Educational software on the ozone layer Depletion
Tampakis, Constantine (Konstantinos)
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This paper describes the design and the formative evaluation of educational software concerning the ‘Depletion of the Ozone Layer’ designed for the students of the Faculty of Primary Education (pre-service teachers) of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. The selection of the topic was based on: i) environmental criteria (importance of the phenomenon, complexity of the phenomenon), ii) societal criteria (local interest, human activities effects), iii) pedagogical criteria (students’ misconceptions about the phenomenon, potential for interdisciplinary teaching, absence of educational material about the phenomenon), and iv) technological criteria (difficulties in performing hands-on experiments for ozone depletion in the laboratory, visualization prospects). Using the software, students can investigate through simulation experiments and other activities, the following processes: ozone formation, the beneficial role of the stratospheric ozone layer, the ozone depletion process, reactive halogen gases cycle, ozone layer depletion consequences and the formation of the ozone “hole”. The software was evaluated in the Environmental Science Teaching Laboratory of the Faculty of Primary Education, a compulsory laboratory for the third year students. Three sets of questionnaires were obtained from 127 students: the first was given before the intervention of the software and aimed in identifying students’ ideas about the phenomenon, the second, directly after the students’ use of the software, and the third, one and a half month after in order to examine whether students were able to maintain new knowledge. Our findings from the analysis of the questionnaires show that some aspects of the phenomenon (UV radiation absorption, substances responsible for the depletion) have been firmly grounded while some of the misconceptions of the students were difficult to change (eg. stratospheric-tropospheric ozone distinction).