Effects of integrated video media on student achievement and attitudes in high school chemistry

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<ul><li><p>Effects of Integrated Video Media on Student Achievement and Attitudesin High School Chemistry</p><p>William S. Harwood,1 Maureen M. McMahon2</p><p>1Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, 2130 Mitchell Building,University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20742-5251</p><p>2Division of Education, University of California, Davis, California 95616-8579</p><p>Received 22 December 1995; revised 13 December 1996; accepted 22 January 1997</p><p>Abstract: This study explored the effects of an integrated video media curriculum enhancement onstudents achievement and attitudes in a first-year general high school chemistry course within a multicul-turally diverse metropolitan school district. Through the use of a treatment-control experimental design,approximately 450 students in Grades 912 were sampled on measures of chemistry achievement and at-titude over the period of 1 academic year. The results revealed significantly higher achievement scores onstandardized measures of achievement as well as on microunit researcher-designed, criterion-referencedquizzes for the treatment students who experienced a general chemistry course enhanced with an integrateduse of a structured chemistry video series. Correlation of student achievement with logical thinking abili-ty revealed that students with high levels of logical thinking ability benefited most from the video-enhancedcurriculum. Treatment students also scored significantly higher than control students on the chemistry at-titude instrument. These results along with qualitative supportive evidence suggest that this integratedvideo media curriculum intervention can positively affect student chemistry achievement and attitudeacross ability levels and across a diverse multicultural population. Furthermore, the data suggest that ed-ucational science video media in general, and the World of Chemistry video series in particular, are in-structional tools that can be used effectively to bring the often abstract, distant worlds of science into closefocus and within the personal meaningful realm of each individual student. 1997 John Wiley &amp; Sons,Inc. J Res Sci Teach 34: 617631, 1997.</p><p>Introduction</p><p>The focus of education is to provide students with knowledge, training, and learning op-portunities while stimulating their physical and mental growth. According to the National Sci-ence Board Commission on Precollege Education in Mathematics, Science, and Technology, inits report entitled Educating Americans for the 21st century (1983), the United States is failing</p><p>JOURNAL OF RESEARCH IN SCIENCE TEACHING VOL. 34, NO. 6, PP. 617631 (1997)</p><p> 1997 John Wiley &amp; Sons, Inc. CCC 0022-4308/97/060617-15</p><p>Correspondence to: W.S. HarwoodContract grant sponsor: Annenberg/CPB FoundationContract grant number: 1812-80843</p></li><li><p>to provide its students with the tools needed to lead and excel in the 21st century. It is neces-sary to arm children with a strong broad background in the areas of math and science. Studentsmust be given more than just a return to the basics; they must be offered the opportunities togrow in their problem-solving abilities, learn thinking and communication skills, and acquirescientific and technological literacy.</p><p>In an attempt to offer excellence in teaching to the greatest number of students, many in-novative teaching tools have been developed and used over the past 3 decades, among whichhave been television, videotape, and, most recently, interactive video instructional media. Re-search has shown (Enger, 1976; Savenye, 1989) that video media provides for (a) the captureof uncommon and hard-to-duplicate material and phenomena; (b) the ability to easily presentstatic and moving material; (c) the alteration of visual, auditory, and temporal characteristics ofmaterial and phenomena; and (d) the option to incorporate animation for added clarity. A mul-titude of studies have sought to capture achievement effects following the use of television orvideo instruction with students of all ages (McNeil &amp; Nelson, 1991). However, many of thestudies investigated only the total replacement of live instruction with videotape/videodisk in-struction. Results of these studies did show an initial increase in student motivation among stu-dents within the videotape/videodisk treatment groups, but did not yield a positive effect be-tween the videotape/videodisk treatment and students achievement (Reeves, 1986; Levin,1991). In addition, an argument was posed by Clark (1983) that it is not medias influence onlearning that should be studied. Clark argued that it is not media that caused the proposedchanges in learning; he contended that media are merely vehicles to deliver instruction. Clarkbelieved that media and associated attributes only influence the way learning is delivered. Incontradiction to Clark, Kozma (1991) offered the argument that we must continue to investigateinstructional technology because it is the dynamic union of the learner working with the medi-um that is important. Depending on the learner and the medium, the construction of knowledgewill vary. Kozmas beliefs are further supported and extrapolated by research work conducted onsituated cognition. Brown, Collins, and Duquid (1989) proposed that knowledge is situated. Thatis, it is bound to any activity, context, or culture in which it is developed. If this is true, then thelearner and the learning are heavily influenced and affected by the instructional use of media.