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The Research Design
In line with this project’s goal of determining the level of effectiveness of the current biology laboratory classes, as well as identifying the critical role that the various forms of technology and online laboratory tools perform in helping the teachers accomplish their educational goals in a biology laboratory, this research has conducted a mixed-method research. In the first phase of the qualitative research study, I was able to successfully gather and compile twenty scholarly articles and books that served as the relevant literature for this particular project paper.
Upon the accomplishment of the first phase of the qualitative research study, the second phase of the research study was conducted wherein I utilized a combination of exploratory and descriptive types of research methods that include the survey questionnaire method and in-depth interviews conducted among selected study participants. The main study participants for this research project are the science lab teachers or instructors who were inquired about their existing views and perceptions on the level of effectiveness of the current biology laboratory classes and the roles that various technology and online laboratory tools perform in helping them accomplish their educational goals within their specific biology laboratory.
The Study Participants and Research Instruments
Three schools were specifically chosen for this project wherein the study participants, mainly science laboratory teachers/instructors, were chosen. Three schools were selected to avoid bias in selecting the study sample. These three schools were carefully chosen to avoid bias in terms of study curriculum, number of students and quality of learning. The study participants have been evaluated and assessed with regard to whether or not they were able to meet the set criteria for the study, which will later on be discussed in the succeeding sections of this chapter. In addition, fifty selected science laboratory teachers/instructors were invited to participate in the study to share their views on the function of educational technology in either increasing or decreasing the level of effectiveness of the current biology laboratory classes. Among the questions that were asked of them during the interviews, include the following:
1.)What is the current system presently being applied in facilitating biology laboratory classes? How would you describe it?
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2.)What areas or aspects of biology laboratory classes need improvement?
3.)How do you think areas or aspects of biology laboratory classes may be improved?
4.)What role do you think technology or online-based tools play in the success and effectiveness of biology laboratory classes?
5.)What are your general views and perceptions about the use of online-based tools in conducting and facilitating biology laboratory classes? Do you think they will be an advantage or a disadvantage? Why? Why not?
6.)How does the use of online-based tools in conducting and facilitating biology laboratory classes address the possible limitations in the traditional biology laboratory classes?
In addition, I made use of survey questionnaires in the initial phase of the study and were distributed among the fifty selected science laboratory teachers/instructors. The questions contained in the survey questionnaires were written in statement form as the questionnaire was presented in the form of a Likert Scale (7-point) wherein the study participants are tasked to circle their answer for every statement, indicating their level of agreement in each statement (e.g., strongly agree, moderately agree, slightly agree, neither agree or disagree, slightly disagree, moderately disagree, and strongly disagree). There are twelve questions/statements included in every survey questionnaire corresponding to each of the six interview questions (Note: two statements for each of the six interview questions are placed in survey questionnaires). All the fifty selected respondents or study participants joined in the survey questionnaire and in-depth interviews conducted for this project. The sample survey questionnaire intended for the laboratory science teachers/instructor respondents is formatted as follows:
With regard to the selection of the fifty science instructors and teachers, certain respondent qualifications had to be met by each study participant in order to qualify as respondents for the study. These are the following:
a.) Must be 30 to 55 years old; this is so that the science instructors’ teaching experience will prove to be sufficient and relevant
b.) Must be currently working in any of the three selected schools/universities in this study and must have served as a science lab instructor or teacher for a minimum of three years;
c.) Must have basic knowledge and awareness on the different online tools being utilized today in the majority of biology laboratory classes; this was assessed through respondent inquiries and tests.
d.) Must strictly be a science educator or instructor handling biology laboratory classes.
