Results and discussion Essay

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Before conducting this research, an investigator was choosing between different research frameworks. On the one hand, I strongly believe that learners community is a democratic and participatory complex social system of individuals. Each of them possesses unique experience and background. Nobody can be viewed as a bad student how ever his pace of learning and an array of skills differ from the ones of the co-student. These assumptions grounded on my professional experience place me as a researcher within an anti-positivist critical theory paradigm (Habermas, 1984; Adorno, Marcuse, Horkheimer and Fromm).

The goal of any critical investigation is not just to search empirical (practical) social environment for variables and measurement patterns but to prepare the ground for improvements in regard to emancipation of the victimized, democratic equality and individual freedoms (Cohen et al. , 2000, p. 28). That is why a substantial part of research was dedicated to receiving feedbacks from students on the use of the hypermedia learning environment.

Judging from the multistructural questionnaire administered to the learners in the end of the study week, the perceived effectiveness of the hypermedia learning environment in motivating and helping students to achieve the specified learning outcomes of improved reading and visual comprehension, science learning and ICT skills was found to be generally high by the students. Table 2 shows the questions asked, and the average of the responses on a scale of 1 to 5 where 1 is very useful and 5 is useless.

On this scale, the average rating for questions relating to the understanding and identifying of facts, issues, problems and factors, was between 1. 34 to 1. 92 which is in the very useful to useful region. It is interesting to note that on another question that the hypermedia resources and both experiential and symbolic simulations added active and dynamic dimensions to classroom learning processes, the average was an overwhelming 1. 08 indicating that the students welcomed the new innovative learning environment.

Table 3 shows how the hypermedia learning environment was perceived by the students as an instrument for learning on a 4-point scale, where 1 is strongly disagree and 4 is strongly agree. Upon the whole, students reported finding the hypermedia environment very useful in various ways. Based on the qualitative observations of students working with Pompeii: The Last Day, the researcher found out that those who investigated the theme in the hypermedia environment spent more time on studies than those who used exclusively textbooks and written handouts as well as listened to the teachers instructions.

In the process of studies and after the evaluation, students were asked to comment freely on the new possibilities provided by the hypermedia resource, its effectiveness in supporting Science learning, and their attitudes to learning with/without the hypermedia. Some of the responses to the critical implications of hypermedia collaborative learning are presented in the following. The question asked was whether students would use the hypermedia resource such as this when studying other scientific topics. They were asked to specify their decision, either negative or positive.

Among those who used the hypermedia learning environment, there were more positive responses (there was only one student unaffected by the hypermedia environment on the point of his poor eye-sight; his eyes were aching because of the glow of a monitor). Sample Comments A: Yes, because the hypermedia is an awesome chance to learn a new subject. It is more interesting and exciting than skimming books and trying to cram the dry facts into ones poor head. The experiential simulation to design different types of volcanoes was perceived as a game in the beginning.

However, by the end of the week I recognized that I do remember all kinds of volcanoes and their specific characteristics. I think, this happened due to the simulation which was not time consuming but was an important fun. B: Yes, all the definitions and concepts studied in the lectures were completely alien to me before taking this hypermedia class, I memorized the theories in a serious effort but the hypermedia learning resource showed how important and grasping they are. I feel that my knowledge has improved significantly.

C: Previous to this experimental class I would have been skeptical about learning by the hypermedia and creative (instead of formal) assessment, but having participated in one myself I would encourage anyone to follow us in using this type of learning media. D: A hypermedia learning environment would make a subject like Science more luring by: a) being enjoyable; b) by making it necessary to apply everything one learns to get through, rather than get through a couple of questions on an examination. E: I thought this process/project was fantastic. It was certainly the most fun Ive ever had doing an assignment.

I found it a great way to get a handle on the quite complicated issues involved in the Pompeii situation, and very useful in seeing the theories we studied play out. In my opinion the volcano activity details are so interesting in relating to human life! It also led to getting to know and interact with a wider range of students within the subject, rather than the one or two people that you know in your tutorial group. I know some people have complained about the amount of time involved, but I personally thought it was not at all excessive (it was required to spend 90 minutes on researching the hypermedia site.

However, almost all of us spent even more time on it without any problem). I also greatly enjoyed the chance to do something different from the interminable stream of research essays that the teachers ask for. Best class Ive done! However, a researcher had to incorporate also some positivist viewpoint in regard to the necessity of evaluating the difference between the hypermedia and traditional learning in quantifiable terms. Results are shown in Figure 1 and Table 4. Figure 1 revels that students who were introduced to the hypermedia learning resource voluntary took additional research on the topic besides the required 90 minutes.

