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The contribution of simulations to the practical work of Foundation Physics students at the University of Limpopo

Motlalepula Rebecca Mhlongo (Department of Physics, University of Limpopo, South Africa)
Jeanne Kriek (Institute for Science and Technology Education, University of South Africa (UNISA), South Africa)
Ilsa Basson (Department of Physics, University of South Africa (UNISA), South Africa)

Multicultural Education & Technology Journal

ISSN: 1750-497X

Article publication date: 15 November 2011

Abstract

Purpose

Practical work is regarded as an essential part of learning; hence most tertiary institutions have included a practical component in their physics courses. There is a concern about the effectiveness of the practical work in most universities. The purpose of this study is to assess the contributions of simulations on 20 Foundation Physics students' practical work at the University of Limpopo.

Design/methodology/approach

Two tests, “Determining and interpreting resistive electric circuits concepts test” and the “Test of integrated science process skills” were used. A class test, observation sheet and worksheets for students' practical work were analyzed. Interviews with a selected group of students were also conducted.

Findings

Results indicated that the simulations contributed positively on students' understanding of electric circuits. However, the study revealed that the students who did simulations do not differ from those who did not do the simulations with regards to the development of process skills.

Originality/value

The value of this research is the application of simulation in physics with specific testing methods. In addition, the research is unique in a South African context.

Keywords

Citation

Rebecca Mhlongo, M., Kriek, J. and Basson, I. (2011), "The contribution of simulations to the practical work of Foundation Physics students at the University of Limpopo", Multicultural Education & Technology Journal, Vol. 5 No. 4, pp. 288-302. https://doi.org/10.1108/17504971111185117

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited