Effectiveness of the 'Physicsclassroom' computer software in the learning of kinematics at Munali Boys High School in Lusaka

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Kaulu, Goodwell
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This study investigated the effectiveness of the 'Physicsclassroom' computer software in the learning of kinematics in high school physics at Munali Boys High School in Lusaka. The main objective was to find out if this software could enhance pupil performance in kinematics in physics at Munali Boys High School when it was used as a supplement to traditional learning methods. An experimental design of the pre-test post-test type was used. The main sources of data were: pre- and post-tests, an attitude questionnaire, an observation schedule, participant reports and an interview with physics teachers. The sample for the study consisted of 40 grade 12 boys of Munali Boys High School. Half the number of boys were in the experimental group and the other half in the control group. The experimental group learnt kinematics from the Zambian High School Pure Physics Syllabus using the 'Physicsclassroom' computer software and traditional learning methods for six weeks. At the same time the control group learnt the same work with the same teacher but using traditional learning methods only. The groups were pre-tested and post-tested using the same test. The scores obtained by the participants in the tests were analysed quantitatively and qualitatively. This also applied to the data collected from the attitude questionnaire. The data from other sources were analysed by qualitative means. All statistical tests were evaluated at the p < 0.05 level of confidence. The results revealed a significantly higher performance of 10.5 % in the post-tests for the experimental group than the control group. All the pupils interviewed agreed that the 'Physicsclassroom' computer software be used for kinematics and other topics in high school physics at Munali. From the results it was concluded that the 'Physicsclassroom' computer software can enhance the performance of pupils in kinematics in high school physics at Munali Boys High School. Furthermore, pupils showed a positive attitude towards the 'Physicsclassroom' learning approach. The following recommendations were made: (i) While the 'Physicsclassroom' learning approach enhanced pupil performance in kinematics to the extent above and showed a high degree of acceptability with the study group, it should not be used as the only learning method on this topic but as a supplement to the traditional learning methods which have been in use. (ii) Research with a larger and more representative sample should be done to verify the preliminary findings above in order to arrive at a more definite decision regarding the implementation of the 'Physicsclassroom' learning technique.
Physics--Study and teaching--Zambia