The difference between time spent on studying the topic by those with hypermedia resources obligatory research and those without was subjected to a t-test which revealed a t value of t = 2. 2518 (df =38) suggesting significant difference between those with hypermedia obligatory learning and those with traditional mode of learning and instruction (p<0. 05). Those with hypermedia resources at home spent significantly more time on the hypermedia learning than those without. Due to the way the questionnaire was administered, it was not possible to link the time spent on the simulation with their overall performance on the subject.

The results of assessment through creative Power Point projects on one of the topics (If I were a volcanologist, what would have been my findings in¦
4x + 8. 8 (у regr = ах + b). Thus, if a student spends on investigating the topic with the hypermedia resources 100 minutes, his scores improve on 48. 8%. The Inter-Rater or Inter-Observer Reliability of this quantitative part of the study could have been affected by the fact that three graders with different professional and personal experiences participated in evaluation. Though their judgments highly intercorrelate with each other, the part of assessment concerning creativity, how ever insignificant it was in relating to the other (10%), could have been affected by their personal or other misconceptions.

Besides, the research was taken only one time in the natural settings. That is why the implication for the further investigation is to improve reliability by retesting measures taken (surveys and Power point presentations), assessing the consistency of the results within the same content domain and checking the consistency of results across items within an experiment. Conclusion and Implications for Further Research The bottom line of this paper is to show that reading comprehension in Science can be improved when using the hypermedia environment.

Since it is very difficult to assess comprehension directly as it was discussed in the Literature Review section, I decided to concentrate on exploring the possibilities of vocabulary for the goals of science teaching, first, on establishing correlation between time spent on studies with/without the hypermedia resource, second, on the increase of motivation and variance of evaluation scores due to the hypermedia environment. My interest for widening students vocabulary as part of their improved reading comprehension of Science material was grounded on previous research.

Hunt (1957) stressed the importance of vocabulary, or word knowledge (Pearson & Hamm, 21). Stahl and Hiebert (2004) emphasized the consistently high correlations between vocabulary and reading comprehension (p. 162). In his turn, Duke (2004) called for the importance of text type grounding on the previous research (e. g. , van den Broek, Everson, Virtue, Sung, & Tzeng, 2002; p. 97), as well as topic (p. 98) and purpose of the text (p. 99). The difficulty in Science teaching in related to the type of the texts which are informational and rich in terms.

Poor comprehension of informational texts used in Science curriculum is proved by the US National Center for Education Statistics (2003). Duke argued that informational texts are read nonlinearly, selectively, and at different pace (depending on the strategy, e. g. scanning, skimming, honing in on the particular information desired, 2004, p. 98). Practice proved that the hypertext including a wide range of terms, or explicit linguistic markers, is recognized as more coherent than a simple text due to the readers improved inferences.

When we strive to describe the process of reading comprehension, we assume educational contexts, where the final aim is to learn from a text, [¦] to construct a situation model that will be remembered and can be used effectively when the information provided by that text is needed in some way at a later time (Kintsch & Kintsch, 2004, p. 76). I believe that learning occurs in stages and technology can enable students to learn information on their own allowing them to ask questions for which they can find the answer on the web.

The use of the hypermedia environment facilitates more active and inquiry based learning and allows students to navigate through new spaces and ideas. Specifically, the Pompeii: The Last Day hypermedia learning context includes a variety of non-textual information types such as graphics, sound, and moving images. I argue here that multimedia resources facilitate students understanding of the major scientific concepts. In regard to evaluation, students were more than enthusiastic about creating Power Point Presentations instead of multiple-choice assignments or formal essays.

Riesland (2005) spoke a lot about the learning possibilities of computer-based creative assessment projects instead of formal tests. The evaluation pattern proved itself to be useful, encouraging and motivating. The students did not perceive the evaluation assignment as formal exam. Therefore, they expressed their ideas more freely and enthusiastically. More research is still needed to investigate the possibilities of virtual-based role-plays and simulations to assess the use of scientific vocabulary and other skills related to reading comprehension.

