Cross-referencing to co-construct knowledge about global heat transfer in an online learning environment: Learning with multiple visualizations.
This presentation will report the results of a NSF-funded demonstration study focusing on the development of a virtual learning environment for earth and space science at the middle school level. The project, a collaboration between UMass/Amherst and MIT, investigated student learning of physics principles related to the phenomena of global heat transfer through the use of an electronic integrated book called the OWLBook that featured video, animations and a virtual experiment. We sought, through the design and development of a primarily visual and visually interactive online environment, to examine how students make sense of the physics principles underlying global heat transfer. Forty-nine, primarily Latino/a, eighth grade students took part in the study. Pre-post tests of content knowledge revealed a statistically significant gain related to convection and rotation t(42)= -7.101, p=.000. Preliminary analysis of videotaped, collaborative student interactions reveals how students use the various representations to reason about the phenomenon.