A comparison of the effectiveness of the conventional and microcomputer-based mathods in kinematics
Molefe, Nomathamsanqa Princess Joy
MetadataShow full item record
The study reported in this dissertation compares the learning effectiveness of two experimental methods that can be used in the teaching of kinematics to Grade 11 learners in Physical Science. The first method is the conventional ticker-timer experiment, while the second utilises high-technology microcomputer-based equipment. The purpose is to make recommendations for improved teaching of basic kinematics concepts and graphs, which learners have difficulties with (Halloun & Hestenes, 1985; McDermott et al., 1987). A group of 48 Grade 11 learners from Thuto-Boswa Secondary School, Ventersdorp, were used in the empirical research. They were divided into two groups of comparable abilities. Group A used the conventional apparatus and group B the microcomputerbased apparatus. The results of the pre- and post-tests were analysed statistically to compare the learning effectiveness of the two methods in terms of the outcomes reached, the gains obtained as well as d-values. Three months after the experiments were conducted the learners were tested again to determine the long-term effect of the methods. Both groups obtained a gain of approximately 0,2 in the pre- versus post-test analysis. The literature (e.g. Thornton, 1998) reveals larger gains with microcomputer-based experiments. Three possible reasons that could contribute to this discrepancy were investigated, namely the learners' acquaintance with the microcomputer, the educator's experience with the apparatus as well as the learners' cultural background and language. All three these factors were found to have a detrimental effect on the learning effectiveness, especially with the microcomputer-based method. Recommendations are made in connection with the teaching of basic kinematics concepts and graphs to Grade 11 learners in South African secondary schools. In addition, it is emphasised that educators should be adequately computer literate before expensive high-technology equipment is purchased for classroom use. It is also pointed out that the implementation of the computer as teaching aid can be a first step to improve computer literacy of disadvantaged learners in our schools.
- Education