Integrating video and animation with physics problem-solving exercises on the World Wide Web
Aaron Patrick Titus, North Carolina State University, United States
North Carolina State University . Awarded
Problem solving is of paramount importance in teaching and learning physics. An important step in solving a problem is visualization. To help students visualize a problem, we included video clips with homework questions delivered via the World Wide Web. Although including video with physics problems has a positive effect with some problems, we found that this may not be the best way to integrate multimedia with physics problems since improving visualization is probably not as helpful as changing students' approach.
To challenge how students solve problems and to help them develop a more expert-like approach, we developed a type of physics exercise called a multimedia-focused problem where students take data from an animation in order to solve a problem. Because numbers suggestive of a solution are not given in the text of the question, students have to consider the problem conceptually before analyzing it mathematically. As a result, we found that students had difficulty solving such problems compared to traditional textbook-like problems. Students' survey responses showed that students indeed had difficulty determining what was needed to solve a problem when it was not explicitly given to them in the text of the question. Analyzing think-aloud interviews where students verbalized their thoughts while solving problems, we found that multimedia-focused problems indeed required solid conceptual understanding in order for them to be solved correctly.
As a result, we believe that when integrated with instruction, multimedia-focused problems can be a valuable tool in helping students develop better conceptual understanding and more expert-like problem solving skills by challenging novice beliefs and problem solving approaches. Multimedia-focused problems may also be useful for diagnosing conceptual understanding and problem skills.
Titus, A.P. Integrating video and animation with physics problem-solving exercises on the World Wide Web. Ph.D. thesis, North Carolina State University.
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