ERIC Number: ED338492
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Microcomputer-Based Laboratories and Computer Networking High School Science Classrooms.
Lehman, James D.; Campbell, John P.
Microcomputer-based laboratories (MBLs) are believed to have significant potential for improving laboratory experiences in science classrooms. A study funded through a grant project called STEPS to Better Science sought to broaden the knowledge base by examining MBL use by teachers and students in a variety of science classrooms in six high schools in Indiana. The use of MBLs in "real-world" science classrooms was being examined through triangulation of several data sources. Data collected include the following: student and teacher attitudes toward the use of MBLs, classroom observations of the use of MBLs, and student graphing performance. Of additional interest is the use of a large-scale computer network for project data sharing, resource acquisition, and communications. The study was being conducted during the 1990-91 school year. Preliminary data indicate that the large-scale network has primarily been used for communication purposes thus far, although a number of classroom uses of the MBL have been initiated. Quantitative results from one classroom studied show no evidence of an impact of the use of MBLs on either student graphing skills or student attitudes toward computers. However, these results were obtained after only very limited student exposure to the MBL. Student attitudes toward the MBL were positive, and the attitudes of the 24 participating teachers were overwhelmingly positive. The greatest assets of the MBL appear to include real-time graphing, data manipulation, ease-of-use, sturdiness, and accuracy. Implementation is seen as a key to effective use of the MBL. Techniques for classroom use have included small groups in rotation, whole class problem solving, and demonstration. Those techniques that most directly involve student use of the MBL appear to have the greatest potential for effectiveness. (15 references) (Author/KR)
Descriptors: Computer Assisted Instruction, Computer Networks, Demonstrations (Educational), Experiential Learning, Graphs, High Schools, Laboratory Experiments, Microcomputers, Problem Solving, Science Education, Science Instruction, Secondary School Curriculum, Student Attitudes, Teacher Attitudes
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Indiana State Commission for Higher Education, Indianapolis.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Microcomputer Based Laboratories
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching (Lake Geneva, WI, April 7-10, 1991).