Computers & Education

Published by Elsevier BV

Print ISSN: 0360-1315


Pedagogical Utilization and Assessment of the Statistic Online Computational Resource in Introductory Probability and Statistics Courses
  • Article

January 2008


207 Reads

Ivo D Dinov


Juana Sanchez


Technology-based instruction represents a new recent pedagogical paradigm that is rooted in the realization that new generations are much more comfortable with, and excited about, new technologies. The rapid technological advancement over the past decade has fueled an enormous demand for the integration of modern networking, informational and computational tools with classical pedagogical instruments. Consequently, teaching with technology typically involves utilizing a variety of IT and multimedia resources for online learning, course management, electronic course materials, and novel tools of communication, engagement, experimental, critical thinking, and assessment.

Analyzing collaborative knowledge construction

February 2003


183 Reads

This paper describes a detailed analysis of a problem-based learning group to understand how an expert facilitator supports collaborative knowledge construction. The study examines the questions and statements that students and the facilitator generated as they traversed a complex conceptual space. The facilitator tended to use open-ended metacognitive questioning and never offered new ideas. His contributions built on the students thinking. These moves helped support deep student engagement with conceptual knowledge. Several specific strategies were identified that supported the goals of helping students construct causal explanations, reason effectively, and become self-directed learners. Studying facilitation in a face-to-face situation provides some guidance in designing support to use in an online problem-based learning environment; however, considerable adaptation is necessary as some facilitation can be built into the system but other facilitation may need to be done by a human tutor. Implications for CSCL system design for problem-based learning as well as preliminary experience with an online PBL system is discussed.

Fig. 1. The flowchart of two-phase concept map construction (TP-CMC). 
Fig. 2. The given membership functions of each quiz's grade. 
Fig. 3. The fuzzification of learners' testing records. 
Table 3 Sorted fuzzified testing grade on Q 4
Fig. 4. Fuzzy item analysis for norm-referencing (FIA-NR). 


A new approach for constructing the concept map
  • Conference Paper
  • Full-text available

November 2007


1,381 Reads

For achieving the adaptive learning, a predefined concept map of a course is often used to provide adaptive learning guidance for learners. However, it is difficult and time consuming to create the concept map of a course. Thus, how to automatically create a concept map of a course becomes an interesting issue. In this paper, we propose a two-phase concept map construction (TPCMC) approach to automatically construct the concept map by learners' historical testing records. Phase 1 is used to preprocess the testing records. We apply fuzzy set theory to transform the numeric testing records of learners into symbolic, apply education theory (item analysis for norm-referencing) to further refine it, and apply data mining approach to find its grade fuzzy association rules. Then, in Phase 2, based upon our observation in real learning situation, we use multiple rule types to further analyze the mined rules and then propose a heuristic algorithm to automatically construct the concept map. Finally, the redundancy and circularity of the concept map constructed are also evaluated.

Enhancement of spatial thinking with Virtual Spaces 1.0

January 2010


90 Reads

Developing a software environment to enhance 3D geometric proficiency demands the consideration of theoretical views of the learning process. Simultaneously, this effort requires taking into account the range of tools that technology offers, as well as their limitations. In this paper, we report on the design of Virtual Spaces 1.0 software, a program that exercises the user’s abilities to build spatial images and to manipulate them. This paper also reports on a study that aimed to assess whether those abilities affected achievements in the spatial thinking of 10th graders who worked with the software. Additionally, we investigated whether self-regulating questions can improve the effect of exercising with Virtual Spaces 1.0. The sample was 192 students, who were randomly assigned to four groups, two of which used Virtual Spaces 1.0 (Group 1 with virtual reality and self-regulating questions N = 52, Group 2 with virtual realty only N = 52) and the other two the non-Virtual Spaces 1.0 (Group 3 self-regulating questions only N = 45, Group 4 non-treatment group N = 45). The results suggest that spatial thinking was enhanced by exercising with Virtual Spaces 1.0 and asking self-regulating questions. In addition, it was found that the self-regulating questions make the use of virtual reality more efficient, and that the influence of self-regulating questions is especially manifested in tasks that make use of high order skills.

