Volume 2 Number 2

Published: 24 June 2009

Responsible Editor: Noémi Szállassy

1. Magnetic Field Mental Representation of 14-15 years old students

Konstantinos Ravanis, Panagiotis Pantidos, Evangelos Vitoratos

Abstract: Children’s mental representations about physical concepts and phenomena play a vital role in the learning process. This is confirmed by the data derived from relevant researches which demonstrate that the students formulate incompatible ideas compared with the scientific ones. In this research we investigate the representations of 14-15 years old students about the magnetic field. One hundred and sixteen students participated in the research and the directive individual interview was the technique that we used to collect the empirical data. The results indicate that the children face difficulties in the comprehension of the nature as of the properties of the magnetic field

Received: 30 March 2009, accepted: 5 May 2009.

2. Thermoacoustic school project

Tamás Beke

Abstract: Teaching Science can only be successful if we are able to answer the challenges of the 21st century. Teaching Physics, Chemistry and Biology with the traditional methods is unintelligible and considered unnecessary for most students. This situation needs to be changed. Students can only develop their abilities and skills to the full extent and can only deepen their knowledge when they are surrounded by an atmosphere which is motivating and encouraging for their personality. The establishment of this motivating atmosphere is the task of the teacher mainly joining up with parents. Out of the wide range of innovative options, in this article I deal with the teaching and learning of Science through project works at school. We can give students, for instance, more complex project works where besides Physics they have to go into the matter of Biology or other Science subjects. While they are searching for information, they use the Internet and at the end they produce a presentation and at the same time they develop their informative-communicative skills. So all things considered, students are affected positively from more sides while working on the project work. At first, I survey the recent situation of teaching Science then I present a particular project work in which we can examine thermoacoustic phenomena with cheap and easy-to-prepare tools at school.

Received: 1 April 2009, accepted: 4 June 2009.

3. Comparative Study on Romanian School Science Curricula and the Curriculum of TIMSS 2007 testing

Liliana Ciascai

Abstract: The results of Romanian school students in Science PISA and TIMSS testings have been and continue to be systematically slack. In the present paper we intend to do a comparative analysis of Science curriculum TIMSS 2007 and Romanian Science school curricula of 4th and 8th grades. This analysis, based on Bloom’s taxonomy of cognitive domain, identifies both the common points of these curricula and the system of competencies necessary to be developed for Romanian students in order to increase their results in international testings.

Received: 28 March 2009, accepted: 20 April 2009

4. Final year School Projects: The Bristol ChemLabS Use of the Undergraduate Ambassador Scheme

Timothy G. Harrison, David M. Smith, Dudley E. Shallcross

Abstract: As part of the final year of their undergraduate degree programmes, some chemistry students at the University of Bristol spend time in local primary or secondary schools working on chemistry or chemical education problems. All partners gain from this programme. The students develop many of the transferable skills required by employers in all sectors. The scheme also provides them with the chance to gain some experience of working in schools, at the same time as acquiring credit as part of their degree programme.  Many of the participating students go on to postgraduate teacher training courses and become committed and effective teachers. The schools benefit from having young enthusiastic science role models, assistance in the classroom and an opportunity to develop and run new projects. The scheme also helps the university department develop better links with neighbouring schools.

Received: 23 February 2009, accepted: 29 April 2009

5. Models Role within Active Learning in Biology. A Case Study

Irina Pop-Păcurar, Felicia Doina Tirla

Abstract: In order to integrate ideas and information creatively, to motivate students and activate their thinking, we have used in Biology classes a series of active methods, among which the methods of critical thinking, which had very good results. Still, in the case of some intuitive, abstract, more difficult topics, such as cellular structure, microscopic processes, the transmission of hereditary features etc., the methods of critical thinking can be insufficient, because they stimulate students’ imagination, whereas this does not always conform to real, correct representations. We wanted to compensate this weakness through the integration of the model method in the strategies of active learning. By using teaching materials like models that provide information in more ways (visual, tactile, auditory), the students can better infer phenomena, processes that happen at an intangible, everyday life (cellular division, processes inside the living organisms etc.). In this study we shall present the results obtained by students in the Biology class after introducing the model technique in the active learning strategies, results which have proved to be superior to those obtained by traditional methods.

Received: 15 December 2008, accepted: 28 December 2008.

6. Using social cognitive theory to predict safer sex behaviors in African American college students

Amar Kanekar, Manoj Sharma

Abstract: Safer sex is important for protection against STDs and HIV/AIDS.  Most of the HIV-related research is targeted towards high-risk groups such as prostitutes, gays and substance abusers there is evidence that HIV/AIDS is increasing in college students particularly among African-American college students. The purpose of this study was to study predictors of safer sex behaviors among African-American college students using social cognitive theory. A cross-sectional survey design was used in this study with valid and reliable subscales. All data were analyzed by the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS), Version 16. For modeling the predictors of safer sex, stepwise multiple regression was used. Self-efficacy toward safer sex predicted 14.7% variance in safer sex.  Recommendations for designing safer sex interventions are presented.

Received: 24 February 2009, accepted: 5 June 2009

7. Teaching Science: New Trends In Pre-Universitary Learning

Abstract: A series of aspects regarding the aria of teaching sciences (chemistry, biology, physics, geography) in pre-universitary learning is presented. This paper underlines the importance of pre-representations of students in  teaching-learning process in pre-universitary learning, assuring in this way a desirable direction of the reform in pre-universitary learning: so that the student becomes its own self-improvement agent. The characteristics of the reform in pre-universitary learning in our country are revealed, in European context

Received 28 February 2009, accepted 7 June 2009

8. Environmental issues and Ecological understanding in teachers training

Julia Ibarra, María José Gil Quílez, José Carrasquer

Abstract: There is a clear relationship between the way understand a phenomenon and how we act about it, and this is especially important when working with environmental subjects. Environmental problems are often abstract or imperceptible to students and for this reason difficult to understand. This article is part of a more detailed study on how trainee teachers use ecological knowledge when dealing with  particular environmental issues. This paper reports on the results of using a multimedia application, an interactive CD-ROM about fishing, with trainee teachers. The use of the interactive tool on an autonomous way has been reasonably successful for the students, who have reacted positively when allowed to work on their own individually or collectively. The students are able to answer correctly to the simplest aspects of the descriptive and explicative fields within the ecological models. On the other hand, the majority of the students do not fulfil the argumentative and applicative aspects of the knowledge due to the lack of basic elements that allow them to achieve the following competences: identify the model elements, identify and tell rightly the interrelations between them, connect causes and consequences.

Received 30 April 2009, accepted 10 June 2009

9. Interactive presentation of content

Martin Magdin, Milan Turčáni, Marek Vrábel

Abstract: In the paper we discus about design of universal environment for solution of creating effective multimedia applications with accent on the implementation of interactive elements with the possibility of using the adaptive systems (AS). We also discuss about possibilities of offline presentation of this interactive multimedia adaptive animations using Adobe Flash. We propose a scheme of implementation of technologies and connections between them, so they create a whole system. This modular connection of technologies such as PHP, SQL, FLASH, JAVA can be seen as the modules of the system, where with right connections we will achieve the desired adaptative-interactive effect. Also we think about using the knowledge of the field of fuzzy logic, where we have the possibility to remove obtaining input data from the user.

Received: 28 April 2009, accepted: 19 May 2009.

10. Is there a teacher in this class? Information Processing, Multimedia and Education

T. R. Muralikrishnan, T. S. Sanjayan

Abstract: This paper proposes to discuss the concept of multimedia using information processing theory in ICT enabled teacher education in the context of a knowledge society. The Information and communication technology (ICT) competencies required of teachers related to content, pedagogy, technical issues, social issues, collaboration and networking remain crucial in shaping the new global economy and producing rapid changes in society. Information Processing (IP) models share an orientation toward the information processing capability of student and the ways they can improve their ability to master information. Problem solving strategies give students opportunities to think rationally, understand intellectual processes and practice intellectual skills. The problem solving method assumes that students are active participants in the construction of new knowledge rather than passive receivers. Using a computer the students can get access to audio, video and further information. This interactivity encourages problem solving. Multimedia helps the process of stratification on mind which moulds the mind for receiving various aspects of a term or process through multiple assimilations. The attempt here is not to state that teachers can be asked progressively to disappear from the scheme of things, but to emphasize that multimedia adds to their kit of resources in the days to come. Students can find a space in the class room when they solve problems all by themselves with the help of ICT.

