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pp. 11033-11059 | Article Number: ijese.2016.801
Published Online: November 11, 2016
Article Views: 643 | Article Download: 594
The novelty of this study is rooted in the uniqueness of its setting: Informal, in school, Mini Science Museum that is managed by high school students who also develop teaching materials and guide the visitors. The phenomenological study presented here followed, over a period of 9 months, a group of 11 students that served as the museum’s trustees. It explored their perceptions of their own development, emotions and attitudes and the characteristics that turn the museum into a meaningful learning environment for its trustees. Data was gathered primarily by means of in-depth interviews and notes taken during museum staff meetings. Inductive analysis revealed three main themes: collaborative learning and guidance; interest and pleasure; self-efficacy and empowerment. In each theme, three aspects repeated with a high level of consistency: Cognitive; Emotive; and Practical. The students expressed feelings of empowerment and self-efficacy, described the museum as a learning environment that supports knowledge development in "a fun way", environment that enhances collaborative learning, sense of belonging to a supportive community. Our study demonstrates that such learning environments are feasible in schools. Even though such framework may not answer the needs of all students, it may answer the needs of students who want to study more science and who are motivated to teach others.
Keywords: Informal learning, science museum, collaboration, self-efficacy, community of practice
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