Hsci2010 Chalatzoglidis George


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HSci2010 - 7th International Conference on Hands-on Science
July 25 - 31, 2010 - The University of Crete campus at Rethymno - Greece.

Hands-on Science: Bridging the Science and Society gap
Science and Technology Literacy is fundamental for the welfare of modern, technology dependent societies. Because, in modern technology dependent societies, more and more of the everyday life regulations are based on the advances in Science and Technology, the basic constituent of democracy, i.e. citizens" participation, makes Science and Technology Literacy a necessity. In this sense, Science and Technology Literacy becomes a "right to democracy".

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Hsci2010 Chalatzoglidis George

  1. 1. Science Education and E- Learning and Teaching for Secondary Education Sarantos Psycharis Associate Professor ASPAITE spsycharis@gmail.com Chalatzoglidis Georgios Teacher ΠΕ0401 halatzos@gmail.comAbstract. The main purpose of this paper is the year of secondary education (lyceum). The aim ofpractical implementation of on line learning in the this paper is to get students acquainted with thearea of secondary education, in particular for the model of mixed learning as well as the use ofteaching of Science. Moodle 1.9.5 is used for the Moodle environment. We shall study the levels ofcreation of the virtual classroom. Strategies against improvement in students performance, their viewstudents’ erroneous perceptions of electrical towards the introduction of a computer system incircuit’s matters are put into practice. Synchronous Natural Sciences education and also the levels ofand a-synchronous communication is tried participation in interactive classes. We shall exploreespecially among the students as well as between the relation between the perceived usability and thestudents and the instructor aiming at cooperative actual ease of use of such system, as well as thelearning. The analysis of the worksheets and the views towards a virtual learning environment, themeta-cognitive questionnaires results shows a small model of mixed learning and the use and availabilityimprovement in the performance of students and a of interactive classes in other subjects.relative conceptual change. The positive attitudethat is observed towards the model of blended 2. Theoretical backgroundlearning and the LMS Moodle, do not appear tohave high cross-correlation with the use and 2.1 Information and Communicationintention of use. This fact is also verified by the Technologies (ICT) and Naturalsystem’s log files of students’ participation in the Sciences (NS)attendance of internet courses and by the finalacceptance questionnaire. Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) are considered to be largely applicable onKeywords. Science Education, students’ Natural Sciences (NS) because they enableperceptions, learning management system, moodle, representation of phenomena, they fostere-learning, TAM. experimental study and they enable the creation of models and problem solving applications. There is a1. Introduction large number of ICT developed for NS didactics, such as spreadsheets, presentation software, Contemporary studies in Natural Sciences microcomputer-based laboratories (MBL),didactics have focused largely on the examination of multimedia, simulation models, research andstudents ideas/perceptions on concepts and interactive learning environments. All of the abovephenomena within the field of Natural Sciences, aim to actively engage the student into the researchgenerating an important international bibliography process and offer the teachers the opportunity toon the subject. This paper examines students work in such conditions which would not be viableperceptions on the subjects relating to electric or possible in a traditional learning environment.circuits. We shall identify the models whichcontinue to obstruct the comprehension of concepts Despite the general findings in what we expectand functions on the learning subject of electric from ICT in education [9],[3], as deriving fromcircuits, in the age group of students in the second everyday practice and studies, we can observe a relative improvement on learning performance, on
  2. 2. 2one hand, but still the conceptual transformation isnot largely benefited, on the other hand. Theintroduction of ICT in Didactics and Education asapplied now is not yet as effective as we haveinitially expected.2.2 Students perceptions Recorded students’ perceptions on electriccircuits are as follows: When subjects relating toelectricity in simple circuits are studied, there arefive models in use: a) unipolar, b) "clashingcurrents", c) attenuation, d) partitive (cases c and d Figure 2. The evolution in model adoption for electricare consuming models) and e) scientific [10] circuits per students age [8] The difficulties students are faced up with cannot be dealt with by means of traditional didactics, which is based on quantitive approach of electric phenomena and thus students learn mainly to solve mathematical equations. In the framework of general education, students should develop model building skills and a comprehension of their nature, using PCs and the appropriate model building software. ICT use for problem solving requires the application of Computer Science principles according to the following scheme: Problem ↔ theory ↔ model ↔ simulation method ↔ effectuation (using programming languages or Figure 1. Mental models on electric circuits software) ↔ evaluation (comparison to actual data) Behind these models lies a common perception: [7]. The objective in the above scheme iselectricity starts from the battery and following a transforming the phenomena from the abstract levellinear