Multiple representations of the periodic table and learning

by | Wednesday, February 25, 2009

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…

Online vs. face to face: On asking the wrong question

The NYTimes has a story today about how higher prices of gas are driving up the demand for online learning. This is a great example of "synergistic" effects between seemingly disparate events that could not have been easily anticipated - but seem to make perfect sense...

The TPACK diagram gets an upgrade

The TPACK diagram gets an upgrade

The evolution of the TPACK image (1999 - 2017) Note: Apologies in advance for the long post. This has been festering / brewing for a while and I wanted to get it right. In essence this post offers a tweak to the canonical TPACK image, explained in greater detail...

Txting develops spelling skills, how gr8

Scott Graden is Superintendent of Saline Area Schools and a blogger. He recently posted about a study that indicated that texting helps students develop vocabulary skills. Though he was skeptical of the finding, I am not sure I was as surprised. He cited a news story...

Waking up in DC

I am in Washington DC for a couple of days with two sets of somewhat overlapping meetings. The first is the National Technology Leadership Summit (NTLS) and the second is a meeting of the AACTE committee on Innovation & Technology. NTLS brings together national...

Deck chairs on the Titanic

I just got back from a faculty meeting where we discussed what would be some possible new hires in the area of Educational Technology & Educational Psychology. At the same time (as we were discussing this) the House of Representatives rejected a $700 billion plan to...

Rethinking 7/8 curriculum at Miami/Globe

Rethinking 7/8 curriculum at Miami/Globe

One of the most exciting parts of my job are the cool people I get to meet. Glen Lineberry is one of them. Glen is Principal at Miami Junior-Senior High School. He describes his school as a “small rural school on the move.” The first thing that strikes you when you...

Principled Innovation meets Design: The video

Principled Innovation meets Design: The video

Quick summary: In which I disparage the buzzword "design thinking" even while praising the idea of design; point to the value-neutral nature of design and the need for a more principled approach, and end with a video that seeks to capture a vision of principled...

Keynote at MITE 2019, Sydney (video)

Keynote at MITE 2019, Sydney (video)

I was recently invited to present a Keynote at the Mobile Technology in Teacher Education (MITE) 2019 Conference hosted by The University of Technology, Sydney. This was the fifth edition of the conference, and as it turns out, I had given a keynote at the first...


  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…

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