1 University of Technology Vienna (AUSTRIA)
2 Pädagogische Hochschule Baden (AUSTRIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2017 Proceedings
Publication year: 2017
Pages: 1951-1958
ISBN: 978-84-697-6957-7
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2017.0596
Conference name: 10th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2017
Location: Seville, Spain
Boys and girls learn differently – this fact is proven in several studies (Sir Peter Knight, 2012). This is visible especially in STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), in which female learners are often less successfully in their learning compared with the male learners (Keller, 2013).

This paper describes a new pedagogical approach to strengthen female learners in STEM subjects. The method was developed in School Education and focuses on the age of 16 to 18 years old students. The method uses analogous comparisons by taking examples or situations from everyday life and in consequence the logical or analogous transfer to the scientific problem. The method uses the development of imaginations or “pictures in the head” to develop a view of the analogy; this picture is transferred as a problem-solving idea to the concrete scientific problem. Multimedia material like animations are used to provide a higher level of imagination and to develop the understanding for the discussed problem. The method was developed in the subjects physics, mathematics and computer science and was tested in physics at high school level.

The research questions focused on the proof of the acceptance of the method, the feedback of the concerned female learners; and finally, how male learners also can benefit of this pedagogical approach. The paper presents the result of a study with a sample of approx. 150 learners from different schools in Austria.

The study proofs the acceptance of the pedagogical approach and confirms the usability with an evident preference of female students. In general, the students appreciate the method with higher approval of the female learners. In the same way, the female learners show a stronger agreement to the use of multimedia material, specifically using the described method and to enable the transfer from everyday life images to scientific imagination and clear ideas dealing with the currently discussed problem.

As further steps, the development of a European project is proposed with a strict focus on teaching physic (or other subjects like biology or chemistry) using the method in several similar schools in European countries, using the identical material, this must be embedded in a well-developed evaluation environment interpreting and publishing the results including the comparison to this study.

[1] Keller, Emma G. (2013): Girls and science: why the gender gap exists and what to do about it.
[2] Knight, Peter (2012): It’s Different for Girls, National Pupil Database 2012
Innovation, technology enhanced teaching, analogous comparison, pedagogy, logical transfer, analogous comparison and transfer.