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Submit a Manuscript to the Journal
International Journal of Science Education

For a Special Issue on
Distance vs. In-Person Teaching and Learning of Science during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Abstract deadline
15 January 2023

Manuscript deadline
15 April 2023

Cover image - International Journal of Science Education

Special Issue Editor(s)

Knut Neumann, IPN - Leibniz Institute for Science and Mathematics Education
[email protected]

Brooke Whitworth, Clemson University
[email protected]

David Fortus, Weizmann Institute of Science
[email protected]

Submit an ArticleVisit Journal

Distance vs. In-Person Teaching and Learning of Science during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Knut Neumann, Brooke Whitworth, and David Fortus

The COVID-19 pandemic significantly challenged the education of millions of students across the world. School closures led to a shift from in-person to distance teaching and learning (Usak et al., 2020). Teachers and students quickly had to move to working with learning management software or video-conference that was largely unfamiliar to many (Hamilton et al., 2020). Addressing all students’ needs became even more difficult than usual as disparities between teachers and students with respect to the access to and familiarity with such technologies created additional burdens for teachers. Consequently, there is a sense that the move to distance learning negatively affected the quality of students’ education, particularly for those students most in need.

Science education was no exception. In fact, the teaching and learning of science may have faced a range of additional challenges in the transition to distance teaching and learning. Whereas strategies for teaching conceptual knowledge may, for example, apply equally to in-person and distance learning, hands-on experiences needed for developing specific experimentation skills may not as easily be replaced by digital alternatives such as simulations or videos (Kelley, 2021). Similarly, engaging students in some of the core practices of science such as argumentation, may require substantially more effort in online then face-to-face situations (Archila et al., 2022). To address the lack of social interactions and cater to individual students’ needs, teachers must be able to draw on educational technologies such as online learning platforms, online formative assessment tools or breakout rooms (Ahsan, 2021), which they are known to struggle with (Hamilton, 2020). As a result, there has been a growing concern that the COVID-19 pandemic may have worsened the already critical situation in terms of students developing science literacy and identity in many countries; especially so, for students traditionally underserved in science education (e.g. female students).

A range of research has been carried out to understand the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on education in general and the effects of distance vs. in-service teaching and learning in particular. Schult et al. (2022), for example, used data from an annual large-scale assessment of students’ reading and mathematics competence and found a slightly lower level of achievement for students in the year after the first wave of the pandemic compared to previous year; Asgari et al. (2021), focusing on online engineering education during the pandemic, identified a number of issues that negatively influenced students’ learning experience, including a lack of sufficient hands-on training. Experiences that in turn led into a perceived lack of focus and engagement; and Stelitano et al. (2020) report, based on a survey of teachers, that students learning experience was affected by their access to computers and the internet at home; and that students from under-served communities where significantly less likely to have such access.

Much of this research, however, was not specifically designed to investigate the effects of the pandemic, hence many studies suffered from a range of shortcomings. For example, the research often focused solely on the effects of distance learning (e.g. Asgari et al., 2021) or relied only on teachers’ or students’ perceptions of distance learning in comparison to in-person learning (e.g. Stelitano et al., 2020). In order to better assess the impacts of the pandemic, in particular the shift from in-person to distance learning, on science teaching and learning,  the International Journal of Science Education (IJSE) is soliciting manuscripts for a special issue on this topic. By bringing together, in one place, multiple studies from a range of methodologies on this issue, we hope to mitigate the shortcomings of many of the related studies that have already been published. In addition, we seek manuscripts that go beyond results that narrowly focus on what happened during the COVID-19 pandemic, but also provide insights into what we can learn from this experience about teaching and learning science outside of a traditional face-to-face environment.

Submission Instructions

The review process for the special issue will take place in two stages. In stage 1, authors will submit an extended abstract outlining key ideas of the proposed manuscript, including research questions, methodology, as well as main findings and implications. This extended abstract should not exceed 500 words. The special issue guest editors will review the extended abstracts and invite full manuscript submissions. The review of extended abstracts will be guided by the potential of the proposed manuscripts to meet the standard IJSE review criteria and to combine with the other manuscripts to form a coherent whole, leading to additional insights. This process will be supervised by the editors-in-chief of the journal to ensure due process. In the second stage of the process, invited manuscripts will undergo a double-blinded review employing the same process and criteria used for the review of all IJSE manuscripts. Not all invited submissions will be published in the special issue. Manuscripts that are not reviewed favorably through the double-blind process will not be accepted. If there are more manuscripts that receive favorable reviews and recommendations to publish than there is available space in the special issue, then some manuscripts will be recommended for publication in a later standard IJSE issue.

The submission of extended abstract and all questions should be made to: [email protected]. Invited manuscripts will be processed through the IJSE manuscript management system following the standard review process all IJSE manuscripts follow.

Deadline for submission of extended abstracts: 15 January 2022

Deadline for submission of full manuscripts: 15 April 2023

Scheduled publication of special issue: End of 2023

Instructions for AuthorsSubmit an Article

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