Date of Graduation


Document Type



The alternative framework that students bring to the science classroom often have considerable effect on the ideas and concepts held by students as they leave that classroom. Addressing these alternative frameworks has been an area of great interest in science education. This study examined the effect of a computer-based hypermedia program, developed to incorporate constructivist philosophy, in bringing about conceptual change in pre-service elementary teachers' alternative frameworks in regard to global warming. The alternative frameworks of students (n = 33) enrolled in an elementary-level science methods course were examined through the use of concept maps, Pathfinder networks, and semi-structured interviews. One group of students then made use of a constructivist hypermedia software global warming program while the second group used a hypermedia program on global warming that was judged to be non-constructivist. Post-treatment involved a second round of construction of concept maps, building of Pathfinder networks, and semi-structured interviews. Information from this study suggests that students who used the constructivist hypermedia did gain a more sophisticated understanding of the phenomena of global warming and their views became more similar to the current scientific understanding of this topic. However, even though these students did show evidence of more sophisticated and scientifically valid frameworks, they did not abandon initial alternative frameworks. These results suggest the value of hypermedia developed with constructivist philosophy in mind. This software can help learners develop more complex knowledge structures in areas of science subject to the development of alternative frameworks. The data also suggest that, while more complex knowledge may be gained in regard to a certain topic, concentrated effort must be devoted to addressing and mitigating alternative frameworks associated with that topic.