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Petterson_AcidBase_ChemRxiv.pdf (1.07 MB)
Eliciting Student Thinking About Acid-Base Reactions via App and Paper-Pencil Based Problem Solving
Preprints are manuscripts made publicly available before they have been submitted for formal peer review and publication. They might contain new research findings or data. Preprints can be a draft or final version of an author's research but must not have been accepted for publication at the time of submission.
submitted on 12.11.2019 and posted on 25.11.2019by Michael N. Petterson, Field M. Watts, Emma P. Snyder-White, Sabrina R. Archer, Ginger V. Shultz, Solaire Finkenstaedt-Quinn
demonstrated that students often struggle with learning acid-base reaction
mechanisms in organic chemistry. One response is the
development of educational applications to support instruction and learning.
However, research is needed to characterize how the modality influences students’ thinking about
acid-base reaction mechanisms. This study used think-aloud interviews conducted
with undergraduate students in their first semester of organic chemistry to
understand how they worked through acid-base reactions using either
paper-pencil or an app. Analysis of the interviews indicates that students recognize the steps of acid-base reactions, but do not always apply
the underlying concepts when determining how a reaction will proceed. The modality somewhat
influenced students’ thinking, in that the app prevented students from making
chemically unreasonable mistakes. However, some students relied on the cues it
provided, which could potentially be problematic when they are required to
respond to assessments that do not provide these cues. Our results suggest that
instructors should emphasize the conceptual grounding for the rules and steps
that govern acid-base reactions to promote chemical thinking about the
relationships between the reaction components and how those influence reaction
outcomes, as well as support students to think critically about the chemical
information contained within the modalities they are using.