Multiple representations of the periodic table and learning

by | Feb 25, 2009 | Ambigrams, Art, Creativity, Design, Housekeeping, Psychology, Publications, Representation, Research, Science, Teaching, Technology, TPACK, Worth Reading

Mishra & Yadav (2006) was a paper based around my dissertation research. It took a while to get published and I am including it here for the record. My dissertation (Mishra, 1998) was maybe the first place where I made a specific mention of the triad of constructs: Technology, Pedagogy & Content that later developed into the TPACK framework. I must add that I used the word “learning theory” or “theory” in place of “pedagogy” in my dissertation. By the time this paper came out our key TPACK paper (Mishra & Koehler, 2006) was already in press – so this paper refers to our further crystallized thinking about these issues.

Mishra, P., & Yadav, A. (2006). Using hypermedia for learning complex concepts in chemistry: A qualitative study on the relationship between prior knowledge, beliefs and motivation. Education and Information Technologies. 11(1), 33-69. [Click link to download PDF.]

Abstract and an ambigram follow:

Abstract This paper reports the results of a qualitative study on the process of learning complex concepts in chemistry by four students as they worked with FLiPS (Flexible Learning in the Periodic System), a cognitive ?exibility multi-media hypertext for learning about the periodic system of elements. A wide range of probes (think-alouds; navigation logs; observational notes, interviews; pre- and post-tests; epistemic beliefs survey; and background questionnaire) produced a rich data set for analysis. This data was analyzed to construct rich narrative case- and cross-case narratives of the participants’ process of working and learning in this complex hypertext environment. This multi-level analysis offers insight both into the ?ne-grained process of use as well as the larger issues of the pedagogical significance of FLiPS. Our analysis reveals a complex relationship between epistemic beliefs, student motivation, prior knowledge, and process of learning from hypertext. We offer implications for future research, design and the application of pedagogical hypertexts.

There are a couple of ambigrams I had created that may be of interest. The first was a rotational ambigram for FLiPS, the software program/website I had created.

And the other was for Cognitive Flexibility Theory (CFT). In this image the central shape throws three different shadows depending on the source of the light. The three shadows are the letter C, F and T. The key idea of CFT is that one can get a deeper understanding of a topic by throwing light on it (or traversing it) from different directions or perspectives. This triplet-ambigram is my attempt to visually represent this idea.

A few randomly selected blog posts…

Creativity, 21st Century Learning & Self-Regulation

Our latest article on the series Technology and Creativity is now available (link and the complete reference given below). Co-authored with Chris Fahnoe, Dr. Danah Henriksen, and the Deep-Play Research group, this paper builds on Chris' practicum research study and...

For Sean & his students

Sean had this wonderful post on his blog (Is this a sluggish strategy?) about this whole scientific and mathematical poetry that is going around. He links to some excellent sci-po's written by his students (see Pushing Scientific Thought Into Art) and also provides a...

Lego based Sudoku & Rubik Cube solving robots

Two robots made entirely using Lego Mindstorms NXT Retail-kit that can solve Sudoku problems and the Rubik's Cube! How totally cool is that. LEGO Mindstorms is a line of Lego sets combining programmable bricks with electric motors, sensors, Lego bricks, and Lego...

Feeling ignored by Warner Bros.

Amol just sent me this BBC story titled: Warner 'sues over Puttar movie.' That makes me so angry! How come Warner Bros is not suing me... As the BBC story says Harry Potter maker Warner Bros is suing an Indian film company over the title of upcoming film Hari Puttar -...

TPACK newsletter #37, June 2018

TPACK newsletter #37, June 2018

The latest version of the TPACK newsletter (TPACKNewsletterIssue37) is now available and can be  found here (pdf). All previous issues are archived here. This issue is 60 pages long!!! The amount of work being done in this area never ceases to...

Seeing differently (veja du with video)

I am always looking for examples of looking at the world differently - of making the familiar strange and the strange familiar. This is of course connected with the veja du assignments I give my students. I just came across a couple of very interesting video examples...

TPACK Game On (or Precocious us)

I just discovered that Learning & Leading with Technology had an article, back in 2010, about the TPACK game. The TPACK game is something Matt, Judi Harris and I had come up with for the National Technology Leadership Summit in Washington DC, back in 2007. Matt...

New ambigram book, with 3 of my designs

Ambigrams Revealed: A Graphic Designer's Guide To Creating Typographic Art Using Optical Illusions, Symmetry, and Visual Perception is a new book edited by Nikita Prokhorov. The book showcases the works of ambigram artists from around the world. It includes...

TPACK newsletter #34, October 2017

TPACK newsletter #34, October 2017

The latest version of the TPACK newsletter (#34) is now available and can be  found here (pdf). All previous issues are archived here. As always, thanks to Judi Harris for all the work that goes into this.


  1. Sikat ang Pinoy

    Admiring the time and effort you put into your blog and detailed information you offer! I will bookmark your blog and have my friends also check up here often. Thumbs up!

  2. Punya Mishra

    Dear Kiran,

    What a wonderful coincidence… it appears we share an interest beyond TPACK and it includes science and multiple representations. Turns out my dissertation was based on similar ideas. The Mishra & Yahya paper (link to pdf above) is a good synopsis of the work I did then. I agree with you that “Pedagogical Content Knowledge explains that teachers transform information, use multiple representations and customize instructional materials to teach.” However I would go further than just saying that one would need to “map appropriate technology to various modes of representations and Science learning objectives.” The point of the matter is that technology allows for representations that were just not possible in the past. Which means that the relationship between C and P is complicated by the presence of T. It is not just C and P taking help from T but rather all three working together. Does that make sense?


  3. Kiran Budhrani

    HI Punya,

    I was browsing multiple representations and CFT and I came accross your TPACK blog coincidentally. 🙂

    I really wanted to write this note to comment that your CFT ambigram is excellent!

    But since im here writing you a note, allow me share with you the idea of my research problem in a few words… Here it goes:

    Working on premise of the Cognitive Flexibility Theory, i am proposing that Science learning can be enhanced if multiple representations of a concept is presented by the teacher or explored by the student (even outside class).

    Technology tools allows students to receive information, test and explore processes, and constructively create new knowledge — tapping various modes of learning.

    If technology is used to present multiple representations of a concept in Science, then perhaps (1) the student would learn the material / concept according to how he or she understands best; and (2) students would be more motivated to learn from various resources.

    Perhaps this would address the learning problem that students in the Philippines are poor in conceptual mastery and understanding at Secondary Science.

    Pedagogical Content Knowledge explains that teachers transform information, use multiple representations and customize instructional materials to teach. Applying the TPACK framework, I intend to map appropriate technology to various modes of representations and Science learning objectives.

    What do you think of this idea?

    I am very much open to comments or suggestions for future directions of this research.

    Thankyou again,



  1. ABC-Triplet Ambigram | Punya Mishra's Web - [...] Puzzles, Representation, Worth Reading | No Comments » Other related posts and pages: |Multiple representations of the periodic table…

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *