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Abstract Title: Comparing the Effect of Simulations and Hands-on Activities on Student Learning*
Abstract: Often computer simulation environments present students with an idealized version of the real world which can affect students' conceptual understanding.  In this study we investigate the effects of completing an experiment in mechanics using this ideal world as compared to an identical experiment in the real world.  Students in three of five conceptual physics laboratory sections completed the hands-on experiment while the other two sections performed the experiment virtually. Each section performed an inclined plane experiment as well as a pulley experiment. The experiments were conducted in the context of a unit on simple machines from the CoMPASS curriculum [1] which integrates hypertext-based concept maps in a design-based context.  We will present data from pre-, mid- and post-tests as well as written responses on worksheets completed by the students during the activities.

* This work is funded in part by the U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences Award R305A080507.

[1] S. Puntambekar, A. Stylianou, and R. Hübscher, "Improving navigation and learning in hypertext environments with navigable concept maps." Human-Computer Interaction, 2003. 18: p. 395-428.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Adrian Carmichael
Kansas State University
Manhattan, KS 66502