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Carla Morais, João Paiva
Sísifo/Educational Sciences Journal, no.3, may/aug 2007, ISSN: 1646‑6500.
Researchers, Teachers
Over 10 pages
In the introduction, the authors mention that it is important that schools follow the technology progress and create challenges for teachers, combining traditional education and education based on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). They made a pilot study with a computer simulation “Fusion and Boiling points”, with level 7 pupils and they found some pedagogical advantages and limitations of ICT’s use.

In the section: “ICT in school: Pedagogical Potentialities and Limitations”, the authors describe some advantages and limitations. As advantages, they refer: The increase of teacher and student motivation; The diversification of teaching-learning methodologies; The possibility to simulate experiences which are too fast or slow in reality and which use dangerous materials or occur in conditions that are impossible to reproduce; The volume of available information and potential of interdisciplinary; The use of ICT’s ability to formulate hypothesis, test them, analyse results and reformulate concepts.
As limitations, the authors emphasize: The scarcity of high quality technical and pedagogical software and the absence of collaboration between teachers and programmers; The lack of initial and continuous training for the use of technology by the teachers; The fact that many pupils do not have a computer; The lack of time for teachers to learn the technology and prepare the classes; The absence of specific sites to prevent the free navigation on internet by the students.

In the section: “Digital Resources for the Teaching of Physics and Chemistry – The Specific Case of Computer Simulations”, they refer the possibility of making a diversity of experiences (complex, slow and dangerous) in the classroom with a computer simulation. The pupils can develop hypotheses, testing them, analysing results and perfecting concepts. However, they refer that computer simulations should be viewed as a complement to other teaching strategies.

In the section: “Experimental Work in the Teaching of Physics and Chemistry – Data and Reflections” the authors refer that the performance of experimental work is fundamental and essential to the learning of Physics and Chemistry and develops competences in the students as creative mind, the formulation of hypotheses, observation, and decision-making, a critical mind, curiosity, responsibility, autonomy and persistence. The experimental activities in chemistry are preferable, because they motivate pupils for science, turning lessons more enjoyable and interesting, and develop skills in handling laboratory equipment. However, around 26% of teachers use experimental activities, spending less than 20 hours per academic year on them, and 51% use the laboratory classes to solve exercises.
The basic education teachers perform more activities related to Physics than to Chemistry. In the experimental activities accomplished in level 8, the most common experiences are the classic ones like “separation of mixture processes” , “pH scale“ and in the less performed activities is the “Determination of fusion and solidification points”.

In the section: “Creation of the simulation “Fusion and Boiling Points”, they refer the project developed between a publisher school manuals and the Master’s degree in Multimedia Education by the Faculty of Science of the University of Porto. They developed a set of digital resources – Manual Multimedia 7 CFQ. The authors chose the simulation “Fusion and Boiling Points” for this study. For the motivation of the pupils, many aspects were taken into account, like colours, text, letter type, screen space, interface, animations options. Also, the short and easily readable texts are created to prevent demotivation.

In the section “Pilot Study of the Simulation “Fusion and Boiling Points” with level 7 pupils, they present the target of this study: a sample of 15 boys and 6 girls with average age of 12, in a 45 minute class, in the year of 2005/2006 in the school "Escola EB 2,3 de Maria de Lamas", in Porto. They complement the use of the computer simulation with a support scheme, “roteiro de exploração” to evaluate the teacher learning process. In the observations, they refer that initially the pupils are very impulsive, without paying attention to the instructions perhaps because the pupils consider the simulation appealing once they were allowed to choose the substance, select what they want to observe, fusion or boiling point, watch the construction of a graph, observe the process of heating. The class was quitter when they analysed the “roteiro de exploração”. The questions in the “roteiro de exploração” were answered without difficulty. In the correction there was some disorder because all wanted to participate. The pupils refer that they liked the graphs and the thermometer and they learned how to read a graph better. They all acknowledge the advantage of having the “roteiro de exploração” because it describes the aim of the task, explains the main functionality of the digital resource, prevents distraction, enabling to reach a conclusion.
The pupils consider as positive aspects in the digital resources: less difficult to learn; the understanding of content more fully (since the resources can be seen and used again); the use of images and audio helped them in their understanding and led them to be more attentive. The pupils think that the teachers should use digital resources more frequently.

In the section: “Final conclusions and Proposals for Future Projects”: the authors are convinced that the creation of this simulation can contribute to facilitate the understanding of the fusion and boiling concepts. The pupils enjoyed using this digital resource. The authors attribute this to an extra motivation factor, the novelty. The pupils acknowledge the pedagogical benefit of “roteiro de exploração”. The results obtained in this study are favorable to the use of digital resources. However, there must be a change in the mentalities, attitudes and perspectives of all participants in the educational process. The authors intend to carry out a new testing phase to participate directly with teachers to improve the developed resources and produce new digital resources to higher education levels, evaluating the impact of digital resources in pupils in a systematic way.
This work gives a very complete description of the main advantages and constraints associated with the use of digital resources in the classroom.
In particular, a digital resource developed by the authors for 7th grade students is described and, also, its application in a classroom sample. The importance of having a guide to explore the digital resource is emphasized as well as the fact that these resources should be used as a complement to other methodologies, such as laboratory work.
Although this publication refers to a particular digital resource, its development, testing and evaluation processes can be very useful to explore new teaching/learning tools.
Additionally, the importance of including pupils and teachers in the development process of new digital resources is also demonstrated.
Instituto Politécnico de Bragança

Comments about this Publication

Your comments are welcome

Date: 2014.10.13

Posted by C. Collante (Spain)

Message: This document show us a pilot study with a computer simulation “Fusion and Boiling points”, with level 7 pupils and they found some pedagogical advantages and limitations of ICT’s use. The document refers to the use of ICTs in the classroom in order to make Chemistry a more interesting subject for students, resources showed prove the importance of daily Chemistry in the teaching of Sciences and the ICT resource mentioned is very interesting and could be applied in the classroom from different teaching approaches. The paper indicates limitations in using ICT and some possible solutions. In the conclusios the authors confirm tha the creation of this simulation can contribute to facilitate the understanding of the fusion and boiling concepts and the pupils enjoyed using this digital resource. The ICTs activities suggested in the document are new and very interesting. I consider the article relevant because it shows new teaching approaches and resources to work with my students. Moreover, it shows how to investigate in the classroom about ICT resources.

Date: 2014.03.31

Posted by Davide Parmigiani (Italy)

Message: This paper presents a didactical experience with the simulation called “Fusion and Boiling Points” which aims to provide pupils with the learning situations that will enable them to learn the concepts of Physics and Chemistry in Level 7, in a more meaningful way
This paper is interesting because presents the use of ICT simulations in 2007, when the applications to create a simulation were still difficult to use in the everyday lessons; now, with the mobile devices, we have a lot of possibilities
The paper indicates some limits in using ICT and some possible solutions. Moreover, describing the resource and the study, it indicates some kinds of lessons, not teaching strategies in particular
The suggestions of the authors are interesting but they should draw and outline more clear didactical indications. In any case, the publication is useful to start up further ideas in teaching chemistry

Date: 2014.03.26

Posted by Mairead Glynn (Ireland)

Message: This article was published in 2007 in the Educational Science Journal. The publication describes a qualitative study into the use of a digital teaching resource on the topic of ‘Fusion and boiling points’.
A computer simulation was designed along with a support scheme or roteiro de exploracao as it is referred to in the publication. For the purposes of this review I will describe the roteiro de exploracao as a collection of worksheets to guide the pupil.
A 45 minute lesson, in which the computer simulation would be used by pupils along with the worksheets, was planned for 21 students with an average age of 12.
Many positive experiences were reported in the study; the questions on the worksheets were answered without difficulty, most pupils arrived at the desired conclusion, pupils reported enjoying using the simulation ‘Fusion and Boiling point’. Although this was a limited study the positives of incorporating digital simulations into the study of science is clear to see from the results of the worksheets as listed. However I also feel the study highlights the importance of being well prepared and the importance of having a supportive aid such as worksheets to guide students through the simulation process. In this study the pupils themselves acknowledged the advantage of having the worksheets to hand. The pupils reported that having the worksheets clarified the aim of the task, it explained how to use the digital resource, it prevented distraction towards less relevant aspects of the activity, it hinders indiscriminate and compulsive clicks, it enables on to reach a conclusion, they learn in a more meaningful way and make the most of the time allowed.
Some negative factors were mentioned in the study. The students were very impulsive when using the simulation at the beginning of the lesson. Furthermore, the pupils were not following the instructions on the worksheets that had been explained to them. The correction of the worksheet was reported as disorderly, however it should be noted that once pupils were reminded of classroom rules order was restored. Overall, it is clear that the positives of using a digital resource far outweigh these negatives. The majority of these issues are logistical in nature and are to be expected from age-group.
The publication does not suggest how to use ICT in the teaching of chemistry. It merely highlights the positive elements of incorporating digital simulation into our teaching and shows the positive aspects of such a resource from the students’ point of view.

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.