</p><p>We feel strongly that using media well can positively affect an individuals learning. Canan effective methodology for enhancing science instruction with video technology be docu-mented? Can the effects of media in teaching be observed and assessed? Many studies have beenconducted that attempt to show a significant difference in achievement gains between treatmentgroups where media is used as the mode of instruction and those groups where no medium isbeing employed (Enger, 1976; Savenye &amp; Strand, 1989; Levin 1991; McNeil &amp; Nelson, 1991;Cohen, 1992). Most recently, video technology has been called on by Gabel and Bunce (1994)to assist in the chemistry classroom, because many teachers lack the correct conceptual under-standing of a chemistry topic needed to teach it. These researchers assert that quality technolo-gy may play an important role in the teachinglearning process of chemistry to aid teachers infacilitating the construction of sound chemistry conceptual frameworks among their students.Studies to the contrary revealed that when novelty effects, teacher differences, and environmentare controlled, significant differences proposed by the integration of media use into instructionall but disappear (Kulik, Kulik, &amp; Cohen, 1980).</p><p>Based on the multitude of contradictions in research results in the field of media effects onachievement and attitude, this study was designed to view multiple variables simultaneously, topossibly account for the incongruities. The study attempted to expose an interaction effect be-tween integrated video media use and student logical thinking ability levels with respect toachievement and attitude among secondary general chemistry students. Teacher differences were</p><p>618 HARWOOD AND McMAHON</p></li><li><p>controlled for by randomization and by prescribing a strict set of treatment procedures. Equal-ity of student groups was confirmed by pretest of their prior knowledge of chemistry. If an in-teraction effect occurs between the two independent variables, it may lead to a better under-standing for the dichotomy in many of the previously cited studies findings. Because theteacher, classroom instruction, and student ability are influential in student accomplishment anddisposition, these variables must be considered during the research into video media effects. Itis important that this complex interaction be examined. As access to technology becomes morecommonplace in educational settings, and funding continues to diminish, educators will need tounderstand the strength of media as a learning tool as well as know how to implement the useof media most effectively and efficiently in the classroom.</p><p>This study was designed to examine both achievement and attitude changes of secondarychemistry students who were exposed to the integrated video-enhanced microunits using theWorld of Chemistry video series. The use of video media in education is not new; however, itsstrengths have yet to be maximized. The quality of the video media, the target audience forwhom video media will be most effective, as well as the most operative methodology with whichto incorporate its use into instructional settings must be sought and discovered.</p><p>Methods</p><p>Subjects and SettingApproximately 450 first-year general chemistry students across 18 classrooms in a multi-</p><p>culturally diverse metropolitan region of the East Coast composed the subject population for thestudy. There were 7 treatment classrooms and 11 control classrooms from which all data werecollected. The participating teachers range of experience varied from novice to master; how-ever, an overall matched teaching population was found in the control and treatment subgroups.All the participating teachers were deemed to be successful science teachers in their district andwere selected randomly from a pool of teachers who are active within their professional com-munity. In addition, the student groups were shown to have equal prior knowledge of chemistrythrough their pretest performance on the High School Subjects Test: Chemistry, shown in Table 1.</p><p>Treatment</p><p>Educational science video media in general, and the World of Chemistry video series in par-ticular, are instructional tools used to bring the often abstract, distant worlds of science into closefocus and within the personal realm of each individual student. The World of Chemistry videoseries, produced at the University of Maryland, College Park, in the late 1980s, is designed toexplore the basic principles of chemistry, understand chemistrys historical foundations, appre-ciate its present contributions to society, and imagine its future directions in the world of the21st century. Designed initially for the nonscience-oriented person, the series strives to presentchemistry enthusiastically, for students to receive more than simply a body of knowledge abouttransformations and processes. It was hoped the students would also develop insights into thenature of matter and problem solving, gain a sense of chemistrys societal importance, and in-crease in their positive attitudes toward science and scientists (World of Chemistry, 1989, pp.56).