During the actual research process, the most pertinent and most relevant questions that were not included in the original interview and survey questionnaires were also acknowledged and noted. All the results were plotted into specified data tables and were analyzed in terms of quantity. Moreover, all the important data that were collected were compiled in a document for the validation of results and for future references. With regard to the aggregation of the numbers under a few representative quotes, this was accomplished by means of evaluating the data findings, referring to the data tables, and analyzing the responses of each study respondent. Findings
Summary of Research Findings
Based on the gathered results of the research study conducted for this project paper, the results revealed that 94% of the science educators/instructors of biology strongly believed that the use of online-based tools in conducting and facilitating biology laboratory classes addresses the instructional limitations of the traditional biology laboratory classes. Interestingly, during the actual interviews, 30 out of the 50 respondents agreed that technology might provide advantages and benefits on the part of the students or the learners of science lab. However, there are at least six respondents that expressed their lack of confidence on the use of any form of technology in conducting biology laboratory classes, as they believe that it could distract the students from learning.
When the study participants were asked what they think is the current state of biology laboratory classes. 54% of the respondents (27 out of 50) stated that biology laboratory classes are currently in a positive state, which means that they are still effective in increasing the students’ scientific knowledge and learning capacity while the other 46% of the respondents (23 out of 50) specifically indicated that the majority of biology laboratory classes today are no longer effective in increasing the students’ scientific knowledge and learning capacity, especially those that are currently in a negative state due to the insufficient amount of resources, time, and space allotted for the science lab classes in biology. This implies that in terms of the level of effectiveness of the biology laboratory classes today, more science instructors are still convinced that biology laboratory classes held today are still effective in achieving its goals.
When the study participants were asked about how they think the areas or aspects of biology laboratory classes may be improved, nineteen out of 50 responded “By using technology and computer software and tools.” Twenty-three out of 50 also specified that time scheduling and student groupings must also be fixed so as to provide more time and involvement for students to accomplish their tasks. Twenty out of 50 respondents also mentioned that for the teaching strategies to be improved, they also need to use technology and online-based tools little
To conclude, the ultimate goal of the teachers is to increase the level of scientific literacy and knowledge among students, as well as intensify the level of scientific skills that these students may be able to adopt, practice, and acquire along the process of learning science could only be attained through the use and application of educational technology. Through the aid of online-based tools, virtual laboratories, and even a combination of both, science teachers and instructors may be able to revise and improve their current teaching objectives, strategies, and teaching styles. In addition, the instructors may opt to make use of web-based tools that would be easier for them to manage the entire class and increase the students’ interest and understanding on the topic via video and audio materials, interactive software programs, and other technology-based systems. Based on the results of the findings of the study, the teachers generally believed that technology is perceived by students as very important to them given today’s technology-driven world.” this result ties up with the fact that it is a positive sign that there is a growing the majority of science teachers and instructors today who are considering and acknowledging the importance of technology in enhancing the learning and teaching process in science lab classes and research evidence and that there are also a rising number of students who value technology in relation to their scientific learning. An important implication of this is certainly the fact that online based science laboratories and the use of online tools to support scientific learning has been justified as important.
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Moreover, a great majority of the respondents indicated that based on the teachers’ observations, students find online-based tools as highly relevant and useful in increasing their scientific learning. Apparently, such online-based tools are deemed by students as convenient when it comes to learning scientific concepts and principles. In addition, online-based tools offer unlimited time and space to conduct scientific experiments due to its accessibility and lastly, online-based tools are more dynamic and interactive, which the students find to be very interesting. In line with these findings and conclusion, I would like to recommend that the application of online-based tools on all biology laboratory classes be approved and applied in all major educational institutions, particularly schools that focus on enhancing the scientific knowledge of their students. However, with regard to the use of technology, the educational institutions, school boards, and even the science teachers/instructors themselves must be cautious to select only the necessary online-based tools such as the Internet and other web applications that are most applicable and useful for their biology laboratory classes.
The use and application of technology among educational institutions must be carefully facilitated because not all technological tools are useful for the enhancement of scientific learning among the students (Sorgo et al., 2010). Moreover, the typical activities that are usually being applied in the traditional biology lab set-up must be retained and only be compensated by online-based tools in areas where it is limited. Online-based tools must not be considered as replacements on the typical science laboratory activities being conducted by science teachers and instructors. This is because online-based tools and other technology-based tools are simply tools that may be used to enhance the science instructors’ teaching strategies and not as these teachers’ replacements in facilitating scientific learning.
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