Description: The purpose of this study is to find out what students in the first chemistry course at the undergraduate level (general chemistry for science majors) know about the affordances of instrumentation used in the general chemistry laboratory and how their knowledge develops over time. Overall, students see the PASCO system as a useful and accurate measuring tool for general chemistry labs. They see the probeware as easy to use, portable, and able to interact with computers. Students find that the PASCO probeware system is useful in their general chemistry labs, more advanced chemistry labs, and in other science classes, and can be used in a variety of labs done in general chemistry. Students learn the affordances of the probeware through the lab manual, the laboratory teaching assistant, by trial and error, and from each other. The use of probeware systems provides lab instructors the opportunity to focus on the concepts illustrated by experiments and the opportunity to spend time discussing the results. In order to teach effectively, the instructor must know the correct name of the components involved, how to assemble and disassemble it correctly, how to troubleshoot the software, and must be able to replace broken or missing components quickly. The use of podcasts or Web-based videos should increase student understanding of affordances of the probeware.
Date: August 2010
Creator: Sherman, Kristin Mary Daniels