Thursday, 7 January 2016



Module 4 - Using Computers in Teaching

Prepared by
M.Sc., M.Ed., JRF & NET
Assistant professor in Physical Science, Arafa Institute for Teacher Education, Attur, Thrissur.

Computer Aided Teaching (Computer Aided Instruction)
Computer Aided teaching is a broad term which simply means the use of computer in Teaching. It may be in the form of ppts, videos, graphics etc. It refers to the use of computer as a supporting device and as a teaching machine* in teaching.
 It includes terms like CAI, CMI etc
v  CAI, is the use of a computer to provide instruction.
v   Computer-assisted instruction (CAI) is an interactive instructional technique whereby a computer is used to present the instructional material and monitor the learning that takes place.
·         Definition
“CAI is an interaction between a student, a computer controlled display and a response entry device for the purpose of achieving educational outcomes.”
Ø  Features of CAI
*        Instruction for a number of learners at a time.
*        Variety in the use of methods and techniques.
Ø  Technologies of CAI
*        Hardware
*        Software.
Ø  Types of CAI
*        Instruction type
*        Drill and Practice
*        Tutorials
*        Instructional Games
*        Simulation
*        Practical work oriented
*         Problem Solving
Ø  Advantages of CAI
*        Great motivator
*         Instantaneous response/immediate feedback to the answers.
*         Self pacing - allow students to proceed at their own pace
*         Helps teacher to devote more time to individual students
*         Privacy helps the shy and slow learner to learns
*         learn more and more rapidly
*         Individual attention
*         Multimedia helps to understand difficult concepts through multi sensory approach
*         Self directed learning – students can decide when, where, and what to learn
Ø  Limitations of CAI
*        The computer fails to appreciate the emotions of the student.
*        CAI fails to develop essential features of language competency
*        It is a sort of mechanical approach to education
*        Expensive and uneconomical in terms of educational returns
*        Unavailability of educational software.
*        Can't keep set time table schedules, uniform curricula and examination systems.
*        Over use of multimedia may divert the attention from the content
*         Lack of infrastructure
*Teaching Machines
Developed by S.L. Pressy
It’s a piece of device designed to be operated by an individual student for self learning.
The student is presented with a question by some form of display on the machine.
The student is required to respond. Either to write answer or put a button to indicate the correct response
The student will inform the correctness of the answer.
An account is kept of the responses made by the student.
Computer  as a Teacher – merits
Computer teachers do have some advantages. The computer teachers can teach more than the human teachers can in about the books. They have better memory than the human teacher has because they are computers, computer can memorize anything. Moreover, computer teachers will be fairly to all of the students. In addition, students learn from the computers, they can learn more independently because the computer cannot care when they do not pay attention in the class. Multi Sensory and multimedia approach makes teaching more effective
Computer as a Teacher – Drawbacks
Computers have not feeling and therefore they do not understand the feeling of students, but teachers care for students and encourage them. Human teachers can do many things to the students but the computer teachers cannot. For example, the ways that they teach, the computer teachers just have one way to teach, but human teachers have many ways. The computer teachers do not have life experience, they cannot talk about life, but the human teachers have. The computer will not care about the students emotions.

Human as a Teacher – merits
Human teachers make learning fun, and they can be caring and understanding. However, human teachers with a human touch are more effective than computers in teaching. The human teacher can teach the students in the best way, they know what the students want. Moreover, they can make the students know what life is; the human teachers can talk their life experience to the students, this is very important to the future of the students.
The students can learn some things that out of the books from the human teachers. Moreover, they will care the students, they will care what do the students will do after school or do they feel happy or not. The human teachers can become friends with the students. Human values can be inculcated in students only by a human teacher.

Human as a Teacher – Drawbacks
Human beings have many limitations compared to computers. All these limitations are seen in teaching also. Less memory compared to computers, emotional disturbances, lack of ability in drawing/explaining etc, personal biases, lack of teaching skills, lack of knowledge in teaching methodologies/technologies, etc are some of them.

Expert System
An expert system is a computer system that shows the decision-making ability of a human expert. Expert systems are designed to solve complex problems and as an aid or substitute for human.
An expert system is a computer application that performs a task that would otherwise be performed by a human expert. For example, there are expert systems that can diagnose human illnesses, make financial forecasts, and schedule routes for vehicles. Some expert systems are designed to take the place of human experts, while others are designed to aid them.
Expert systems are part of a general category of computer applications known as artificial Intelligence.
Expert system can be effectively used in Education sector also. It can act as an aid or substitute for Human teacher. Expert System is the major component of Intelligent tutoring systems.

  • e-content (Electronic-content) is Digital content that can be transmitted over a computer network such as the Internet.
  • The e-content could be in the following type:
1)      Short course / unit / module
2)      Full courseware.

e-content – Authoring/Development
  • E-content authoring means Development of digital content using special authoring tools.
  • Authoring tool is a software package which developers use to create digital content.
    • Eg: Graphic design software, Video editing software, Animation software, Programming Language etc.

Special features of e-Content Material
  • Technologically Friendly so as to be downloaded and used on any computer either independently or in a LAN situation.
  • Learner Friendly for easy navigation.
  • Learner Centric to be useful in self-instructional mode.
  • Teacher Friendly so as to be used in various teaching-learning methods such as classroom lectures, tutoring to a group, lab session etc.
  • Self-evaluation: It should include formative as well as summative evaluation.
E-content - Significance
  • E-content is valuable to the pupil and also helpful to teachers of all individual instruction systems.
  • The ultimate aim of the E- content is abolish the disparity among the learners through effective education.
  • It is enhancing the learner knowledge level which leads to creative thinking.

Module preparation - E-content Development
A module can be defined as “a set of learning activities intented to facilitate the students achievement on an objective or set of objectives. A module is a self-contained, self sufficient unit of instruction for the learner to work on for achieving a set of predetermined objectives. A module contains three co-ordinate basic elements of instruction, i.e. objectives, learning activities and evaluation.
e-Learning modules take advantage of digital technology to:
          develop short learning modules that actively engage the learner
          include formative assessment so that the learner can track their progress
          use simple, widely available software so that others can adapt the materials for teaching other target groups
The modules are usually designed to be studied mainly by a single learner sitting at a computer screen. However, they can be used to generate discussion topics or exercises that can be suitable for groups of learners. The learner should enjoy module and feel that they have achieved something valuable by completing it. Therefore, make sure that the learning outcomes are appropriate for learner and that the module allows them to achieve new knowledge and skills with confidence.
Factors to be considered- in the development of e-learning Module
1)      Write learning outcomes (LOs) that state clearly what the learner should be able to do after completing your module
2)      Present content in an interesting way that will engage the learner
3)      Design an assessment that will allow the learner to assess what new knowledge and skills they have acquired.
4)      Have a clear idea of who your learner is. What knowledge and skills do they have already? How should your module be designed to be most appropriate for their learning needs?
5)      Always keep in your mind’s eye a mental image of your learner sitting at the computer studying your module.
6)      The module must be self-contained and contain all that the learner needs to meet its specific learning objectives.

