Sofia Stefanopoulou, Christos-Thomas Kechagias


This article discusses the relationship between the theory of Louis Althusser concerning the subjectivity of knowledge and the cognitive process and the effective use of educational computer simulations during Science Education and Science Teaching. Our first aim is to highlight the aspects of the cognitive process – according to Louis Althusser’s theory – that should be considered by teachers when they opt to utilize computer simulations in their classroom teaching in the subject of Science and Physics. Our second aim is to suggest ways in order to overcome the conceptual ambiguity, the misunderstandings and the misconceptions that sometimes students form while using simulation models on the computer. The research question being investigated here is the following: “What kind of learning outcomes might the use of computer simulations have concerning the acquisition and construction knowledge by students in the course of Science and Physics in the light of L. Althusser’s theory and what could teachers do so as to eliminate the potential risks of their use and to achieve better outcomes in the learning procedure?”. The utilization of computer simulations in Science Teaching sometimes make students think that the simulated object or phenomenon is identical in nature with the real one. However, the simulations do not constitute the “real objects” themselves; in contrary, they are the means to come closer to reality in order to study it thoroughly.


Article visualizations:

Hit counter



cognitive process, theory of education, Althusser, simulations, Science Education-Teaching, educational practice, learning procedure

Full Text:



Akpan, J. P. 2001. “Issues associated with inserting computer simulations into biology instruction: a review of the literature.” Electronic Journal of Science Education 5 (3).

Althusser, L. 1996. Για τη γνωστική διαδικασία [About the cognitive process]. In G. Kouzelis & K. Psychopaidis (Eds.), Επιστημολογία Κοινωνικών Επιστημών: Κείμενα [Epistemology of Social Sciences: Texts] (pp. 463-472). Athens, Greece: Nisos Editions.

Battens, D. 1996. Ανθρώπινη γνώση: Συνηγορία υπέρ μίας χρήσιμης ορθολογικότητας [Human knowledge: Advocacy in favor of a useful rationality]. Heraklion, Greece: Crete University Press.

Baudrillard, J. 1983. Simulations (tr. P. Foss, P. Patton & P. Beitchman). MIT Press, Semiotext(e).

Bazzul, J. 2014. “Critical Discourse Analysis and Science Education Texts: Employing Foucauldian Notions of Discourse and Subjectivity.” Review of Education, Pedagogy and Cultural Studies 36: 422-437. DOI:

Bliss, J. 1994. From mental models to modeling. In H. Mellar, J. Bliss, R. Boohan, J. Ogborn, C. Tompsett (Eds.). Learning with artificial worlds: Computer-based modeling in the curriculum, pp. 27-32. London: The Falmer Press.

Burbules, N. C., and Linn, M. C. 1991. “Science education and philosophy of science: congruence or contradiction?” International Journal of Science Education 13 (3): 227-241. DOI:

Chalkia, K. 2008. Διδάσκοντας Φυσικές Επιστήμες: Θεωρητικά ζητήματα, προβληματισμοί, προτάσεις [Teaching Science: Theoretical Issues, reflections, suggestions], Vol. 1, Athens, Greece: Patakis Editions.

Chandler, P. 2004. “The crucial role of cognitive processes in the design of dynamic visualizations.” Learning and Instruction 14: 353-357.

Crapo, A. W., Waisel, L. B., Wallace, W. A., and Willemain, T. R. 2000, August. “Visualization and the process of modeling: a cognitive-theoretic view”. In the Proceedings of the 6th ACM SIGKDD International Conference on Knowledge discovery and data mining (pp. 218-226). ACM.

De Jong, T., and Van Joolingen, W. R. 1998. “Scientific discovery learning with computer simulations of conceptual domains.” Review of Educational Research 68 (2): 179-201. DOI:

Dunnington, R. M. 2014. “The nature of reality represented in high fidelity human patient simulation: philosophical perspectives and implications for nursing education.” Nursing Philosophy 15 (1): 14-22. DOI: 10.1111/nup.12034.

Eskrootchi, R., and Oskrochi, G. R. 2010. “A study of the efficacy of project-based learning integrated with computer-based simulation-STELLA.” Educational Technology & Society 13 (1): 236-245.