The effects of conceptual change texts accompanied with animations on overcoming 11th grade students’ alternative conceptions of chemical bonding

April 2009


1,398 Reads

This paper aims to determine the effect of conceptual change texts accompanied with computer animations on 11th grade students’ understanding and alternative conceptions related to chemical bonding. One experimental group (EG; N = 28) and one comparison group (CG; N = 30) were used in the study. While the comparison group taught traditional instruction, the experimental group received conceptual change text accompanied with computer animations instruction. Chemical bonding achievement test was applied as pre-test, post-test and delayed test to collect data. The results of the study indicated that while there is no statistically significant difference between groups in pre-test, performance of EG students is greater than the CG ones in post-test and delayed test. And also, the EG students are better in remediating their alternative conceptions related to chemical bonding. Based on the study, it is concluded that conceptual change texts combined with computer animations can be effective instructional tools to improve students’ conceptual understanding of chemical concepts.

Interactive whiteboards: Real beauty or just “lipstick”? Computers & Education, 51 (3), 1321-1341

November 2008


892 Reads

There has been extensive investment by governments and individual schools in interactive whiteboard technology in developed countries premised on the assumption that their use in education will impact positively on learners’ achievements. Developing countries, such as South Africa, keen to raise attainment among their learners are following suit. While at least one of the nine provinces in South Africa had undertaken pilot roll-outs of interactive whiteboards (IWBs) in schools, the Eastern Cape Department of Education commissioned a feasibility study to determine teachers and learners perceptions of the potential benefits and drawbacks of using interactive pen technology, specifically the eBeam, in their teaching and learning environments, before embarking upon a large scale roll-out. This paper reports on a case study of three government schools and highlights the learners and teachers’ enthusiasm about the “big screen” and the multimedia options, but also raises concerns about the lack of ICT literacy displayed by teachers and learners and the cost of technology. As most of the benefits mentioned by the teachers and learners seemed to accrue to the use of the laptop and data projector combination and most of the drawbacks emanated from the use of the interactive pen technology itself, we suggest that it may not be expeditious to attempt to “leap-frog” the use of interactive technologies. Instead we suggest that an evolution of ICT related pedagogy is necessary to make optimal use of interactive pen technologies such as the eBeam and that teachers should be offered technologies, not have them imposed upon them.

Students' attitudes toward computers: Validation of a computer attitude scale for 16–19 education

January 1997


487 Reads

There is a strong need for both educators and researchers to be aware of students' attitudes toward using and interacting with computers in 16–19 education (i.e. year levels 12–14)-but as yet little work has been carried out in this area. This article therefore describes the development of an instrument for measuring the attitudes toward computers of students aged 16–19 years. Initial item selection produced a pilot scale consisting of 49 items which was administered to 266 students. Subsequent factor analysis revealed four structurally independent attitude constructs and justified retention of 21 of the original items. The revised scale was then administered to 87 Year 12–14 students for formal validation. The full instrument was found to have both a high internal reliability coefficient (0.90) and test-retest reliability (0.93), and significant construct validity (P<0.001).

Gender differences in computer anxiety among University entrants since 1992

January 2000


234 Reads

It has been reported that the proportion of computerphobic adults, including those comprising the population of first-year university students, remained fairly constant over several years preceding 1992, with estimates ranging from 25% to 50%. There has been a rapid increase in availability of computers during the following years and it was predicted that the incidence of computerphobia will have declined since 1992. Self-report computer anxiety (CA) scores obtained for five samples of first-year university students between 1992 and 1998 confirmed a reduction in mean levels of CA and in the proportion of computerphobic students over that period. However, the overall reduction in CA concealed a widening gap between mean CA scores of female and male students (p<0.01). Furthermore, female representation in the group at the high-scoring (computerphobic) end of the CA scale increased from 1992 to 1998 (p<0.001).

Successful implementation factors for using computers in Iranian schools during one decade (1995-2005)

January 2010


90 Reads

The main purpose of this paper is to identify factors and conditions that are important for successful Implementation of computers in Iranian schools during one decade from 1995 to 2005. The second focus of this paper is to examine how these factors relate to models of implementation in other countries such as developed countries.This paper is written based on the results of three studies which had been done in 1995, 2000 and 2005. Participants were samples of different groups involved in the implementation process during these years. The data collected consisted of questionnaires, semi-structured interviews, policy documents. The results indicate that some factors were reported very important during one decade such as the role of situational factors such as traditional societies in transition. The most important factors of traditional societies in transition were included: socio-economic, socio-cultural factors and political stability.

The Emperor’s new clothes? A meta-study of education technology policies in Ireland, North and South (1996–2006)

February 2008


85 Reads

In this paper, we asked whether or not it matters if policy direction for embedding digital technology in education is aligned with the locus of control of curriculum reform and of teachers’ professional development. We created a simple control:choice framework with which to analyse and compare approaches to education technology policy and the interaction of technology with curriculum and professional development in Northern Ireland and in the south of Ireland. While we expected to find harmony between technology provision and educational change, we did not discover it. We concluded that different approaches are not necessarily at odds and their interplay is more complex.

