Generating connections and learning with SemNet, a tool for constructing knowledge networks

Malka Gorodetsky, Kathleen M. Fisher, Barbara Wyman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


In this paper we examine the impact of using a Macintosh-based knowledge organization toll SemNet, with prospective elementary and middle school teachers enrolled in an upper division biology course. The course models for students the ways in which they will be able to teach hands-on, minds-on science in K-8 classrooms and provides them with an in-depth understanding of a relatively small number of biology topics. This study examines changes in learning habits, metacognitive processes, retention, retrieval, and learring among students enrolled in this course. Students using SemNet tend to exhibit a significant increase in deep processing as measured by self-report. Also on the basis of self-report, SemNet students appear to acquire some cognitive skills that transfer to other courses, such as identifying main ideas and tying ideas together. SemNet students retained and retrieved nearly twice as much information about a topic, the digestive system, as a reference group. Although neither the SemNet nor the reference group exhibited transfer skills as we meansured them, there is evidence that SemNet student changed their thinking strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-144
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Science Education and Technology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Sep 1994


  • SemNet
  • biology
  • connections
  • constructivism
  • deep processing
  • meaningful learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • General Engineering


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