The Subject Of General Science Education Essay

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1. INTRODUCTION / BACKGROUND OF THE RESEARCH:

The use of computer Technology in the classroom offers the students an exclusive and useful learning practice. Technology use helps teachers by creating abstract concepts more concrete for the students. These days, teen-agers are learning to use technology at younger ages very rapidly every day. The students from middle level schools are able to use the technology if they are given devices. Sooner or later, the use of computer technology in schools is becoming a popular trend. It will be interesting to see students taking a virtual field trip on the internet or with the help of simulation software on a standalone computer to anywhere in the world.

Research in the past decade has shown that computer technology is an effective means for spreading educational opportunities, but the problem is that most of the teachers do not know the use of computers in our schools as there is no computer related special post at middle level. Therefore, they are unable to integrate computer technology into their curriculum. Drenoyianni and Selwood (1998) stated that integrating computers in classrooms can move practices of rote-memorization, rigid curricula, and teacher-centered instruction into a more student-centered environment where learners are able to manage their own learning.

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Edgar Dale (1946) developed 'Cone of Experience' to describe visual effects for learning ends. Dale's Cone theory of learning stands that people recall 10% of the information they read, 20% they hear, 30% they see, 50% they hear and see, 70% they say and write or share with others, and 90% they teach to others.

In our school system in KPK Pakistan, General Science as well as other subjects are offered to students in a traditional way which depends on the lecture method, in which the teacher does all or most of the activities. In the last few years, many officials and decision makers in the field of education have called for new methods of teaching. Computer-based instruction is considered among the innovative methods that can facilitate more communication between teachers and students and thus definitely influence students' learning.

The people learn better from real experiences than from theoretical stated symbols. The use of computer technology constantly forces us to reconsider what we do and why we do it. As educators, our responsibility is to make learning easier for our students. In considering the pedagogy of teaching and learning, it is important that we use technology to improve the learning of our students. If the use of computer based instructions does not improve the teaching learning process then there is no need to use it. As teachers we need to integrate technology into the curriculum we teach so that sound educational learning principles remain organized.

According to Knode (2008), the usage of technology in the classroom is an explosive new fashion. The amount of media that has been exposed to students in the classroom is huge in recent years. We must decide whether this transformation is overall going to help or upset schools. In the long run, will these new forms of helping information reach the masses become more of a distraction? The use of computers, movies, television, radios, and e-learning tools can be a huge support in helping children to understand topics that were very difficult before. We can have ourselves a golden age of opportunity in education with accurate application of technology and the right amount of focus from the students.

Technology integration is the term used by educators to describe effective uses of technology by teachers and students in classrooms. Technology integration has a positive effect on students' motivation, interest and engagement in learning. Many educators believe that the new computer -based technologies have much to offer education and that blending of technology into school settings will bring useful changes.

In this study the nature of technology, teaching and learning will be analysed to identify the possible application of computer-based Instructions to classroom learning. Different types of applications use in teaching leaning process will be identified and analysed with their benefits and limitations. The study will identify and analyse different perspectives on how change should be approached and implemented.

Christian (n.k, p. 6-7) lists various technologies that are being used or currently being used in the classroom (from older ones to more recent ones): pencils, pens and paper; chalks and chalkboards; dry-erase markers and (static whiteboards); books (first on paper, then via e-book formats); overhead transparencies; projectors; photographs; instructional radio; instructional television; educational films; educational TV; media projectors; interactive whiteboards and presentation technologies; computers and computer-related technologies (such as laptops, workstations, servers; PowerPoint, blogs; wikis, social bookmarking; podcasts, multimedia-based learning objects, multimedia-based presentations, simulations, Internet-based applications and systems, office productivity software); network-based technologies systems involved with delivering web-based learning/distance learning/online learning; online library databases; electronic mail; live chat/text messaging; discussion boards; web-based videoconferencing; etc.

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Most of the above listed technologies are beyond thinking to be used in government schools of Pakistan at present, as the government was hardly able to fulfil the free books package this year (2012) in KPK. Even in more advanced countries, the above new technologies are used rarely at middle level.

