F4-9). The underlying conceptions indicate that constant pressure is explicitly expressed but disregarded as the answer is given (F1), that work is described as mechanical work (F2), that enthalpy is used as a form of energy (F4), and that enthalpy is used for enthalpy change and vice versa (F5). The logical conceptions indicate that molar enthalpy determines the heat given off by a reaction and not the path taken (F6), that constant pressure/constant volume and the definition of enthalpy change are problematic (F7), that students argue for the case when ΔH = ΔU instead of ΔH = q (F8), and that there are different ways to interpret the given tasks (F9). This study offers insight into the ways students use enthalpy and its change when arguing and solving qualitative tasks. How the categories may be used as well as other implications for teaching and research are addressed in the paper.

  • 10.
    Nilsson, Tor
    et al.
    Mälardalen University, School of Education, Culture and Communication, Educational Sciences and Mathematics.
    Sundqvist, Pernilla
    Mälardalen University, School of Education, Culture and Communication, Educational Sciences and Mathematics.
    Gustafsson, Peter
    Mälardalen University, School of Education, Culture and Communication, Educational Sciences and Mathematics.
    A Pilot Study of the Technological Literacy among Primary School Teachers in Sweden2016In: PATT32: Technology Education for 21st Century skills, Utrecht, 2016Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    A pilot study focused on technological literacy and the nature of technology was undertakenamong 30 Swedish primary school teachers. This research utilised a study-specificquestionnaire based on previous findings and was comprised of 62 items answered by theteachers using a Likert-type scale. The answers were analysed statistically to determineinternal consistency and for further development of the questionnaire. In addition, a group of 6teachers gave their views on why some of the items deviated. The results indicate that, in total,at least 7 of the 14 categories need further development, especially the 5 newly designedcategories covering the critical aspects of technological literacy for which no descriptivecategories were found in previous research. Factor analyses were also performed to exploredata and look for indications of how these teachers’ views of technology can be described.One 3-factor solution covered 2 dimensions (how technology is conceived and interaction withartefacts) as well as one 4-factor solution covering both of these dimensions and backgroundvariables. Although the sample size limits our conclusions, it is evident that some backgroundvariables explain more of the variation than would be possible if the sample had been larger.Even so, the analyses provide valuable input for the development of our ongoing researchproject.

  • 11.
    Nilsson, Tor
    et al.
    Mälardalen University, School of Education, Culture and Communication, Educational Sciences and Mathematics.
    Sundqvist, Pernilla
    Mälardalen University, School of Education, Culture and Communication, Educational Sciences and Mathematics.
    Gustafsson, Peter
    Mälardalen University, School of Education, Culture and Communication, Educational Sciences and Mathematics.
    Kompetens för teknik i förskola2019In: Forum för forskningsbaserad NT-undervisning / [ed] Karin Stolpe, Gunnar Höst och Andreas Larsson, Linköping, 2019Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 12.
    Sundqvist, Pernilla
    et al.
    Mälardalen University, School of Education, Culture and Communication, Educational Sciences and Mathematics.
    Nilsson, Tor
    Mälardalen University, School of Education, Culture and Communication, Educational Sciences and Mathematics.
    Technology education in preschool: Providing opportunities for children to use artifacts and to create2018In: International journal of technology and design education, ISSN 0957-7572, E-ISSN 1573-1804, Vol. 28, no 1, p. 29-51Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In recent years, technology has been emphasized as an important area in earlychildhood curricula; however, in many countries preschool does not have the tradition ofteaching specific subjects, and research shows that many preschool staff members areunsure about what teaching technology should include and how it should be taught.Therefore, with the ambition of outlining recommendations for both preschool practice andthe preschool-teacher program, we investigated what elements staff members include ineducating preschool children in technology. We investigated the research question What dopreschool staff members include as elements of technology education in preschool?through open-ended items on a questionnaire completed by 102 preschool teachers anddaycare attendants in Sweden. The answers were analyzed inductively, resulting in a set ofseven categories: Artifacts and systems in children’s environments, Create, Problemsolving, The concept of technology, Experiments, Techniques/Motor skills, and Naturalscience. Some key results emerged. First, artifacts have a central place in preschooltechnology education, and at least three verbs relate to how these artifacts are addressed:use, create, and understand. Second, the content of technology education in governmentregulatory documents is described to varying extents by the participants, and sometimesnot at all. Third, expected elements like play and the important role of the staff are notexpressed in the answers. Possible explanations and implications for the results arediscussed.

  • 13.
    Sundqvist, Pernilla
    et al.
    Mälardalen University, School of Education, Culture and Communication, Educational Sciences and Mathematics.
    Nilsson, Tor
    Mälardalen University, School of Education, Culture and Communication, Educational Sciences and Mathematics.
    Gustafsson, Peter
    Mälardalen University, School of Education, Culture and Communication, Educational Sciences and Mathematics.
    Finns det ett glapp i förskolans praktik när det kommer till teknik?2018Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [sv]

    Tidigare forskning indikerar att förskolepedagogers beskrivning av teknik som område generellt inte återfinns i förskolans arbete. Här undersöks om ett sådant glapp kan påvisas. Studien har bedrivits som forskningscirklar med 19 förskolepedagoger. Utgångspunkten var en enkät vars resultat beskriver teknik i fem kategorier. Därefter har pedagogerna dokumenterat exempel med tekniklärande för barnen och angett vilken av teknikkategorierna som bäst beskriver tekniken i händelsen. I enkäten dominerade kategorierna att ”teknik är lösning på att problem” och ”processen i vilken artefakter utvecklas”. I exemplen finns omvänt aktiviteter som knyter an till att identifiera artefakter och att använda teknikord och artefakter. Skillnaden mellan pedagogernas beskrivning av teknik och praktiken ger de själva en relevant förklaring till.

