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ERIC Number: EJ1046228
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Nov
Pages: 8
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9584
The Effects of Using Touch-Screen Devices on Students' Molecular Visualization and Representational Competence Skills
McCollum, Brett M.; Regier, Lisa; Leong, Jaque; Simpson, Sarah; Sterner, Shayne
Journal of Chemical Education, v91 n11 p1810-1817 Nov 2014
The impact of touch-screen technology on spatial cognitive skills as related to molecular geometries was assessed through 102 one-on-one interviews with undergraduate students. Participants were provided with either printed 2D ball-and-stick images of molecules or manipulable projections of 3D molecular structures on an iPad. Following a brief introduction to common molecular shapes, participants were assessed on their representational competence. In particular, learners were tested on their ability to match and construct molecular representations. Using the device for less than 15 min, iPad users exhibited increased ability to correctly identify related chemical representations relative to learners taught with a paper-based method. Even in the last stage of the experiment, without access to the iPad, a significant difference between the two populations was sustained, with iPad-based learners demonstrating significantly higher representational competence than learners using the paper-based method. These findings suggest that touch-screen devices such as the iPad serve as effective learning technology for development of visuospatial and representational competence skills.
Division of Chemical Education, Inc and ACS Publications Division of the American Chemical Society. 1155 Sixteenth Street NW, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 800-227-5558; Tel: 202-872-4600; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A