Computer-based instruction is fast becoming an integral part of education. Much of the current research has found that computer-based instruction is as effective as other. It is significant that students enrolled in computer-based instruction perform equally well as compared to their lecture-based counterparts. The purpose of this study is to compare the effects of technology-enhanced instruction and traditional instruction in terms of student academic achievement and student attitude towards technology. In doing this comparison, It is hoped to gain an understanding of how technology is being used in instruction. This study has been concentrated on comparing two methods of instruction technology-enhanced instruction and traditional instruction

Purpose of the study:

Computer-based instruction is becoming an essential part of education very rapidly. Much of the current researches have proved that computer-based instruction is as effective as other instructional methods. The students in a classroom of computer-based instruction perform significantly well as compared to their other counterparts.

The purpose of this study is to compare computer-based Instruction and traditional instruction in terms of student academic achievement and student attitude towards computers. In this study, the researcher is also optimistic to gain an understanding of how computers are being used in a General Science classroom environment. In this study, the following two methods of instructions will be compared.

(1). Computer-Based instruction (2). Traditional instruction-

The purpose of the study is:-

To find out the influence of computer based instructions on middle level students in the subject of General Science and to judge whether the uses of Computers enhance the performance of the students.

To observe whether teachers available have adequate awareness and training of computer.

To investigate teachers and students' attitudes towards computers and uses of computer for meaningful instruction.

To see whether the necessary infrastructure is available in the schools.

2. STATEMENT OF THE RESEARCH PROBLEM:

The study is an experimental use of computer-based Instructions at 8th grade middle schools' students, taken from three government Schools of Town IV Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. It is also intended to make suggestions and recommendations to improve the performance of the students in the learning process and the use of technology into the classroom sitting.

The researcher will try to explore to what extent in the delivery of the curriculum, the use of computer-based Instructions contribute to the academic performance and attitude of students in 8th grade classrooms. This study will observe whether the students experience interest/difficulty throughout the conventional/new methodology? This study will also focus on the barriers teachers are facing with when utilising the available technology into their classroom teaching.

The ultimate concern is, can the use of computers, as a supplement to conventional instruction motivate students and produce higher achievements in skills development of the students?

3. OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY:

The Objectives of the study are:-

To find out the impact of computer-based Instructions on the performance of 8th grad students in the subject of General Science.

To find out the difference between "teaching with technology" and "teaching without technology".

To investigate about the attitudes of the students towards the use of new teaching method in the classroom.

To signify the role of computers in the teaching learning process.

4. RESEARCH HYPOTHESES:

There is a significant difference in the mean scores of the students taught with the help of computers and those taught by traditional method.

The integration of computers in instructional process strengthens the end result.

Technologies engage the students in the learning process.

5. SIGNIFICANCE OF THE RESEARCH:

This study is important because it may bring visions into technology influences upon teachers, instructional methodology and school culture that may be workable and suitable to other schools. As citizens and educators express concerns over the benefits and costs of educational technology, this study may provide understandings into that debate by providing data on students' use of technology. This study will also examine and compare concerns by the teachers about the use and provision of technology. The results of the study will provide high benefits to the schools. The students may achieve greater benefits by the use of improved teaching methodology and different educational software.

6. REVIEW OF THE RELATED LITERATURE:

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Computer-based instruction (CBI) was considered the technological phenomenon to revolutionize education and training. Today, the Internet and computer technology are reported to have significantly changed the education landscape (Johnson & Aragon, 2002).

The rapid advances in technology, the need for lifelong learning, and the growth of non- traditional students have encouraged the use of the computer as a method of instructional delivery. Evaluating the effectiveness of CBI as a whole technology is very difficult. The inability to measure effectiveness is attributable in part to the fact that CBI is not just one component, but a complex range of services and activities carried out for instructional and learning purposes (Gibbons & Fairweather, 2000). Some of the advantages for using the computer as a method of instructional delivery are that it: provides consistency of content delivery; provides training to remote locations; eliminates cost associated with employees' travel; provides means of tracking learner's progress; provides standardized testing; offers learner flexibility in controlling and pacing learning; provides for diverse learning needs; provides opportunities for practice through simulation; provides greater retention; and reduces the instructional time by approximately 30 percent. Two conclusions drawn from meta-studies on CBI are: (1) learners generally learn more using CBI than they do with conventional ways of teaching as measured by higher post-treatment test scores (Fletcher, 1999; Kulik, 1994), and (2) learners using CBI generally do so in less time than those using traditional approaches (Kulik & Kulik, 1991; Orlansky & String, l979). When you look at all the advantages of computer-

Pence (2009-2010) says that it has been over a decade since the computer moved from being primarily a computational and record keeping device to its present state as a communications hub. Some, including this author, have called the application of computing technology to classroom instruction revolutionary. Is this claim justified? More importantly, how will social networking affect the college classroom in the coming decade? Will the 21st Century classroom really be significantly different from that of the past? This article is an attempt to answer these questions.

