New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 13

Accepted Abstracts

Combining Two Computational Tools for Teaching and Learning Physics

Candida Aparecida Machado, University of Coimbra (Brazil)

Pedro Vieira Alberto, University of Coimbra (Portugal)

Maria Augusta Nascimento, University of Coimbra (Portugal)


Today’s society demands school education to follow the changing processes and the new possibilities given by Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). If on the one hand we believe that ICT are attractive and their use in teaching can offer advantages and motivate students, on the other hand it is our understanding that, if not properly framed, they can cause dispersion and disorientation in class. Developing tools and materials to guide, stimulate and support learning is a field of most importance. To involve teachers in this process is crucial, as we are reflecting on and investigating in a research work including the conception, construction and evaluation of a pedagogical device to improve the teaching of Physics / Mechanics in secondary schools with the aid of ICT. This pedagogical device combines two educational resources – the Digital Board (DB) and a computer simulator using the open source visual programming language VPython – along with an activity guide, which enhances teaching and learning processes. The use of the device in classroom explores the interactive features of the computer simulations together with their presentation and manipulation using the DB by the teacher and the students themselves in front of the whole class. Following a quasi-experimental methodology in a class of 11th grade we collected data through students’ observation, audio and video records, students’ tests and inquiries and teacher’s interviews and reports. The first results show better students’ outcomes and a more effective learning of physical concepts, based on interaction, motivation, involvement in learning processes and development of critical thinking. The active involvement of the teacher in all stages of this experiment was an added value and we could perceive a paradigm shift regarding the use of the technologies in her teaching conceptions and practices.


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