flow, meets the cables, the resistors, the lamps to a scientific model, which shall in continuance beand other parts of the circuit as it passes through, tested with regard to its evaluation and validity [7].thus resulting in another mental model, especially Certain difficulties in applying the above are:when more complex circuits are involved [8]. time restrictions in school educational programs, According to studies, as age and didactics schools infrastructure in our country, practicalproceed gradually, there is a transfer from unipolar difficulties in computer and internet accessto scientific model. Shipstone[10] found that 50% of concerning natural phenomena simulation when12-year-old students in elementary school adopt children are in school and the established teacher-consuming electricity models, the same percentage centered model. Space and time restrictions and alsogrowing to 60% for 14-year-old students and falling the issues relating to the difficulty of applying anbelow 40% for 17-year-olds. The scientific model alternative pedagogical framework within theinvolved less than 10% of 12-year-old students, less natural school space, may be overcome by means of40% of students of 15 years and just 60% of 17- distance learning, through a particular learningyear-olds. 50% of 15-year-olds have adopted a management system. This paper examines amongconsuming electricity model. Nevertheless, even other questions the extent to which such anafter graduating from secondary education, students interactive platform can be used to eliminate suchin their majority support the consuming model or restrictions.electricity maintenance [8]. 2.3 e-learning The development of distance learning systems along with technological advancements enable the creation of a new dynamic technology in e- learning. This new technology aims to exploit ICT
  3. 3. 3and the internet for improving the quality of 3.1.2).education offered. We are in the 5th generation of e-learning and according to Taylor (2001) [11] «…the 2.5 TAMonly constant in our era is change». In the current The Technology Acceptance Model (ΤΑΜ) is aera of technology, information transfer cannot be commonly used model which provides for andrestrained by obstacles such as distance or time. explains the use of computer systems. It is a modelOffering education from distance in the era of e- which explains the adoption behavior of computerlearning is not either a simple or easy task. systems by the users and calculates the level ofAccording to Karakirios, Kekkeris, Paliokas, Reppa- acceptance. ΤΑΜ by Fred D. Davis is a computerAthanassoula, & Psycharis (2009) [5], in order to system theory which examines how the usersestablish an educational activity, irrespective of the receive and thus how they make use of a certainmedia used and the distance (in time as well as in technology. According to this model, the adoptiongeographic terms), there are three prerequisites: the and use of computer technology lies upon two majorpeople (educators, pupils, administrators) who take factors, the Perceived Ease at Use and the Perceivedpart in any way, the procedures or techniques which Usability. Davis model (1993) [2] is completed byare followed and the learning material, i.e. the the following concepts:educational media in any form. The combination ofthe above factors can lead up to offering qualitydistance learning.2.4 LMS - Moodle LMS (Learning Management System) is asoftware platform for managing a coherenteducational electronic system. In particular, throughLMS the management of electronic classes and theeducational material in general is made possible, Figure 3. The three phases in TAM: cognitive, affective,such as developing classes through the platform behavioralauthoring tools, introducing predesigned classes, This paper makes use of TAM declarations forand modifying, enriching or deleting their content. evaluating the Moodle platform in the framework ofUsers registration can thus be automated and access NS classes.to classes can be controlled. Users actions can bemonitored from the moment they enter the platformto the moment the exit the system. Monitor data are 3. Methodology of the studyavailable to platform administrators and the teachersof the classes. 3.1 Aims of the study Moodle (Modular Object Oriented Dynamic The aim of the study can be divided into twoLearning Environment) is an electronic learning major sub-domains, as hereby described below:environment (Learning Management System, LMS) Α. The domain of Natural Sciences Didactics:which came to attention in the 1990s by Dr. MartinDugiamas, specializing in Computer Assisted Α1. Applying strategies for correcting the wrongEducation. The development of Moodle was based perceptions of students in the field of electricon a learning philosophy known as «social circuits, by introducing the appropriate educationalconstructive learning» Sοcial constractionist activities which shall lead to conceptualpedagogy includes the concepts of Constructivism, transformation.Constructionism, Social Constructionism. Α2. Evaluating the efficiency of educational The present paper was based on the use of tools with regard to learning objectives.Moodle environment. The platform was installed in Β. The domain of ICT in education:the web server www.hostgator.com, and the page Β1. Creating, developing and applying anunder the domain name: www.e-sxoleio.net, which interactive learning environment at school level bywas created for the needs of the present paper, under use of the distance learning platform Moodle.the following characteristics: Apache 2 (version2,2,11), Mysql5 (version 5.1.35), Php5 (version Β2. Exploring the response model of Learning5.3.0), Moodle (version 1.9.5), PhpAdmin (version Management System, its use and intention of use.
