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Impact of World Affecting Events on Physics Education: A case of Fukushima and radiation education in Sweden and Russia
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Science and Mathematics Education. (UMSER)
2012 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Motivation for Science studies is an issue actively discussed in educational research literature. There is no shortage of analysis either about the root of the problem, or recipes for its solution. Arguments have been provided, for example, that use of socio-scientific issues (SSI) in teaching can positively affect students’ motivation to study science. In this connection the following research questions were explored in a combined qualitative and quantitative study:

-          How was prospective physics teachers’ interest to physics/science influenced by World Affecting Event - Fukushima accident in Japan in March 2011?

-          How students’ professional background knowledge affected their private inquiry about Fukushima?

The target group included about one hundred fourth- and fifth year physics students in Petrozavodsk and Blagoveshchensk (correspondently West and East of Russia) and Umeå (Sweden).

The analysis of students’ answers showed:

-          Fukushima Catastrophe did not influence significantly students’ interest for nuclear physics or physics study in general and did not become a triggering event for deeper study of physics or interest in “radiation education”.

-          Physics knowledge was not drawn upon for reading and discussing about Fukushima, mainly humanitarian/value aspects were in focus.

-          The main source of information on Fukushima events for students was the Internet, where mostly they surfed over pop-up news. They acted in information search more like laymen rather than physicists.

-          National and regional differences could be indentified in the answers.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Motivation, Physics Teacher Education, Socio-scientific Issues
National Category
Research subject
didactics of physics
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-61304OAI: diva2:565752
Transboundary learning beyond disciplines - Sustainable development opening up research dialogues.Umeå University, Sweden, 9-11 October 2012
Available from: 2012-11-08 Created: 2012-11-08 Last updated: 2013-06-13Bibliographically approved

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Popov, Oleg
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Department of Science and Mathematics Education

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