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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


WWW Unit Converter

 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

4 stars
Content Quality: 4 stars
Effectiveness: 3.5 stars
Ease of Use: 4 stars
Reviewed: Mar 06, 2004 by Teacher Education
Overview: This is a converter tool that allows the viewer to input a number to one unit
system and then see the conversion in any one of a number of other systems. In
a sense, it is a pre-programmed calculator.
Learning Goals: This is a technical tool, useful in calculations for conversions. If students
take note of the conversions, they can learn some proportional relationships.
Target Student Population: This tool could be used by students in elementary, middle level, secondary, and
post-secondary schools in solving problems. The tool is useful in everyday
problem solving situations where measurement is involved.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: There is no prequisite knowledge or skill. You only need input the number of
units and the calculation is made for you. Students should be familiar with
appropriate uses of different types of measurement in order for the tool to make
sense. They should know what the measurements are used for.
Type of Material: This is a calculation tool (utility) which allows students to input data and
convert measurement units to other measurement systems. It is an interactive
tool that calculates equivalences between measurement systems and within
measurement systems using different units.
Recommended Uses: The tool could be used in calculations. It could also be used to develop ball-
park estimations of conversions (i.e. meters are slightly longer than yards).
This tool would be useful in any class that requires conversions or anytime
someone is exposed to information in one measurement that may be unfamiliar.
Using this tool would be like translating into a language that he user can
understand.
Technical Requirements: The WWW Unit Converter uses JavaScript to calculate results. It requires that
JavaScript be enabled and requires at least Netscape 4.0, Internet Explorer 4.0
or better installed.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: The site provides a quick calculator for students to use. It is, in a sense, an
Excel spreadsheet that accounts for major measurement systems.
Concerns: The Converter is a stand alone. It can be incorporated into a user's website
for a fee (currently $49). There are no plans or suggestions for use in
classrooms at any level. Students could use this without a conceptual
understanding of what the measurements look like.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 3.5 stars
Strengths: There are instances when converting measurement is essential in problem solving
in both the sciences and in mathematics. This tool allows for quick and easy
conversion. Students would be able to do many computations and comparisons
without tedious work.
Concerns: The tool does exactly what it purports to do. It allows the user to specify the
number of decimal places as well as what measurement category is available on
startup (i.e. length). It presumes that the students have conceptual
understanding of measurement. It could be used without that understanding.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: This is a simple calculator to use.
Concerns: Ther are no visuals. Students cannot "see" the differences between the
measurement systems.

Other Issues and Comments: This is a great calculator. It can be used as a quick way to convert
measurement in a variety of units: area, bits, density, energy, force, length,
mass, power, pressure, speed, temperature, and volume.

It does not include time (conversions from hours to minutes or seconds.