Each year, Technology is becoming more a chunk of education According to Jane Carlson-Pickering (1999) The students acquire a sense of responsibility with the help of technology that show the increased depth of their knowledge and capacity They can be more creative and more in control as they can now rewind, fast-forward, pause, stop and review resources at their own speed. D'Angelo & Woosley (2007, p. 462) state "Technology has evolved and become more central to teaching and learning." They by citing the works of various researchers, show that technology is being used across disciplines. Molebash (2000, p. 24-38) suggests that as technology plays a larger role in education, any predictions concerning the future of education must include an analysis of technological trends and Trends in technology are creating a future that is arriving faster than education is preparing for it.

Turner (2006, p.1) says that the emergence of new technologies is changing the whole scenario like societies, the way of life, the way we talk and do trade and also the way we learn. Our educational systems are facing significant pressure to change in order to sufficiently prepare students to live, learn and work in a global digital age. As a result of this pressure, everywhere in the world in many schools, technology is becoming a tool for enhancing teaching and learning processes and preparing students for the new world in which they live.

Education throughout the world is gradually experiencing a major paradigm change from traditional learning environments to new open learning environments .Consider the following table which defines that shift.

Traditional Learning Environments New Learning Environments

Ø Teacher-centred instruction à Learner-centred instruction

Ø Passive learning à Active learning

Ø One primary media à Multimedia

Ø Individual work à Collaborative work

Ø Information delivery à Information exchange

Ø Focus on facts and knowledge à Critical thinking and problem solving

Ø Isolated, artificial environment à Authentic, real-world environment

Ø Assessment by testing à Authentic assessment

(UNESCO Bangkok, 2005, p. IV.) As a result of rapid development of technology the curriculum is becoming more dynamic and interactive. The integration of computers in classroom encourages students and engages in more independent, collaborative activities. Technology also enables teachers to approach the curriculum from different perspectives, like multimedia applications, simulations, educational games, Drill and Practice software and many other ways of learning that have been ignored by traditional educational methods.

The teachers must try to modify their pedagogical abilities to integrate the curriculum content with new technological skills that students are required to learn. However, according to Hill, Wiley, Nelson, & Han, (2004), "Theoretical foundations, including pedagogies, appear to have not developed at the same pace as technological growth in the world"

Roblyer & Doering, (2009) are of the view to identify specific teaching & learning problems which technology can help address and how it can create learning opportunities that did not exist.

D'Angelo & Woosley (2007), there is not agreement amongst those involved with teaching and learning regarding the use of technology within the classroom. So they stress that it's worth reviewing the various perspectives involved.

Integrating technology is also an important topic because of how technology acts as a change catalyst

Christian, (2009 p.3-4) citing the work of Burbules and Callister (2000, p. 273) ask, "What happens to the institutions when new users and new communities expect and perhaps demand access to academic resources and privileges that have usually been quite limited, rare, and expensive? The effects of these shifts cannot be overdramatized." Technological changes are influencing and will continue to influence this situation.

Effective teaching and learning is the livelihood of institutions. So for these and other reasons, this topic is relevant and important. Therefore, it's essential to the future of educational institutions to take steps to provide expertise and resources to the schools especially at elementary level as the students of this age group take more interest in using technological devices and its related programs.

7. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY:

Type/ Nature of the Research

The method of research is an experimental one. Students of middle grade will be introduced to experiment.

Population & scope of the study

The study consists of middle level students of urban areas of Town IV Peshawar, KPK.

Sources and types of data

To explore the attitudes, behaviours and experiences of the students under experiment a questionnaire will be developed which will cover all necessary information relevant to the topic under study. Data will be collected through the questionnaire from the teachers teaching at middle level and students of middle level under study. The questionnaire will help to interpret and better understand the complex reality of the given situation and experiment.

Research Approach

Test will be used as a research instrument to find out the performance of the students before and after giving the treatment. On the basis of a pre-test, two equally competent groups will be decided. This study will be confined to four chapters/Ten Lesson plans in the said subject.

Experiment 1

Experimental

Control

Technology

Traditional

Group A

Group B

After giving the treatment to both of the groups, i.e. (teaching with computer-based Instructions and teaching in traditional method) a post test of 100 marks will be conducted to find out if any difference exists in the performance of the students taught in different methods.

