Representational Technologies and Learner Problem-Solving Strategies in Chemistry

Brett McCollum, Ana Sepulveda, Yuritzel Moreno


Learning within the sciences is often considered through a quantitative lens, but acquiring proficiency with the symbolic representations in chemistry is arguably more akin to language learning. Representational competencies are central to successful communication of chemical information including molecular composition, structure, and properties. This article reports on a qualitative study of learner experiences when introduced to new symbolic representations and representational technologies. Participants’ descriptions of these resource interactions were collected through semi-structured interviews and surveys, and were analyzed using phenomenography to identify the variety in student experiences. Results illustrate the impact that representational technologies can have on learner development of problem-solving techniques.


Chemistry; Language Development; Phenomenography; Problem Solving; Technology

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