The impact of simulator-based instruction on the diagramming of the interaction of light and matter by introductory physics students

Abstract : We examine the conceptual development resulting from an instructional experiment with an interactive learning environment in geometrical optics for introductory high school physics. How did teaching-learning processes come to change the ways in which students depicted various everyday optical situations in paper and pencil graphical representations? We view conceptual development as a process resulting in part from increasingly aligning one's practices to a target community by means of participating in a community of practice that uses the target concepts. For formal science learning, this participation requires changes in concepts, epistemological attitude, and in the development and use of representational tools, including diagrams and technical language, as a means of communication. Results of our instructional experiment indicated that students went through major conceptual developments as reflected in the diagrams they constructed and supported by other representational tools and as judged in terms of several perspectives: in identifying the formation of shadows and images, in recognizing the eye as a participating factor in the optical system, and in changing the types of justifications they provided in their optical reasoning from presuppositional to causal.
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Miriam Reiner, Roy D. Pea, Daniel J. Shulman. The impact of simulator-based instruction on the diagramming of the interaction of light and matter by introductory physics students. Journal of Science Education and Technology, Springer Verlag, 1995, 4(3), pp.199-226. ⟨hal-00190579⟩

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