Students Designing Their own Experiments on Heat Transfer Phenomena Using Sensors and ICT: An Educational Trial to Consolidate Related Scientific concepts
Keywords:ICT in education, sensors, physics education, physics teaching, school-lab experiments, heat transfer, heat transport, thermal conductivity, hands-on experiments, new learning models and applications, real world experiences
Following our previous research effort, the present study focuses on a laboratory practice utilizing sensors and ICT, and follows the change in the perceptions students have in relation to the concept of heat transfer. The present paper builds on the experience gained and refines the techniques used. The new sample consists of a larger group of 16-20 year old students, all studying mechanical engineering in a vocational school. A novel and creative research approach was followed. Students were asked to use their experience so as to design, create, calibrate, and use an experimental setup so as to demonstrate heat transfer phenomena. All students used heat sensors and appropriate ICT-systems. Our aim was to improve studentsâ?? comprehension concerning heat transfer. The 122 students forming the total sample were split into an experimental group of 64, which is the one that was asked to design, create, calibrate, and subsequently use a school-experiment, while a control group of 58 of student-users only used the experimental set-ups of the experimental group (without any creative design). Both questionnaires and personal interviews were used to collect the research-data. Subsequent data analysis indicates that, when the questions are relevant to the creation of the experimental setup, the experimental group exhibits a higher percentage of correct or partly correct answers in comparison to those of the control group, whereas any differences observed in the rest of the questions lie within the limits of the total measurement errors. The use of ICT-systems in the present educational effort is proving invaluable. Some interesting conclusion are drawn which are discussed herein.
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