</p><p>In this article, integrated enhanced-video media refers to the integrated use of the World ofChemistry video series within researcherteacher-designed chemistry microunits. These micro-</p><p>EFFECTS OF INTEGRATED VIDEO MEDIA 619</p></li><li><p>units include teacher lesson guides associated with each 30-min World of Chemistry videotapedesigned to enable the teacher to stop the videotape approximately every 57 min for ateacherstudent questionanswer interaction time. The two treatment levels of this variable werethose teachers/classrooms implementing the integrated video media and those using no video me-dia during the treatment time units. The treatment microunits, designed by the authors and non-participating chemistry teachers, were 13 days in length with at least eight mandatory inter-active video-enhanced treatments (approximately 1/month) carried out in the treatment class-rooms over the course of the academic year. The microunits were agreed upon by all teacher participants, treatment and control, prior to the study. Each microunit corresponds to a funda-mental part of the general chemistry curriculum.</p><p>The control teachers each received the microunits but no World of Chemistry videotapes.The control teachers taught the same microunit topics for at least the same amount of time astreatment teachers, but without the aid of video enhancement.</p><p>Instruments</p><p>Four assessment instruments were used in addition to direct classroom observations, stu-dent interviews, and teacher interviews. The instruments were as follows.</p><p>The High School Studies Test: Chemistry is a 40-min standardized test that is norm refer-enced. The reliability coefficients are between .79 and .94. Normed tables containing percentiles,standard scores, and standard errors of measurement are provided with this test (Mitchell, 1985).</p><p>The High School Chemistry Student Opinion Survey (Heikkinen, 1973) was selected as thequantitative measure of student attitudes toward chemistry. The measure is a 20-question Lik-ert-scaled instrument (15) designed to collect high school students attitudes toward both thecontent and teaching of chemistry. The reliability reported for this survey is between .93 and .96.</p><p>Microunit quizzes were designed by the authors and nonparticipating chemistry teachersbased on state science outcomes, district chemistry curriculum, and teacher expert opinion. Af-ter construction was complete, the quizzes were sent out for expert review and modified ac-cordingly. Each quiz reflects material deemed important to be taught to high school generalchemistry students. The quizzes do not mirror specific examples or exact content covered by thevideotapes, and so do not discriminate against the control students for whom no video inter-vention was conducted.</p><p>The Test of Logical Thinking (TOLT) is a 20-min paper and pencil assessment that was ad-ministered to all students as a way to measure logical thinking ability, a trait which correlatespositively with problem-solving ability and achievement (Nagy &amp; Griffiths, 1982). Both its pre-dicted validity and internal consistency are high (a 5 .85).</p><p>Results and Discussion</p><p>Student Achievement</p><p>Statistics on comprehensive chemistry achievement for the treatment and control groups aredisplayed in Table 1. The treatment and control groups had similar numbers of subjects and stu-dents in both groups scored similarly on the standardized pretest measure of chemistry achieve-ment. The posttest results indicated that the treatment and control groups gain varied widelyfrom one another. The treatment students average gain of approximately eight points was a fac-</p><p>620 HARWOOD AND McMAHON</p></li><li><p>tor of three increase from their mean pretest score, while the control students increase was ap-proximately a factor of two above their initial average achievement scores.</p><p>The results of the repeated measures analysis of variance show via the differences in gainscores of the two groups that the groups are significantly different, F 5 24.04, p , .01, fromeach other on the measure of comprehensive achievement at the end of the school year. Thetreatment group subjects for whom the video integration occurred scored significantly higherthan the control subjects on the High School Subjects Test: Chemistry posttest measure ofachievement administered at the end of the academic year. The treatment group students gainedsignificantly more chemistry content knowledge than the control group students during the aca-demic year, as measured by this standardized...</p></li></ul>

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