With the advancement of modern computer technology, the more
and more educational software is used in education. The application
of educational software is broad and, in some area, is crucial. In
medical education, for example, students can practice high-risk performances
without putting patients to awkward positions -- with a computer simulation
program preservice nurses can practice thousand times the highest risky
procedures most nurses perform (Delaney, 1998). For this kind of
educational application, many computer software has been developed and
most educational software are classified into media for inquiry according
to Bruce & Levin‚s taxonomy (1997): simulation and virtual reality
environment, computer-aided lab, and hypertext environment.
In science education, experiments are widely regarded as an important
part because science is "activity based explorations into natureš (Markow
& Lonning, 1998, p. 1016). However, lab experiments often take
a long time, and sometimes are dangerous. Without the shortcoming
of lab experiments, the applications of simulation software may help students
widen their exploration of the nature. It can deal with any dangerous
or impossible experiments for young students and help the students build
theories and practice experimental skills with interest. In addition,
the students can save time to prepare for experimental equipment and chemicals.
Among many chemistry labs, acid-base titration is very basic and important
one. However, using acids and bases in a high school lab is dangerous because
students might burn their skin or damage their eyes when they deal with
chemicals. Also, there are some concerns about chemical waste that the
lab causes (Markow & Lonning, 1998). If students use educational
software to simulate the experiment, they can perform the experiments as
many times as they want until they understand the basic concepts and experiment
procedures of acid-base titration without the risk of hurting themselves
and causing environmental problems.
Another advantage of using simulation software in acid-base titration
is that it can allow students to create their own pH curves, which is important
because the curve helps students understand acid-base reaction and titration
and shows how well the experiment are performed. To produce the curve,
students should use a pH meter and an electrode. However, electrodes are
very fragile and expensive and high school students do not have sufficient
skills to deal with them. As a result, students learn pH curves not from
their experiments, but only from textbooks.
One more benefit is that software can provide various chemicals allowing
students to choose many sets of acids and bases for their experiment.
Usually teachers only provide a strong acid and a strong base since
this set of acid and base produces the most predictable result. Performing
virtual titration lab with various set of acids and bases in short time
would help students find similarities and differences between different
combinations of strong and weak acid-base.
With all the significance described above, it seems worthwhile to introduce
to high school students a computer program that help them understand acid-base
titration and its lab procedures. In this study, I developed an Internet-based
simulation program of acid-base titration and let students use it to evaluate
how the program helps students learn acid-base titration.
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