Developing key concepts in physics: Is it more effective to teach using scientific visualizations?
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A quantitative, quasi-experimental study of the effectiveness of computer-based scientific visualizations for concept learning on the part of Year 11 physics students (n=80) was conducted in six Queensland high school classrooms. Students' gender and academic ability were also considered as factors in relation to the effectiveness of teaching with visualizations. Learning with visualizations was found to be equally effective as learning without them for all students, with no statistically significant difference in outcomes being observed for the group as a whole or on the academic ability dimension. Male students were found to learn significantly better with visualizations than without, while no such effect was observed for female students. This may give rise to some concern for the equity issues raised by introducing visualizations. Given that other research shows that students enjoy learning with visualizations and that their engagement with learning is enhanced, the finding that the learning outcomes are the same as for teaching without visualizations supports teachers' use of visualizations.
Copyright 2012 Australian Science Teachers Association. The attached file is reproduced here in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitive, published version.
Science, Technology and Engineering Curriculum and Pedagogy