Multimedia and the learner's experience of narrative 1 This paper is based on a keynote speech to the Ed-Media conference in Boston, June 1996. 1

September 1998


76 Reads

This paper begins by setting a theoretical framework for analysing educational media in terms of a description of the learning process as consisting essentially of iterative cycles through the activities of discussion, interaction, adaptation and reflection. The framework is used to test the extent to which `interactive multimedia' is capable of supporting all these essential aspects of learning. The argument continues with an exposition of the role of narrative in comprehension of educational material, and reports on research findings which show that the degree of narrative structure of multimedia programs affects learners' comprehension. It also reports on initial findings from our current research which investigates students' responses to a particular interactional design for a multimedia program. The research aims to develop a theoretical understanding of the forms and functions of narrative in interactive media, based on empirical research, and capable of informing instructional design.

Educational virtual environments: A ten-year review of empirical research (1999–2009)

April 2011


982 Reads

This study is a ten-year critical review of empirical research on the educational applications of Virtual Reality (VR). Results show that although the majority of the 53 reviewed articles refer to science and mathematics, researchers from social sciences also seem to appreciate the educational value of VR and incorporate their learning goals in Educational Virtual Environments (EVEs). Although VR supports multisensory interaction channels, visual representations predominate. Few are the studies that incorporate intuitive interactivity, indicating a research trend in this direction. Few are the settings that use immersive EVEs reporting positive results on users’ attitudes and learning outcomes, indicating that there is a need for further research on the capabilities of such systems. Features of VR that contribute to learning such as first order experiences, natural semantics, size, transduction, reification, autonomy and presence are exploited according to the educational context and content. Presence seems to play an important role in learning and it is a subject needing further and intensive studies. Constructivism seems to be the theoretical model the majority of the EVEs are based on. The studies present real world, authentic tasks that enable context and content dependent knowledge construction. They also provide multiple representations of reality by representing the natural complexity of the world. Findings show that collaboration and social negotiation are not only limited to the participants of an EVE, but exist between participants and avatars, offering a new dimension to computer assisted learning. Little can yet be concluded regarding the retention of the knowledge acquired in EVEs. Longitudinal studies are necessary, and we believe that the main outcome of this study is the future research perspectives it brings to light.

A Web 2.0-based collaborative annotation system for enhancing knowledge sharing in collaborative learning environments

September 2010


315 Reads

A limitation of current Web-based collaborative learning is the restricted ability of students to create and share individual annotations with annotated documents. Applying Web 2.0 collaborative annotation systems and analyzing students’ annotation behavior has attracted attention to improve collaborative learning. This study designed a personalized annotation management system 2.0 (PAMS 2.0) for managing, sharing, and reusing individual and collaborative annotations as well as providing a shared mechanism for discussion about shared annotations among multiple users.The purposes of this study are three-fold: (1) to understand students’ perceived attitudes toward the use of PAMS 2.0; (2) to investigate the effects of different annotation sharing scenarios on quantity of annotation and its influence on learning achievements; and (3) to examine the relationship between learning achievements and quantity of annotation. A quasi-experiment was conducted with two classes of college students for fifteen weeks.According to the results of the experiments, most of students in the experimental group are satisfied with the use of PAMS 2.0 for helping them create individual annotations and share their own annotations in collaborative learning context. Majorly students were interested in practical learning scenarios with PAMS 2.0 and thought this system is particularly useful for doing learning tasks. The analytical results of learning achievements show that the use of PAMS 2.0 can increase learning achievements in collaborative learning environments. Moreover, the results show that the influence of annotation on learning achievements becomes stronger with the use of the sharing mechanism.

The efficient virtual learning environment: a case study of Web 2.0 tools and Windows Live Spaces

April 2011


361 Reads

Technological developments have affected teachers’ instructional techniques: technology has allowed the concept of education to be viewed from different perspectives. The aim of this research is to integrate Web 2.0 tools, which are sparsely found on the internet (each tool is on a different site), into education and see if it positively affects learning; also, students’ opinions about this formed environment will be sought. The study sample consists of 55 students, from whom data was collected. Descriptive statistics were calculated and a paired sample t-test was used, in order to compare pre-experience test and post-experience test means. The univariate of variance (ANOVA) was used to compare group means. Positive opinions of students show that the use of the WLS environment within Web 2.0 tools brings a new dimension to distance learning. This paper is orientated towards anyone interested in social networks and Web 2.0 tools and individuals who may be interested in this includes teachers, instructors, students and educational organisations, such as universities and schools. It may also be useful to those who have a general interest in social networks and Web 2.0 tools.

