Abstract of Keynote Speech

Comparing Personal Epistemology of Science, Literature and Design
Ching Sing Chai
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

The field of personal epistemology has been investigating individuals’ views about the nature of knowledge and the process of knowing both in a domain general manner and in subject specific context. Common factors surveyed under personal epistemology are certainty of knowledge (whether knowledge is certain or developmental) and the source of knowledge (whether knowledge are transmitted from authority or justify through personal or disciplinary ways of knowing) (see for example, Conley et al., 2004). To date, it seems that the domain general perspective has been gaining grounds (Wong & Chai, 2010) while the domain specific investigation has been focused on the investigation of the Nature of Science. This study is an initial attempt to survey individuals’ personal epistemology about how knowledge creation of Science, Literature and Design happens. It deviates from previous studies of personal epistemology and look into epistemology from knowledge creation perspective as knowledge creation is considered the most important competency for the knowledge age (Bereiter, 2002). Science, literature and design are considered as dealing with different realm of reality corresponding to Popper’s (1978) postulation of World 1 (the physical world), World 2 (the subjective world) and World 3 (the artificial world). Separate questionnaire were design for each of the discipline and undergraduate and postgraduate students’ epistemic beliefs about the ways the discipline create knowledge. The survey was validated and differences among students from different disciplines (science, engineering, design and literature) were compared. While the findings indicate students from different disciplines hold different understanding of how knowledge were created, the survey seems to require further fine tuning to be more sensitive to discipline differences.

Keynote Speaker

Prof. Ching Sing Chai (National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore)

Ching Sing Chai is an Associate Professor at the Learning Sciences and Technologies Academic Group of the National Institute of Education in Singapore. He served as a school teacher and head of department after he completed his overseas study in Taiwan with scholarship from the Ministry of Education. He joined the National Institute of Education after completing his Master degree in Nanyang Technological University 2001, and subsequently finished his Ed. D with the University of Leicester in 2006. His research interests are in the areas of Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK), teachers’ beliefs, design epistemology and students’ learning with ICT. He has published more than 50 journal articles in reputable journals listed in the Social Science Citation Index. He has also co-authored several monographs including the recently published “Design Thinking for Education: Conceptions and Applications in Teaching and Learning”, a Springer-published book. In the past few years, he has been actively involved in a Future School project funded by the National Research Foundation and the evaluation of ICT Masterplan 3 commissioned by the Ministry of Education. Currently, he works with schools in designing ICT integrated lessons for various subjects including Chinese language, primary science and social studies.