Using simulation in Science lessons for secondary school

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Teaching industry sector in the country is changing in dynamic and calculated to have many more changes and reforms in the 21st century. The objective of making Malaysia a center of excellence in teaching (Center for Academic excellent) in the Asian region and internationally in the 21st century, requires Malaysia improve the image of excellence and quality teaching to the standards of the world or get the status of World Class Education. Developments and advances in technology have broad impact on the reform of the teaching system of the country. Information technology will help improve efficiency in the teaching of organizational learning. Technology to form a new identity and image of teaching the world a more flexible, innovative, creative and stimulating the development of student is potential. By expanding and improving the effectiveness of the use of multimedia and computer aided learning, the quality of teaching in this country will be increased to achieve world-class teaching.

Mastery of science and technology requires strong basic science since the early stages of attention since the formulation of education policies and continue to grow until

create a new curriculum is the latest Integrated Curriculum Secondary (KBSM). Therefore, the teaching of science is emphasized by government in an effort to create a society that is scientific and progressive, inventive and forward looking to the future. Thus, some new approaches to teaching science have been introduced. One new approach is teaching with multimedia software. We cannot be denied that the technology information is now accepted as part of education. All schools in Malaysia are now equipped with multimedia facilities. All teachers who teach science and mathematics have been provided with a "laptop". This shows that the change of government approach to teaching science and mathematics in our country. Computer Assisted Learning (CAL) is an approach that use of computers in teaching and learning. In short, the computer as an approach that is used to convey lesson so that learning can be more simple, attractive and effective and interact with computers in their own needs and capabilities. If teachers teach only textbooks and training aid, the student cannot imagine its form in fact, for example the movement of particles in solids and so on. Therefore, the computer plays an important role in realizing the objects. The vision of the truth in the form of animation and computer technology in simulation continues to erupt rapidly. These developments are cause for thought applying the field of computer technology in the education system today. Aspects technology has been incorporated into the school curriculum as a force to cultivate and nurture students' interest in learning.

Theoretical framework

For the purposes of evaluating impacts of ICT on learning, a simple learning framework can be used, with a minimal range of features. To be of value, a framework of this form needs to cover a sufficient width of features to provide a useful distinction between a number of possible identifiable outcomes. A simple framework proposed and used initially in a recent research study (Passey & Rogers, 2004), was based on one particular categorization of learning and learning processes. Learning can be defined as the act of acquiring knowledge, skills, ideas or understanding over and above those which exist already. Learning can be thought of as a set of possible actions-an addition of ideas or skills, a reordering of ideas, or an acquisition of concepts, for example. The act of learning requires learners to be involved in three distinctive sets of processes (according to, for example, Child, 1973):

internalization: the processes which enable ideas or knowledge to enter the mind from an external source;

internal processes: those processes which enable the ideas or knowledge acquired to be compared or contrasted or integrated in some way with those which already exist;

externalization: the processes which enable ideas or knowledge or skills to leave the mind and to be recognized by others.

Figure 1. A simple learning framework for evaluating uses of ICT (Passey & Rogers, 2004, p. 26)

Literature review

Several longitudinal investigations into the use of technology in students' science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning are ongoing, but very little attention has been given to discovering the outcomes of such endeavors (Boyle, Lamprianou, & Boyle, 2005). Technology can help in the scientific learning process because of its potential to support activities such as data collection, visualization, meaningful thinking, problem solving, and reflection. In fact, much of our current educational practice grows out of curriculum reform efforts that have emphasized the teaching of process skills involved in the construction of scientific knowledge-diverse skills such as observing, classifying, measuring, conducting controlled experiments, and constructing data tables and graphs of experimental results (Linn & Hsi, 2000). Simulations have a number of features that are of particular help in the teaching of science (Wellington 2004). Simulations can help where the activities cannot be performed in the school laboratory because of the danger involved or ethical considerations of animal testing; they can help in reducing the cost of expensive laboratory experiments; it is also possible that some time consuming experiments can be performed more quickly using a simulation (although it is possible to spend considerable time exploring all the possibilities offered by a well-designed simulation); and they free up teacher time so that they can interact with students instead of dealing with the management of the experimental setup/apparatus and supervision. More importantly simulations offer an easy way of controlling experimental variables, opening up the possibility of exploration and hypothesizing.An additional advantage of simulations is presenting a variety of representational. There are many examples of studies that have used simulations to change the prior conceptions of learners including: simple DC circuits in electrics (Carlsen & Andre 1992 reviewed in Akpan 2001; Nurmi & Jaakkola 2004); motion (Hennessy et al. 1995); elastic collisions (Whitelock et al. 1993); mechanics (Tao & Gunstone 1999); trajectory motion

