Reasoning with thermal cameras : Framing and meaning-making in naturalistic settings in higher education

Abstract: In this Licentiate thesis, framed by the Resources framework and Social semiotics, I explore how students and instructors, investigating thermal phenomena with IR cameras, come to conceptually and epistemologically frame the naturalistic settings they participate in. Additionally, I look at how they productively employ resources , what barriers they encounter while reasoning about the thermal phenomena and how the semiotic resources of the IR camera relate to the framing and resources employed in their investigations.The thesis is based on three groups of participants: two chemical engineering students and their two lab instructors (PhD students) in a calorimetry lab part of a unit on thermodynamics in a chemistry introduction course, and primary school teacher students in a physics unit on thermodynamics that is part of a course on science. The engineering students and their instructors were studied in a chemistry lab involving the Born-Haber cycle and enthalpy change of solution for some salts. The primary school teacher students were studied in a classroom where they had just had a class on heat transfer. Data was collected through video recording and subsequently transcribed.The analysis is qualitative and contextual and is mainly based on multimodal conversation analysis with a special focus on the types of talk used and the resources employed, through the concepts and examples used by the participants when they are investigating a thermal phenomenon.The thesis contributes with situated knowledge claims that include:-        that the semiotic resources of an IR camera afford attention to thermal aspects (red, white and blue), measurement (the temperature values) and spatial movability (the form of the camera). The colors of the camera and the temperatures affect the conceptual framing (the students use of the concepts of heat and temperature) and the numbers and form affect the epistemological framing (what they do and how they do it). Other aspects affecting the two types of framing are also found.-        that given a sequence of anchoring situations and experiments and some chosen teaching content, if the situations share some common teaching content and are sufficiently proximate, it is possible for the participants to conceptually frame the sequence coherently.-        that both disciplinary and everyday based resources may act as both barriers and productive resources within the same reasoning process.Also, some productive resources and/or barriers in the reasoning processes are identified for each of the three groups.