Challenges and rewards of web-based learning in physics classrooms
Keywords130212 Science Technology and Engineering Curriculum and Pedagogy
130306 Educational Technology and Computing
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AbstractIn some classrooms, teaching methods have evolved little over the years. Enrolments in subjects like science have progressively declined and one possible reason for this outcome is the persistent use of traditional teaching methods which disengages many students. In less than a decade, the Internet has emerged as a potential tool to vary classroom routines; however, its use in high school science classrooms is still in its infancy. This paper reports part of the findings of a doctoral study in which Getsmart, a website was developed and implemented in senior physics classrooms in a blended learning environment in a Queensland State High School (Australia). Getsmart was developed on the principles of the cognitive apprenticeship teaching model (Collins, Brown, & Newman, 1989). In this study, the researcher was a science teacher with no formal qualifications or training in the design, development and implementation of web-based lessons. This paper presents the challenges of undertaking these activities in a high school environment. It also presents students’ perceptions of such an environment ascertained through quantitative and qualitative methods. Quantitative data were collected by using a modified version of the Web-based Learning Environment Instrument (WEBLEI) (Chang & Fisher, 2003). Qualitative data were gathered through emails and written surveys. This paper also discuses the impact of such an environment on students' learning outcomes that was determined through the analysis of their exam results achieved before and after experiencing web-based learning. Exam results of the research sample were also compared with the results of similar cohorts in previous years.