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Enhancing Conceptual Understanding of the “Chemistry of Life” at the ‘A’-Level Through Use of Computer Animations

  • Ummeh W. Ahsun
  • Fawzia Narod
Conference paper

Abstract

“Chemistry of Life” is a topic that forms part of the “Applications of Chemistry” section introduced as a compulsory part in the Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) Advanced Level (‘A’-Level) chemistry syllabus in 2007. In the present study, an attempt was made to enhance students’ conceptual understanding of the “Chemistry of Life” through use of computer animations. The research was carried out in a girls’ private secondary school, located in the central region of Mauritius. The sample consisted of 14 girls of age 18–19 years, who were preparing to sit for the CIE ‘A’-Level examinations in November 2011. The study was carried out through an action research involving three cycles; each cycle included three lessons during which computer animations were used. Data were collected through observation checklists, achievement tests, and a students’ questionnaire. The findings have clearly revealed that use of computer animations has impacted positively on students’ motivation, interest, and engagement, leading to enhanced conceptual understanding, as evidenced by data gathered through observation checklists and students’ questionnaire. These results were further supported by an improvement in students’ performance in the achievement tests administered at the end of the second and third cycles, even though the concepts taught became increasingly more difficult from Cycles 1 to 2 and 3. Further, it was found that “cues and labeling”, proper design in terms of colour and graphics, as well as embedded “voice questions” can all play a crucial role in helping learners to retrieve information from computer animations, and, to develop understanding of the concepts under study. Last but not least, results have also indicated that learner-controlled interactive computer animations are most effective in enhancing students’ motivation, interest, and conceptual understanding as compared to non-interactive ones.

Keywords

Conceptual Understanding Classroom Teaching Achievement Test Participant Student Computer Animation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors sincerely acknowledge and thank all the sources of downloaded animations. We also thank all the students who participated in the study.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Aleemiah College (Girls)PhoenixMauritius
  2. 2.Department of Science EducationMauritius Institute of EducationRéduitMauritius

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