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Abstract Title: Using eye tracking to identify instructive features of diagrams
Abstract: Visual representations play an essential role in the learning of physics. Grounded cognition theory suggests that visual perception activates perceptual symbols that lead to construction of knowledge by the brain. Under this theory effective diagrams activate perceptual symbols that facilitate the construction of the correct physics concepts. Eye tracking was used to investigate student gaze patterns in a number of standard physics diagrams and compare them to modified diagrams that were perceptually enhanced with variations in color and size. Students viewed diagrams representing fluid flow in pipes, motion maps, and equipotential lines, and they answered questions about displayed variables. Eye tracking data indicated that students focused more on pressure gauges and fluid speed indicators with multiple arrows than on single arrow speed indicators or pipe size. In determining electrical potential differences, students primarily concentrated on the area between the two points of interest and not on the charges.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation
Session Time: Poster Session II
Poster Number: B101

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Raymond Zich
Illinois State University Physics Department
Campus Box 4560
Normal, IL 61790
Phone: 309-438-7009
and Co-Presenter(s)
Rebecca Rosenblatt
Amber Sammons