RDG Conference Report of Ivy P. Mejia

Write up about the Conference

The 6th World Conference on Educational Sciences held in 6-9 February 2014 at Grand Hotel Excelsior Convention Center, Valleta, Malta was organized by the Academic World Education Research Center. It brought together educational scientists administers, councilors, education experts, teachers, graduate students, civil society organizations, and representatives to share and discuss theoretical and practical knowledge in the scientific environment.

The keynote speaker of the conference was Prof. Dr. Meral Aksu of Middle East Technical University (Turkey) who described the qualities of an effective approach in developing a qualified professional. Such approach would require flexible and rich curricular involving students’ needs and profiles, information and communication technologies, ethics, life-long learning, accreditation/quality assessment, entrepreneurship, and process evaluation.

High quality scientific papers were presented in parallel sessions with topics covering from pre-school education to higher as well as topics about psychology of learning, instructional designs, technology-based learning, and professional developments. The programme included one keynote address, two plenary sessions, 563 papers, and 20 posters.

The welcome Cocktail held on 6 February at the  Grand Hotel Excelsior Convention Center provided an opportunity for delegates to establish connections with other participants. Dr. Jesus Garcia Laborda of Universidad de Alcala (Spain) officially closed the conference on 8 February 2014. On the last day of the conference, 9 February, a free Malta Island wide tour was conducted. This one-day tour gave delegates a glimpse of Maltese culture.

Feedback on paper presented

One participant in the session commented that epistemology of science is difficult to understand such epistemology is a factor why there was only a moderate improvement in my participants’ understanding of the nature of science.

Another participant from University of Central Florida commented that the data presented provided clear explanations about the results.

Future directions of research presented

The research paper will be published in Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences which are indexed by Scopus and Science Direct and submitted to Thomson Reuters Conference Proceedings Citation Indexed-Science (ISI Web of Science).

Potential foreign collaborators

The following educational researchers did not only present their papers but had explicitly expressed their interest to collaborate with participants whose research topics are similar with them:

  1. Erin Edwards from University of Central Florida whose research interest is inquiry-based teaching; and
  2. Zemira Rivka Mevarech, from Bar-llan University (Israel) whose area of interest is metacognition and scientific literacy.

Since my research interests are about the nature of science, inquiry-based teaching, pre-service and metacognition, they could be potential foreign collaborators. They have pool of contacts that could give better ideas for future research that are in line with these topics.

Other important contacts and insights

Prof. Cherie Yestrebsky form the Univrsity of Central Florida in her presentation titled “Flippinf the Classroom in a Large chemistry Class-Research University Environment” gave an idea to Flip our presentations used during our teacher trainings. Flipping means recording a PowerPoint slide-show including voice and any annotations, and then converting it into a video file that could be easily distributed online.

NISMED is one of the leading institutions for teacher trainings in science and in mathematics education. Participants in such trainings require a good memory to remember all the important science concepts, tips, and strategies. In reality, only a few trainers can absorb the huge amount of information from the training. But when the presentations are flipped, the trainees could be more participative and would ask more questions to address their alternative conceptions and difficulties in teaching science. Moreover, once they go back to their respective regions and execute the training they may  playback the presentations to help them recall the process that they underwent.

Short write-up of one’s participation (to be used to feature/publicize the grantee’s participation in the conference)

Ms. Ivy P. Mejia, from the National Institute of Science and Mathematics Education (NISMED), presented her research paper during the 6th World Conference on Educational Sciences held at Grand Hotel Excelsior Convention Center, Valleta, Malta on 6-9 February 2014.

In a parallel session, she presented her paper titled “Developing Pre-Service Teacher’s Constructivist-Oriented Scientific Epistemological View Through Metacognitive Group Discourse”. She shared in her presentation the effectiveness of metacognitive group discourse in preservice teachers’ development of understanding of the nature of science. She recommends that for preservice teachers to be prepared for the realities of science teaching, Teacher Education Institutes (TEI) have to explicitly the nature  of science in their curriculum. They have to plan and design instructions that would  address difficulties in integrating the nature of science with science lessons, which in turn will be apart of teaching methodologies of preservice teachers. She strongly suggests that developing an understanding of nature of science needs a support group where members purposively check and monitor their understanding. This process, which she termed as Metacognitive Group Discourse, brought desirable changes in her research participants’ understanding of the nature of science.