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Student Use of Scaffolding Software: Relationships with Motivation and Conceptual Understanding
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Journal of Science Education and Technology Volume 17, Number 5, ISSN 1059-0145

Abstract

This study was designed to theoretically articulate and empirically assess the role of computer scaffolds. In this project, several examples of educational software were developed to scaffold the learning of students performing high level cognitive activities. The software used in this study, Artemis, focused on scaffolding the learning of students as they performed information seeking activities. As 5th grade students traveled through a project-based science unit on photosynthesis, researchers used a pre-post design to test for both student motivation and student conceptual understanding of photosynthesis. To measure both variables, a motivation survey and three methods of concept map analysis were used. The student use of the scaffolding features was determined using a database that tracked students' movement between scaffolding tools. The gain scores of each dependent variable was then correlated to the students' feature use (time and hits) embedded in the Artemis Interface. This provided the researchers with significant relationships between the scaffolding features represented in the software and student motivation and conceptual understanding of photosynthesis. There were a total of three significant correlations in comparing the scaffolding use by hits (clicked on) with the dependent variables and only one significant correlation when comparing the scaffold use in time. The first significant correlation (r = 0.499, p less than 0.05) was between the saving/viewing features hits and the students' task value. This correlation supports the assumption that there is a positive relationship between the student use of the saving/viewing features and the students' perception of how interesting, how important, and how useful the task is. The second significant correlation (r = 0.553, p less than 0.01) was between the searching features hits and the students' self-efficacy for learning and performance. This correlation supports the assumption that there is a positive relationship between the student use of the searching features and the students' perception of their ability to accomplish a task as well as their confidence in their skills to perform that task. The third significant correlation (r = 0.519, p less than 0.05) was between the collaborative features hits and the students' essay performance scores. This correlation supports the assumption that there is a positive relationship between the student use of the collaborative features and the students' ability to perform high cognitive tasks. Finally, the last significant correlation (r = 0.576, p less than 0.01) was between the maintenance features time and the qualitative analysis of the concept maps. This correlation supports the assumption that there is a positive relationship between the student use of the maintenance features and student conceptual understanding of photosynthesis.

Citation

Butler, K.A. & Lumpe, A. (2008). Student Use of Scaffolding Software: Relationships with Motivation and Conceptual Understanding. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 17(5), 427-436. Retrieved November 21, 2019 from .

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