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Interdisciplinary Graduate School "VisDeM" at Freiburg University of Education:

Projects Overview - second funding phase 2016-2019

Go to the projects of the first funding phase (2013-2016)

  • Project 1:

    Learning from presenting complete visualisations compared to learning from gradually developed visualisations


    This sub-project deals with the effectiveness of the presentation style of visualisations. It focuses on investigating whether visualisations should be presented as gradually drawn explanatory pictures (DEP) or complete shown explanatory pictures (SEP). Both presentation styles are well-established in everyday classroom procedures. The project aims to investigate which processes are initiated when making use of each form of presentation and hence, which presentation style is more effective. Is it more persuading to guide pupils more strongly and to reduce cognitive load appropriately (DEP)? Or should self-controlled processes of learning and understanding be promoted (SEP)? Can theoretical assumptions be transferred into teaching practice? - This so far underexplored field will be analysed in a series of quasi-experimental studies within regular teaching units; the results will lead to recommendations for instructional practice.

    Doctoral candidate: StR'in, Dipl.-Päd.'in Mandy Steinbach

    Supervision: Prof. Dr. Josef Nerb, Jun.-Prof. Dr. Anika Dreher

    Funding: The project is funded by the Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts of the State of Baden-Wuerttemberg.

  • Project 2:

    Diagnosis-based and -supported promotion of visualisation competence in German and Mathematics education


    Project 2 is strongly related to Project 1 "Modelling and assessing visualisation competence in the institutional learning environment of German and Mathematics education".
    Based on expert interviews, a theoretical model of visualisation competence was developed. Within this process, receptive components (recognising, understanding and connecting visualisations) as well as a productive component (generating visualisations) were identified as the fundamental dimensions of visualisation competence. A test was undertaken by students (N=1834), which involved performance items specific to each dimension of visualisation competence. By use of competing IRT-models, it was shown that the aforementioned four components of visualisation competence correlate strongly, but are nevertheless separable dimensions of the competence structure.
    Project 2 aims to identify and define proficiency levels for each dimension of visualisation competence. Furthermore, it intends to ascertain difficulty-generating factors for learning content in German and Mathematics.
    Data will be generated in two steps: firstly, expert interviews will be conducted using the Delphi technique. Secondly, data will be generated by conducting cognitive interviews with students while they are involved in task-processing. The use of think-aloud-methods will be strongly encouraged. Combining these data generation methods will identify the cognitive processes involved in the processing of visual information, which will be used for content validation of the difficulty-generating aspects of the items as well as the proficiency levels of each dimension.
    The outcome of the project will be a detailed portrayal of calibrated items, which can be used for the diagnosis and promotion of visualisation competence, implemented through curricular embedded assessments in school-based education. Various applications of the data with regards to teaching practice will be identified and validated.

    Doctoral candidate: Harriet Ziegler

    Supervision: Prof. Dr. Markus Wirtz, Prof. Dr. Janina Strohmer

    Funding: The project is funded by the Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts of the State of Baden-Wuerttemberg.

  • Project 3:

    Visualisations of grammatical patterns as a learning aid for the understanding of sentence-structure


    The main goal of the project is to develop and evaluate visualisation-based learning material for a meta-grammatical analysis of German sentence-structure. To this end, basic sentence structures in typologically different and at the same time school relevant languages feed contrastive patterns in order to promote language-reflective competencies in a multilingual classroom with an ultimate focus on the specifics of German sentence structure. A selection of grammar visualisations offered so far in educational settings will be analysed for their adequacy from a theoretical, a learning-oriented and a (multilingual) didactic perspective. Those promising visualisations which turn out to be highly adequate in this respect are used in actual learning situations for empirical testing: the project plans to collect audio- and video-data in schools (secondary level I, 7th / 8th grade) in a controlled design in order to determine whether a particular type of visual representation stimulates the understanding of this part of grammar very effectively.

    Doctoral candidate: Sabine-Brigitte Klein

    Supervision: Prof. Dr. Petra Gretsch, Prof. Dr. Gabriele Kniffka

    Funding: The project is funded by the Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts of the State of Baden-Wuerttemberg.

  • Project 4:

    Status und Funktionen von Visualisierungen in DaZ-Alphabetisierungsmaßnahmen für jugendliche SeiteneinsteigerInnen


