Multilevel-multifaceted approach to assessing the impact of technology-mediated modeling practice on student understanding of the particulate nature of matter
Hsin-Yi Chang, University of Michigan, United States
University of Michigan . Awarded
Computer animations or dynamic models may support students' visualization of dynamic processes or abstract relationships. However, research has shown mixed results for the effect of instructional animation on student learning. More studies are needed to advance the understanding of the theoretical foundation and educational value of instructional animation. In this study I explored the use of technology-mediated modeling practices to augment the impact of an animation tool, Chemation, in seventh-grade science classrooms. Chemation can mediate students' modeling practices including designing, interpreting and evaluating animations. The purpose of this study is to discern the impact of these technology-mediated modeling practices on students' chemistry understanding by employing a systematic approach of research methods.
I compared student learning in three treatments: students (1) design, interpret, and evaluate animations, (2) only design and interpret animations, and (3) only view teacher-made animations and interpret the animation. Eight seventh-grade classes (271 students) were randomly assigned to the treatments. I examined multiple measures including students' worksheets and animations, selected students' post-instructional interviews, and pre- and post-instructional chemistry achievement tests to assess three facets of chemistry understanding: (1) adequate chemistry content knowledge, (2) mastered representation skill, and (3) coherent conceptual framework. I also examined students' cognitive strategies demonstrated as they constructed animations of molecular processes during the interview.
The results of the multiple measures consistently indicate that the complete combination of the technology-mediated modeling practices better supported student development of chemistry understanding, revealing that designing animation coupled with peer-evaluation is an effective approach to the use of instructional animation. Moreover, the designing approach prompts students to employ high-level cognitive strategies during the process. Yet the student-designed artifact needs public scrutiny through direct social interactions to help students formulate adequate dynamic visualization and chemistry understanding.
A modified theoretical model of visualization formation was proposed, calling for studies to continue the discussion on how students' practices of purposeful manipulation and evaluation of virtual objects of dynamic visualizations in a computer environment affect student learning. The results also suggest the incorporation of mixed methods to the multilevel-multifaceted framework of assessment to better detect any impact of innovative technology on student learning.
Chang, H.Y. Multilevel-multifaceted approach to assessing the impact of technology-mediated modeling practice on student understanding of the particulate nature of matter. Ph.D. thesis, University of Michigan.
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