The role of microcomputer-based laboratory display in supporting the construction of new understanding in kinematics

Lucas, Keith, McRobbie, Campbell, & Russell, David (2003) The role of microcomputer-based laboratory display in supporting the construction of new understanding in kinematics. Research in Science Education, 33(2), pp. 217-243.


Teachers' failure to utilise MBL activities more widely may be due to not recognising their capacity to transform the nature of laboratory activities to be more consistent with contemporary constructivist theories of learning. This research aimed to increase understanding of how MBL activities specifically designed to be consistent with a constructivist theory of learning support or constrain student construction of understanding. The first author conducted the research with his Year 11 physics class of 29 students. Dyads completed nine tasks relating to kinematics using a Predict-Observe-Explain format. Data sources included video and audio recordings of students and teacher during four 70-minute sessions, students' display graphs and written notes, semi-structured student interviews, and the teacher's journal. The study identifies the actors and describes the patterns of interactions in the MBL. Analysis of students' discourse and actions identified many instances where students' initial understanding of kinematics were mediated in multiple ways. Students invented numerous techniques for manipulating data in the service of their emerging understanding. The findings are presented as eight assertions. Recommendations are made for developing pedagogical strategies incorporating MBL activities which will likely catalyse student construction of understanding.

Impact and interest:

16 citations in Scopus
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9 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 23328
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 0157-244X
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Deposited On: 17 Jun 2009 13:50
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 13:00

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