June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
13.132.1 - 13.132.18
A Web-based Interactive Science and Engineering Learning Tool that Promotes Concept-Based Instruction
Abstract: The undergraduate engineering classroom of the 21st century has the opportunity to enhance student learning through the effective integration of technology into the classroom. This paper describes the development of a Web-based Interactive Science and Engineering (WISE) Learning Tool that facilitates active learning in the classroom and metacognition and allows assessment of student learning (formative assessment). WISE allows an instructor to pose to the class different types of questions (including: multiple choice answers, multiple choice with short answer follow-up, numerical answers, short answers, and Likert-scale survey). WISE is designed to utilize the College of Engineering’s Wireless Laptop Initiative so that every student in a class is simultaneously engaged, creating a learner centered environment based on active learning. It can be used to develop activities that probe for conceptual understanding and deeper level thinking. It allows real-time formative assessment by the instructor. After the students have submitted a response to an activity, the instructor can review a summary of the results with the class. For example, bar graphs are automatically compiled for multiple choice questions. For short answers, the instructor can view the set of responses and select specific answers to share with the class. Depending on the class response, the instructor can choose an appropriate method (e.g. peer instruction, instructor explanation) to reinforce or correct the response. It builds from the current educational methodology of concept inventories to assess students’ conceptual understanding. However, as opposed to the model of pre and post assessment, which is often the goal of concept inventories, this learning tool can be used daily to monitor student understanding. WISE also presents the opportunity to contribute meaningfully to the knowledge base in student learning in engineering. The use of the computer to probe student thought processes has been demonstrated as an effective education research tool. Two elements of WISE make it particularly useful. First, students are assured of anonymity in their responses. Second, the automatic recording of student responses allows instant summarization of students understanding and convenient collection of the results for analysis. The initial deployment of WISE in the curriculum is presented.
Introduction: It has been shown that, with traditional instruction, students are better rewarded by rote learning than by conceptual understanding.1 In fact, one study has shown that chemistry students demonstrated a 38% success rate on conceptual problems as compared to a 95% rate on numerical problems.2 However, it has also been shown that the lack of conceptual understanding severely restricts the student’s ability to solve a new problem.3 Alternatively, concept-based instruction is based on the premise that the understanding of concepts is central to understanding a subject and extending knowledge to new problems and areas.4 By incorporating concept-based instruction, students can transition from problem solving by example, where they seek a one to one correspondence between an example problem they had been shown and the problem they are
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