טכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל
הטכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל - בית הספר ללימודי מוסמכים  
Ph.D Thesis
Ph.D StudentSasson Irit
SubjectCase-based Computerized Experiments and their Effect on
Visualization Skills and Chemistry Understanding
of High-school Students
DepartmentDepartment of Education in Science and Technology
Supervisor Professor Yehudit Dori
Full Thesis textFull thesis text - English Version


Abstract

One major change in the chemistry curriculum in Israel includes the introduction of inquiry-based laboratory activities for which new study units were developed. The Case-based Computerized Laboratory (CCL) is a new chemistry learning module, which was developed at the Technion by the chemistry group at the Department of Education in Technology and Science. The CCL module focuses on the use of computerized experiments with sensor-generated data while constructing graphs in real time, and interpreting results. The CCL activities include scientific inquiry and analysis of case studies.

The main objectives of this research were to investigate honors chemistry students’

  • graphing skills and chemical understanding via bidirectional visual and textual representations in a case-based CCL learning environment, and
  • near and far transfer skills.

The research population of our three-year study consisted of about 900 chemistry 12th grade honors students from a variety of high schools. CCL students' abilities in graphing and transfer skills were compared to those of non-CCL students. Both qualitative and quantitative tools were used including pre and post case-based questionnaires, interviews and a reflection questionnaire. We found that all the students in the CCL learning environment significantly improved their graphing skills, chemical understanding, and transfer skills in the post questionnaire relative to the pre-questionnaire. This improvement was observed at all three academic levels. Interviews revealed that students of high academic level identified the characteristics of the assignments, described them in a meta-cognitive manner and could therefore adjust their responses to different discipline or pattern in new problems accordingly.

Students' improvement in chemical understanding was manifest by their use of a greater number of chemistry understanding levels—macroscopic, microscopic, symbolic, and process—and higher quality of explanations. Comparing the experimental students to their non-CCL control peers showed that CCL students demonstrated a significant advantage in graphing and far transfer skills. However, in near transfer skill, insignificant differences were found between students who were exposed to different types of instruction.

These findings may contribute to the chemical education community by fostering the understanding of thinking skills in general and graphing and transfer skills in particular. In addition, it might assist in developing and designing learning environments aimed at promoting higher order thinking skills.