  4. 4. 43.2 Sample – Procedure of the Study time period. Data collected either describe the existing conditions or determine the relations The sample of the students in the study were 25 between the facts [1].students, 12 boys and 13 girls in the second year ofSidirokastro General Lyceum in the school year The conduction of the study was based on the2009-2010. The learning level of the participants is quantitative approach. The spreadsheets andcharacterized good to excellent, based on the questionnaire on meta-learning experience consiststudents grades. Each group consisted of students of closed questions, in true-false and yes-no format.who had grades of between 14 and 19,9 from all The final response questionnaire consists of closedroutes available. questions, under the Likert evaluation format and includes five possible answers to each question. The The criterion for the school selection was the fact systems log files include numerical data, picturingthat it is a typical, district school. As far as the the participation (for example, entries to the systemsocial status of the students is concerned, the per student).majority of them come from agricultural or labourbackgrounds (children of workmen or employers in The process of the data is based on descriptional,private or public organizations), which corresponds statistical methodology (data presentation in tablesto the vast majority of economically active and figures). For performance examination inpopulation in Greece. spreadsheets, on the first level, there is the normality test Kolmogorov-Smirnov and the t-test evaluation One motivation for the students participation on dependent samples (performance before and afterwas the awarding for participation in terms of grade, teaching). In addition, the criterion Wilcoxon signedto a percentage of 40% in the final grade of the rank was used to make the comparison (betweenparticipants (60% from class performance and 40% performance before and after), in cases where therefrom participation and performance in the computer is a variation in the normality test.environment). The final questionnaire is examined in terms of In the first phase, the implementation and validity and reliability. In order to establish theapplication of a scaled weekly plan of classes and conceptual construct validity of the questionnaire,activities was studied, based on the following the factual structure is examined, using the principalbibliographical references: distance learning components analysis method.principles, classes organization models, material anddistance learning development, the guidelines of the The evaluation of reliability is based on theComprehensive Programme of Studies, the selected internal effect with criteria method, the Cronbachpedagogical framework, the theory on students; "α" method, the item-item correlation testing and theperceptions of electric circuits. corrected item-total correlations, in order to evaluate each question under this scale. Data processing is In this phase,the installation and organization of performed using the SPSS program, version 17.Moodle platform was planned, the requirementswith regard to hardware and software material were 4. Resultsalso determined and finally, the server for thewebpage hosting the educational and learning 4.1 Transformation of perceptions (A)environment, including a computer system for directand indirect distance learning, was selected. As far as the exploration of alternative ideas on electric circuits are concerned, it has been found In the second phase, the efficiency of educators that, according to the questionnaire on studentsinterference was applied and evaluated, based on perceptions, the current bibliography is confirmedresults from spreadsheets. In addition, the use and and it is further shown that in the age groupresponse to the educational and learning examined the wrong ideas are eliminated to concreteenvironment was evaluated by means of the obstructions in the linear reasoning. The repetitionsystems log files and the respective response of ideas exploration 20 days after the conclusion ofquestionnaire. the classes and the completion of the spreadsheets The strategy base on case study was used. The has shown that the percentages of adopting wrongstudy conducted is in the form of a review. This perceptions are reduced in comparison to the formerreview consists of data collected by different ones. This fact further confirms the studies claimingsources (questionnaires, Moodle participation that the reduction in the levels of model adoption isregistration, Quiz tools in spreadsheets) in the given related to the strategies for correcting such