Garagounis, T. 2013. Εισαγωγή στην Ανθρωπογεωγραφία: Κοινωνική θεωρία και Χώρος [Introduction to Anthropogeography: Social theory and Space], 36. Athens: Retrieved from: Last access: 28-04-2016.

Gkikopoulou O., Kalkanis, G., and Vosniadou, S. 2016. Σχεδιάζοντας περιβάλλοντα μάθησης με αξιοποίηση του εκπαιδευτικού προτύπου του μικρόκοσμου για τη διδασκαλία της έννοιας της ύλης στο δημοτικό σχολείο [Designing learning environments with the utilization of the educational model of microcosmos for teaching the concept of matter in primary school], Presentation at 4th National Congress for Cognitive Psychology, 14-16/04/2016, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens.

Hirst, P. Q. 1976. “Althusser and the Theory of Ideology.” Economy and Society 5 (4): 385-412. DOI:

Huppert, J., Lomask, S. M., and Lazarowitz, R. 2002. “Computer simulations in the high school: Students' cognitive stages, science process skills and academic achievement in microbiology.” International Journal of Science Education 24 (8): 803-821. DOI:

Husain, N. 2010. “Computer-based instructional simulations in education: Why and how.” Retrieved from: Based_Instructional_Simulations_in_Education_Why_and_How. Last access: 03-10-2017.

Jimoyiannis, A., & Komis, V. 2001. “Computer simulations in physics teaching and learning: a case study on students' understanding of trajectory motion.” Computers & Education 36 (2): 183-204. DOI:

Kalkanis, G. T. 2010. Εκπαιδευτικό Εργαστήριο Φυσικών Επιστημών, Εκπαιδευτικές Τεχνολογίες και οι Εφαρμογές τους, ΙΙ. Οι Τεχνολογίες [Educational Laboratory of Natural Sciences, Educational Technologies and their Applications, II. The Technologies], Athens, Greece: Self-published.

Kechagias C. 2016. “Mutuality and Reciprocity: The forms and the origins of Philosophy of Education.”, Eos: Journal of Scientific and Educational Research, vol. 4, section 2, Athens, Greece.

Kechagias C. (2009) [Κεχαγιάς Χ.]. On the nature of position in the Greek conception of cosmos [Η Φύση της Θέσης στην ελληνική σύλληψη του κόσμου]. Athens: Herodotos.

Kokkotas, P. V. 2004. Διδακτική των Φυσικών Επιστημών: Σύγχρονες προσεγγίσεις στη Διδασκαλία των Φυσικών Επιστημών [Science Teaching: Modern Approaches to Science Teaching]. Athens, Greece: Self-published.

Kokkotas, P. V. 1998. Διδακτική των Φυσικών Επιστημών [Science teaching]. Athens, Greece: Grigoris Editions.

Komis, V. 2004. Εισαγωγή στις Εφαρμογές των ΤΠΕ στην Εκπαίδευση [Introduction to Applications of Technologies of Information and Communication in Education]. Athens, Greece: New Technologies Editions.

Komis, V., Raptis, A., Politis, P., and Dimitrakopoulou, A. 2011. Το εκπαιδευτικό λογισμικό μοντελοποίησης στη Διδακτική των Θετικών Επιστημών [The educational software of modeling in Science Teaching]. In Κεκές, Ι., Νέες Τεχνολογίες στην Εκπαίδευση: Ζητήματα σχεδιασμού και εφαρμογών, Φιλοσοφικές – Κοινωνικές προεκτάσεις [Kekes, I., New Technologies in Education: Issues of design and applications, Philosophical – Social Extensions]. Athens, Greece: Diadrasis Editions.

Kiriakopoulou, N., and Vosniadou, S. (2013). Η Εννοιολογική Αλλαγή στις Φυσικές Επιστήμες και η σχέση της με τις πεποιθήσεις των παιδιών για το Νοητικό Κόσμο και τη Φύση της Επιστήμης [The conceptual change in Science Education and its relation to children’s conceptions about the Mental World and the Nature of Science]. In Proceedings of the 8th National Congress on Science Teaching and New Technologies in Education, 26-28/04/2013, University of Thessaly, Volos, pp. 736-743.

