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SUMMARY:Combining qualitative and quantitative analyses to investigate the
role of virtual simulations in the evolution of primary school students'
mental models about electrostatics
DTSTART;VALUE=DATE-TIME:20230130T153500Z
DTEND;VALUE=DATE-TIME:20230130T155500Z
DTSTAMP;VALUE=DATE-TIME:20240719T055933Z
UID:indico-contribution-629@cern.ch
DESCRIPTION:Speakers: Giacomo Bozzo (Department of Biology\, Ecology and E
arth Science. University of Calabria (UNICAL)\, Cosenza\, Italy )\nWe comb
ined qualitative and quantitative analyses to investigate the role of virt
ual simulations in the evolution of primary school students' mental models
about electrostatics with respect to the target school scientific model o
f microscopic charges by analyzing the answers of two groups of 9/10 years
old pupils inside instructional sequences that combined two hands-on real
(R) activities using balloons and jackets with the same two virtual activ
ities (V) using PhET simulations. \n Five classes in three schools (a tota
l of n = 83 students\, 43 males and 40 females) were chosen to carry out t
he "first-real" (RV) sequence while five classes in three other schools (a
total of n = 85 students\, 41 males and 44 females) carried out the "firs
t-virtual" (VR) sequence. The two groups were organized so as to be homoge
neous from an ethnic\, cultural\, social and economic viewpoint\, ensuring
that the typology of students would not affect the results. \n Data colle
ction was made through pre-observation and post-observation worksheets for
each real and virtual activity concerning a descriptive dimension as well
as an explanatory dimension\, leading to a total eight worksheets for eac
h student. As for the descriptive dimension\, related to the multiple-choi
ce question “What happens? Choose a description for the physical behavio
r of the two objects”\, students’ answers were classified with respect
to three categories: “Concordant”\, “Discordant” and “No Answer
”. The explanatory dimension\, investigated through the open question
“Why does it happen? Justify your choice”\, required a qualitative and
interpretative analysis of the texts and of the graphic representations p
roposed by pupils. To classify students’ answers and establish a progres
sion with respect to their degree of adequacy to the target model\, we def
ined five categories associated to five levels from 0 (lowest adequacy) to
4 (highest adequacy) following an approach based on the empirical learnin
g progressions.\n Quantitative data analysis was applied to compare the ef
ficacy of the RV and VR sequences. In the case of the descriptive dimensio
n\, we applied the chi-square test since our aim was to estimate whether t
he difference between the percentages of concordant\, discordant and not g
iven answers between the two sequences was statistically significant. In t
he case of the explanatory dimension\, where we wanted to test the statist
ical significance of the difference in the ranking of students’ levels f
rom 0 to 5 between the two sequences\, we applied the Mann-Whitney U-test.
In both cases\, the null-hypothesis was that the differences between the
RV and the VR sequence were not statistically significant: the difference
between the two sequences was considered as statistically meaningful when
the probability that the null hypothesis was true (p-value) resulted lower
than 5%.\n This mixed qualitative and quantitative approach allowed to sh
ow that virtual simulations do improve the level of adequacy of students'
answers to the target model\, but this improvement is not transferred to n
ew phenomena\, so that the capability of relating the developed model to t
he real world remained the same at the end of both sequences.\n\nhttps://i
ndico.unina.it/event/60/contributions/629/
LOCATION:Complesso S. Marcellino e Festo G4
URL:https://indico.unina.it/event/60/contributions/629/
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