  • 14.
    Sundqvist, Pernilla
    et al.
    Mälardalen University, School of Education, Culture and Communication, Educational Sciences and Mathematics.
    Nilsson, Tor
    Mälardalen University, School of Education, Culture and Communication, Educational Sciences and Mathematics.
    Gustafsson, Peter
    Mälardalen University, School of Education, Culture and Communication, Educational Sciences and Mathematics.
    Is There a Gap to Mind in Preschool Practice When it Comes to Technology?2018In: XVIII IOSTE symposium.: Future Educational Challenges from Science and Technology Perspectives. / [ed] Anna Jobér, Maria Andrée and Malin Ideland, Malmö, 2018, p. 303-310Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Research has indicated that there may be a gap between preschool teachers’ general descriptions of technology and thetechnology content in their actual preschool practices. This study investigates this further and, if a gap is found, looks forpossible reasons for it. The study was conducted in the form of research circles in two Swedish municipalities with 19technology-minded preschool teachers. A mixed research design was used. The starting point for mapping the preschoolteachers’ descriptions of technology was an established questionnaire that placed technology into five categories. Followingthis, the teachers independently documented events at their preschools that they assessed as technology activities. The findingswere that the most commonly chosen category in the questionnaire was technology as a solution to a problem. However, intheir everyday examples the dominant activities related to the children’s attempts to use the artefacts. The preschool teacherssaid that the children had to be introduced to the artefacts, their names and functions, before moving on to more advancedlevels describing technology. There is thus a distinction between the preschool teachers’ descriptions of technology and theireveryday practices, where they themselves provide relevant explanations for the gap.

  • 15.
    Sundqvist, Pernilla
    et al.
    Mälardalen University, School of Education, Culture and Communication, Educational Sciences and Mathematics.
    Nilsson, Tor
    Mälardalen University, School of Education, Culture and Communication, Educational Sciences and Mathematics.
    Gustafsson, Peter
    Mälardalen University, School of Education, Culture and Communication, Educational Sciences and Mathematics.
    Svensk förskolepersonals beskrivningar av teknik2015In: LUMAT: Luonnontieteiden, matematiikan ja teknologian opetuksen tutkimus ja käytäntö, ISSN 2323-7104, E-ISSN 2323-7112, Vol. 3, no 2, p. 237-257Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    With regards to previous research results on how the teacher’s/preschool teacher’s understanding of a subject effects children’s learning and apprehending of the subject combined with the difficulties for the technology subject to take place in preschool this study aims at investigating how preschool staff (including preschool teachers and day care attendants) describe technology. A qualitatively designed questionnaire was sent out to 139 preschool teachers and day care attendants in a Swedish municipality, whereof 102 answered. The open question about what technology is thought to be was analyzed using a conventional content analysis resulting in nine categories, of which six interrelated hierarchically and one contained answers witch could not be categorized. Thus the result shows eight different ways in which technology is described, from a simple and naive description to a more complex description that implicates a deeper understanding of technology. A majority describes technology according to the latter. The result also shows that it is mainly the preschool teachers who describe technology in a more complex way. Many of the respondents have trouble separating technology from science, and quite a few describes technology as technique, which is another meaning for the word in the Swedish language.

  • 16.
    Sundqvist, Pernilla
    et al.
    Mälardalen University, School of Education, Culture and Communication, Educational Sciences and Mathematics.
    Nilsson, Tor
    Mälardalen University, School of Education, Culture and Communication, Educational Sciences and Mathematics.
    Gustafsson, Peter
    Mälardalen University, School of Education, Culture and Communication, Educational Sciences and Mathematics.
    The Purpose of Technology Education in Preschool: Swedish Preschool Staff’s Descriptions2015In: Plurality and Complementarity of Approaches in Design and Technology Education: PATT29 conference proceedings / [ed] Marjolaine Chatoney, Marseille: École supérieure du professorat et de l’éducation, Aix-Marseille Université , 2015, p. 390-396Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In 2010 technology became emphasized as a subject in the revised curriculum for the Swedish preschool. Two yearslater 42 preschools were scrutinized by the Swedish Schools Inspectorate. The resulting report revealed that thepreschool staff lacked knowledge about technology in general and felt insecure regarding the subject’s application inthe preschool practice. There is relatively little research on the area, but even so some studies have shown the sametendency. To increase the knowledge of the existing situation in the preschool the aim of this study was to investigatehow preschool staff describe the purpose of technology education in preschool. Data was collected through an openendedquestionnaire. A stratified sample of 10 % of all the preschools in the investigated municipality resulted in thequestionnaire being sent out to 139 preschool teachers and day care attendants. The return rate was 73 %. The datawas analyzed using a conventional content analysis to create categories from data. Five categories were formed todescribe the preschool staff’s descriptions of the purpose of technology education: 1) to develop children’s interestin technology, 2) to make children aware of the technology around them and through that making the technologyavailable for them, 3) to give children an awareness about how technology works, 4) for children to develop abilitiesand knowledge to be able to create, invent and solve problems using technology, 5) to prepare children for futurelearning. All together these categories cover all aims but one for sustainable development stated in the steeringdocuments for the preschool and it seems that these respondents have a more developed understanding oftechnology in preschool than the ones the Swedish Schools Inspectorate reported in 2012.

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