Researching the use of innovative technological tools

Year: 1997

Author: Kennedy, David, McTigue, Peter, Fritze, Paul

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

In this paper we report the results of an investigation of student use of an innovative design element in a computer-facilitated learning (CFL) module. The rapid growth of new technologies for the delivery of academic courses in higher education has provided obvious logistical advantages including improved student access to courses both locally and at a distance and providing on-line remediation or assessment.

The need to embed sound educational pedagogy in the application of new technologies is crucial to any lasting improvement in student learning outcomes. The CFL element has been designed and used within a framework that links the literature on student learning and understanding symbolic representations of simple chemical phenomena.

The CFL element is an interactive graphing engine that can be used with on-line web-based courses that has been designed to actively engage students in constructing relationships between their knowledge of macroscopic chemical processes and the symbolic representations used by chemists to represent those processes.

While the example provided is based on undergraduate chemistry, it must be stressed that the graphing engine is applicable to many other academic subjects with a similar need to develop graphical representations of knowledge.