This study explored teachers_ views on the use of computer-based simulations (CBS) in teaching and learning electrolysis and also how they integrate CBS into teaching electrolysis.
This was a qualitative case study the methodology of which was framed by the Consensus Model of PCK (2015). The model is divided into five sections, namely: teacher professional knowledge bases, the topic specific professional knowledge, teachers_ beliefs and orientations (amplifiers and filters), classroom practice, the students_ beliefs, prior knowledge, and behaviours (amplifier and filter). For this study, the student outcome in the consensus Model (2015) was omitted because learners were not part of the study.
Three teachers from three schools were observed while teaching electrolysis to Form 5 students. A sequence of three lessons was recorded and transcribed. These teachers were further interviewed before and after using CBS to teach electrolysis. Furthermore, two questionnaires were completed before and after the use of CBS by the same teachers. The documents were analysed using the themes that emerged from the data.
The findings of this study indicate that the teachers_ understanding of the use of CBS influences their classroom practice, which includes whether they allow learners to only observe or manipulate. The findings also show that teachers are aware that CBS enhances learners_ understanding of electrolysis, and even that of teachers. However, they were concerned that the shortage of equipment and large class size, as well as the socioeconomic background of learners may affect its effective use. Although these schools have computers, the departments work in isolation, which makes the computers inaccessible for use by the other departments except for the ICT department. It is recommended in this study that teachers be educated more on how CBS enhances learners_ understanding of abstract topics so that they can use these appropriately when teaching, allowing learners to manipulate and combine them with other suitable teaching methods. It is also recommended that departments in schools review their policies so that computers are accessible to all of the departments.