Lewis, W. 2014. “Louis Althusser”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2014 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.). Retrieved from: Last access: 03-05-2016.

Makrakis, N. 2014. Κοινωνικοπολιτική διάσταση της Μαθηματικής Εκπαίδευσης: Η Κριτική Μαθηματική Εκπαίδευση και οι θεωρίες της Αναπαραγωγής υπό το φως μιας προσέγγισης με κορμό το έργο του Althusser [Sociopolitical dimension of Mathematical Education: The Critical Mathematical Education and the theories of Reproduction in the light of an approach based on the work of Althusser]. Master’s thesis, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. Retrieved from: Last access: 30-09-2017.

McKinney, W. J. 1997. “The educational use of computer based science simulations: Some lessons from the philosophy of science.” Science & Education 6 (6): 591-603. DOI:

Middleton, S. 2005. “Overview-bodies of Knowledge: Post-colonial Theories, subjectivity and education.” Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education 26 (4): 477-480, DOI: 10.1080/01596300500319746.

Mikropoulos, T. A. 2011. Εικονική πραγματικότητα και εκπαίδευση [Virtual reality and education]. In Kekes, I., Νέες Τεχνολογίες στην Εκπαίδευση: Ζητήματα σχεδιασμού και εφαρμογών, Φιλοσοφικές – Κοινωνικές προεκτάσεις [New Technologies in Education: Issues of design and applications, Philosophical – Social Extensions]. Athens, Greece: Diadrasis Editions.

Mnguni, L. 2014. “The theoretical cognitive process of visualization for science education.” Springerplus 3 (1): 184. DOI: 10.1186/2193-1801-3-184.

Moore, J. L., & Thomas, F. H. 1983. “Computer Simulation of Experiments: A Valuable Alternative to Traditional Laboratory Work for Secondary School Science Teaching.” School Science Review 64 (229): 641-55.

Mylonakou, I., & Kekes I. I. 2011. Δυνητική πραγματικότητα και εκπαίδευση: Φιλοσοφικές – κοινωνικές και παιδαγωγικές προεκτάσεις. In Kekes, I., Νέες Τεχνολογίες στην Εκπαίδευση: Ζητήματα σχεδιασμού και εφαρμογών, Φιλοσοφικές – Κοινωνικές προεκτάσεις [New Technologies in Education: Issues of design and applications, Philosophical – Social Extensions]. Athens, Greece: Diadrasis Editions.

Papadatou - Pastou, Μ. 2016. Βιολογική Βάση της Μνήμης – Μνήμη Εργασίας [Biological Basis of Working Memory]. Εισαγωγή στις Νευροεπιστήμες [Introduction to Neurosciences] [university notes], Postgraduate program “Social Neurosciences, Social Pedagogy and Education”, Faculty of Primary Education, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens.

Rutten, N., Van Joolingen, W. R., and Van der Veen, J. T. 2012. “The learning effects of computer simulations in science education.” Computers & Education 58 (1): 136-153. DOI:

Σκορδούλης, Κ. 2008. Η σχέση ιστορίας των επιστημών και διδασκαλίας των φυσικών επιστημών [The relationship between history of sciences and science teaching]. In K. Skordoulis (Ed.), Ζητήματα Θεωρίας των Επιστημών την Φύσης [Issues of theory of Natural Sciences], Athens, Greece: Topos Editions, pp. 211-217.

Snir, J., Smith, C., and Grosslight, L. 1993. “Conceptually enhanced simulations: A computer tool for science teaching.” Journal of Science Education and Technology 2 (2): 373-388. DOI:

Sotiris, P. 2006. Ο υλισμός της συνάντησης: αναζητήσεις και αντιφάσεις του ύστερου Αλτουσέρ [The materialism of the meeting: Searches and contradictions of late Althusser]. Κριτική – Επιστήμη & Εκπαίδευση [Critical Science and Education], 4: 3-20. Retrieved from: . Last access: 28-04-2016.