The Jeliot 2000 program animation system

January 2003


109 Reads

Jeliot 2000 is a program animation system intended for teaching introductory computer science to high school students. A program animation system is a system that displays a dynamic graphical representation of the execution of a program. The goal is to help novices understand basic concepts of algorithms and programming like assignment, I/O and control flow, whose dynamic aspects are not easily grasped just by looking at the static representation of an algorithm in a programming language. The paper describes the design and implementation of Jeliot 2000 and an experiment in its use in a year-long course. The experiment showed that animation provides a vocabulary and a concrete model that can improve the learning of students who would otherwise have difficulty with abstract computer-science concepts.

Fig. 2. Average test results for computer ownership
Too much computer and Internet use is bad for your grades, especially if you are young and poor: Results from the 2001 Brazilian SAEB

December 2008


943 Reads



Rodrigo Silveira Dutra




Kleucio Claudio
This work presents the analysis of the 2001 Brazilian Basic Education Evaluation System (SAEB) achievement exam. The SAEB tested 4th, 8th, and 11th grade students, in mathematics and reading (Portuguese). We classified the students into seven socioeconomic classes, and for each class, compared the test results according to frequency of computer use, computer ownership, Internet access at home, and whether the teachers used computers and Internet as pedagogical tools. Frequency of computer use had, in general, a negative effect on the test results, and the negative effect increased for younger and poorer students. Computer ownership had, in general, a small positive effect on the test results for older students, and no effect for 4th graders. Internet access had a negative effect for younger and poorer students, and a positive effect for 11th graders. Finally, whether the teacher used computers or Internet as pedagogical tools had no effect on the student’s test results for all social economic classes and grades.

Research and trends in the field of e-learning from 2001 to 2005: A content analysis of cognitive studies in selected journals

September 2008


251 Reads

This paper provided a content analysis of studies in the field of cognition in e-learning that were published in five Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI) journals (i.e. Computers and Education, British Journal of Educational Technology, Innovations in Education and Teaching International, Educational Technology Research & Development, and Journal of Computer Assisted Learning) from 2001 to 2005. Among the 1027 articles published in these journals from 2001 to 2005, 444 articles were identified as being related to the topic of cognition in e-learning. These articles were cross analyzed by published years, journal, research topic, and citation count. Furthermore, 16 highly-cited articles across different topics were chosen for further analysis according to their research settings, participants, research design types, and research methods. It was found from the analysis of the 444 articles that “Instructional Approaches,” “Learning Environment,” and “Metacognition” were the three most popular research topics, but the analysis of the citation counts suggested that the studies related to “Instructional Approaches,” “Information Processing” and “Motivation” might have a greater impact on subsequent research. Although the use of questionnaires might still be the main method of gathering research data in e-learning cognitive studies, a clear trend was observed that more and more studies were utilizing learners’ log files or online messages as data sources for analysis. The results of the analysis provided insights for educators and researchers into research trends and patterns of cognition in e-learning.

Percentage of principals indicating that ICT-use is very important for achieving specified pedagogical objectives.
ICT in education policy and practice in developing countries: South Africa and Chile compared through SITES 2006

December 2010


2,978 Reads

This paper presents a comparison between South African and Chilean results on SITES (Second Information Technology in Education Study) 2006 study, aiming to show and discuss both disparities and similarities, and trying to explain them through an analysis of their ICT in Education policies and national contexts. Firstly, these policies and contexts portray national backgrounds and initiatives. Secondly, methodological approach is described (a secondary analysis of the international data consisting in a two-way statistical analysis to calculate significant differences between South African and Chilean results, but also including some specific references to the northern hemisphere countries). Thirdly, main results are shown, organized in five sections: a) access to ICT resources; b) support to teachers; c) teachers professional development; d) principals’ pedagogical vision and e) teaching and learning practices.Results of the analysis show that most of the disparities between both countries can be explained through differences in their national contexts and corresponding ICT in education policies (particularly those related to ICT equipment provision and teachers professional development programs) as well as due to their implementation period. These conclusions might be particularly useful to policy-makers in South Africa and Chile, highlighting some areas where improvement plans could be implemented.