  5. 5. 5perceptions. Nevertheless, there are certainperceptions which tend to persist, even after suchinterference on the part of the educators. Figure 5. Performance improvement in spreadsheets The collaboration among the students working in groups has had an effect on 1/3 of the students sample, who changed their decisions towards the correct answer, as shown in the study of the answers to the questionnaires of meta-learning experience. This can be due to various factors, such as: the nature of the activities, the limited familiarization with this particular mode of learning, the lack of intention to collaborate, the common way of Figure 4. Students perceptions thinking among students who are well acquainted The improvement in students performance, as with one another (which also consists a restriction inshown in the completed spreadsheets, is quite this particular study). Besides, the mode of teachingsignificant statistically, in two of the three NS and other subjects in schools is not orientedspreadsheets. towards team-working learning activities and as a result the students levels of collaboration are low, since never before had they participated in such an experience. 4.2 Development and Application, and response to the LMS (B) As far as the development, application and function of an interactive environment is concerned, Table 1. Spreadsheets results it has been found that the educator who shall attempt such a task shall be faced with difficulties of The constructive approach through Moodle technical nature and functionality, from the start. Asplatform ,within the framework of the present case a consequence, issues such as hosting, platformstudy, is considered relatively satisfactory. The installation to a large or smaller extent, can beviews of the students towards this mode of considered as an "adventurous" and demandingeducation were rather positive. Similar papers on attempt. The knowledge required has not yet beenNS teaching, such as Crippen & Earls (2007) [6], available to educators today by means of anyhave found that the results from the educators educational programme.interference do not generally depict a statisticallysignificant variation in terms of average grades in The participation rates have shown that in thethe subject of Physics on the internet. However, initial, pilot application of the system there has beenthere has been an improvement on homework an increased rate of participation, probably due toassigned. Furthermore, the views of the students the curiosity involving something new taking placetowards studying at home based on the internet in school, but as far as participation during theappear to be of positive nature [6]. experimental application is concerned the rates were decreasing, as resulting from the examination of the relevant log files.
  6. 6. 6 Factual correlations in the questionnaire, as answered by the students, show that: The Perceived Usability (PU) of the System relates loosely to the positive view towards the system (ΕΑ), whereas it does not relate at all to the behaviour towards the use or the actual use (AS). In addition, the perceived ease at use (PE) does not relate to the positive view towards the system (ΕΑ) and its relation to the intention of use (AS) is limited. Finally, there has been found no relation between the positive view towards the system (ΕΑ) and the intention of use (AS). The conclusions as set above have been taken into consideration and have been confirmed in the Figure 6. Participation chart in terms of time per systems log files (course view). activity The students outside school preoccupations(such as educational activities, sport, etc.) result indiminishing free time, which acts as a preventivefactor to consistent participation. The studentsclaimed they prefer to surf the internet withoutparticular purpose, including social networkingwebpages such as www.facebook.com, rather thanget involved in or spent extra time on the subject ofPhysics on the internet. The grade (a percentage of40% of total grade) as a means of motivation andawarding for participation did not appear to play asignificant part. This is clearly due to the recentlynoted indifference of the students towards subjectsof general education and their concentration onroute subjects. The examination system for enteringHigher Education has, therefore, formed particulartendencies and results in similar views andbehaviours on the part of the students, same as far asICT are concerned. The creation of the questionnaire was based on astudy of relevant to the research questionnaires,bibliography and online websites. Additionaly,Moodle environment is included in COLLESquestionnaire, the examination of which has beenhelpful in forming some of the questions in thisparticular questionnaire. Table 4. Varimax rotation Table 2. Sample Efficiency Table 35. Scale Reliability Table 5. Matrix of factual correlations p<0,01