(Jimoyiannis & Komis 2001); velocity (Zietman & Hewson 1986); population genetics (Soderberg & Price 2003); human physiology (Windschitl & Andre 1998); and microbiology (Huppert, Lomask & Lazarowitz 2002).

Further research into how the effects of using technology-mediated tools to facilitate science practices, such as applying various real data to empower students to understand the scientific enterprise itself, are worth further discussion. Researchers have long discussed whether students' positive attitudes toward science can influence whether students consider science as a career (Papanastasiou & Zembylas, 2004). Several studies have found that students' attitudes toward science correlated with science achievement and participation in advanced science courses (e.g., Lee & Burkam, 1996; Simpson & Oliver, 1990). Computer simulations give students the opportunity to observe a real world experience and interact with it. Simulations are useful for simulating labs that are impractical, expensive, impossible, or too dangerous to run (Strauss and Kinzie, 1994). Simulations can contribute to conceptual change (Zietsman, 1986; Stieff, 2003); provide open-ended experiences for students (Sadler et al. 1999); provide tools for scientific inquiry (Mintz, 1993; White and Frederiksen, 2000; Windschitl, 2000; Dwyer & Lopez, 2001) and problem solving experiences (Woodward et al., 1988; Howse, 1998). Computer simulations also have potentials for distance education (Lara & Alfonseca, 200; McIsaac and Gunawardena, 1996). It is also well known that students' attitudes toward a subject as well as their learning environment will impact on school achievement.

In this study we sought to understand whether a technology supported simulation can promote secondary school students' achievement in their science subject's exam. There was previous research that has documented the potentially positive impact of simulations on students' learning performance (e.g. Ronen & Eliahu 2000; Hsu & Thomas 2002; Zacharia & Anderson 2003), that is too general in context of students as a whole. Therefore it is hypothesized that the Simulation will lead to greater learning gains than the use of merely traditional chalk and talk method alone.

Background of problem

The development of science and technology are rapidly affecting education system in a country. Technology developed by creation tools of technology to the discovery of ideas through science studies. If viewed from the historical development of education, initially education played an oral only and without any intermediate equipment. Then with the development of information technology has integrating education, especially in stages in the process of teaching and learning. From day to day, again with expanded information technology with audio visual equipment such as tape recordings, films, slides, OHP and others.

According to syllabus in Integrated Curriculum for Secondary (KBSM) of Ministry of Education (2003), the use of technology in science teaching and learning is one teaching strategy learning in Malaysia. Simulation and computer animation is a method for teaching science concepts that abstract and difficult. Information Technology has the potential to make learning more enjoyable and effective. Use of computers is to assist in increasing student interest in studying science and enhance the effectiveness of teaching and learning science. Motivation is the tendency of the heart within the influence and moves the behavior of a person. It is the power of inside of the individual that led to do something in order to achieve the requirements or personal goals. There are two types of motivation is internal or intrinsic motivation and external motivation or extrinsic. Mark Lepper (1985) showed that motivation is effective with the use of computers as teaching aids in the classroom. The use of computers in learning is one way to increase interest students in learning.

