Exploring Students Interpretation of Electric Fields Around Molecules Using a Haptic Virtual Model: An evolving study

Konrad Schönborn, Gunnar Höst, Karljohan Lundin Palmerius
18th Annual Meeting of the Southern African Association for Research in Mathematics - 2010
Download the publication : schonborn10exploring.pdf [699Ko]  
Surprisingly, very little empirical work has explored the application of students. knowledge about electric fields to a chemistry context. In response, this paper reports a pilot study that investigated students. conceptions about electric fields, and how interaction with a haptic virtual model impacts understanding of electric fields around molecules. Students first responded to specially-designed written free response items that probed knowledge transfer. The participants then interacted with the model while performing think-aloud tasks where different haptic modes offered by the model were activated. Qualitative induction of the data revealed that although students demonstrated a pronounced and classical understanding of electrostatic forces and electric fields, they struggled to apply this knowledge to a molecular context. Interestingly, there was a strong association between the existence of an electric field around a molecule with the notion of chemical polarity. Analysis of videotaped interaction with the model provided evidence for distinct influences on students. understanding, which included using the model to gain unique insight into the nature of electric fields, and as a sensory tool for actively challenging existing alternative conceptions. Future work will expand the research framework presented here and also distil what specific perceptual experiences are related to any changes in knowledge.

BibTex references

@inproceedings{SHL10,
  author       = {Sch{\"o}nborn, Konrad and H{\"o}st, Gunnar and Lundin Palmerius, Karljohan},
  title        = {{Exploring Students Interpretation of Electric Fields Around Molecules Using a Haptic Virtual Model: An evolving study}},
  booktitle    = {18th Annual Meeting of the Southern African Association for Research in Mathematics},
  year         = {2010}
}

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