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During the first two years of the project the eLene2learn network collected more than 60 case studies, where teachers and students of Secondary and Higher Education provide practical tips and indications on their "first hand" learning experiences using ICT and digital media. This "collection" contains two different types of report:

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Molecule modelling

General information
.Level (age of students) 16-18
.Discipline / subject / course Chemistry
.Number of participants 20
.Category of the tool digital media
.Tool / resource Spartan molecule modelling –program + Google document
.Country Finland
.Language of the tool or resource English (any for Google drive)
.Time plan start date 1-12-2012
.Time plan finish date 31-5-2013
.Did you use an example scenario from the initial phase of the eLene2learn project as an inspiration? Yes
.If you have used an example scenario from the initial phase of the eLene2learn project as an inspiration please identify the name of the scenario Shared note making using Google document
Specific information about given case
.Aim To develop pupils' thinking, initiative and collaboration skills.

See videos related to this case:
Use of molecule modeling program
Teacher's view
Students' view
.Objectives To develop thinking skills and connecting new knowledge to the knowledge learned earlier.
To support pupils own initiative and collaboration skills by using the molecule modelling program and taking notes. The aim for sharing the notes within small groups after observing the molecule was to enhance discussion and collaboration on the topic to be learned, critical thinking and self-assessment. Google document was used for note taking because the notes were easy to share for the small group, other pupils and the teacher. Additionally, separate note slips easily get lost and the aim of this task was also to show the pupils a way to organise their notes and make it easy to later go back to them.
.Learning to learning (L2L) competences to be achieved - thinking skills
- problem solving skills
- collaboration
.Proposed activities Pupils get familiar with a new topic of Chemistry using independently a program of molecular modelling. In small groups or pairs the phenomenon and issues affecting the molecule are discussed. The small group makes notes together on the topic using Google document, which pupils are familiar to work with.
Pupils are encouraged to critically use the modelling program and actively bring out their findings in small groups. The tools used in this case are very easy to use.
Two courses with the same content are organised. In the control group the notes are made individually. In the test group pupils took first the notes individually and then those who had selected the same molecule to study by the modelling program, were asked to share their notes made by Google document, compare them and comment each other's notes. Based on the comments the notes were expected to become more clear and extensive. Based on the notes pupils presented the qualities of the molecule they investigated to others.
.Pedagogical approach taken Students built up an already studied molecule (water) following teacher's instructions and using Spartan molecule modelling program. The program provided information on binding angles and electron condensations. In the class it was together pondered how these features affect the qualities of water, e.g. boiling and melting point and solvent abilities.
Next the students investigated independently another molecule and afterwards discussed and made conclusions on it.
The teacher guided with the use of the modelling program and directed the discussion towards the important issues.
.Methods of evaluation Feedback from pupils of the test and control groups are collected using web-questionnaire (N = 16+16) and three pupils from the test group were interviewed. The feedback of the two pupil groups is compared. In addition, teacher was interviewed after the courses.
.Ethical statement The parents of the participants of minor age (under 18 years) were informed. The ethical guidelines provided by the University of Helsinki were followed.
Participants were fully informed about the elene2learn project and the use of the data for the project.
Participants were fully informed that data collected through the questionnaires and exam results will be used to inform the project and will be anonymised.
Participants were fully informed that the results of the evaluation will be shared with them.
Evaluation of the outcomes and impact for learners (summaries of feedback)
(with particular attention paid to the initial aims and objectives of the implementation plan and the key competencies developed)
.Summary of student feedback - Usage (max 200 words) Spartan molecule modelling program was used in both groups, and eight pupils out of 32 reported that it enhanced their learning a lot. 15 pupils had benefitted somewhat on its use. The difference between the two groups was the method of making notes, in the control group students took notes individually and in the test group collaboratively in small groups as they used the molecule modelling program and making their observations. In the test group pupils took notes first in their personal notebooks and then shared the notes with their small group in Google document.
.Summary of student feedback - Benefits (max 200 words) In both groups, taking notes was found very useful for learning. 19 pupils reported taking notes affected positively and a lot their learning and all others except one reported that taking notes enhanced their learning somehow. The learning of the pupils using shared note taking was affected slightly more positively than the pupils making individual notes. What comes to studying for the exam using the notes, no difference between the groups were found in the terms of usefulness for learning. In addition, working with a pair / small group and making a small study on an own molecule was reported rather useful for learning.
.Summary of student feedback - Development of competencies (max 200 words) The aim of the project was to develop pupils' thinking skills, problem solving skills and collaboration.
Pupils reported the most development in their thinking skills, problem solving and decision making competences in both groups. Surprisingly, the pupils of the group with shared note making reported less development in collaboration and communication than in the group or individual note making.
One third of the pupils evaluated that their self-assessment developed a lot or somewhat during the course.
Interviewed pupils agreed that their competences of problem-solving developed, but they hoped there were more time to complete all assignments of the course. They thought that working without hurry would be more beneficial for their learning.
.Summary of student feedback - Supporting transition (max 200 words) Interviewed pupils' opinion was that their competences needed in later studies, e.g. university developed when they investigated the new molecule without teacher's instructions and prepared a short presentation based on their investigations. No doubt, this is a useful assignment to prepare pupils for further independent studies, as a method of investigation and also as a method of responsible team work.
.Summary of student feedback - Challenges or barriers (max 200 words) Some technical problems occurred when using the molecule modelling program, e.g. the calculation feature did not work perfectly, so pupils needed to use other calculators. The most able pupils thought the simulation was too simple and did not provide them with additional information compared to the course book. Even though, the illustrative features of the program were useful even for the most able students, and especially for those not so acquainted with the structure and other features of the molecules.
.Summary of student feedback - Improvements that can be made to the activity or the application (max 200 words) Interviewed pupils suggested the simulation program would be even more useful for the foundation course of chemistry, for illustrating the new issues to be learned, and for observing larger chemical wholes.
.Summary of tutor observation - Usage (max 200 words) The teacher of the courses had noticed that the pupils had a clearer picture of the observed molecules than had been with the pupils of earlier courses where the simulation was not used. She had also noticed that the pupils did not have the patience to read the written instructions given for the assignment, but they rushed to use the program. Using the simulation program in small groups was practical and supported learning.
.Summary of tutor observation - Benefits (max 200 words) The biggest benefit of using the simulation program was the three-dimensional picture it offered and the possibility to build up the molecule and the illustrations of several features of the molecules.
Other benefit for learning in this case was getting familiar with the research methods of Chemistry.
The third benefit was development of collaborative learning competences. The short presentations based on investigations were given to the whole course group. Pupils learned from other's presentations and got a concrete reason, why they investigated different molecules.
.Summary of tutor observation - Development of competencies (max 200 words) The biggest benefit of using the simulation program was the three-dimensional picture it offered and the possibility to build up the molecule and the illustrations of several features of the molecules.
Other benefit for learning in this case was getting familiar with the research methods of Chemistry.
The third benefit was development of collaborative learning competences. The short presentations based on investigations were given to the whole course group. Pupils learned from other's presentations and got a concrete reason, why they investigated different molecules.The teacher provided the pupils with the instructions on how to proceed with the molecule investigation and to apply the instructions. This was planned and somehow developed self-assessment.
Thinking, problem-solving and decision making competences developed when pupils prepared the presentation. They were instructed to find a logical way of proceeding in their presentation.

