Computer based instruction in physical science
B.Ed. Teaching Notes
Lecturer in Physical Science, Arafa Institute for Teacher Education
The well-known aim of science education is to teach the science concepts meaningfully and make students become aware of how these concepts can be used in their daily lives. In this process, learning the basic concepts during the primary and secondary education is very crucial in terms of learning the advanced concepts. Science is an important subject in the school curriculum that has two major problem areas that cause ineffective learning:
1) The Limitations of the Teacher : Most Science teachers have in-depth knowledge only in their chosen elective such as Physics, Chemistry or Biology that is required to teach fundamental concepts in the discipline, but they are hampered in teaching other branches which they must teach anyway.
2) Lack of Audio-visual Aids: Teachers often need to carry several charts, equipment, specimens, etc., even for teaching a single topic effectively. However, often these materials are either unavailable or inaccessible; moreover, teachers do not have enough time between classes to procure and test it for its usability. Hence, most Science classes are limited to uninspiring, and sometimes, incomprehensible verbal lectures.
It is believed that computers can not only help overcome these problems, but the vastly greater potential of this technology as an effective teaching aid will cause a quantum leap in the quality of science teaching and learning. Today, general-purpose, easy-to-use software such as Microsoft PowerPoint® has become available. For the first time, teachers can easily modify and even produce their own CAI material based on the needs of their own classes. The day may not be very far off when most Indian classrooms have a computer. Everyday teaching through computers can then become possible.
Computer Based Instruction (CBI)
Computer based instruction (CBI) is defined as the use of the computer in the delivery of instruction. Other similar terms include: computer based training (CBT), computer assisted instruction (CAI), and computer assisted learning (CAL). CBI is the oldest form of computer use in education; when most people think of computer applications in education, they think of CBI first.
Categories of CBI
1) Tutorial: A form of CBI in which the computer assumes the role of a tutor -- introducing content, providing practice, and assessing learning. Tutorials are used to introduce new content to learners in much the same manner that a human teacher might. Because tutorials present content to students, they can be used in any area of the curriculum for: remediation when learners lack necessary background knowledge, enrichment when learners wish to go beyond the basics and introduction of content to all learners (freeing the instructor to do other things).
Its main features are
a) Good for verbal and conceptual learning.
b) May require significant investment of students’ time.
c) Can be effectively used by individuals or groups of 2-3 students.
c) Should be followed by opportunities for student application of knowledge.
2) Drill and Practice: Exercises designed to increase fluency in a new skill or body of knowledge or to refresh an existing skill or body of knowledge. This approach assumes that the learners have previously been introduced to the content. Traditionally used for acquiring basic skills in topics such as: Mathematics, Language arts and Science.
Its main features are
a) Good programs provide user control, give feedback and reinforcement, and help learner’s master skills.
b) Good for basic skills/knowledge where rapid student response is desired. Usually best to use in a series of brief sessions.
c) It is mainly intended for use by individuals.
d) It should be geared to a level appropriate for the students.
3) Simulation: A form of CBI that provides a simplified representation of a real situation, phenomenon, or process. It provides the opportunity for students to apply knowledge in a realistic format, but without the time, expense, or risk associated with the real thing. One of the best ways to use CBI in the sciences and other subject areas; simulation makes good use of what the computer does well. Simulations can mimic physical objects or phenomena, processes, procedures, and situations
Its main features are
a) Best used for application of knowledge, problem solving, and thinking skills.
b) Time involvement may be brief or extended depending on the simulation.
c) Good for small groups of students, although can be used by individuals.
d) Often requires guidance and follow-up for effective use
4) Instructional Game: Usually another type of CBI (e.g., drill and practice or simulation) modified to include gaming elements. Generally features an end goal and rules of play.
It have a sensory appeal and motivational elements. (e.g., competition, cooperation, challenge, fantasy).
Its main features are
a) Usually, they are aimed at younger learners such as those in the elementary grades.
b) Games can substitute for worksheets and exercises, as a reward, or, in some cases, to foster cooperation.
5) Problem Solving type: CBI program that is designed to foster thinking or problem solving skills, but does not fit into one of the other categories.
Usually focuses on a specific type of problem solving and provides practice on a number or variety of problems. Problem solving applications sometimes focus on specific topics areas (e.g., mathematics, science) and sometimes they are designed to promote general problem-solving abilities (e.g., pattern recognition, prediction).
Advantages of CBI
b) Provides immediate feedback.
c) Infinitely patient.
d) Motivates learners.
e) Provides consistency in presentation.
f) Can adjust difficulty to level of learner
g) Able to branch to provide appropriate content presentation to the learner.
h) Can present concepts or processes dynamically and using multiple forms of representation.
i) Teachers draw backs can be remedied.
Limitations of CBI
a) Equipment and software can be costly.
b) Development takes time and money.
c) Not all learning outcomes are well addressed by CBI.
d) Unsophisticated applications may not make good use of the computer.
e) Simple CBI has limited modalities (but multimedia is changing that).
f) Teachers competence in using technology.
Computer Assisted Learning (CAL) in physical science
Computer Aided Learning (CAL) or Computer Assisted learning can be defined as learning subjects like mathematics, Science, etc., through computers with subject wise learning packages/materials.
· It may include all types of Technology-Enhanced Learning (TEL), where technology is used to support the learning process.
· It is said to be: "Pedagogy empowered by digital technology".
· In broader sense, it may be considered as a part of E-Learning.
History of Computer-Assisted Learning
Computer assisted learning, or CAL, is not a new phenomenon. Computer Assisted Learning can be defined as a computer program or file developed specifically for educational purposes. The technique used throughout the world in a variety of contexts, from Primary school to University. In the 1980s, the first computer assisted learning became available to University students. The CAL Idea is highly dependent to the following educational events:
· Education Commission (1964-66), called Kothari Commission: Introduction of Vocational Courses.
· National Policy of Education (1968): Introduction of Correspondence Courses.
· Edger Dale: Cone of Learning, Cone of Experience(Audio-Visual Methods in Teaching, 3rd ed., New York, 1969).
· Jacques Delors: The Four Pillars of Education,1996 (Learning to be, Learning to Do, Learning to Know, Learning to Live Together).
· These visual, animated learning materials not only help to memorize the tough topics at ease but also it will act as a virtual laboratory experiments.
· Some so called hard subjects, viz., English, Mathematics and Science will be joyful through computer.
· Computer aided learning packages will serve as a better teaching learning materials.
· This audiovisual technique will help and motivate Children With Special Needs (CWSN) to read.
· Above objectives will in turn help to reduce drop out, repetition rate. Enhance in the achievement levels etc.
A computer room (laboratory room is must) with some computers along with an audio and visual output device to show learning packages on a large screen using an LCD projector. After discussion of subject, teacher may show learning packages on that particular topic. Student can practice and also an evaluation can take place like
e-Exam( as it is also on computer and at the same time result can be displayed to the students).
It can be concluded that both CBI and CAL could improve student achievement, some extent change misconceptions in Science, and can improve cognitive levels. Thoughtfully designed CAI is indeed effective in bringing about learning. The packages when used in the self learning/grouplearning mode can be a better alternative to bad teaching, but can never replace good teachers. They can only enhance their effectiveness. These packages can be best used as visual aids to supplement classroom teaching (shown on a large T.V. or as LCD display.)