The Nature of the Criteria Students Use to Justify Their Ideas during a Computer Assisted Instruction Based on Socio-cognitive Conflict Processes

By Michael Skoumios.

Published by Ubiquitous Learning: An International Journal

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The aim of this study is to investigate the effect of a computer-assisted instruction with simulation technique, based on socio-cognitive conflict processes, on the nature of the criteria the students use to justify their ideas about sinking and floating of objects in liquids. In this direction, an instruction was designed consisted from activities which aimed to the didactic elaboration of students’ conceptions about sinking and floating of objects in liquids, by the use of a computer simulation with socio-cognitive conflict processes. The instruction was implemented to 14-year-old students. The data of this study were the individual oral students’ comments, when they discuss in their teams during the instruction. They were studied the criteria that the students use in order to justify their ideas. Two categories of criteria were identified: rigorous criteria (include reasons that are often used in scientific contexts) and informal criteria (include reasons that are often used in everyday contexts). It emerged that the computer assisted instruction that was used contributed to the nature of the criteria the students use to justify their ideas about sinking and floating of objects in liquids. Students seemed to adopt and use more rigorous criteria than informal criteria to distinguish between explanations and to justify or evaluate ideas as the computer assisted instruction is in progress.

Keywords: Computer-assisted Instruction, Science Education, Sinking and Floating

Ubiquitous Learning: An International Journal, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp.25-41. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 681.484KB).

Dr. Michael Skoumios

Lecturer, Department of Primary Education, University of the Aegean, Rhodes, Dodecanisa, Greece

Michael Skoumios obtained a first degree in Physics from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens in 1987, a second degree in Education from the University of the Aegean in 1992 and his PhD in Science Education from the Hellenic Open University in 2005. His research interests include science concept learning and teaching science in primary and secondary schools.