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Title: A study of interactive projected demonstration techniques for school science in Oman
Author: Al-Shuaili, Ali Huwaishel Ali
ISNI:       0000 0001 3409 0188
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 2000
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Laboratory based practical work has been considered as one of the "Sacred Cows" of chemistry teaching for many years. However, attempts to measure the benefits of the laboratory experience to which learners are subjected, with regard to how much learning actually occurs, revealed what can be described as a "pessimistic picture". Whilst practical work is generally popular with learners and can, to varying degrees of proficiency, engage hand-skills, its ability to generate much active thought or teach theory appears at best questionable. It is my contention (and that of many others) that, for many experiments, the learner's Working Space is bombarded with information from a variety of different sources which swamps it, leading to an unstable overload state which precludes systematic, intelligent working and causes the learner to seek some more stable (and comfortable) state by a number of devices leading to poor learning. Consequently, it is common to find observers of laboratory classes, who have their own anecdotes of learners whose behaviour suggests a lack of appreciation or understanding of what is happening. What may be clearly organised and understood by the teacher (expert) may not be so for the learner (novice), in that information received by the latter may have no apparent structure since adequate previous knowledge is required to make sense of the incoming information. As the important can not be distinguished from the irrelevant, the point of the lesson is lost to the learner. The very common response to this is that the learner follows instructions line by line (blind recipe following) or gives one section of the experiment an inordinate amount of time and attention, whether it warrants it or not and so never finishes the experiment. He may copy nearby learners' actions or even volunteer to act as the recorder of information for group experiments. All the above actions are attempts by the student to lessen the load and their facts. Also the strain on school resources by the increased number entering schools, could increase the reluctance to change to demonstration. However, the weak points of demonstration are the issues of visibility and the fact that the learners are not engaged in such an activity. A new technique which considers these points, is required and demanded. Therefore, Tested Overhead Projections (TOPs) might be the remedy for the problems mentioned above. In addition to that, in TOPs the teacher has the control to reduce the "noise", enhance the "signal", and engage learners both in hands and minds and, as a bonus, brings benefits of safety, cost, speed, durability, visibility, student-friendliness and easy disposal of smaller quantities of chemicals. It is the researcher's hope to convince the reader (and people in-charge of Education in Oman) that the benefits of this new technique far outweigh the effort which would be required in adopting this new system.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Education & training