In-Service and Pre-Service Teachers` Optionion on the Use of Models in Teaching Chemistry

Vesna Ferk Saveca, Margareta Vrtačnika, John K. Gilbertb and Cirila Peklajc

a Faculty of Natural Sciences and Engineering, Department of Chemical Education and Informatics,
University of Ljubljana, SI.
bInstitute of Education, University of Reading, Reading, UK.
cFaculty of Arts, Department of Psychology, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, SI.

The presented study examined the opinion of in-service and prospective chemistry teachers about the importance of usage of molecular and crystal models in secondary-level school practice, and investigated some of the reasons for their (non-) usage. The majority of participants stated that the use of models plays an important role in chemistry education and that they would use them more often if the circumstances were more favourable. Many teachers claimed that three-dimensional (3d) models are still not available in sufficient number at their schools; they also pointed to the lack of available computer facilities during chemistry lessons. The research revealed that, besides the inadequate material circumstances, less than one third of participants are able to use simple (free-ware) computer programs for drawing molecular structures and their presentation in virtual space; however both groups of teachers expressed the willingness to improve their knowledge in the subject area. The investigation points to several actions which could be undertaken to improve the current situation.

Key words: chemistry education, molecular models, crystal models, computer literacy