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Title: The development, implementation, and evaluation of Labdog : a novel web-based laboratory response system for practical work in science education
Author: Wilson, Thomas Joseph
ISNI:       0000 0004 6500 8417
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2018
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The teaching laboratory is common component of chemical, and science, education. However it is often an exercise in recipe-following, where students simply follow instructions. This research adopts a design-based research (DBR) approach to conceiving, developing, and piloting Labdog: a novel web-based technology for the teaching laboratory. Educators create a digitised version of practical instructions in Labdog, and can enhance instruction through the use of questions, and evidence recording. Students access Labdog before, during, and after the laboratory to answer questions, and record observations in text and photo. Labdog can be considered a Laboratory Response System (LaRS), a novel type of technology, which combines the pedagogical bases of formative assessment, classroom response systems, e-portfolios, and electronic lab notebooks. In alignment with DBR principles, this work adopts an iterative approach to generation and evaluation of such a novel technology. Specifically, this work details a series of three pilot studies, followed by a year-long investigation - each of which took place in Southampton between 2015-2017, with A-level equivalent chemistry students. DBR principles also focus on providing actionable advise foreducators who may wish to use Labdog, or some future LaRS technology. The results from these pilots repeatedly suggest that Labdog helped students consciously engage with the relevant chemical or scientific principles of their actions. The evaluation revealed the importance of well-considered design of practicals in LaRS software, notably the need to space questions and steps in accordance with the flow of the practical activities themselves. Students should be allowed to immerse themselves in practical activities, without having to worry about managing the activity on Labdog simultaneously. These findings relate to the psychological concepts of cognitive overload, which should be avoided through question content and focus, and the flow-state, which can be encouraged by the spacing of questions and consideration of practical difficulty versus student ability. Ultimately the research presents a completely novel, technologically-enhanced approach to practical work. It produces both a new tool, and a series of heuristics for designing practical work with a LaRS, based on this, and previous, research. In doing so, this work represents a successful example of DBR, and identifies a number of avenues for future research. Namely, there is a need for more experimentally-designed investigation of the impact of LaRS use on student understanding, as well as more exploratory work on cognitive overload and question design.
Supervisor: Read, David ; Duckmanton, Paul ; Coles, Simon Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available