Academic journal article International Journal of Instructional Media

Fundamental Instructions to Enhance Learners' Computer-Based Environmental Science

Academic journal article International Journal of Instructional Media

Fundamental Instructions to Enhance Learners' Computer-Based Environmental Science

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

For many students, some fundamental issues in our environment, such as environmental ethics, hormones, global changes, and sustainable developments are abstract and difficult subjects to comprehend.

Many researchers pointed out the potential benefits of integrating multimedia based teaching methods into science, such as benefits of computer-based technology (1) and those of science history (2, 3). These benefits include the effectiveness in facilitating mastery of the environmental scientific concepts, process of environmental science and learning attitude of students. For environmental science teachers, enhancing students' understanding of environmental science process skills rather than teaching merely the environmental scientific knowledge will be a major goal for their achievement. If any positive opportunities can be found to promote students' conceptual learning, environmental scientific educators will adopt some special methods of integrating computer-based technology into environmental science.

For example, Vogel and Klassen (4) showed that information technology was characteristic of individual learning, cooperative learning, partner learning, integrated teaming, and estimated filing, especially those suitable for integrating informative learning; all these are related to development teacher's scientific strategies. Only through circumstantial cases can we get in touch with "real" environmental scientific knowledge. Constructivism is a learning theory that proposes an explanation as to how knowledge is to be acquired. The essence of this theory lies in "knowledge can be constructed in the mind of the reamers." Hodson (5) supposed four important steps of the constructivist research: (1) identify students' ideas and views, (2) create opportunities for students to explore their ideas, (3) provide stimuli for students to develop, (4) support their attempts to re-think and reconstruct their ideas and views. As for constructive learning, the integration of information technology into teaching helps a lot to cultivate students' learning developments (6, 7). A recent methodology to propose computer-based learning is to make a great contribution for students to have the basic abilities of technology and information; also at the same time, to explore the spirit of research, to do independent thinking and to fulfill career program and life-long learning (8).

The Contiguity principle states that the effectiveness of computer-based instruction increases when words and pictures are presented contiguously in time or space. It is derived from a dual coding theory (9-11). The theory assumes that all human beings possess two distinct information processing systems: one system represents information verbally and the other represents information visually. Multimedia texts, a combination and presentation of characters, graphs, animations and sound effects, attract students' eye-sight, stimulate their learning motivations, and make an effective and better learning (12-17).

In so far as we know reasonable employments of computer-based technology make teaching methods multiple, flexible, and effective, and offer definite application instructions. The advantages of using computer-based for lecturers appear to be obvious; for example, to increase students' interest in learning, to retain the subject materials, and to have the ability to illustrate concepts in a number of ways, without any burden of writing the chalkboard for the lecturers.

Critical questions about why the computer-based technology can promote students' conceptual understanding have been addressed by many researchers (1820). Mayer and his colleagues (21-23) have promoted a generative theory of multimedia design. The theory proposes that materials that facilitate selection, organization, and integration of to-be-learned information are of special benefit in designed instructions. Ardac and Sezen (24) point that computerized learning environments offer several possibilities that can be used to improve the teaching of content along with the processes. …

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