Using technology to enhance the implementation of peer discussion in science education
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The purpose of this action research project was to determine the impact of combining peer discussion with delivering formative assessments using a Classroom Response System (CRS) within physics education. The study was conducted with two sections of physics. Students in both sections of physics initially responded to conceptual questions independently and then responded following peer discussion. One section was provided option-based grouping for peer discussions while the students in the other section were grouped based on their initial responses, called evidence-based grouping. Using CRS formative assessment data to facilitate the instantaneous grouping of students with different responses facilitated the evidence-based grouping. Results revealed that evidence-based groupings enhanced the effectiveness of peer discussion, as noted by improved conceptual understanding and increased student motivation for seeking answers. However, the positive, moderate correlation between pre-assessment scores and post-assessment scores for both treatment groups showed the benefit of using technology to support peer discussion in enhancing learning.