Eye-Tracking Students' Attention to PowerPoint Photographs in a Science Education Setting


Eye-tracking technology allows for the determination of the exact location of the point of gaze of a subject's eye. This study sought to take advantage of this ability to determine how students attend to science related photographs. Pre-service science teachers were shown a PowerPointTM Presentation with embedded photographs. The photographs were classified according the Pozzer and Roth (2003) classification scheme. Special focus was given to the photographs classified as complimentary, most highly integrated with the text, and decorative, the least integrated with the text. A second variable, accompanying audio narration, was integrated into the study design. Analysis indicated complimentary photographs received significantly more attention from the subjects. The effect of audio narration was to blur this distinction as students spent a greater amount of time on the given slides. Using eye-tracking technology, this study was able to confirm that students' devote more attention to highly relevant photographs.

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Correspondence to David A. Slykhuis.

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Slykhuis, D.A., Wiebe, E.N. & Annetta, L.A. Eye-Tracking Students' Attention to PowerPoint Photographs in a Science Education Setting. J Sci Educ Technol 14, 509–520 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10956-005-0225-z

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Key Words

  • eye-tracking
  • educational photographs
  • instructional technology
  • multimedia