Now showing 1 - 9 of 9
  • Publication
    Open Access
    Becoming chemists through game-based inquiry learning: The case of Legends of Alkhimia
    (2012)
    Chee, Yam San
    ;
    Traditional modes of chemistry education in schools focus on imparting chemistry knowledge to students via instruction. Consequently, students often acquire the mistaken understanding that scientific knowledge comprises a fixed body of “proven” facts. They fail to comprehend that the construction of scientific understanding is a human and social endeavor. Consequently, there can be alternative and conflicting views and theories. To provide students access to an enhanced learning curriculum, Legends of Alkhimia was designed and developed as an educational game for 13 to 14-year-olds to foster the learning of chemistry through inquiry. The multiplayer game supports four concurrent players. It is played on personal computers connected via a local area network. The game embeds students in problem solving challenges related to the use of chemistry in realistic contexts. In attempting to solve these problems, students must engage in individual laboratory work using an in-game virtual chemistry lab. The game levels take students through a narrative arc that provides coherence to the entire gameplay experience. Legends of Alkhimia, together with its associated curricular materials, instantiates classroom learning based on performance pedagogy: a pedagogy that constructs learning through the lens of performance theory. Leveraging the immersive affordances of 3D game environments, the learning experience is designed to engage students in the dialectic interplay between learning in the first person, based on playing the game, and learning in the third person, based on the Bakhtinian notion of dialog. The learning process follows a developmental trajectory of becoming a chemist. Enacting performance pedagogy in the classroom requires a shift in traditional classroom culture toward that of a professional practice community. We report on an empirical study of a game-based learning classroom intervention where students in the Alkhimia learning program participated in an 8-week curriculum sequence involving six levels of game play. We compared pre- and posttest survey responses from a class of 40 students who learned chemistry using the Alkhimia curriculum. We also compared learning outcomes of students in the said intervention class with a control class of 38 students who learned chemistry through traditional classroom instruction. All students in our study were 13-year-olds from a typical government secondary school. We noted significant shifts in intervention students’ perceptions of their identity, their epistemological beliefs, their dispositions toward science inquiry, and of classroom culture. Students’ understanding of chemistry was evaluated through a common assessment that comprised a complex separation task involving mixtures, solutes, and immiscible liquids. Two evaluation criteria were used: (1) effectiveness of separation, and (2) demonstration of conceptual understanding of chemistry. We found that the Alkhimia students significantly outperformed the control students when assessed on the extent to which effective separation was achieved in the students’ proposed solution (t75 = 2.56, p = .026) and when assessed with respect to conceptual understanding of chemistry in the separation task (t75 = 3.41, p = .002). We discuss, from a theoretical perspective, how and why learning with the Alkhimia curriculum is efficacious. Our findings are significant in that they suggest how inquiry learning can be successfully enacted in a chemistry game-based learning curriculum, and they underscore the efficacy of approaching game-based learning in terms of performance.
      1105  711
  • Publication
    Open Access
    Research impacting practice: Impetus to change
    (2014-11) ;
    Gilbert, John K.
    One of the aims of science education research is to produce insights into improving the teaching and learning of science in schools. Unfortunately, many teachers continue to teach in the classroom as if no research has been done into the teaching and learning of their subjects. This can be because teachers are generally unaware of relevant work available and that few researchers are willing to translate research findings into resources which teachers can easily understand and use in class. A survey study which examined the impact of educational research on Singapore middle and high school chemistry teachers' instructional and curricular practices was conducted using semi-structured interviews from 2011 to 2013. This paper reports the findings of the study related to the factors which facilitated or impeded changes in the teachers' existing practices; the findings revealed that these were related to students, teachers, school, Ministry of Education, time, educational research and teacher professional development. The paper also discusses the sources of information that the teachers used to guide them in making changes or adopting new practices; these included colleagues, teacher educators, electronic resources, conferences and professional development courses, and educational research. This study can inform researchers of the issues that are important to teachers and ways of working with them to address these issues.