Communication skills develop when the presentations based on the simulations were given.

The learning method motivated the pupils to take the advanced Chemistry courses in the future.
.Summary of tutor feedback - Supporting transition (max 200 words) The assignment supported competences needed in future studies for those who understood the idea of the assignment and followed the instructions – but not all did. Pupils got familiar with the principles of making a study / empirical essay, which is a basic competence needed in university studies. Also getting familiar with Chemistry text processing with chemical symbols, indexes etc. will be beneficial for the pupils' future studies.
.Summary of tutor observation - Challenges or barriers (max 200 words) Pupils' self-regulation and responsibility is a challenge for this kind of assignment. More time is needed for this learning method compared to "traditional" teacher based teaching. Before using the simulation, teacher should make sure that also the student computers are capable of running fully the program. In this case the teacher computer and data projector had to be used for the most complex parts of the simulation.
.Summary of tutor observation - Improvements that can be made to the activity or the application (max 200 words) Videos and animations could be added to the course material. In addition simulations that can be used with iPad could be useful. Pupils' self-directness should be enhanced within the project and taken into account when planning the course.
Reflection and recommendations regarding the activity and approach used by the teacher, tutor or trainer
.What worked well? (max 250 words) The use of simulation for learning was useful from both teacher's and pupils' point of view. The preparation and presentation of essay on bases of the simulation use was very beneficial for pupils' present learning and further studies, also from the learning to learn competences' point of view.
.What would be done differently? (max 250 words) The aim of the project should be presented very clearly for the pupils, who are not yet self-regulating their own learning.
It should be ensured that every pupil has a pair or a team to reflect and comment the presentations.
It is important to think over how to guide pupils towards more ambitious aims and working, e.g. the quality of presentations could be much higher with little more effort.
.Recommendations for other practitioners who may consider using this approach (max 250 words) Every student should have their own modelling program in use, meaning that the school should provide as many licenses as there are students in the group. In this way everyone could build up and rotating the molecules.
Each student should have basic skills of word processing and picture processing skill to be able to finish a presentation independently or in small groups.
If a teacher wants to save time, it is better to create a Google document for each team in Google Drive beforehand and give students the rights to reprocess the document.
A suggestion to time schedule:
- Getting familiar with the modeling program 45 minutes
- Modeling an own molecule, discussion in pairs/team and finalizing a short presentation 90 minutes.