Evaluating the impact of the use of spreadsheets in the introductory physics laboratory on student engagement and enjoyment
Brian Alexander Pyper, Utah State University, United States
Utah State University . Awarded
Spreadsheet-based curricular materials for teaching physics were developed and evaluated over the course of the 2002–2003 academic year at BYU-Idaho and Utah State University. These materials were supplemental to the introductory physics laboratories and used educational research-based worksheets to guide the students in constructing and using spreadsheets to improve their engagement in the course, their understanding of the material and the discipline, and their enjoyment of the experience. Through the use of attitude and learning surveys, as well as examinations and observations, the administration of these innovations was shown to have been somewhat beneficial with marginally positive results. Although no portion of the evaluation provided unequivocal results, the combined outcome of the various measures indicated the spreadsheet activities were at least somewhat successful both in engaging the students in the material, and in improving the students' attitudes about their introductory physics experience.
Pyper, B.A. Evaluating the impact of the use of spreadsheets in the introductory physics laboratory on student engagement and enjoyment. Ph.D. thesis, Utah State University.
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