More testing of students skills changing in the hypermedia environment is important to conclude more definitely about the learning outcomes of using hypermedia for teaching Science. References Cohen, L. , Manion, L. , & Morrison, K. (2000). Research Methods in Education. London: Routledge Falmer. Drumgold, D. , Etsler, C. , & Mott, M. S. (2003). Applying an Analytic Writing Rubric to Childrens Hypermedia Narratives. Early Childhood Research & Practice, 5 (1). Duke, N. K. (2004). Comprehension of What for What:

 

Retrieved April 7, 2006, from http://www. newhorizons. org/strategies/literacy/riesland. htm. Stahl, S. A. , & Hiebert, E. H. (2004). The Word Factors: A Problem for Reading Comprehension Assessment. In S. G. Paris & S. A. Stahl (Eds. ), Current Issues in Reading Comprehension and Assessment (pp. 161-186). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Sutcliffe, A. (2003). Multimedia User Interface Design. In J. A. Jacko & A. Sears (Eds. ), The Human-Computer Interaction Handbook: Fundamentals, Evolving Technologies, and Emerging Applications (pp. 245-262). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Appendices Table 1.

Definitions and Concepts Found in the Hypermedia Environment by Linguistic Analysis Geographical names Personal Names Scientific Concepts Vesuvius Herculaneum Pompeii Stabiae The Villa of Papyri The House of the Centaur The Ring of Fire The West Coast of the Americas Aleutian Islands (Alaska) The eastern coast of Asia Mount St. Helens (USA) Stromboli (Italy) Paricutin (Mexico) Mauna Loa (Hawaii) Pliny the Younger Lucius Calpurnius Piso Julius Caesar The Samnites Romans Caius Julius Polybius Giuseppe Mastrolorenzo Lupercus Mario Pagano Paolo Galluzzi Pietro Giovanni Guzzo Fabrizio Pesando Lucius Cornelius Sulla Volcan Pele, Goddess of Fire Eruption coal layers ash (solidified mud).

carbonized scrolls Multi-Spectral Imaging strong winds poisonous vapors an unbearable temperature burning rock flaming cinders fragments of lava and pumice 3-D forensic techniques thermal shock gas asphyxiation the crater pressure valve energy release dynamic plate boundary active volcano tectonic plate the Earths crust volcanic zone the crust layer of the earth a semi-solid layer of superheated rock (mantle) magma inner core outer core lower mantle upper mantle stratovolcano cinder cone shield volcano the sea floor lava fissure hardened lava layer ash deposit layer dike central vent magma chamber pyroclastic flow underwater volcano Table 2.

Student responses towards the achievement of learning outcomes Questions Asked Average Score (n = 20) Understanding the basics of Plate Tectonics Theory. 1. 58 Understanding the volcanic structure and nature of volcanic activity. 1. 59 Identifying the types of volcanoes, their similarities and differences. 1. 63 Understanding the consequences of volcanic activity for humans. 1. 37 Identifying the names of ancient locations having been affected by eruptions. 1. 92 Identifying the procedure of volcanic activity and its impact on people 1.

37 Identifying historical evidence of ancient eruptions. 1. 34 Identifying major scientific tools having been used to resurrect what has happened. 1. 37 Identifying key scientific findings on the Pompeii, Herculanum and other site and their impact on modern science. 1. 61 Widening vocabulary on the topics of Plate Tectonics Theory, Volcanology, History and Archeology. Operating definitions and concepts more freely in the flow of written and oral discussion and assessment. 1. 37 Improving ICT tools. 1. 37 Being motivated for further learning. Gaining more interest in the subject. 1. 45 Table 3.

The hypermedia learning environment as perceived by the students Questions Asked Average score (n = 20) The hypermedia environment was instrumental in enabling me to carry out research on the Web in order to develop useful learning strategies. 3. 39 The hypermedia environment was instrumental in enabling me to write position papers. 2. 95 The hypermedia environment was instrumental in enabling me to evaluate different theories of tectonics, volcanoloogy, history and archeology. 3. 22 The hypermedia environment was instrumental in enabling me to evaluate the utility and effectiveness of strategies for pursuing scientific interests.

3. 32 The hypermedia environment was instrumental in enabling me to understand the extent to which different theories are able to explain natural and social processes. 3. 16 The hypermedia environment was instrumental in enabling me to understand the effects of different assumptions underlying theories of geology, history and archeology. 3. 08 The hypermedia learning environment and, consequently, computer-based creative evaluation was useful in allowing participation in the learning activity by the entire class simultaneously and in our own time. 3. 34.

The hypermedia learning environment and Power Point presentation activity was useful in allowing an approach to the subject in its entirety rather than one bit of information at a time. 3. 45 Figure 2. Table 4. Reported Time by Voluntary Research X1 (mins) X2 (mins) ? X1 ? X2 SS1 (Sum of Squares) SS2 var1 var2 SE.

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