טכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל
הטכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל - בית הספר ללימודי מוסמכים  
Ph.D Thesis
Ph.D StudentBarak Miriam
SubjectA Model for a Web-Based Community of Chemistry Learners in
Higher Education
DepartmentDepartment of Education in Science and Technology
Supervisors Professor Yehudit Dori
Professor Noam Adir


Abstract

This study describes a Web-based chemistry course, a Web-based Modeling Project and the learning outcomes of freshmen that were engaged in them. This study also describes the collaboration between chemistry researchers and science education researchers while integrating new learning technologies.

The research population included freshmen students that participated in general chemistry courses. The experimental group students carried out an individual Web-based Modeling Project, which involved an intensive use of the Internet and Computerized Molecular Modeling (CMM), and credited them with an extra 5 points to their final grade. The research included diverse research instruments that were analyzed both qualitatively and quantitatively.

Pre- and post-tests, the course final examination grades, and the Web-based Modeling Projects submitted by the students, served for assessing the students performances. Think aloud interviews and observations were designed to gain some insight into the students’ understanding of the learning process while constructing a computerized molecular model.

The research results show that the Web-based Modeling Project carried out by the experimental group students while studying the general chemistry courses, improved their chemistry understanding and ability to answer questions that require higher order thinking skills. Experimental students were better capable of mentally traversing across the four understanding levels in chemistry: symbol, macroscopic, microscopic and process. Students who carried out the Web-based Modeling Project better understood chemical reactions, chemical concepts, and implementation of models.

In this research project, a new approach to cooperation and collaboration between chemistry researchers and science education researchers was developed.

This research demonstrated that information and communication technologies can foster individual learning as well as generate a community of learners. Based on the research findings, it is recommended incorporating Web-based courses and Modeling projects as means to foster chemistry understanding.