Fig. 1. The levels of Pedagogical design (Anastasiades, 2009).
Fig. 2. The participating schools.
Gender per school.
Interactive Videoconferencing for collaborative learning at a distance in the school of 21st century: A case study in elementary schools in Greece

February 2010


1,149 Reads

The aim of this paper is to present the design, implementation and evaluation of the methodology which focuses on the pedagogical utilization of Interactive Videoconferencing (IVC) in the contemporary elementary school.As part of the project “ODYSSEAS”, during the school year 2007–2008, 46 students and 4 teachers from two elementary schools in Athens and Crete collaborated at a distance via IVC and, with the aid of the animation technique, designed and implemented constructive activities on the topic: “Environment–Climatic Changes”.According to the findings of this paper, IVC under pedagogical conditions plays a significant role in supporting collaborative synchronous learning activities at a distance by strengthening the social relations among students and teachers of the local and the remote class at both schools. This survey brought to light that the combination of IVC and face-to-face learning activities consolidates the role of the modern school as a socialization agent. At the same time, it broadens students’ opportunities for communication, collaboration and expression by strengthening their willingness to make new contacts all over the world.

Vance Wilson, E.: Student characteristics and computer-mediated communication. Computers & Education 34, 67-76

February 2000


134 Reads

Use of computer-mediated communication systems (CMCS) to support coursework is increasing, both as a means for students to prepare for using CMCS in their careers and as a mechanism for delivering distance education. But it is not clear whether the same student characteristics lead to academic success using CMCS as with traditional face-to-face (FTF) communication. This paper reports the results of a correlational study of the relationship between individual characteristics and use of CMCS in a team project situation. On most measures the results suggest CMCS will be adopted and used successfully by the same types of students who do well in courses conducted via FTF communication, e.g., students with high-achievement or high-aptitude characteristics. However, personality type was linked to substantial deviations in CMCS usage, suggesting that personality may influence academic success in unanticipated ways.

3D visualization types in multimedia applications for science learning: A case study for 8th grade students in Greece

February 2009


1,550 Reads

This research aims to determine whether the use of specific types of visualization (3D illustration, 3D animation, and interactive 3D animation) combined with narration and text, contributes to the learning process of 13- and 14- years-old students in science courses. The study was carried out with 212 8th grade students in Greece. This exploratory study utilizes three different versions of an interactive multimedia application called “Methods of separation of mixtures”, each one differing from the other two in a type of visuals. The results indicate that multimedia applications with interactive 3D animations as well as with 3D animations do in fact increase the interest of students and make the material more appealing to them. The findings also suggest that the most obvious and essential benefit of static visuals (3D illustrations) is that they leave the time control of learning to the students and decrease the cognitive load.

WebTOP: A 3D interactive system for teaching and learning optics

August 2007


240 Reads

WebTOP is a three-dimensional, Web-based, interactive computer graphics system that helps instructors teach and students learn about waves and optics. Current subject areas include waves, geometrical optics, reflection and refraction, polarization, interference, diffraction, lasers, and scattering. Some of the topics covered are suited for introductory level physics students while others are suited for intermediate optics students. WebTOP is developed with a flexible interface to suit the various needs of instructors and students. Many of the features lend themselves to classroom use or self-guided study. WebTOP is implemented using VRML, Java, JavaScript, and VRML’s Java EAI.

Chen, C.M.: Intelligent Web-based Learning System with Personalized Learning Path Guidance. Computers & Education 51(2), 787-814

September 2008


681 Reads

Personalized curriculum sequencing is an important research issue for web-based learning systems because no fixed learning paths will be appropriate for all learners. Therefore, many researchers focused on developing e-learning systems with personalized learning mechanisms to assist on-line web-based learning and adaptively provide learning paths in order to promote the learning performance of individual learners. However, most personalized e-learning systems usually neglect to consider if learner ability and the difficulty level of the recommended courseware are matched to each other while performing personalized learning services. Moreover, the problem of concept continuity of learning paths also needs to be considered while implementing personalized curriculum sequencing because smooth learning paths enhance the linked strength between learning concepts. Generally, inappropriate courseware leads to learner cognitive overload or disorientation during learning processes, thus reducing learning performance. Therefore, compared to the freely browsing learning mode without any personalized learning path guidance used in most web-based learning systems, this paper assesses whether the proposed genetic-based personalized e-learning system, which can generate appropriate learning paths according to the incorrect testing responses of an individual learner in a pre-test, provides benefits in terms of learning performance promotion while learning. Based on the results of pre-test, the proposed genetic-based personalized e-learning system can conduct personalized curriculum sequencing through simultaneously considering courseware difficulty level and the concept continuity of learning paths to support web-based learning. Experimental results indicated that applying the proposed genetic-based personalized e-learning system for web-based learning is superior to the freely browsing learning mode because of high quality and concise learning path for individual learners.

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