• Conceptual change;
  • Direct manipulation;
  • Science learning;
  • Software

Abstract Studies undertaken in the UK and elsewhere have shown that secondary school pupils have difficulties in understanding certain theories in the physical sciences and, moreover, that certain conceptual problems in these areas may even persist among science students in higher education.

The aims of this research project are to understand this process of conceptual change better, and to devise and test ways in which such a change can be promoted in classroom teaching programmes. Particular attention will be paid to the role that computer software tools can play in promoting such a change.

The effectiveness of these software tools will be investigated in small-scale studies and in the context of classroom teaching. The findings will be made available to science teachers, teacher trainers and to those involved in educational software development.