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software especially developed for the purpose of the study. The software employed a combination of Hyperstudio and Powerpoint so that the teaching approach allowed students to interact with the software in a collaborative way and, at the same time, provided them with relevant pictures and sounds. This approach also helped the instructor to identify students' alternative conceptions and take them into consideration in the learning process. Both classes were equivalent in terms of ability and achievement in science (low, average and high). At the end, two questionnaires were administered to each class to evaluate students' achievement and attitudes towards the teaching method and science in general. The second questionnaire also included questions related to students' difficulties in using the computer or the specific software. A 3 (abilities) x 2 (teaching method) ANOVA was performed to evaluate students' achievement. Students' attitudes were analyzed using non-parametric tests. The results indicated that the students who were taught using the specific software had significantly higher achievement and more positive attitudes, while they did not experience any particular problems when using the specific software and the computer in general. The size of the sample and the short duration of instruction render any conclusions in favor of computer-aided instruction premature. Further research comparing computer-assisted instruction of longer duration with traditional teaching is needed to investigate whether the observed positive effects are not attributable to expectancies or a  “novelty effect.”

Keywords: Computer-aided instruction, value-added, achievement and attitudes, collaborative learning.

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