Various stages in the development of e-content

Various steps in the development of e-learning Module
1)      Title : The title should state clearly what your module is about. It is the best chance to capture your learner’s attention and make them want to study the module. So make it as attractive and informative as possible.
2)      Learning outcomes (LOs): Writing down clear LOs needs careful thought and is the essential first step in module development. The LOs are vital because they determine precisely the content of the module and determine precisely the assessment.
3)      Content: The content is the information that you want the learner to acquire. Clearly, this information has to be accurate and up-to-date. The content should also be clearly referenced so that the learner is able to check the source of the information. The subject expert(s) shall also identify points and the Graphics, Animations & other information that are required to be included in the module.
4)      Copyright: There is no problem with reproducing other people’s material as long as you reference its source. If there are existing images, videos, graphics etc that are exactly right for your purpose, then you must get permission from the author or publisher to use it in your module.
5)      Engaging the learner: Provide the resource to actively engage the learner. The learner should be an active learner than a passive listener.
6)      Assessment: In most cases, the assessment for the module should be “formative”. This is purely for the learner’s benefit – so that he or she can track their own progress.
The assessment should be limited to the LOs. The purpose is to allow the learner to confirm that they have achieved the LOs. The learner should perform well in your assessment. This confirms that the module has been effective!
Although eLearning modules are usually designed for study by an individual sitting at a computer, most topics demand the extension of the learning to group activities. There are no right/ fixed steps to e-module development. You should look at as many other examples as you can, experiment and develop your own approaches. The key to success is to have a clear idea of the needs of your target audience, carefully designed and clearly stated LOs and then an engaging module that allows the learner to achieve the LOs with confidence.
Simply the steps can be listed as
1)      define your aims and learning outcomes or objectives
2)      think about the structure of the session and timing of activities
3)      decide on the best teaching and learning methods to achieve the learning outcome
4)      list content and key topics, and research more if needed
5)      refine the lesson plan
6)      identify learning resources, appropriate technology, support material and execute
7)      Assessment or evaluation.
Contents of an e-learning module
1)      Title
2)      Objectives
3)      Subject Mapping
4)      Summary
5)      Text
6)      Case studies
7)      FAQ’s
8)      Video ,audio , animations, graphics etc
9)      Assignments
10)  Quiz
11)  Tutorial
12)   References
13)  Glossary
14)  Links
15)  Downloads (more)-Follow ups
16)  Contact (author/experts-Usually online)

Course ware
Courseware is educational material/software intended as kits or as tutorials for students, usually packaged for use with a computer. Courseware can cover any knowledge area, but information technology subjects are most common. Courseware is a term that combines the words 'course' with 'software'. Many companies are using the term to describe the entire "package" consisting of one 'class' or 'course' bundled together with the various lessons, tests, and other material needed. The courseware itself can be in different formats, some are only available online such as html pages, while others can be downloaded in pdf files or other types of document files. Most leading educational companies solicit or include courseware with their training packages.
Example: MIT open Courseware for Science.

Free Softwares in Science

There is large number of applications/softwares for Science Education including PhET, Celestia, Avogadro, Chemical Calculator, Gamgi, Ghemical, Gperiod, Kalzium, Kstars, Molecules Viewer, Periodic Table of the Elements, Rasmol, Stellarium etc which can be used  in ubuntu, windows or other platforms.
PhET: PhET is a suite of research-based interactive computer simulations for teaching and learning physics, chemistry, biology, maths, and other sciences. PhET simulations can be run online or downloaded for free from the PhET website. The simulations are animated, interactive, and game-like environments where students learn through exploration. They emphasize the connections between real-life phenomena and the underlying science, and help make the visual and conceptual models of expert scientists accessible to students. PhET simulations are primarily developed for and tested with university and high school students, but have been found to be educational and fun for students of all ages.
Celestia: Celestia is an application for real-time 3D visualization of space, with a detailed model of the solar system, over 100,000 stars, more than 10,000 galaxies, and an extension mechanism for adding more objects. The program allows users to travel through an extensive universe, modeled after reality, at any speed, in any direction, and at any time in history. Celestia displays and interacts with objects ranging in scale from small spacecraft to entire galaxies in three dimensions.
Step: It is a package available in Edubuntu for simulating Physics Experiments. It is an interactive physical simulator. It allows exploring the physical world through simulation. We can place bodies of different shapes like sphere, polygon etc on the scene, add some forces like gravity, spring etc and we can get the simulation according to the laws of physics.
Avogadro: Avogadro is an open source, free, graphical software written in Python and designed to act as an advanced molecular editor, as well as visualizer. Avogadro has been specifically designed to be used in molecular modeling, computational chemistry, materials science, bioinformatics, as well as other similar areas.
Chemical Calculator: It is simple and free software available in Edubuntu. It acts as a calculator for chemistry. It parses chemical formula to calculate raw formula, molecular weights, mass composition, and isotopic patterns.
Gamgi: GAMGI (General Atomistic Modelling Graphic Interface) is a program to build, view, and analyze atomic structures such as molecules, crystals, glasses, liquids, etc. It aims to be useful for:
1)      The scientific community working in Atomistic Modelling that needs a graphic interface to build input data and to view and analyse output data;
2)      The scientific community at large studying chemistry, physics, materials science, geology, etc., that needs a graphic interface to view and analyse atomic structural information and to prepare images for presentations in classes and seminars;
3)      Teaching chemistry and physics in secondary schools and universities; science promotion in schools, exhibitions and science museums.
Ghemical: Ghemical is computational chemistry package. It is a molecular modeling software package having some nice 3D-visualization tools. It supports methods based on both molecular mechanics and quantum mechanics.
Gperiodic: GPeriodic is a periodic table application for GNU/Linux. It allows you to browse through a periodic table of the elements, and view detailed information on each of the elements. 118 elements are currently listed. This program was originally written by Kyle R. Burton. GPeriodic is a program for looking up data of elements from the periodic table.
Kalzium: Kalzium is your digital replacement for the periodic table on paper. It is a program that visualizes the Periodic Table of Elements and includes basic information about all common elements. Its main features are
·         versatile overview of all important data from the elements like melting points, electron affinity, electron negativity, electron configuration, radii, mass, ionisation energy
·         tool to visualize the spectral lines of each elements
·         different colored views: separation of the different blocks, Year simulator, Temperature simulator
·         Molecular weight calculator
·         an Isotope table
·         3D molecule editor, with a load and save functionality
·         a equation solver for stoichiometric problems
·         file type conversion for different types of chemical programs

