Effectiveness of using an open-source digital technology for practical work in senior secondary physics curriculum

Shek Nin Rocco WONG

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Theses


The aim of this research study is to investigate and evaluate the effectiveness of innovative use of an open-source digital technology, Arduino, which is an information and communications technology (ICT) tool for practical work in physics in the senior secondary curriculum. The study also seeks to ascertain factors affecting the effective use of the technology in students’ learning of physics with a view to informing possible extensive use of the Arduino technology in senior secondary science education and its application to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education. The importance of harnessing ICT in education is well recognized in the education arena. Educators have viewed ICT as an enabling tool for higher levels of analysis to take place in science teaching and learning. However, the use of technology does not guarantee meaningful and effective learning. What is crucial is the transformative, appropriate use of ICT to enhance students’ learning. In this regard, proper integration of ICT into the curriculum, or even across disciplines in the context of STEM education, for meaningful study is an area of concern. While ICT integration has been advocated for many years in the senior secondary physics curriculum in Hong Kong, there remains a gap in its holistic integration into the curriculum. This study demonstrates successful development of seven Arduino-based experiments and an entire set of courseware that covers a wide range of experiments in the topic of “mechanics” in the senior secondary physics curriculum. Design-based research (DBR) methodology is adopted in the development, which is characterized by rounds of systematic iteration, feedback gathering, and modification. The final outputs are encouraging for performing the series of experiments in “mechanics”. The study bridges the gap between theoretical framework and practical application in an authentic setting, and it informs of the suitability of DBR in developing ICT tools for integration into the curriculum. The Arduino-based experiments were introduced to F.4 and some F.6 students of the author’s school. Surveys and interviews from the students, their physics teachers, the laboratory technician, and the technical assistant were conducted. Highly positive results were revealed. The experiments were then further tried out by a group of local students and teachers who joined the STEM Olympiad 2016, organized by the Education University of Hong Kong and the Singaporean Master Teachers, who participated in the Outstanding-Educator-in-Residence (OEIR) Programme held in July 2016 in Singapore. Views gathered shed light on the concern and factors affecting the effective use of the Arduino technology in physics learning. It was revealed that, with the right technology, suitable teaching strategy and scaffolding, enhanced teacher efficacy, sufficient technical support, allocation of lesson time, and school resources, ICT can appropriately be integrated into the curriculum to enhance the effectiveness of students’ learning of physics. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Education
Awarding Institution
  • The Education University of Hong Kong
  • YEUNG, Yau Yuen, Supervisor
  • SO, Wing Mui, Winnie 蘇詠梅, Supervisor
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • ICT
  • Design-based Research (DBR)
  • Open-source
  • Arduino-based physics Experiments
  • STEM
  • Theses and Dissertations
  • Thesis (Ed.D.)--The Education University of Hong Kong, 2018.


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