    Kinder und Jugendliche, die nach der Grundschulzeit ins deutsche Bildungssystem quer einsteigen und noch nicht in der lateinischen Ausgangsschrift alphabetisiert sind, haben sehr komplexe Erwerbsaufgaben zu bewältigen. Die Doppelaufgabe besteht im Vergleich zur Erstalphabetisierung in der Muttersprache darin, dass in der Regel die neue Sprache mündlich und schriftlich gleichzeitig erlernt werden muss. Da diese noch im Erwerb befindliche Sprache Medium der Vermittlung in schulischen DaZ-Alphabetisierungsmaßnahmen ist, sollen Visualisierungen eine Vielzahl an unterschiedlichen unterstützenden Funktionen im Lehr- und Lernprozess übernehmen. Systematisch sollen in diesem Teilprojekt die diversen Arten aktuell eingesetzter Visualisierungen zur Alphabetisierung und Literalisierung zusammengetragen und einer Bestands- und Funktionsanalyse unterzogen werden. Die Forschung richtet hierbei den Fokus auf die Gruppe der jugendlichen SeiteneinsteigerInnen, deren Sprach- und Schriftspracherwerb im gesteuerten Kontext bislang wenig Beachtung von Seiten der Wissenschaft gefunden hat. Empirisch soll untersucht werden, welche Visualisierungstypen in der Praxis bei Lehrenden zur Anwendung kommen und welche bei den Rezipienten erfolgreich verarbeitet werden können.

    Doctoral candidate: Birgitta Leupolz-Oebel

    Supervision: Prof. Dr. Gabriele Kniffka, Prof. Dr. Petra Gretsch

    Funding: The project is funded by the Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts of the State of Baden-Wuerttemberg.

  • Project 5:

    Visualisierungen von Konnektoren als Lernhilfe für die Textüberarbeitung


    Connectives are links between contents that are crucial for textual coherence and meaning. In traditional grammar teaching they are often exclusively explored regarding their syntactical significance e.g. as introduction for subordinate clauses. Making semantic denotations of specific causal conjunctions more transparent for pupils by applying different visualization models and pointing out different syntactical options (besides the mere construction of subordinate clauses) are the foremost goals of this research project. Because of the great importance of the writing process another key aspect will be the revision of text, which is a phase frequently disregarded at schools. Within an intervention study selected pupils shall revise text regarding the semantic fit of causal connectives which will subsequently undergo a qualitative and quantitative analysis.

    Doctoral candidate: Katharina Kellermann

    Supervision: Prof. Dr. Jörg Hagemann, Dr. Inga Harren

    Funding: The project is funded by the Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts of the State of Baden-Wuerttemberg.

  • Project 6:

    Relations of Equating in Mathematics and Language


    Language and visualisation are two of the most important aspects of teaching a comprehension of equality to students in math classes: It is almost impossible to find proper synonyms in the mathematical formation of concepts just like in the German language, even expressions that seem to be analogous to each other often have slightly different meanings. Concerning the algebraic subject equations, the students have to understand that equality doesn't mean conformity, but being of equal value. From a linguistic point of view, this raises the question, where we can draw a line between the meaning of the terms similarity and equality. Moreover, from a didactical perspective, one can investigate how language and visualisation can be used to help learners to gain an understanding of relations of equating in the formation of concepts. The survey I have planned will try to answer these questions through interviews, observations and interventions.

    Doctoral candidate: Karin Niebuhr

    Supervision: Prof. Dr. Petra Gretsch, Prof. Dr. Lars Holzäpfel

    Funding: The project is funded by the Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts of the State of Baden-Wuerttemberg.

  • Project 7:

    Wirksamkeit von Repräsentationen zum Erwerb fachlichen Wissens im Bereich des Stochastikunterrichts in der Sekundarstufe I


    Research in mathematics education and cognitive psychology yield many results referring to difficulties when coping with uncertain situations based on conditional probabilities. Researchers provide different strategies of visualization to face different learning obstacles. Two of these strategies concern the tree with natural frequencies and the unit square. The aim of our research is to compare the efficiency of both strategies. For this, we conduct interventions, in which students of different classes learn issues in the field of conditional probabilities supported by at a time one of the visualization strategies.

    Doctoral candidate: Katharina Böcherer-Linder

    Supervision: Prof. Dr. Timo Leuders, Prof. Dr. Andreas Eichler, Prof. Dr. Markus Vogel

    Funding: The project is funded by the Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts of the State of Baden-Wuerttemberg.

  • Project 8:

    Der Prozentstreifen als Unterstützung bei komplexen Prozentaufgaben


    Über den Einsatz des Prozentstreifens als Visualisierung bei der Prozentrechnung gibt es bislang nur wenige Erkenntnisse, insbesondere zu Aufgaben mit vermehrtem und vermindertem Grundwert. Dass diese Form der Visualisierung eine substanzielle Unterstützung darstellen kann, dafür sprechen didaktische Analysen (van den Heuvel-Panhuizen, 2003), erste empirische Befunde zu entsprechenden Förderansätzen bei der Prozentrechnung (Pöhler & Prediger, 2015; van Galen & van Eerde, 2013), Ergebnisse der eigenen Vorarbeiten (Thiede, 2015a, 2015b) sowie allgemeine Befunde zur Bedeutung mentaler Modelle beim Problemlösen (Jonassen, 2003). Verglichen werden sollen die Effekte einer Förderung mittels Prozentstreifen (situatives Modell), Dreisatztabelle (strukturelles Modell) oder Prozentformel (algorithmisches Modell). Angenommen wird, dass der Einsatz des Prozentstreifens Lernenden dabei hilft, sowohl vertieftes konzeptuelles Wissen zu Aufgaben mit vermehrtem und vermindertem Grundwert aufzubauen, als auch effektiver zwischen diesen beiden Problemtypen unterscheiden zu können. Erwartet werden sowohl ein größerer Lernzuwachs als auch eine Verringerung von häufig zu beobachtenden Zuordnungsfehlern beim Prozentrechnen (vgl. Hafner, 2012).

