New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 13

Accepted Abstracts

Using computer animation in Chemistry

María del Mar López Guerrero, University of Malaga, Faculty of Sciences, Department of Analytical Chemistry (Spain)

Gema López Guerrero, University of Málaga (Spain)


1. Introduction – The chemistry is present in the daily life to guarantee the continuous improvement of our life. Furthermore, chemistry is a discipline that is part of the curricular design of great number of careers of engineering. Chemical education researches have recognized that students often have difficulty learning chemistry concepts. The researches on misconceptions and misinterpretations in oxidation-reductions reactions has focused on students‘ difficulties in properly identifying oxidation-reduction reactions.

With the use of the computers, new learning sources have appeared for the teaching of the chemistry. The technological advances in visual media tools have had considerable consequences for teaching and the education processes. The animations can be effective for helping students to construct and apply useful mental models of this world.

In this work has as objective to carry out a proposal for teaching contents of chemistry using didactic resources for virtual environment. The goal of this study was to identify student errors as they attempted to interpret and explain the chemical processes. Furthermore, this work lets students to construct useful mental models. This research involves the use of qualitative y quantitative test and questionnaires to identify students ‘misconceptions.

2. Experimental – This study was created as a descriptive study in which the survey technique was used. The study was carried out during the course 2014-2015. The sample consisted of 50 volunteer students (45 males and 5 females) from the first course of Mechanical Engineer degree, introductory chemistry course taught by two different chemistry instructors.

3. Results and Discussion – Animation encourages students with low prior knowledge to develop new ideas to create their mental models.

This study demonstrated that showing animations to students, with opportunities for them to practise, significantly increased the number of scientifically acceptable ideas in student’s conceptions of redox reactions at the end of the semester. These changes were principally attributed to having viewed the computer animations.

Turning to some qualitative aspects of the use of the simulations, discussions with the students after the intervention showed that most students initially assumed that the simulation did not help them in the solution of the problems but were useful in helping with the proper application of the equations. Further, discussion revealed some interesting aspects of the students´ actions and attitudes, with several of them admitting that through the simulation cleared something in their minds.

4. Conclusions

The use of computer simulation can be helpful in improving problem solving. These animations encourage students to develop new ideas about redox reaction in their minds. The computer animation allow them create a memory from viewing animations, leading to confirmation or modification of the existing mental model. 

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