, Volume 15, Issue 5-6, pp 367-381
Date: 10 Nov 2006

Effects of Conceptual Change and Traditional Confirmatory Simulations on Pre-Service Teachers’ Understanding of Direct Current Circuits

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Abstract

The objective of this research is to investigate the effects of simulations based on conceptual change conditions (CCS) and traditional confirmatory simulations (TCS) on pre-service elementary school teachers’ understanding of direct current electric circuits. The data was collected from a sample consisting of 89 students; 48 students in the experimental group who were taught simulations based on CCS, and 41 students in control group who followed the TCS. Subjects in both groups used open source software (Qucs) to simulate electric circuits. All students were administered Electric Circuits Concepts Test (DIRECT), Science Process Skills Test, Physics Attitude Scale, and Computer Attitude Scale before the treatment. Pre-test analyses revealed that there is no significant difference between experimental and control groups in terms of understanding of direct current electricity. After completing 3 weeks treatment, all students received the DIRECT again as a post-test. Analysis of covariance was used. Science process skills and attitudes toward computers were taken as covariates. The results showed that the conceptual change based simulations caused significantly better acquisition of conceptual change of direct current electricity concepts than the confirmatory simulation. While science process skills and attitudes towards computer made significant contributions to the variations in achievement, gender differences and interactions between gender and treatment did not. Eleven weeks later, the DIRECT was reapplied to the students in both groups. Eleven weeks delayed post-test results showed that the experimental group outperformed the control group in understanding of direct current electric concepts.