, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 111-132

Real-Time Data Display, Spatial Visualization Ability, and Learning Force and Motion Concepts

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In this study, we examined how students' levels of spatial visualization ability interact with learning physics in a microcomputer-based laboratory (MBL) environment. Undergraduate students who had taken an introductory physics course based on MBL tools were pre- and posttested at the beginning and at the end of the semester on spatial visualization ability and their conceptual understanding of mechanics. The results showed that while spatial visualization is a reliable predictor for students' performance on physics conceptual evaluation tests before MBL instruction, the relation is not significant after the instruction. Furthermore, as a result of MBL instruction, students' levels of spatial visualization increased significantly. In addition, a group of science teachers presented with different types of MBL activities also showed a significant increase in spatial visualization ability.