n South African Journal of Education - Comparison of the learning effectiveness of computer-based and conventional experiments in science education




An empirical study was conducted to compare the learning effectiveness of two interactive lecture demonstration methods that can be used in the teaching of kinematics concepts and graphs to Grade 11 learners in Physical Science in a South African school. The first method is the conventional ticker-timer experiment, whilst the second utilises high-technology computer-based equipment. Based on the outcome of the study, recommendations for the use of computers in South African schools are made. The results also have implications for the training of science educators. The results showed that the computer has the potential to develop into an effective teaching aid in South African schools. Three factors that can have an impeding effect on the use of computers as teaching aid are discussed, namely, the educator's acquaintance with computers and the associated methodology, the learners' experience with computers, and their alternative conceptions regarding the material taught. A spin-off is that the use of computers in the science laboratory can contribute to computer literacy of both educators and learners. Educators' training programmes should give particular attention to this aspect, especially as computers become more available in South African schools.


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