Taxonomy of scientifically oriented educational websites

Rafi Nachmias*, Inbal Tuvi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Web-based learning (WBL), the use of the World Wide Web as an arena for learning, has captured the imagination and interest of science educators worldwide. Although many educators believe in the unprecedented opportunities and potential offered by the Internet to enhance education, others are intimidated by its somewhat chaotic and unstructured nature. To enhance our understanding of WBL, it is important to categorize the main feature of the web as an educational medium: identify its instructional and pedagogical means, elaborate on the communication technologies and their implications, and define criteria to evaluate the content level. Following Nachmias, Mioduser, Oren, and Tahav (1999), this paper provides a classification scheme by which scientifically oriented educational websites can be evaluated and compared. The criteria are sorted into five dimensions. These dimensions are the (1) descriptive dimension (e.g., target population, site developers, language), (2) pedagogical dimension (e.g., instructional model, instructional means, cognitive demands), (3) representational dimension (e.g., representational structure and means, navigation tools), (4) communication dimension (e.g., links configuration, distant learning modes), and (5) scientific content dimension (e.g., content level, visualization means, historical background). Based on these criteria, we present an example of site evaluation in the field of atomic structure. Finally we discuss the potential embedded in this taxonomy to assist the web site developer, provide the science teacher with a tool for mindful selection and evaluation of scientifically instructional sites, and offer the researcher a conceptual framework for the formulation and study of relevant research questions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-104
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Science Education and Technology
Volume10
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2001

Keywords

  • Atomic structure
  • Internet
  • Science education
  • Taxonomy
  • Web-based learning

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