The present doctoral research project studies what mental mechanisms are formed by students to understand scientific concepts and whether and to what extent Semiotic Pedagogy and semiotic systems facilitate the representation of scientific concepts. Specifically, we focus on the way in which students construct cognitive schemata through semiotic resources, organize them in a broader mental context and construct mental fields and new cognitive patterns. A key research question is which combination of semiotic systems are more efficient than others and in which order, so that students recognize the cognitive procedures they follow to understand a scientific notion, when they use different semiotic representations. The present study proposes a theoretical model of cognitive representations through semiotic systems that can be applied in every subject domain. This way, aspects of the learning process are illuminated, as different semiotic systems are combined. At the same time, students become aware of the processes they use while constructing new knowledge. The results from the first phase of the research show that visual representations help more in teaching specific concepts and help students to recognize the cognitive processes they follow. However, they are not sufficient for the production of meaning. Students seem to prefer visual semiotic systems first and then their verbal explanations as texts, as visual semiotic resources are more abstract shapes but allow students to think more deeply, because these semiotic resources activate higher cognitive processes.
Eleni Georgakopoulou, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece
Zacharoula Smyrnaiou, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece
Stream: Learning Environments
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