Mathematics, Science and Technology Education

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Now showing 1 - 5 of 46
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    Exploring the use of state of matter PhET simulation on learners’ conceptual understanding of phase changes of matter
    (University of Zululand, 2023) Nkosi, Landiwe Beauty
    Many scientific concepts (such as elements, molecules, and energy changes) are not tangible. The scientific concepts are beyond our senses and learners often have little or no experience in constructing such concepts. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of states of matter (SOM) Physics education technology (PhET) simulation on Grade 6 learners’s conceptual understanding and retention of phase changes of states of matter. A purposive sampling technique was used to sample participants from the accessible population in uMkhanyakude District KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. The sample consisted of 64 Grade 6 Natural Sciences and Technology (NS/Tech) from four primary schools. A mixed-method explanatory sequential design involving (non-equivalent pre-test, post-test, delayed post-test, and interviews) was adopted for this study. A validated two-tier diagnostic questionnaire and semi-structured interviews were used to collect data. A phase change of matter test (PCMT) was used for data collection as pre-test, post-test and delayed post-test. The reliability coefficient of 0.75 was established using Cronbach’s alpha reliability coefficient. The participants in the control group were taught using the traditional teacher-centred approach, while the experimental group was exposed to the SOM PhET simulation. The same diagnostic questionnaire was administered as a post-test to establish the effectiveness of the intervention in enhancing conceptual understanding, and as a delayed post-test after a month to establish the retention of phase change of matter concepts. The quantitative data were analysed using the Social Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 25 and the qualitative used idiographic and nomothetic methods. The Johnstone triangle and the cognitive load theory (CLT) were employed as the theoretical framework to the study. The findings indicated that using a SOM PhET as an intervention effectively enhanced conceptual understanding. There was a statistically significant difference in the retention ability after treatment with a PhET simulation, compared to the control group. The findings indicate that an instructional method, based on PhET simulation, enhances conceptual understanding and retention phase change of matter concepts. Further studies are needed to determine the effect of PhET simulation on retention in long-term memory after a year.
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    Grade 12 learners’ receptiveness to Siyavula Education Application in the context of learning of Mathematics
    (University of Zululand, 2023) XULU, N.S.
    The purpose of this study was to examine the factors that affect Grade 12 learners’ receptiveness of the Siyavula Education Application (SEA) in the learning of mathematics. The study was conducted at uMhlathuze circuits schools, King Cetshwayo District in South Africa. The research used a quantitative approach, in which quantitative data were collected using a questionnaire. To collect data, this study adopted stratified random sampling with equal allocation to select respondents. A representative sample was of 300 participants from a population of 673 Grade 12 learners. A total of 272 participants successfully completed and returned the questionnaires, yielding a response rate of 91%. The study employed the technologyacceptance model (TAM) as its theoretical framework. The study proposed and evaluated the SEATAM, that gives a wide overview of all the factors that affect the actual use of SEA. The SEATAM had eight constructs, namely perceived accessibility (PA), perceived social influence (PSI), perceived skills readiness (PSR), computer self-efficacy (CSE), perceived usefulness (PU), perceived ease of use (PEOU), attitudes towards using (ATT) and actual use (AU). The factor analysis was used to analyse the data generated from the survey, with the help of PLS-SEM, using smartPLS software version 3.0. The results indicated that, out of 15 hypotheses that were tested, only five path coefficients are not statistically significant; the rest of the 10 hypotheses were statistically significant, which indicates that most of the model variables were appropriate. To all identified construct for this study, the SEATAM model explained 74.6% of explanatory power, which indicates that the developed model is valid, robust, and suitable for use by stakeholders. The results also show that PU (61.6%) and ATT (61.95) constructs contributed more to actual usage of SEA.
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    Exploring novice teachers’ experiences in teaching of natural sciences to grade 8 and 9 within Pietermaritzburg secondary schools
    (University of Zululand, 2023) Sithole, Zethu Princess; Gamede, B. T. and Talasi, T.
