- The website is technologically accessible and
easy to use for 8th graders, 9th graders, 12th
graders, and undergraduate students/professors.
The majority of all age groups reported the site to be clear and organized,
easy to use, well-organized, with good presentation of materials, and
helpful in finding information. The majority of 8th graders
and undergraduate/professors also report that they would use the website
again. The only age group that reported hesitancy in using the website
again and reported trouble in loading webpages were the 9th
grade and 12th grade students. As stated earlier, we attribute
their responses in part to the technological problems (likely bandwidth
and possibly browser problems) with their school computers which were
quite slow in loading the website and shut down constantly while the
students were attempting to visit login to the quiz on the CTL website.
- Experts found the site to be clear and organized,
a useful resource, but were split as to whether the site was easy to
use and navigate and whether the links were helpful. This
finding indicates that the experts were positive about the organization
and layout of the site but thought that the links and tutorial could
be more clear and organized.
- 9th and 12th graders
report an increased understanding of climate science, climate and human
history, the forces that drive climate variability, and the relationship
between climate and human history after visiting the website.
9th and 12th grade students reported increase
in their understanding of climate science and history content in a very
limited time frame, less than a typical classroom period.
- When asked to articulate their understanding
of the climate topics, the majority of 9th and 12th
graders reported that they learned "nothing" from the website.
Regardless of self-reported data stating
that 9th and 12th graders increased their understanding
of climate topics, when asked to articulate this understanding, the
majority of 9th and 12th graders were unable to
state accurate facts from the website.
- The 9th and 12th grade
participants who did report specific information about each climate
topic reported accurate facts from the website. This
finding indicates that some of the 9th, and 12th
grade students increased their understanding of the topic.
- The majority of 8th grader students
did not report an increase in their understanding of climate science,
climate and human history, the forces that drive climate variability,
and the relationship between climate and human history.
On Likert scale survey responses, the majority of 8th graders
report that they did not increase their understanding of climate topics.
- When asked to articulate their understanding
of climate topic, the majority of 8th grade students were
able to list at least one accurate fact from the website pertaining
to the topic and many students were able to list facts which reflect
their general understanding of the topic. Regardless
of self-reported survey data in which the 8th graders report
no increase in understanding, these students were able to accurately
articulate facts from the website which reflect their general understanding
of the climate topic.
- 8th grade quiz scores increased.
This indicates that the 8th
grade students were able to accurately find information on the four
climate topics from the website.
- The majority of the 8th, 9th
and 12th grade students reported that aspects of the website
were unclear and stressed that the vocabulary and science content of
the website was too advanced for them to comprehend.
Many of the students reported that they were able to find the information
they were looking for but were unable to understand the vocabulary or
description once at the desired webpage.
- The majority of undergraduate students report
an increase in understanding of climate science, climate and human history,
the forces that drive climate variability, and the relationship between
climate and current events. Undergraduate
students report increased understanding of climate topics and the two
students who were interviewed were able to articulate aspects of the
website that reflect their general understanding of the climate topics.
- 100% of the undergraduate quiz scores increased
by an average of 42%. This indicates that
the undergraduates were successfully able to research climate topics
on the website.
- Experts identified several areas that need
more information or coverage. Experts
reported that the site needs greater coverage of global warming along
with other content areas. The teacher expert reported that with some
organizational and content changes, the website would be appropriate
for middle school students.
The findings listed above indicate that the Climate Timeline website
has potential as an effective tool for researching climate topics in 8th,
9th and 12th grade; the website is well organized
and easy to use, 8th grade students were able to increase their
quiz scores in a short amount of time, and the 8th, 9th
and 12th grade students who reported specific knowledge about
the four climate topics accurately recalled facts and statistics from
the website. However, when used as a research tool for 8th,
9th and 12th grade students, the vocabulary and
science content needs to be edited to better suit the age level of the
student. While observations of these students indicate that the students
found the website interesting, their interest could be further cultivated
by redesigning the vocabulary and scientific explanations to better suit
a younger audience.
Data from the undergraduate students indicate
that the website is an appropriate research tool for their age group.
Undergraduates report increased understanding of all climate topics and
these students increased their quiz scores. These findings indicate that
undergraduate students were able to successfully research the climate
topics, and no undergraduate reported any problems with the vocabulary
or science explanations.
Data also indicates that for 8th – 12th grade
students, more time spent exploring the website coincides with greater
understanding of the science content. While all three groups were given
the same amount of time to explore the website, only the 8th
graders were able to utilize the whole class period. The 9th
and 12th grade students experienced technical difficulties
with their school computers which greatly reduced the time spent exploring
the website. As a result, a greater percentage of 8th grade
students were able to report accurate facts from the website pertaining
to the four climate topics than were the 9th and 12th
grade students. This indicates that the website can be an effective research
tool for 8th, 9th and 12th grade students
if these students are given adequate time to explore the site.
Data indicates that for undergraduate students, time spent exploring
the website does not necessarily coincide with greater understanding.
Undergraduate students spent a wide range of time exploring the website
(11 minutes to 2 hours). Yet, the majority of undergraduate students report
increased understanding of all climate topics and all undergraduate students
increased their quiz scores. This finding indicates that the Climate Timeline
website is an effective research tool for the undergraduate level.
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