Statement of Problem

Although studying science enables students to have preparation for going into the various areas of training and career oriented science and technology, but it is found that more and more students are not motivated to learn. When a new concept that has arisen against their early knowledge or may be early experience, students would be difficult to believe, for example, Plant also carries out respiration besides transpiration and photosynthesis. Students feel the concept of physics difficult to learn because they thought that only animal that carries out respiration. Apart from that, student also will facing problem with imaginary concept like how kidney carry out the filtration process and so on. Therefore, the Ministry of Education has provided equipment computers equipped with software on CD-ROM aids as a teaching and learning tool in order to improve students' motivation for learning. According to the background problems are discussed, this study will focus on a few statements about using simulation in teaching and learning towards students' performance.

Rational of study

Simulation is a learning situation in a controlled and deliberately created similar to the real situation. The aim is to undertake a training solve the problem (Mok Soon Sang, 2004). A simulation approach is in line with the target group of students BIT and BIS. Quinn (1993) and Palincsar (1995) for example have been found that the use of computerized simulations in the learning process is able to improve their skills to solve a given problem effectively. They have the opportunity to do training and develop thinking skills at a higher level. The statement is supported by studies of Farrimond and colleagues (1997) that take advantage of the latest multimedia technology to transfer the case study method of learning the traditions of computer simulation. This method is able to show situations that represent real life for the purpose of research students. They found that the method allows students to develop their understanding of learning more effectively. Computer simulations are also able to increase motivation, reduce the occurrence of misconceptions in learning to effectively integrate information and enhance learning opportunities for the occurrence of more meaningful (Mayes, 1992). Therefore, since simulation can stimulate motivation, then study has to be done to determine whether simulation can promote examination result or not.

Significance of the Study

The benefits of using instructional technology include "an intrinsic need to learn technology…motivation increases engagement time…students move beyond knowledge and comprehension and into application and analysis…and students develop computer literacy by applying various computer skills as part of the learning process" (Dockstader, 1999, p.73). As Ray and Wepney (2000) suggest, the question as to whether or not technology is the valuable educational resource we think it is may be a moot point since it is such an integral part of our lives. However, the question concerning the most productive methods of using technology in the classroom still needs to be addressed.

Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this research is to enhance performance of students and improve educational quality so Malaysia can achieve its vision that is to be an international educational hub which is well-known world-wide. This assessment also seeks to ensure that the using simulation in science lesson will work effectively in line with current needs.

Objective of study

The objective of this study include the following things as follow to determine:

Relationship between the use of simulation in teaching and students' examination achievement.

Significant difference between the examination result among male and female students.

Relationship between gender and their examination result

Research Questions

What is the relationship between the use of simulation in teaching and students' examination achievement?

Is there a significant difference between the examination result among male and female students?

Is there a relationship between gender and their examination result?

Location of study

This study will be conducted at one of the secondary school in Kuala Langat, Selangor, Malaysia.



A qualitative research methodology is used for this study. A Form 2 classroom will be selected randomly for this research project. The subjects are 30 students who will be selected by simple random sampling. There are 15 male and 15 female involved in this study. The subjects will be assigned to either the control or experimental group by using a table of random numbers and applying those numbers to the students. 15 students will be assigned to the control group and another 15 to the experimental group.


Data collection instrument was pencil test. They were also interviewed to indicate whether or not computer simulations were necessary in aiding instruction in topics they taught, and, if computer simulations were likely to improve performance in the difficult topics. Likewise, the students were expected to state whether or not they had computers for learning Science and in case computers were used at all or effectively in order to enhance comprehension of concepts. The students were also to indicate whether or not computer simulations were necessary in aiding comprehension of difficult topics they learned. Information was also sought from the students if computer simulations were likely to improve performance in the difficult topics.

Validity and reliability of the instruments

In order to ascertain accuracy and consistency of the instrument with regard to reliability, the test-retest reliability procedure was performed (Suter, 1998). A limited research project with a few subjects (24 teachers and 350 students randomly sampled) that follow the research plan in every respect was carried out as a pilot study. The purpose of this was to be able to consider information about necessary modification to the instrument that would result from analyses of the pilot study results.

