Turning Scientific Laboratory Research into Innovative Instructional Material for Science Education: Case Studies from Practical Experience

By Niwat Srisawasdi, Teerakiat Kerdcharoen and Jerry P. Suits.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Traditional science classroom activities are often only simple demonstrations of previously presented scientific facts. These facts do not present real scientific investigation to students and often rely on topics and experiments that are distant from the scientific laboratory research or forefront of scientific research. As a result, students may not obtain actual valuable scientific experience from learning, and in reality, may view science as a foreign thing. In the way of educational development, scientific laboratory research generates contemporary knowledge of scientific advancement that instructional developers could use to create innovative instructional materials that support students acquisition of scientific knowledge, in the way similar to professional scientific endeavors, and enhance scientific inquiry-based learning activities in the classroom. This could be considered a developmental approach of using bodies of knowledge from scientific laboratory research and transforming it into new products of instructional materials in science education. The purpose of this paper is to detail what I have learned about transforming scientific laboratory research into innovative instructional materials and how to create these materials. Two case studies from my practical experiences -- The Nose Simulator and The Contact Angle Simulation (CA-SIM) -- are provided to illustrate the developmental approach.

Keywords: Innovative Instructional Material, Scientific Laboratory Research, The Nose Simulator, The Contact Angle Simulation, Science Education

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 15, Issue 5, pp.201-210. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.241MB).

Dr. Niwat Srisawasdi

Ph.D. Candidate, Institute for Innovation and Development of Learning Process, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand

I am a Ph.D. candidate in science and technology education program of Institute for Innovation and Development of Learning Process, Mahidol University, Thailand. I have a bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education (Majors of Physics and Mathematics), and a master’s degree in Science Education. I am working on research projects in the area of nanoscience and nanotechnology to develop flavor machine and electronic nose system, and apply this research into instructional innovation for science teaching and learning at all educational levels. I was collaborating with professors in chemistry program of University of Northern Colorado, to develop a computer simulated experiment visualizing nanoscale phenomena.

Assoc.Prof. Teerakiat Kerdcharoen

Associate Professor, Department of Physics, Mahidol University, Bangkkok, Thailand

Assoc Prof Teerakiat are a Vice Director of Intelligent Systems of The Center of Intelligent Materials and Systems, and a graduate coordinator of Department of Physics, Faculty of Science, Mahidol University, Thailand. His research focuses on Nanoarchitectonics, Electronic structure of materials, Molecular modeling and molecular dynamics simulations, Intermolecular interactions, Molecular sensor based on phthalocyanine and polymer-CNT, Artificial olfaction, Precision farming technology, Ambient intelligence, and Experience tourism technology.

Jerry P. Suits

Associate Professor, School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, USA

Associate Professor Jerry P. Suits Assoc Prof Suits is a graduate coordinator of chemistry program, School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Northern Colorado, USA. His research focuses on interactive multimedia modules and simulations, computer-interfaced laboratory experiment, students’ visualization, learning style, and conceptual learning and achievement. He has found that most students tend to be memorizers (a learning style) until they have acquired a certain amount of chemical knowledge (a critical mass) that allows them to become conceptualizers (i.e., they are able to form concepts out of facts and rules). Conversely, some learners continue to use only memorization skills that rely on algorithms rather than thinking strategies. All of these cognitive processes are probably interlaced with affective processes, that is, learners either appreciate the real world applications of chemistry or they avoid this integration. Currently, he is studying how interactive computer technology can stimulate active learning and developing thinking strategies that rely on visualization and other mental processes.

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