    Doctoral candidate: Benjamin Peters

    Supervision: Prof. Dr. Lars Holzäpfel, Dr. Andreas Schulz

    Funding: The project is funded by the Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts of the State of Baden-Wuerttemberg.

  • Project 9:

    Connecting conceptual and procedural knowledge of fractions by use of visualization


    Fractions are often a difficult concept for students to learn. It is assumed that one important reason for this is, that in school mathematical instruction strongly builds on formal and rule-based learning and there is an (over-)emphasize of the symbolic level (vgl. Malle 2004). Consequently conceptual understanding evolves insufficiently - students rely on standard, often rote, procedures and use algorithms inappropriately, since a fundamental understanding of the procedures is lacking (z.B. Prediger 2006; Wartha & Wittmann 2009). Relations between procedural and conceptual knowledge are not developed.
    Using an intervention study design this thesis intends to examine if a continuous use of visualizations (not only in introduction phase but also in training and repetition lessons) fosters the relationship between conceptual and procedural knowledge. It is hypothesized that using visualizations has a positive influence on the solution processes of fraction tasks by creating an adequate basic understanding of the mathematical concept (conceptual knowledge) but also by supporting reflection of algorithms (procedural knowledge).

    Doctoral candidate: Katja Lenz

    Supervision: Prof. Dr. Gerald Wittmann, Prof. Dr. Lars Holzäpfel

    Funding: The project is funded by the Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts of the State of Baden-Wuerttemberg.

  • Project 10:

    Graphical and numerical representations of functions: Students' competency profiles and remedial intervention


    This project assesses students' use of external representations of mathematical functions. Initial studies (in VisDeM-1) showed that the successful use of different representations (graphs, tables) depended not only on task-related factors (the fit between the representation and the problem) and cognitive factors (knowledge about representations) but also on individual non-cognitive (motivational) factors, such as self-efficacy. However, individual students' profiles of cognitive and non-cognitive factors have not been assessed, and it is unclear how such profiles can be supported through remedial intervention. The first aim of this project is to develop reliable instruments to assess competences, self-efficacy, and attribution in students of grades eight and nine (age 14-15 years). These assessments will be used to describe individual students' competency profiles. The second aim is to investigate how low facets of competency can be supported through remedial interventions. To that end, the effectiveness of interventions that emphasize either cognitive or non-cognitive facets of competency will be evaluated in an experimental design.

    Doctoral candidate: Katharina Siefer

    Supervision: Prof. Dr. Timo Leuders, Prof. Dr. Andreas Obersteiner

    Funding: The project is funded by the Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts of the State of Baden-Wuerttemberg.

  • Project 11:

    Learning with and understanding of visualisations in social studies and related subjects: concepts and quality characteristics of visualisations as parts of instructional settings


    This research project focuses on determination and analysis of quality features of graphical representations applied within the educational scope of social studies and science education.
    In regard to the applied arts one aim of the project is to explore design criteria as well as graphic renditions that might help to facilitate an understanding of depicted processes for nine to twelve-year-olds. The project also wants to examine whether a (didactical) visualisation concept in reference to such criteria could be derived.
    Additionally, teaching practice often does not take into account that perceiving and processing visualisations and graphic representations is a complex and demanding process in itself. Therefore, an additional objective is to investigate empirically to what extent teachers could support the development of methods and expertise by supplying (distinct) additional verbal information.

    Doctoral candidate: Susanne Thoene

    Supervision: Prof. Dr. Thomas Heyl, Prof. Dr. Gudrun Schönknecht

    Funding: The project is funded by the Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts of the State of Baden-Wuerttemberg.

  • Project 12:

    Epistemisches Zeichnen als zentrales Element zur Revision einer „Didaktik des Sachzeichnens"


    Students are producing visualizations in many different educational situations often enough, these visualizations are only used to illustrate or reproduce a given fact. This research project is based on the idea of "epistemic drawing". It puts a focus on the act of drawing and the knowledge gained in the drawing process.
    To reason the possibilities and limitations of "epistemic drawing" in the subject "Sachunterricht" (Geography/History/Science teaching) and related subjects this project will review research findings in subject didactics, philosophy and psychology. In an empirical investigation it will be explored which design parameters are beneficial for creating and using drawing tasks in school settings.
    The aim of the project is to deduce didactical implications for a successful embedding of epistemic ^drawing tasks in the subject "Sachunterricht".

    Doctoral candidate: Heiner Oberhauser

    Supervision: Prof. Dr. Gudrun Schönknecht, Prof. Dr. Thomas Heyl

    Funding: The project is funded by the Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts of the State of Baden-Wuerttemberg.