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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

Table of Contents

Abstract Volume 15 (2010) pp 141-145

Automation of Manual Operations in a High School Chemistry Laboratory: Characteristics and Students’ Perceptions

Igor M. Verner* and Leonid B. Revzin

Department of Education in Technology and Science, Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel 1060, ttrigor@tx.technion.ac.il
Received November 29, 2008. Accepted December 22, 2009.

Published: 3 March 2010

Abstract. There is increasing interest in using automation technology in chemistry laboratory instruction. Computerized systems which include data loggers and sensors have been introduced recently in high school chemistry laboratories. The systems provide automation of collecting, processing, and communicating data, however hands-on manipulations are performed manually. This paper presents a study in which we developed two simple computer controlled devices for automation of basic chemical laboratory operations, such as titration and sample aliquoting. We examined characteristics of the devices and their integration in the school chemistry laboratory.As found, using the automation devices significantly reduced the time needed for conducting experiments and release it for inquiry activities. Automation also increased accuracy and precision of experimental results. Our educational study explored students’ perceptions in order to examine the potential of laboratory automation for motivating students to study chemistry through experimentation. The students participated in the study (N = 54) noted that experiments in the proposed automated environment required less time, were more accurate, convenient and safety. They appreciated the opportunity to use advanced technology devices and plan their laboratory experiments.

Key Words: Laboratories and Demonstrations; general chemistry; high school chemistry

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail: ttrigor@tx.technion.ac.il)

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