Data collection

The researcher made appointments with and visited the respondents in their schools and administered the pencil test and interview (Appendix 1).

Data analysis procedure

Frequency counts were computed for the data collected by use of the pencil test by using percentage. Mean scores of the respondents on each item were then calculated. A mean score of

above 50% was interpreted to denote a positive performance, a mean score of 50% denoted a neutral performance and a mean score of below 50% denoted a negative performance. The results were compared in relation

to the learners' and teachers' responses regarding their attitudes on

the use of computer simulations using cross-tabulations and the

Mann-Whitney U - Wilcoxon Test to determine statistical

differences at a confidence level of 0.05.

The data collection methods used are interview, questionnaire, documentation and observation. The data will then analyze using SPSS software and content analysis.

Limitations of the Study

This research is done merely in one semi-urban school in one of the district in Malaysia. Students in different areas might differ in their performance exhibited in examination. Thus, the generalisability of the findings of this study is limited.

Operational definition


Alessi and Trollip (2001) define simulations as a representation of 'some phenomenon or activity that users learn about through interaction with the simulation' (p. 213).

According to, simulation means (Electronics & Computer Science / Computer Science) a representation of a problem, situation, etc., in mathematical terms, esp using a computer.

While according to, Simulation is the imitation of some real thing, state of affairs, or process. The act of simulating something generally entails representing certain key characteristics or behaviours of a selected physical or abstract system. Simulation is used in many contexts, including the modeling of natural systems or human systems in order to gain insight into their functioning. Other contexts include simulation of technology for performance optimization, safety engineering, testing, training and education. Simulation can be used to show the eventual real effects of alternative conditions and courses of action. Simulation is also used when the real system cannot be engaged. The real system may not be engaged because it may not be accessible, it may be dangerous or unacceptable to engage, or it may simply not exist.


According to, Science is a systematic enterprise of gathering knowledge about nature and organizing and condensing that knowledge into testable laws and theories. As knowledge has increased, some methods have proved more reliable than others, and today the scientific method is the standard for science. It includes the use of careful observation, experimentation, measurement, mathematics, and replication - to be considered a science, a body of knowledge must stand up to repeated testing by independent observers. The use of the scientific method to make new discoveries is called scientific research, and the people who carry out this research are called scientists. This article focuses on science in the more restricted sense, what is sometimes called experimental science. Applied science, or engineering, is the practical application of scientific knowledge.

A scientific hypothesis is an educated guess about the nature of the universe, a scientific theory is a hypothesis which has been confirmed by repeated observation and measurement. Scientific theories are usually given mathematical form, and are always subject to refutation if future experiments contradict them.

In the modern world, scientific research is a major activity in all developed nations, and scientists are expected to publish their discoveries in refereed journals, scientific periodicals where referees check the facts in an article before it is published. Even after publication, new scientific ideas are not generally accepted until the work has been replicated.

While according to, science is the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.


According to, a thing learned or to be learned by a pupil; or a thing learned by experience.

While, a lesson is a structured period of time where learning is intended to occur. It involves one or more students (also called pupils or learners in some circumstances) being taught by a teacher or instructor. A lesson may be either one section of a textbook (which, apart from the printed page, can also include multimedia) or, more frequently, a short period of time during which learners are taught about a particular subject or taught how to perform a particular activity. Lessons are generally taught in a classroom but may instead take place in a situated learning environment.

In a wider sense, a lesson is an insight gained by a learner into previously unfamiliar subject-matter. Such a lesson can be either planned or accidental, enjoyable or painful. The colloquial phrase "to teach someone a lesson", means to punish or scold a person for a mistake they have made in order to ensure that they do not make the same mistake again.

Lessons can also be made entertaining. When the term education is combined with entertainment, the term edutainment is coined.


According to, performance is the action or process of performing a task or function.


According to, examination is a formal test of a person's knowledge or proficiency in a subject or skill.


Conclusions and implications