Computers in physics instruction : students' interactions in a constructivist microcomputer-based laboratory

Russell, David William Alan (2002) Computers in physics instruction : students' interactions in a constructivist microcomputer-based laboratory. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


This study aimed to increase understanding of students' interactions in a physics microcomputer-based laboratory (MBL) specifically designed to be consistent with a constructivist theory of learning. The study was motivated by a perceived need to understand better how the materials and strategies support or constrain students construction of understanding. The teacher-researcher conducted the study with two of his Year 11 physics classes, comprising 15 students studying thermal physics and 29 students studying kinematics. Dyads of students worked at tasks using a predict-observe-explain (POE) format as part of the normal class program. Data included video and audio recordings during four 70-minute sessions for each class, students' written notes, semi-structured student interviews, and the teacher's reflections on each session. The study describes the actors and network relationships during task activities. An analysis of students' discourse identified features common to both domains of physics, while the findings about studentdisplay- teacher interactions are presented as a series of eight assertions. Finally, the researcher's interpretation of learning in an MBL leads to recommendations for teaching practice.

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1,730 since deposited on 03 Dec 2008
90 in the past twelve months

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ID Code: 15825
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Lucas, Keith & McRobbie, Campbell
Keywords: computer, constructivism, instruction, kinematics, laboratory, MBL, microcomputer, physics, POE, science, secondary, thermal physics
Department: Education
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Copyright Owner: Copyright David William Alan Russell
Deposited On: 03 Dec 2008 03:50
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2011 19:39

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