Web-Based Learning-usage of the web as an arena for learning-has captured the imagination and interest of science educators worldwide. The accessibility to a huge, interlinked, and complex network of information as well as the availability of novel communication means offer new ways to use scientific information, to communicate, and to learn. The web's advanced graphical tools and computational power allow scientists, educators, and students to visualize scientific data and processes in ways that were previously impossible, allowing a deeper understanding of natural phenomena. However, it is unclear to what extent these powerful tools are practically implemented in science education. Our study, aimed at answering this question, focused on the pedagogical and technological characteristics of web sites attempting to teach the subject of atomic structure. A classification scheme was developed and implemented on 95 educational web sites, of various levels and disciplines, focusing on atomic structure. The results show that advanced communication means and graphical tools are rarely used. While the content of the majority of web sites can be considered reliable, in their structure, level of graphics, and content they resemble an online version of a textbook rather than a new, interactive, learning environment. These findings are discussed in detail.
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- Atomic structure
- Science education
- Web-Based Learning