The present research describes a web-based module we developed in order to assist middle school students to acquire the spatial abilities required for understanding the formation of the lunar phases. The pedagogical design of the module is based on a synthesis of the current knowledge in astronomy education and on design principles for computer-based learning environments. This research explores the effect of students’ interaction with the module on the learning processes with a focus on their spatial perception of the moon phases phenomenon. Outcomes from enactment with 35 students indicated that students significantly improved their spatial perception of the moon-phases phenomenon. The simultaneous use of both physical computerized models, together with scaffolds, peer learning, and the teacher as a guide, were critical factors in supporting student learning. This research enhances our understanding of the specific spatial abilities required for understanding the moon-phases phenomenon, and contributes design knowledge to the public Design-Principles-Database (http://www.edudesign-principles.org). On the practical side, the module, developed using WISE, can be used freely by students and teachers around the world.
|Title of host publication||Proceedings of the 3rd Chais conference for the study of educational technologies|
|Place of Publication||Ra'anana|
|Number of pages||9|
|State||Published - 6 Feb 2008|