Asia-Pacific Forum on Science Learning and Teaching, Volume 15, Issue 1, Article 6 (Jun., 2014)
Ajitha NAYAR K and Miles BARKER
Computer labs as techno-pedagogical tools for learning biology – Exploring ICT practices in India

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Implications of the Study

This study explored the possibilities of computer labs as learning places to realize the techno-pedagogical applications. Teacher perspectives revealed optimism as well as pessimism with regard to the prospects explored. Grounds for optimism derived from impressive student learning, often involving higher order activities (analysis, complex information retrieval, problem-solving, and rewarding in-depth discussion), relevancy of learning resources; and pessimism centered around constraints related to the teacher, and the teaching and learning environment. Admittedly, this situation has arisen under a set of specially favorable conditions: a liberal state-facilitated supply of computer labs, intense commercial interest in the supply of software (including the subject under consideration, cell biology), good servicing of the laboratories by technical staff, and a cohort of knowledgeable and pedagogically adventurous and open-minded teachers who are persuaded of the value of ICT in teaching and learning. The latter point would appear to be crucial – this research confirms earlier studies (Baltrus, 2002; Jonassen,1999; Gils, 2005) that showed that teachers themselves need to be confident and creative if they are to inspire their students to be the same. Providing individual teachers with their own laptop is clearly one way of promoting the necessary easy expertise among teachers by giving them opportunities to enhance familiarity by private exploration prior to teaching (Cowie et al., 2008).

Computer laboratories are clearly an intermediate stage in the successful integration of ICT into learning. If conditions are favourable, access to the computer laboratory can provide occasions of rich, intense and highly motivated learning, Nevertheless, the necessarily restricted access (because of the need to share the resource) poses an ultimately insurmountable barrier to the overcome, namely, having students undertake prolonged investigation of complex meaningful problems, which may often originate from students themselves and/or are being constantly refined by them. But until the time comeswhen ICT is freely and permanently available in classrooms, the present study has suggested that computer labs have ah heartening potential to promote quality and, curriculum-required learning.


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