      112  121
  • Publication
    Open Access
    Learning chemistry through inquiry with the game legends of Alkhimia: An evaluation of learning outcomes
    (2011-10)
    Chee, Yam San
    ;
    ;
    Tan, Ek Ming
    ;
    Jan, Mingfong
    Traditional modes of chemistry education in schools focus on imparting chemistry knowledge to students via instruction. Consequently, students often acquire the mistaken understanding that scientific knowledge comprises a fixed body of “proven” facts. They fail to comprehend that the construction of scientific understanding is a very human and social endeavor. To provide students access to an enhanced learning curriculum, “Legends of Alkhimia” was designed and developed as an educational game for 13 to 14-year-olds to foster the learning of chemistry through inquiry. The multiplayer game supports four concurrent players. It is played on personal computers connected via a local area network. The game embeds students in problem solving challenges related to the use of chemistry in realistic contexts. In attempting to solve these problems, students must engage in individual laboratory work using an in-game virtual chemistry lab. The game levels take students through a narrative arc that provides coherence to the entire gameplay experience. “Legends of Alkhimia”, together with its associated curricular materials, instantiates classroom learning based on performance pedagogy: a pedagogy that constructs learning through the lens of performance theory (reported in the ECGBL 2010 conference). Leveraging the immersive affordances of 3D game environments, the learning experience is designed to engage students in the dialectic interplay between learning in the first person, based on playing the game, and learning in the third person, based on the Bakhtinian notion of dialog. In the first part of the paper, we motivate the rationale for game-based learning grounded on performance pedagogy. The second part of the paper investigates the research question: “Is learning lower secondary chemistry more effective with the inquiry-based Alkhimia curriculum compared to learning chemistry using traditional classroom teaching?” We report on an empirical study comparing learning outcomes from a class of 40 students who learned chemistry using the Alkhimia curriculum with a control class of 38 students who learned chemistry through traditional classroom instruction. The students in our study were 13-year-olds from a typical government secondary school. Students in the Alkhimia program were engaged in an 8-week curriculum sequence involving six levels of game play. The chemistry understanding of all students was evaluated through a common assessment that comprised a complex separation task in chemistry, involving mixtures, solutes, and immiscible liquids. Two evaluation criteria were used: (1) effectiveness of separation, and (2) demonstration of conceptual understanding of chemistry. We found that the Alkhimia students significantly outperformed the control students when assessed on the extent to which effective separation was achieved in the students’ proposed solution (t75 = 2.56, p = .026) and when assessed with respect to conceptual understanding of chemistry in the separation task (t75 = 3.41, p = .002). We discuss, from a theoretical perspective, how and why learning with the Alkhimia curriculum is efficacious. Our findings are significant in that they suggest how inquiry learning can be successfully enacted in a chemistry game-based learning curriculum, and they underscore the efficacy of approaching game-based learning in terms of performance.
      175  223
  • Publication
    Open Access
    Playing games, learning science: Promise and challenges
    (2014) ;
    Chee, Yam San
    Computer games can provide an immersive environment for players (learners) to experience scientific phenomena, reactions and properties according to related theories and laws, and provide a relevant context to assist learners to make sense of scientific concepts involved. Inquiry-based learning is also facilitated as players have to explore, discover, form hypotheses, experiment and make decisions based on outcomes generated in the game in the pursuit of an overall goal. Thus, science-based computer games can allow the player to learn to be a scientist, by thinking and acting as one in the game, instead of merely learning about science. This paper describes the development of a multi-player game, Legends of Alkhimia, and its associated instructional material to facilitate scientific inquiry and the learning of chemistry by lower secondary (Grades 7 and 8) students in Singapore. Challenges faced and lessons learnt in the implementation of game-based learning in the classroom are also discussed.
      218  340
  • Publication
    Open Access
    A web-based ionisation energy diagnostic instrument: Exploiting the affordances of technology
    (2019) ;
    Taber, Keith S.
    ;
    Liew, Yong Qiang
    ;
    Teo, Kay Liang Alan
    The internet is prevalent in society today, and user-friendly web-based productivity tools are readily available for developing diagnostic instruments. This study sought to determine the affordances of a web-based diagnostic instrument on ionisation energy (wIEDI) based on the pen-and-paper version, the Ionisation Energy Diagnostic Instrument (IEDI) that had been previously developed and reported on. The Google Form platform was used to develop the wIEDI and it allowed a degree of personalisation such that specific second-tier options are offered in response to the student’s choice of answer in the first tier. Students could choose one or more reasons in the second tier or supply their own reasons, and they were asked to indicate their confidence in their choice of answer-reason combinations. It was administered to 274 A-level students (257 Grade 11 and 17 Grade 12), and answer-reason combinations indicating alternative conceptions were highlighted only if 5% or more students expressed confidence in them in the third-tier confidence measure. The results showed that all thepossible alternative conceptions of ionisation energy reported in the previous study were also identified in the present study. Additional alternative conceptions were indicated as new reasons had to be developed for many items in the wIEDI to ensure that there were sufficient reasons for each first-tier response, and students were allowed to choose more than one reason for their answer. The wIEDI better facilitated responses reflecting consistency of the use of specific ideas in student thinking and provided direct evidence of students’ possible manifold conceptions and thinking within each question as well as across a range of questions. It also allowed easy collation of the comments students typed in response to the ‘Others’ and ‘I do not know the answer’ options Thus, the study makes a case for researchers and teachers using such technology in the diagnostic assessment of students.