Received 27 February 2009, accepted 20 June 2009

11. Examination of the factors influencing the exam results

Cecília Sitku-Görömbei

Abstract: The defectiveness of the effectiveness of the Hungarian general education revealed in the PISA survey appears in the higher education as well. The “Introduction to Informatics” subject has one of the lowest exam results among the students of the College of Nyíregyháza majoring in Computer Program Designer and Teacher of Computer Science. This subject is the mediator one for the elements of informatics for the students. By analysing the results of supplementary surveys I tried to find answers for the following questions: What are the relations between the exam results of the students and the secondary final examinations that should measure their previous knowledge? Can the weak results be explained by the thinking ability or rather the defectiveness of the special mathematics skills? What are the students’ attributions towards the exam results? The results of the investigations and surveys, which have been done, show that most of the students come to higher education with a weak fundamental knowledge. In order to improve the results of the exams the individual improvement of those students who perform badly in the given fields is required.

Received 27 April 2009, accepted 20 May 2009

12.  Attitudes and perceptions of Students in a Systems Engineering e-Learnig course

Carolina Armijo de Vega, Lewis McAnally-Salas, Gilles Lavigne

Abstract: In this paper is reported the attitudes and perception of students in a systems Engineering e-learning course and a teacher with more than six years of experience teaching online courses. The paper reports the teacher and students’ perceptions about the e-learning courses experience. Personalized interviews with some of the students were carried out. ATTLES and COLLES surveys were also applied to students. The teacher and students were interviewed about the advantages and disadvantages experienced over their e-learning experience. The teacher recognized the benefits of the flexibility in an asynchronous environment, the democratic values of the media which gives voice to each one in the class and the possibilities for a reflexive practice. It is also recognized the volume of work involved and the need to develop strategies to cope with numerous students. From the student point of view, the greatest difficulty detected is fear to the unknown and the perceived workload to comply with the requirements of the course when compared to a traditional face to face course. Their lack of planning and organizing abilities are the main cause for the manifested students’ lack of interest to participate in online discussion forums. Communication strategies and adaptation strategies are proposed to involve the student into discussion and create a more comfortable and trusting environment. It can also be concluded that attitudes towards thinking and learning, as measured by ATTLS, find a balance between connected knower and separate knower. The results from COLLES survey permitted to conclude that in general in the three courses students perceive that they found in the course what they initially expressed as desirable.

Received 28 April 2009, accepted 8 June 2009

# 13. Through fairy-tales to math in the lessons

Rudite Andersone

Abstract: Every person in his lifetime has many times experienced the miraculous impact of the fairy-tale on his imagination, mind and feelings. But we seldom reflect upon the content not only in the ethical aspect of fairy-tales but also as a source of different kinds of knowledge, among them the knowledge of mathematics. The use of fairy-tales in lessons opens up one of the new ways of learning. However fairy-tales are not so widely used in mathematics education in primary schools and preschools. The result of a poll of 86 teachers showed that they approve of the use of fairy-tales in the process of learning mathematics. The analysis of the content of fairy-tales makes it possible to come to the conclusion that here are figuratively and conspicuously seen connections found in the foundation of the theory of probability. Fairy-tales also give a striking reflection of the interconnection between the quantity and measure, there are used different kinds of measures – the thumb (Mary Thumb), an inch ( Tom Thumb), at the distance of a call, a three –step length, etc.

Received: 16 January 2009, accepted: 22 April 2009.

14. Cupola outside the three-dimensional space

István Szalay

Abstract. "Infinity" is a mysterious word. The concept of $\lim\limits_{x\to x_0} f(x) = \infty$, for example, is exciting and difficult for pupils and students, too. One reason is that it is almost impossible to compute with it because $\lim\limits_{x\to x_0} f(x) = \infty$ is a potential infinity. Although Cantor already introduced the concept of countable infinity $\aleph_0$, making a big step towards the actual infinity, this is not enough. Using the exploded numbers and their super - operations (super - addition, super - multiplication, super - subtraction, super - division) we are able to compute with countable infinity and other
actually infinite "numbers". Thanks to computer - graphic arts this computation is useful for the didactics of mathematics. For application purposes, we show a cupola which is situated outside the three-dimensional space.

Received 4 April 2009, accepted 14 June 2009

15. On Some Properties of Differential Operator

Maslina Darus, Rabha W. Ibrahim

Abstract. We define a differential operator for analytic functions of fractional power. A class of analytic functions containing this operator is studied. Finally, we determine conditions under which the partial sums of the linear operator of bounded turning are also of bounded turning.

Received 21 April 2009, accepted 16 June 2009