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An Exploration of Digital Representations in Chemistry Education

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Author(s): Samia Khan | Vania Chan

Journal: Journal of the Research Center for Educational Technology
ISSN 1948-075X

Volume: 7;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 2;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: Computer Simulation | Science Education | Chemistry

ABSTRACT
A computer simulation of molecules in motion, a graph of concentration changes, and an analogy of a weigh scale were developed to investigate how they can contribute to students’ conceptions in chemistry. In this study, high school students interacted with the simulation and participated in two assessments: aworksheet and a pre/post assessment. Statistical analysis of the pre/post-assessment suggests that interaction with the simulation enhanced understanding of several topics related to chemical equilibrium. For example, student understanding that the forward rate instantaneously increases due to the increase in the concentration of reactants appears to have been fostered by interaction with the simulation. Analyses of students’ worksheet drawings after interaction with the simulation also revealed changes in patterns in how the motion, distribution, and ratio of molecules during equilibrium are perceived. Findings suggest that graphs, analogies, and animations of molecules can be a powerful set of digital representations to enhance student understanding in chemistry education.

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Tangokurs Rapperswil-Jona

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