After getting the results, the groups will be shuffled and this time Group B will be treated with Computer-based Instructions and Group A with traditional method in the same manner with the introduction of new chapters.

Experiment 2

Experimental

Control

Technology

Traditional

Group B

Group A

Course Contents for 1st Experiment.

Contents

Animals World

Temperature and thermal expansion

Lenses

Earth, stars and Galaxy

Course Contents for 2nd Experiment.

Plant Structure

Transportation Nutrition and Respiration

Sense Organs

Earth and Space

Time Table for my work in each of the schools one by one.

Days

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

Mon

8E

8C

Tue

8E

8C

Wed

8E

8C

Thu

8E

8C

Fri

8E

8C

Sat

8E

8C

E= Experimental C= Controlled

Group

Experimental 1 Mean

Control 1 Mean

Experimental 2 Mean

Control 2 Mean

School Name

 

 

 

 

GHS Gulshan Rehman

GMS Landi

Arbab

GHS Deh Bahadur

All

Group

Mean Score

SD

Mid Diff

T

P

Experimental Group

Control Group

Sample Plan: Sample, sample size and sampling technique employed.

Sample:

Purposive sampling technique will be used for the selection of sample. Students of 8th classes of four government schools of Town IV Peshawar will be introduced to the experiment. On the basis of pre-test results, the students of each of the schools will be divided into two equally competent groups separately. Half of them will be presented to the experiment while half of them will be treated in traditional method.

Data collection techniques

In the study, to find out if any difference exists in the performance of the students taught by the two different methods, the means of the scores will be calculated. In addition, a t-test statistical analysis will be employed to determine if the difference in the mean score of each of the experimental and control groups is statistically significant.

Vii Tools for Data Analyses

Instruments: Pre-test, Post-test, Questionnaire

Experimental tool 1:

Pre-tests

Two tests of 50 marks each will be used to find out the existing cognitive level of the students. The results of the pre-tests will be arranged according to their competence separately in each of the grade. The students of each of the grade will be divided into two equal halves based on the average result of the two pre-tests in a manner that both of the groups (Experimental/Controlled) get equally competent students.

Experimental tool 2:

Post-test

After completing my task of teaching to both of the groups separately, a Post-test of 100 marks based on the taught Curriculum, will be conducted to find out the results.

Experimental tool 3:

Questionnaires

A short survey will be conducted through questionnaire to find out the impact of my work on students attitudes towards new approach of teaching. A separate questionnaire will be used for teachers to find out their capability about the use of computers into instructional processes, barriers teachers are facing with when utilising the available technology into their classroom teaching and other difficulties they are facing like computer literacy and availability of resources.

Instrument validation:

The content of the lessons and post-tests shall be examined and modified accordingly by the subject expert to check its validity. Besides, a test-retest method will be applied to check the reliability of the instrument.

8. THEORETICAL FRAME WORK:

According to Adams (2006), the constructivist theory states that students are given tools to construct their own knowledge. Constructivist learning wants the educators to adopt the idea that each learner will construct, obtain and interpret their own knowledge differently. Constructivism is an active process and allows the students to make sense of their world.

Therefore, the researcher will be guided mostly by the constructivist approach. Most generally; we must distinguish who our learners are, and what are their requirements? The provision of accurate learning situations within a constructivist approach to learning should be considered when using technology.

9. CONCEPTUAL FRAME WORK:

As access to educational technology has improved, a systematic means of changing the structure and delivery of the learning process has become a challenge for use of educational technology. Research indicates that factors of meaningful technology use in schools include technology influences upon students, instructional methodology and school culture. These factors will be used as the basis for investigating and describing the meaningful integration of technology into a school curriculum.

10. LIMITATIONS & DELIMITATIONS:

Due to shortage of time, lesser know how of computer usage on the part of students and inadequate resources i.e., (equipment like number of computers and specially the electricity as Pakistan is facing energy crisis) the study may not produce comprehensive results, however as a result of this research, the researcher plans to continue preparation and working with teachers collaboratively and offering training on the available technology to both the students and the teachers again in the future. A longer period of study is needed to determine the long term impact of computer-based Instructions and its insertion in the classroom instruction.

This study is delimited to:

Teachers teaching General Science at middle level.

Male students of middle level

Town IV of District Peshawar.

Subject of General Science at middle level.