  7. 7. 7 limited relation between new technologies use (PC, internet) and the learning and students performance [9]. The same fact is confirmed in the study of performance spreadsheets. The choice of an appropriate pedagogic framework, the development, structuring and planning of learning through LMS require that educators who undertake such a project are familiar with ICT as well as well trained in pedagogic issues as well as in ICT, in order to support the achievement of teaching aims. Apart from carefulFigure 7: Factual correlation of response questionnaire planning and determination of aims, it is vital that certain factors are considered: educational staff,5. Conclusions material and procedures [5]. The students, being in their majority acquainted Finally, there is the need to specify thewith PC use and the internet, can generally learn and framework for the «Rules of Operation anduse easily an interactive environment, such as Exploitation of ICT in Education». The educatorMoodle. They can also perceive its usability in who desires to take part should not only be eagerterms of the opportunities it can offer. However, the and attentive, but he/she should be quite certain forrelation between the positive views towards the «what is to be used, how to use it, where to publishSystem, its use and the intention of use with the it, who have the right or the obligation to access it,perception of its usability and ease at use, is affected who controls it e.t.c.».on a large scale, by other factors. The need for freetime, the general views towards school reality and 6. Referenceslearning in school, the way of life (role-models,values, behaviours) depicted in mass media, the [1] Cohen, Z. & Manion, L. Educational Researchmentality and practices of most educators (but for Methodology. Athens: Metaixmio; 1994.limited exceptions), the lack of team-working [2] Davis, Fred D. User Response to Informationexperience, are all such conditions which require Technology: System Characteristics, Userexamination in order to establish how much they Perceptions and Behavioral Impacts.relate to the success or failure of e-learning. International Journal of Man-Machine Studies It should be possible for the use of interactive 1993; 38 (3), 475-487.educational platforms to achieve the aims set, if the [3] Dertouzos, M. What Will Be in the Newstudents are activated towards the educational Century? San Fransisco: Harper Edge; 1995.procedure and take full advantage of thepossibilities that technology offers to direct and [4] Kalogiannakis M. & Papadakis, S. In: ICT andindirect effects within the society. Naturally, this is ASPAITE students. A first approach on thealso related to the Comprehensive Programme of mutual relations of views and practices,Studies, which should be modified and oriented Proceedings of the 5th Pan-Hellenic Conferencetowards ICT [4]. The above is further confirmed by «Natural Science Didactics and Newthe fall in participation in the duration of time. Technologies in Education»; 2007 March 15-18; Ioannina: 2007. p.1015. The development and exploitation of an effectiveEducational Software is not a new issue. However, [5] Karakirios Ch., Kekkeris G., Paliokas, I., Reppa-has it ever been student-centered and constructive Athanassoula A., Psycharis, S. In: E-learningenough? In most cases Teaching - Learning Technological Infrastructure. Proceedings of thestereotypes are reproduced, wrapped up in a New 5th International Conference in Open & DistanceTechnology "packaging". Learning; 2009 November; Athens, Greece; 2009. We shall not always consider anything new assomething innovative and something to be adopted [6] Martin-Blas, T. & Serrano-Fernandez, A. Thewithout control and consideration of other factors. role of new technologies in the learning process: Moodle as a teaching tool in Physics. Computers The conclusions of data processing of the & Education 2009; 52: 35–44.programme PISA 2003 underline the negative and http://www.elsevier.com/locate/compedu [visited
  8. 8. 8 14- May-2010][7] Psycharis, S. Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) introduction to Education - ICT Pedagogic Applications. Athens: Eds Papazisi; 2009.[8] Rocard M. et al, EC High Level Group on Science Education. Science Education NOW: A Renewed Pedagogy for the Future of Europe, ISBN 978-92-79-05659-8; 2007[9] Şahinkayası, Υ.: Modeling the ICT related factors with the mathematical literacy and problem solving skills of the students in the PISA;2003 http://sites.google.com/site/eonas1/ekpaideutika/t pe1/PISA_2003.doc?attredirects=1&d=1 [visited 10-May-2010][10] Shipstone, D. Ηλεκτρισμός σε απλά κυκλώματα (Electricity in simple circuits). In R. Driver, E. Guesne & A. Tiberghien (Edts.), Οι ιδέες των παιδιών στις Φυσικές Επιστήμες (Childrens ideas in Natural Sciences). Athens: Greek Physics Union and Troxalia; 1993.[11] Taylor, J.: Fifth generation distance education; 2001. http://www.usq.edu.au/electpub/e- ist/docs/old/vol4no1/2001docs/pdf/Taylor.pdf [visited 25-Jan-2010]