Systematic analysis of the potential contribution of communication and information tools to the design and development of research-based science curriculum
Constantinou, Constantinos P.
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Computer technology has received much attention as a means of reforming educational practice in Physics. It is widely believed that technology could function as a medium for bringing about the necessary reform to improve learning standards and in particular to promote the conceptual understanding and reasoning skills that so many of our students lack after traditional instruction. The Learning in Physics Group has a coordinated program combining research with the development and validation of curriculum for secondary and high school grades. We have undertaken a systematic analysis of the capabilities of a range of computer-based tools that are conducive to improving the quality of the learning and teaching of Physics. This type of analysis leads to the detailed formulation of a series of competencies relevant to Physics that could be developed with appropriate use of these tools. In this paper, we concentrate on the development of modeling skills and we outline the methodology we have developed followed by typical results. We also demonstrate how our results could be used in the design and development of innovative learning environments. Finally, we discuss the constraints to the effective use of educational technology and implications for Physics teaching as well as for the preparation of teachers and the development of curricula.