    WOS© Citations 1  375  100
  • Publication
    Open Access
    Kinetics of acid reactions: Making sense of associated concepts
    (Royal Society of Chemistry, 2010) ;
    Treagust, David F.
    ;
    Chandrasegaran, A. L.
    ;
    Mocerino, Mauro
    In chemical kinetics, in addition to the concepts related to kinetics, stoichiometry, chemical equilibrium and the characteristics of the reactants are often involved when comparing the rates of different reactions, making such comparisons very challenging for students at all levels, as well as for pre-service science teachers. Consequently, four multiple-choice items were developed to determine the understanding of 217 pre-service science teachers of the kinetics of acid reactions that are taught at the Grade 9 to 10 levels in Singapore schools. Each of four items compared two different acid reactions under similar conditions, and respondents were required to select the best graphical representation for the two reactions. Respondents were also required to provide reasons to explain their particular selection for each item. In addition, one item on the dissociation of sulfuric acid and two items involving excess/limiting reagents were also included to provide additional data on the pre-service teachers’ understanding of these concepts that were assessed in the four items on kinetics of acid reactions. The results showed that the pre-service teachers had difficulties in explaining the properties of different common acids, including the dissociation of the acids and how these affect the rates of the different acid reactions. This study highlights the importance of determining pre-service teachers’ understanding of the concepts that they will be teaching with a view to addressing areas of difficulty, as these will have consequences on their future students’ learning.
    WOS© Citations 5  191  1906
  • Publication
    Open Access
    How flip teaching supports undergraduate chemistry laboratory learning
    In this paper, we define flip teaching as a curricular platform that uses various strategies, tools, and pedagogies to engage learners in self-directed learning outside the classroom before face-to-face meetings with teachers in the classroom. With this understanding, we adopted flip teaching in the design and enactment of one Year 1 and one Year 2 undergraduate chemistry laboratory session at a higher education institution. The undergraduates viewed videos demonstrating the practical procedures and answered pre-laboratory questions posted on the institution's mobile device application before the laboratory lessons. Analyses of the lesson videos, interviews with the undergraduates and instructors, and undergraduate artefacts showed that the undergraduates had developed a better understanding of the theory undergirding the procedures before they performed the practical, and were able to decipher the complex practical procedures. They also experienced less anxiety about the complex practical steps and setup, and subsequently, improved work efficiency. The findings of this study have implications for chemistry educators looking for ways to improve on the design and enactment of the laboratory curriculum to enhance the undergraduates' self-directed learning.
    WOS© Citations 91Scopus© Citations 86  363  199
  • Publication
    Open Access
    Chemistry teaching: Impact of educational research on the practices of chemistry teachers in Singapore
    (2014) ;
    Gilbert, John K.
    This paper reports the findings of a study which investigated the role that educational research plays in influencing 29 Singapore pre-university (Grades 11 and 12) and secondary (Grades 9 and 10) chemistry teachers’ curricular and instructional decision making process. Twenty-five teachers were interviewed while four preferred to submit written responses to questions in the interview protocol. The findings indicated that factors which had an impact on the use of educational research by the teachers included those related to the teacher, school, research literature and time. This study can inform the chemistry educational research community of the issues that are important to teachers in their teaching of chemistry and use of educational research, and ways of working with teachers to address these issues.
      145  101
  • Publication
    Open Access
    Iconic gestures as undervalued representations during science teaching
    Iconic gestures that are ubiquitous in speech are integral to human meaning-making. However, few studies have attempted to map out the role of these gestures in science teaching. This paper provides a review of existing literature in everyday communication and education to articulate potential contributions of iconic gestures for science teaching. We then analyze the iconic gestures produced by one university professor during a semester-long organic chemistry module to exemplify the functions of iconic gestures in sharing abstract scientific concepts. These gestures were found to show vital information about size, relative position, and movement of particles. Implications for designing teaching environments are discussed in light of our claims and we propose that iconic gestures can illuminate aspects of abstract scientific meaning to present a more complete version of meaning than what speech can accomplish on its own.
    WOS© Citations 3Scopus© Citations 7  414  193