This paper presents various methods of computer aided experiments in science education and their integration in Web environment as HTML documents. The concept of the virtual laboratory suitable for science teaching at the secondary school level is described. Some essentials and advantages of this approach are presented in the paper. They are illustrated with a concrete example of the course Integrated Science through Experiments that has been developed as a product of the European funded project Computerised Laboratory in Science and Technology Teaching within the Leonardo da Vinci II programme. The paper outlines the structure of the course accessible to the user via a tabular system of links.
Multiple choice questions are a convenient and popular means of testing beginning students in programming courses. However, they are qualitatively different from exam questions. This paper reports on a study into which types of multiple choice programming questions discriminate well on a final exam, and how well they predict exam scores.
This paper deals with the main problem of involving information technology in teacher education - structure and contents of teachers' training courses based on distance learning. In Lithuania, the Standard of computer literacy for educators has been developed. It should be the main source of all teachers' training courses on information technology. The Standard consists of two parts: technological and educational. The main attention of the paper is paid to the analysis and requirements of the educational part that becomes more and more urgent: it requires some psychological, cognitive, social, and pedagogical knowledge referring to the information technology usage in education. This paper comprehensively covers the problems of application of information technology in education, course planning, and implementation of distance teaching, it referring to the teachers' training course on educational issues of information technology via distance learning, carried out by the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Lithuania and organized by the Centre of Information Technologies of Education, and summarises its results.
It is commonly agreed that a well-balanced mix of collaboration, training and simulation eventually produce a superior learner. Today's collaborative design and learning environments integrate variety of interactive objects as well as many technological aspects to achieve such balance. Unfortunately, the actual profit of the resulting learning systems is largely reduced by poorly represented interactive objects as well as poor interlinking between such objects. In particular, such objects appear isolated: they neither can be modified sufficiently (e.g., by choosing parameters or enhancing functionality) nor be interlinked properly with their context (e.g., by synchronizing with a guided tour or metadata). We are presenting in this article a model for representing virtual and 3D scenes as learning objects. The model utilizes notions and techniques based on Scene Graphs, X3D, Java3D, and SceneBeans. The prototype accompanied with a simple client-server protocol for exchanging and viewing the 3D SceneBeans. This research aims to extend this protocol by utilizing Sun JXTA primitives to link to the POOL of other learning objects repositories.
The paper outlines curriculum development activities that have been done in science education in the Slovak Republic as a result of an international collaboration within the frame of the Leonardo da Vinci II pilot project Computerised Laboratory in Science and Technology Teaching - ``ComLab-SciTech''. The created teaching and learning materials include integration of science curricula in two meanings: an integration of knowledge and methodology of physics, chemistry and biology, as well as an integration of various true and virtual computerised methods of experiments. The materials contain suggestions for student investigative activities, in which life science processes are studied with the use of laboratory models.
Computer simulations seem to be one of the most effective ways to use computers in physics education. They encourage students to carry out the processes used in physics research: to question, predict, hypothesise, observe, interpret results etc. Their effective use requires an availability of appropriate teaching resources fitting secondary schools curricula.
This paper presents a set of computer simulations that cover the curriculum area of Mechanics and are designed to fit directly to curricula and textbooks used at Slovak grammar schools. All simulations are accompanied by brief instructions for teachers, including suggestions for learning activities and problem tasks for students. Some of them are designed as virtual laboratories.
The developed simulations were tested with a group of secondary school students and evaluated also by groups of future and practising physics teachers. The paper presents and discusses findings and conclusions from the both runs of the testing.
Considerable pedagogical advantage may be gained by the integration of the different ICT tools commonly used in teaching science and technology, particularly by integrating ``real'' and ``virtual'' laboratory activities. In the context of this paper, ``real'' laboratories involve benchtop experiments utilizing data acquisition systems while ``virtual'' laboratories entail interactive simulations and animations. Examples of such integrated activities are described; namely, (i) the study of wave phenomena using sound and (ii) a study of motion in one dimension. Such integrated computerized teaching tools also provide an opportunity for a greater level of integration of different science and technology disciplines.
Pair programming is one of the important practices of a lightweight development methodology namely eXtreme Programming (XP). It emphasizes the practice of two persons working together at a single computer terminal, to design, code and test computer programs. The effects of pair programming on software development in industrial organizations were studied and it was found that pair programming increases the productivity by 15%. This evidence created an interest in amongst community of computer science educators to apply pair programming in educational settings.
We have conducted an experiment with the students of computer science courses to compare the learning efficiency of students when they adopt pair programming with that of students using traditional method to do laboratory exercises of short duration. The learning efficiency was measured by evaluating design documents, completion time, and marks obtained in a written test that was conducted after every exercise. Our research confirms that the adoption of pair programming improves the design ability, reduces time taken to do a laboratory exercise and increases the knowledge and programming skill.
Interaction and feedback are key factors supporting the learning process. Therefore many automatic assessment and feedback systems have been developed for computer science courses during the past decade. In this paper we present a new framework, TRAKLA2, for building interactive algorithm simulation exercises. Exercises constructed in TRAKLA2 are viewed as learning objects in which students manipulate conceptual visualizations of data structures in order to simulate the working of given algorithms. The framework supports randomized input values for the assignments, as well as automatic feedback and grading of students' simulation sequences. Moreover, it supports automatic generation of model solutions as algorithm animations and the logging of statistical data about the interaction process resulting as students solve exercises. The system has been used in two universities in Finland for several courses involving over 1000 students. Student response has been very positive.
In 2003 a working group established on the initiative of the Centre of Information Technology of Education under the Ministry of Education and Science, has been reviewing regulations for the assessment and certification of educational software. This article analizes the main aspects of the proposed orders. It discusses general structure of quality assurance system, the procedures for the certification of standard and permanently renewable digital educational resources, and the main criteria and principles of the evaluation of educational software in Lithuania. In parallel, it investigates and summarizes research results and foreign policies and practices on quality assurance. Finally, the article compares them with Lithuanian regulations.