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Abstract Title: Student use of an interactive simulation in a large-lecture setting: Analysis of students' simulation interactions, discussions, and perceptions
Abstract: Interactive simulations are popular pedagogical tools with wide use in lecture demonstrations and recitation activities. Here, we investigate what can happen when students use interactive simulations as part of small-group activities in a large-lecture setting. In one general chemistry class, the eighty students (organized into self-selected small groups) were given 10 minutes to explore the PhET simulation Molecule Polarity without instructions on how to interact with the simulation. During this exploration time, we collected simulation interaction data (student mouse clicks), audio recordings, and clicker question responses from all student groups. We found that students explored the simulation fully without instructions, engaged in predominately on-topic conversations during exploration, and found the simulation easy to use and helpful for their learning. Further discourse and interaction analysis of a subset of on-topic student discussions uncovered rich examples of mechanistic reasoning supported by the simulation.
Abstract Type: Symposium Poster
Targeted Session: Using technology to enhance physics teaching: Research-based technology innovations

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Emily B. Moore
University of Colorado Boulder
Co-Author(s)
and Co-Presenter(s)
Katherine Perkins, University of Colorado Boulder