The role of real and virtual experiments in science learning
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Learning science requires understanding of concepts and formal relationships, a process that has often proved difficult for students. Numerous experiments for use in physics instruction are provided using different pedagogical tools. The paradigm described here adopts a socio-constructivist approach, where the student takes an active role in the construction of his knowledge, and it exploits three different media: a video in order to motivate students’ interest; objects from everyday life for the experiments; the technology-based learning environment “ModellingSpace”, which emphasize qualitative understanding, semi-quantitative understanding, requiring written explanations and cooperative learning. Results shows that the use of three media is essential in order to advance the reasoning of students in greater depth and pass to formal thought. The realisation of experiments in computer is not contrary to reality, but can supplement it.