This paper discusses what chemistry students might see while working with animations found on the Internet and how these electronic illustrations can potentially interact to reinforce rather than resolve misconceptions about chemical principles that a student may possess. The Daniell voltaic cell serves as an example to illustrate the ways in which visual aids can be interpreted differently by different people. Some illustrations seem to represent concepts which have repeatedly been discussed on the base of science education research evidence as typical student misconceptions about chemical concepts. These visual aids seem to embody the actual misconceptions of chemical principles rather than explaining the scientifically accepted chemical concepts behind them. This paper discusses whether such computer simulations are potentially helpful for better understanding, or whether they actually increase the risk of strengthening students’ incorrect interpretations or false ideas about chemical concepts. Implications for structuring and using animations are discussed.
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