Differential Effects of the Manipulation of Endoplasmic Reticulum Data Sets Using Image J Analysis Software for Conceptual Understanding in a College Biology Course



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There has been an influx of funding in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) allocated to adapting educational systems that engage, motivate and train learners with new and innovative techniques. This exploratory research project investigated the student outcomes associated with undergraduate biology learner' engagements in the ER Project. Thirty-one students interacted in small groups within an inquiry-learning environment supported by an innovative technology that introduced a database of images of green florescent endoplasmic reticulum and golgi apparatus. The aim of the ER Project was to increase learners' conceptual understanding of cell structure and movement and engage in scientific processes in an authentic inquiry setting. To identify relationships between and among independent and dependent variables in a causal model hypothesizing relationships among Prior Knowledge, Learning Preference, Attitudes toward Computers, Inquiry Task Performance and Conceptual Understanding were tested using path analysis. The study found that while prior knowledge was a strong predictor for conceptual understanding, it was not as effective for observing the inquiry task performance. But, the Motivation towards Computers and their Inquiry Task Performance indicated that learners understood the scientific processes and were able to communicate their results.