Epistemic actions in science education

Kim A. Kastens, Lynn S. Liben, Shruti Agrawal

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

21 Scopus citations


Epistemic actions are actions in the physical environment taken with the intent of gathering information or facilitating cognition. As students and geologists explain how they integrated observations from artificial rock outcrops to select the best model of a three-dimensional geological structure, they occasionally take the following actions, which we interpret as epistemic: remove rejected models from the field of view, juxtapose two candidate models, juxtapose and align a candidate model with their sketch map, rotate a candidate model into alignment with the full scale geological structure, and reorder their field notes from a sentential order into a spatial configuration. Our study differs from prior work on epistemic actions in that our participants manipulate spatial representations (models, sketches, maps), rather than non-representational objects. When epistemic actions are applied to representations, the actions can exploit the dual nature of representations by manipulating the physical aspect to enhance the representational aspect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSpatial Cognition VI
Subtitle of host publicationLearning, Reasoning, and Talking about Space - International Conference Spatial Cognition 2008, Proceedings
Number of pages14
StatePublished - 2008
EventInternational Conference Spatial Cognition 2008 - Freiburg, Germany
Duration: Sep 15 2008Sep 19 2008

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume5248 LNAI
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


OtherInternational Conference Spatial Cognition 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Computer Science(all)


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