Kstars : KStars is free, open source, Astronomy Software. It provides an accurate graphical simulation of the night sky, from any location on Earth, at any date and time. The display includes upto 100 million stars, 13,000 deep-sky objects, all 8 planets, the Sun and Moon, and thousands of comets and asteroids. In addition, it provides tools to perform many astronomical calculations, an observation planner, and lots of information and resources to help you explore the universe!
Molecules Viewer:  It is a free open-source molecular editor and visualization package. It offers a range of features including a molecular editor, surface generation (orbitals and densities) and animations (vibrational modes and reaction pathways). It is a 3D structure molecule viewer generally called as GChem 3D Viewer.
Periodic Table of Elements: It is generally called as GChemtable. This application have a table view which allows the elements to be coloured thematically by several properties, a sortable list view and an element properties dialog, displaying a variety of information, including historical, thermodynamic, electrochemical, and crystallographic properties. It provide scientific information on the elements and multiple table colour schemes.
Rasmol: RasMol is a molecular graphics program intended for the visualisation of proteins, nucleic acids and small molecules. The program is aimed at display, teaching and generation of publication quality images. RasMol runs on wide range of architectures and operating systems including Microsoft Windows, and Ubuntu. It was originally developed by Roger Sayle in the early 90s.
Stellarium: Stellarium is free open source software. It simulates a planetarium. It shows a realistic sky in 3D, just like what you see with the naked eye, binoculars or a telescope. 'Stellarium' simulates the skies from anywhere on Earth in close to photo-realism. It is a beautiful and engaging way to explore and increase your understanding of the night sky. Users can see constellation art, deep space objects, meteor showers, solar eclipses, transits, and more. It is particularly useful as an educational tool.

Learning Management Systems- Moodle
A learning management system (LMS) is a software application for the administration, documentation, tracking, reporting and delivery of e-learning education courses or training programs. A learning management system (LMS) is a software application or Web-based technology used to plan, implement, and assess a specific learning process.
Example: Moodle, Mindflashes etc
•           Moodle is a software package for producing Internet-based courses and web sites.
•           Moodle (abbreviation for Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment) is a free source e-learning software platform, also known as a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).
•           Moodle was originally developed by Martin Dougiamas to help educators create online courses
•           The design and development of Moodle is guided by “social constructionist pedagogy”.

•           Constructionism asserts that learning is particularly effective when constructing something for others to experience.

Features of Moodle
•           Assignment submission
•           Discussion forum
           Moodle instant messages
•           Files download
•           Online calendar
           Online news and announcement