|M.Sc Student||Marjieh Catherine|
|Subject||Assessing the Learning Environment of Computerized|
Case-based Laboratory of High School Chemistry
|Department||Department of Education in Science and Technology||Supervisor||Professor Yehudit Dori|
|Full Thesis text - in Hebrew|
In the last decade, the “Case-based Computerized Laboratories” (CCL) learning unit was developed at the Technion within the framework of chemical education. The unit combines experiments that encourage usage of sensors while creating graphs in real time, developing students’ higher order thinking skills, and critical reading of scientific case studies. The CCL learning environment was tested among 12th grade chemistry honors students-224 students from the Arab sector and 159 students from the Jewish sector—the experimental group. The comparison groups consisted of 176 students who studied in the traditional, close-ended laboratory environment in the Arab sector and 129 students who studied in the inquiry-based laboratory environment in Jewish sector. The research objectives were to investigate students’ perceptions of the learning environment in various laboratory modes and to characterize cultural and gender differences. The research instruments included two SLEI—Science Laboratory Environment Inventory—questionnaires at actual and preferred situations with an open feedback question and observations. Analysis of the students’ perception of the CCL learning environment showed that the students in the Jewish sector perceived the learning environment in the laboratory more positively than the students in the Arab sector in the categories of student cohesiveness and physical environment in both actual and preferred situations. CCL Arab students perceived the environment more positively than the CCL Jewish students in the categories of integration, clarity of rules, involvement, open-endedness, and views about the laboratory in the actual and preferred situation. CCL Arab students perceived the learning environment more positively in the categories of involvement, integration, and organization in both situations while Arab students in the close-ended laboratory perceived the learning environment more positively only in the open-endedness category of actual situation. CCL students viewed more positively the category of rule clarity in both situations and the teacher support and laboratory attitudes in the actual situation while their peers from the inquiry-based group viewed more favorably the categories of students’ cohesiveness and open-endedness in both situations.
CCL male and female perceptions in both sectors are more similar to each other than the perceptions of male and female students at the close-ended laboratory environment. CCL female students have a more positive perception than male students only in student cohesiveness category and their views regarding laboratory. This study contributes to the expansion of the theoretical knowledge about technology-rich laboratory learning environments and about cultural and gender diversity.