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Abstract Title: Physics education research in the Nordic countries
Abstract Type: Talk Symposium
Abstract: Though much of contemporary PER work is carried out within the US, there are PER efforts outside the US that are frequently overlooked by the broader US PER community. The result is often not only a blinkered representation of the scholarship on the teaching and learning of physics, but also a lack of cross-cultural comparison between international contexts that may have important implications for physics education researchers and physics teachers interpreting and applying the results of PER studies from other countries. What is needed is a greater awareness of the international work done in the field of PER as well as an appreciation of the factors that can substantively shape the teaching and learning of physics in those international contexts. In this session we showcase the work of PER scholars working in the Nordic countries and discuss the Nordic context as it relates to PER. This session brings together a collection of physics education researchers working within Sweden, Norway, and Denmark, all of whom are members of newly established Nordic Physics Education Research Consortium. The presenters will each introduce the broader efforts of the research groups in which they work, discuss their own research, and reflect on some of the contextual factors that make PER different for them outside the US. The session will also provide time for discussion with the audience and briefly introduce the goals of the Nordic Physics Education Research Consortium.
Session Time: Parallel Sessions Cluster II
Room: Pantlind Ballroom

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Elias Euler
Lund University
Lund, Non U.S.
and Co-Presenter(s)
Elias Euler (he/him), Lund University, Sweden
Simon Goorney (he/him), Aarhus University, Denmark
Jacob Sherson, (he/him), Aarhus University, Denmark
Kim Svensson (he/him), Lund University, Sweden
Tor Ole Bigton Odden (he/him), University of Oslo, Norway

Parallel Session Information

Moderator: Elias Euler (he/him), Lund University, Sweden
Urban Eriksson (he/him), Lund University, Sweden

Symposium Specific Information

Presentation 1 Title: Phenomenography in PER
Presentation 1 Authors: Elias Euler, Moa Eriksson, and Urban Eriksson
Presentation 1 Abstract: Physics education researchers often seek to describe their qualitative data through thematic (coding) analyses--a family of analytic approaches that generally involves interpreting qualitative data in terms of codes, categories, and themes. While this family of analytic approaches can produce similar categorization schemes predicated on iterative engagement with qualitative data, there are specific kinds of thematic analysis that entail meaningfully different details for physics education researchers at the level of their analysis and presentation of results. One such thematic analysis approach originally developed in Sweden is phenomenography. In this talk, I will review phenomenography as a methodology for physics education researchers with examples from the Lund University PER group, examining the theoretical basis upon which phenomenography is built and highlighting how the results of phenomenographic analysis can be leveraged to inform physics teaching practice. This talk will also feature a comparison of phenomenography to other similar thematic analytic approaches such as grounded theory, discourse analysis, and phenomenology.
Presentation 2 Title: The roadmap to a quantum-ready workforce: Activity theoretic analysis of the Quantum Technology Education community
Presentation 2 Authors: Simon Goorney and Jacob Sherson
Presentation 2 Abstract: Quantum Technologies (QT) in Europe are currently undergoing an overwhelming expansion. As a result, it is of crucial importance to ensure that education programs can support the development of a Quantum-ready workforce, capable of supplying the emerging industry. To this end, an education community (QTEdu) of stakeholders from across Europe has emerged, with the aim of providing an experimental seeding ground for collaborations, to share resources and best practices, and ultimately develop a "roadmap to a quantum-readiness". Community members interact through structures such as working groups and pilot projects, of which this presentation will highlight one in particular: the QTEdu Open Master Pilot, which is facilitating organizational changes across many European partner universities. These changes are having direct impact on present students, who are now able to access specialized QT courses as part of their study programs. As yet, there is no clear picture of how interactions among actors in a community such as QTEdu filter down to concrete outcomes for students and citizens of the public. Investigating this, I employ the lens of Activity Theory, popularized in the Nordic countries, as a framework in which to develop a theory of change for Quantum Technology education.
Presentation 3 Title: A short introduction to using Social Semiotics and Variation Theory of Learning in PER
Presentation 3 Authors: Kim Svensson
Presentation 3 Abstract: Social Semiotics (SS) and Variation Theory of Learning (VTL) are two theoretical frame-works actively being developed in Sweden and have shown success when applied in Nordic PER. They have their basis in representations and the learning that may occur when interacting with representations. SS and VTL aim to qualitatively describe the students' usage of representations and tie this to students' meaning making in physics. By coding and analyzing multimodal transcripts of interviews or learning situations where students are creating, manipulating, and communicating using representations, a rich qualitative description of the learning situation may be obtained. This presentation aims to showcase the workflow and strengths of this approach for use in PER.
Presentation 4 Title: Using computational essays to support student agency in physics
Presentation 4 Authors: Tor Ole Bigton Odden
Presentation 4 Abstract: Computation holds great potential for enabling students to engage in creative, exploratory, and investigative scientific coursework. At the University of Oslo, Norway, we have been exploring this potential through the development and testing of a new teaching tool known as a computational essay. After using computational essays across several semesters of a large-enrollment electricity and magnetism course, we have found that they can serve a key role in supporting students as they engage in open-ended, inquiry-based, disciplinarily-authentic coursework. In this talk, I will describe how we are conceptualizing student creativity and agency in physics and how we use computational essays to support these qualities in our teaching.