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Interactive physics learning application to increase student engagement

Interactive physics learning application to increase student engagement

By Hira Khan

 

In traditional classrooms, science information is presented in the form of strict body of facts that can only be memorized. Had it been demonstrated as a way of thinking and knowing more about the real world phenomena students would be more likely to engage and enjoy science classes. This approach has been adopted to prepare student only for the exams. Main focus of the teacher is to cover maximum amount of syllabus with little attention given to student’s actual understanding. As students grow older their engagement in school drops considerably and they are not sufficiently motivated to succeed in school. In Pakistan 37 % of boys in urban areas and 36 % in rural areas are not willing to attend school. Similarly 11% of girls in rural areas and 10% in urban areas are not willing to attend school.

Previous empirical studies conducted in the field of physics education have shown that students encounter lot of misconceptions while learning physics subject. Commonly seen difficulties are when students are trying to learn different models and analogies, problem solving and deriving various relationships[1].

This interactive learning application aims to teach physics concept of work and energy to students in a engaging and fun way. Students find it hard to find real life implications of this topic as the topic covered in text books are not in a manner that helps students to connect their knowledge with the real world. Having exposure of this kind of application will give these students a chance to develop expertise for use of computer and finding real life applications of any concept. This approach will help them in professional colleges. This study tends to measure effect of this application on: (1) student’s engagement by measuring their willingness to participate in routine class activities. This includes: Student attendance, submission of required task on time and following teacher’s directions. Negative indicators of engagement will also be measured which includes: unexcused absence from class, damage school property and cheating in tests. (2) Behavioral engagement, how many students initiated action when given opportunity, intense effort and concentration in implementation of tasks, and appearance of positive emotions (enthusiasm, optimism and curiosity). (3) Emotional engagement, their interest and enjoyment in classroom and (4) cognitive engagement, by assessing how many students completed their academic tasks and monitored their own learning habits.

This study tends to fulfill the goals of National Education Policy of Pakistan by

  • Increasing student retention rate and decreasing the dropout rate in schools.
  • Low cost freely available solution that can be deployed in school setting with the availability of computers only this will help in achieving wide access and raising quality of education in schools of Pakistan.
  • Train students for their professional colleges

[1] J.R, T., Christensen, Wittmann, W., & M.C. (2011). Preparing future teachers to anticipate student difficulties in physics in a graduate level course in physics, pedagogy, and education research.

 

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