Soulios, I., and Psillos, D. 2013. Αναπτύσσοντας τις επιστημολογικές αντιλήψεις για τα μοντέλα κατά την εφαρμογή μιας διερευνητικής διδακτικής μαθησιακής σειράς [Developing the epistemological concepts for models in the implementation of an exploratory learning curriculum]. In Proceedings of the 8th National Congress on Science Teaching and New Technologies in Education, 26-28/04/2013, University of Thessaly, Volos, pp. 718-725.

Stefanopoulou, S., Tsatiri, M., and Koumzis, I. 2017. “Ανάλυση περιεχομένου των σχολικών εγχειριδίων της Γλώσσας Δ’ Δημοτικού σχετικά με την ανάδειξη των Δικαιωμάτων του Παιδιού και την ευαισθητοποίηση των μαθητών απέναντι σε αυτά” [Content Analysis of 4th grade textbooks of Greek language of primary school concerning the presentation of Children’s Rights and the sensitization of students towards them]. Η Έρευνα στην Εκπαίδευση [Hellenic Journal of Research in Education] 6 (1): 32-52. DOI:

Thisgaard, M., and Makransky, G. 2017. “Virtual Learning Simulations in High School: Effects on Cognitive and Non-cognitive Outcomes and Implications on the Development of STEM Academic and Career Choice.” Frontiers in Psychology, 8. DOI:

Thurman, R. A. 1993. “Instructional simulation from a cognitive psychology viewpoint.” Educational Technology Research and Development 41 (4): 75-89. DOI:

Turkle, S. 2009. Simulation and its discontents. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.

Tzani M., and Kechagias C. 2009. The Guide and the Mentor (UDK 371.213.3 [495]), University of Kragujevac (Serbia), Faculty of education in Jagodina, Special Edition, Conference Proceeding No 8/2, Vol. 1, “Promoting Teacher Education: From Intake system to teaching practice”, JEP-4107-2006, Jagodina 2009, Proceedings of the international conference held on 19-20 May 2009, at the Faculty of Education in Jagodina (5/2009), pp. 35-45.

Vogel, J. J., Vogel, D. S., Cannon-Bowers, J., Bowers, C. A., Muse, K., and Wright, M. 2006. “Computer gaming and interactive simulations for learning: A meta-analysis.” Journal of Educational Computing Research 34 (3): 229-243. DOI:

Vratsalis, K. 2002. “Η Προσομοίωση και η Διαδικασία της Μάθησης: Μερικά Ζητήματα που Αφορούν στη Σχέση Υποκειμένου και Πραγματικότητας” [The simulation and the learning procedure” Some issues that concern the relationship between the individual and the reality]. Vol. 2, A. Dimitrakopoulou (Ed.), In the Proceedings of the 3rd Congress on “Technologies of Information and Communication in Education”, 26-29/9/2002 (pp. 207-212), University of the Aegean, Rhodes: Kastaniotis Editions. Retrieved from: 27-04-2016. Last access: 28-04-2016.

Waks, L.J. 2001. “Computer-mediated experience and education.” Educational Theory 51 (4): 415-432. DOI: 10.1111/j.1741-5446.2001.00415.x.

Zygogianni A., et. al. 2012. “A new role of PET/CT for target delineation for radiotherapy treatment planning for head and neck carcinomas.” Hellenic Journal of Nuclear Medicine, May-August 2012.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2018 Stefanopoulou Sofia, Kechagias Christos-Thomas

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Copyright © 2015-2018. European Journal of Education Studies (ISSN 2501 - 1111) is a registered trademark of Open Access Publishing Group. All rights reserved.

This journal is a serial publication uniquely identified by an International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) serial number certificate issued by Romanian National Library (Biblioteca Nationala a Romaniei). All the research works are uniquely identified by a CrossRef DOI digital object identifier supplied by indexing and repository platforms. All authors who send their manuscripts to this journal and whose articles are published on this journal retain full copyright of their articles. All the research works published on this journal are meeting the Open Access Publishing requirements and can be freely accessed, shared, modified, distributed and used in educational, commercial and non-commercial purposes under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).