Effects of animated graphics of plate tectonics on students' performance and attitudes in multimedia computer instruction
Hye-Won Kim, The University of Texas at Austin, United States
The University of Texas at Austin . Awarded
Three major problems in teaching introductory geology are: (1) the inability of many students to think three dimensionally about the earth and its changes, (2) the lack of interest of non-science students, and (3) the large lecture-hall settings and large numbers of students in non major classes. These problems can be mitigated to some extent by using computer animation. Specifically, computer animation can prove particularly beneficial in simulating more abstract concepts, such as the theory of plate tectonics, which can be difficult to demonstrate in a normal laboratory environment.
Thus, the purpose of this study was to examine the instructional effects of different computer models (i.e., text with static models and text with animated models) of plate tectonics on subjects' learning of geology concepts and attitudes towards Computer-Assisted Instruction (CAI). Ninety undergraduate students at the Department of Geological Sciences at a large state university in Texas were asked to volunteer in the research study. An equal number (N = 45) of the subjects were randomly assigned to one of two groups using different CAI programs: text with static graphics or text with animated graphics. A new instructional computer program on the topic "Plate tectonics" was used as the stimulus material for this study. The general hypothesis of this study was that students' performance test scores and attitudes would be significantly higher after receiving a CAI lesson of text with animation. The results indicate that students using animated visuals did significantly better than students using static visuals with respect to knowledge of plate tectonics, but they did not make a significant difference on subjects' attitudes in this study.
Kim, H.W. Effects of animated graphics of plate tectonics on students' performance and attitudes in multimedia computer instruction. Ph.D. thesis, The University of Texas at Austin.
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