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Carla Morais and João Paiva
Porto Editora
School Directors, Researchers, Teachers, Policy Makers
3 – 10 pages
The contents herein reflect the most important information taken from the translation of the original article (in Portuguese), considering students' motivation to study Chemistry using digital resources.

In this work, a discussion is made on how our current information society is reflected in the type of education and motivation of students. A transition is occurring between an era where it was essential to obtain and memorize information to another where it is necessary to collect, update and reformulate knowledge. Young students are the result of that society, feeling unmotivated by traditional school. There are so many attractive sources of information in media (scientific and cultural TV programs, multimedia encyclopaedias, games, Internet) that it results difficult for school to compete with them.
The implementation of ICT in schools is one of the biggest challenges of educational and technological innovation by education systems worldwide. Their integration is a very powerful auxiliary tool to teach and learn science and may modernize the teaching-learning process. However, there is yet some resistance to this change and there are some uncertainties around the way the upgrading of school should be conducted.
Sociologists from business marketing have been studying and characterizing younger generations. The students from lower and upper secondary school are frequently called the zap generation. They were born and have grown in the digital era, surrounded by mobile phones, computers, Internet, cable TV and electronic games. They program their time for several activities, many of them simultaneous, and it is a priority to communicate anywhere and any time. This generation is hardly able to concentrate for a long time in an activity, especially if it concerns primarily to receive - hear, see, watch. They think about a subject by establishing links to several other interrelated issues, rather than setting a linear sequence of reasoning, from beginning to end. In other words, they think in "hypertext". It is essential to bring students to undertake a review of all educational and scientific information they have access to. More than teaching, it is necessary to educate for self-learning.
The computer makes it possible to integrate text, still and animated images, sound, video in a single presentation technology. ICTs have potentialities recognized for teaching science in general and for teaching chemistry, in particular.
The practical component is essential for an experimental science, such as chemistry. However, for an experimental activity to enable learning, it must be properly exploited. This implies that its execution is preceded by discussion and planning. After the experiment, it is also necessary to go through a careful process of analysis and discussion of results, because only in this way students can understand the phenomenon under investigation and draw conclusions independently. The use of videos that depict experimental activities, interpret the observed phenomena and the results may be an important additional resource, to be used upstream and downstream of the classes, where they perform experimental activities. The use of computer simulations can be a way to represent systems and their evolution, and thereby decrease the abstraction necessary to understand the content. The educational games can act as an equally important feature in chemistry teaching. In addition to the motivational aspect, they promote logical reasoning, being a diversified interactive material that students greatly appreciate.

In this work, a research is presented with the following main objectives:
- To produce and validate new digital resources with high scientific, educational, technical and aesthetic quality, usable by teachers and students in the discipline of Physics and Chemistry;
- To experience the resources with students from 7th year and assess their impact;
- To gather feedback from students in order to get suggestions for enrichment and redesign of the developed digital resources.
In order to achieve these objectives, the following questions were made:
- Does the use of resources "+ Digital +Chemistry" takes students to learn better chemistry?
- Could the resources "+ Digital Chemistry" help students to like more chemistry?
To allow an answer to the assumptions made, the authors analysed a case study with a qualitative approach and used, mainly, as research tools, field notes and interviews.

The set "+ Digital Chemistry" consists of six videos, six games, two animations and two simulations designed to introduce and motivate students to study chemistry with a user friendly environment, to motivate students to explore software.
The impact assessment of resources "+ Digital Chemistry" was made with a class of 7th grade students from a lower secondary school in Porto, in 2005-2006. The class consisted of 15 boys and 6 girls (mean age of 12 years old). Fourteen classes of 45 minutes were planned in which the resources were applied and support materials were developed (scripts for viewing videos and animations, scripts for exploration of the simulations, handouts, experimental activities guides and worksheets).
The impact of applying the full range of digital resources in the teaching-learning process was assessed by qualitatively analysing the responses on the answer sheets associated with the routes of exploration and worksheets, the observations and interviews. Some of the most important results are described:
- Lessons taking place in the computer room, especially motivated students;
- In class there was an evident motivation and commitment to answer questions and explore digital resources;
- Students understood the concepts underlying the various digital resources;
- The worksheets, when recommended for homework, were always been performed by all students in the class;
- Some of the pedagogical potential of ICT integration in educational settings was shown;
- The games allowed the development of some skills and, according to students, who were always very motivated for their operation, helped them to memorize information about the topics studied;
- Students were unanimous in recognizing that the videos on safety in the laboratory helped them learn more about this issue and consider that the videos that depict experimental activities are an asset, after the completion of the activities mentioned, as it helps them in the analysis and interpretation of what happens;
- Recognize that the guidelines for viewing the videos have helped in the retention of information and recognize the advantage of exploring a simulation with the aid of a script of exploitation;
- Consider that the most positive aspects to study of Chemistry using digital resources are:
- Be simpler and less complicated to learn;
- Better understanding of the contents;
- The presence of images and audio helped in understanding;
- To be more focused, as they feel more captivated;
- Consider that the objectives associated with the use of various digital resources were clear and that the time available for the exploitation of resources was sufficient, but sometimes wished they could have more;
- Acknowledge that they have learned more about chemistry with the use of this digital resources and say that teachers should use them more in their teaching;
- Consider that they could work with the resources at home, alone or with help from parents.
This is a very interesting work developed in the context of the Masters in Multimedia Education from the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Porto, Portugal.
It relates the motivation of students to study Chemistry with the use of diverse type of digital resources, especially designed for that purpose (6 videos, 6 games, 2 animations and 2 simulations).
A study is presented with a small sample of twenty-one 7th grade Portuguese students (mean age of 12 years old). Very promising qualitative results were obtained, with the following main conclusions being drawn by the authors:
- The students enjoyed the classes dedicated to the exploration of digital resources.
- The use of digital resources seems to be an extra factor of motivation, also for the novelty factor.
- The students are unanimous in recognizing the advantages of teaching resources and the use of scripts to exploit them.
- Students recognize that they have learned more.
As the authors emphasize, it seems to be advantageous to use digital resources with students, but to be significant, it is necessary to modify mindsets, attitudes and perspectives of those involved in the teaching/learning process.
Instituto Politécnico de Bragança

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National Reports on successful experiences to promote lifelong learning for chemistry The national reports on chemistry successful experiences to promote lifelong learning for chemistry are now available on the related section of the project portal. The reports presents examples of successful experiences in the partner countries and the results of testing of ICT resources with science teachers.