    This study investigated the experiences of novice teachers teaching the subject of Natural Sciences to Grade 8 and 9, within Pietermaritzburg secondary schools. Qualitative methods were used in this study, specifically semi-structured interviews were used for data collection. The purposive sampling technique was used to select the participants, principals of secondary schools, sciences Head of Departments and novice teachers. Data was collected and analysed thematically. The findings obtained in this study revealed that irrespective of school location, secondary schools within Pietermaritzburg were identified as having inadequate facilities for science education. As such, conducive classrooms and laboratory facilities were inadequate. For science practical sessions, there were not always enough chemicals and reagents to go around for all the learners. Hence, teachers sometimes split the learners into different groups. The foregoing of these practical sessions made the teaching of natural science a difficult task, especially for novice teachers in rural secondary schools. It can be deduced that due to a lack of physical infrastructure and scientific materials, it may be difficult for novice natural science teachers to effectively and efficiently convey to learners the needed scientific knowledge. Overcrowding remains one of the key challenges faced in schools these days. Population growth, teacher shortages, inadequate funding, and enrolment patterns, among other things, have been some of the causative factors of this. Overcrowded classrooms can have a harmful effect on both teachers and learners, particularly in science laboratories. Some of the participants were of the perception that they had limited opportunities to attend professional development trainings, organized by the Department of Basic Education at district level; this was due to the distant location of the rural schools that they attended. Most novice teachers could not even remember the name of the subject advisor from this department. This points to the very big gap between the district planning and what is happening in schools. This is a clear indication of the fact that the vision held by the Department of Basic Education may never succeed, as long as teachers do not share it with them.
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    Complexities in the availability of mathematics and physical science teachers in rural high schools within the King Cetshwayo District
    (2022) Smith Vincent Titos
    Research indicated that South Africa currently lacks the potential to develop economically without importing international technical and technical resources. If this country is to be a part of the technologically advanced global village, science must educate policy and accelerate the transition to a mathematical and critical thinker society. This is critical since a lack of experience affects the country's overall economic outlook. The study examined the complexities in the availability of Mathematics and Physical Science teachers in rural high schools within King Cetshwayo District while focusing on exploring the factors responsible for the poor performance among Grade 12 learners. Results show that rural environment demotivates teachers. Most science and mathematics teachers only stay for two to three years, while only a few stay for five years or more. It is therefore difficult to keep science subject educators in rural schools. The study also established that fewer students are taking mathematics and science-related subjects at the universities for their degree qualifications, which adversely affects the supply of teachers in rural based high schools. In some cases, this has led to schools discontinuing the teaching of mathematics and physical science. The study recommends that teachers in rural areas should be motivated by offering them enough support and giving them incentives or allowances. The department of education should provide resources to equip the school’s science laboratory for science teachers to deliver results.
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    Factors affecting mathematics teaching to grade 10 learners in rural schools of the mutale cluster in the Vhembe District
    (2022) Mufhudi Humbulani Hilda
    In South Africa, the secondary school learners generally perform poorly in Mathematics, rather than in the other subjects. The Mathematics pass rate at National Senior Certificate level (NSC, Grade 12) in 2019 was 54.6%. Ironically, other subjects had a 70% + pass rate in Grade 10. This study was grounded on the idea that Mathematics teaching is concerned with the acquisition of aspects such as Mathematical facts, concepts and principles, inter alia. It was underpinned by the constructivism theory, while positivism had been its paradigmatic inclination. The model was used for the understanding of the context-specific meanings regarding the factors affecting Mathematics teaching at Grade 10 in rural schools. This study was done quantitatively, and this methodology enabled me to investigate the phenomenon through the use of figures. The population of this study were all Grade 10 Mathematics teachers in the Mutale Cluster, in the Vhembe District. The simple random sampling technique was applied in selecting its sample. Its findings indicated that teachers still facilitate Mathematics lessons using ‘traditional approaches’, namely the ‘telling and showing’. Needless to say that the teaching of Mathematics especially at Grade 10- level, should strictly be based on using different methods so that learners could end up having understood it properly, and also indicate that the teaching of Mathematics to Grade 10 learners should be improved by using different types of teaching methods when teaching it. Teachers experienced challenges that prohibited them from incorporating modern Mathematics approaches, with the old methods known to them. Overall, through using the different methods when teaching Mathematics as explained, might lead to our learners performing well in the same Grade 10-level. This study recommends that further studies should be done in South Africa’s public schools in Mathematics teaching, so that learners’ poor performance in Mathematics, could be improved. On the other hand, a survey research design was also used for data collection, as it helps to minimise error in the data collection. In so doing, it also would also further assist to enable that the findings of this study are valid and reliable. The misuse of Mathematics’ objectives in Grade 10 learners’ teaching especially in the Mutale Cluster, appeared to be a contributing factor leading learners not to understand it well. Additionally, teachers seemed to be changing teaching paces to the new topics faster, having learners not understood them. In most schools, found in the Mutale v Cluster, no suitable textbooks appeared to be used by Grade 10 learners in schools. A clarion call might be that the recently prescribed textbooks and all the necessary stationaries have to be used so that the rate of Mathematics teaching in Grade 10- level could be drastically changed. As a concluding remark, I then urge all the concerned stakeholders in schools, to strictly make a combination of both the old and new methods of teaching Mathematics at Grade 10-level. For example, the old method of using the collected sticks while teaching the counting of numbers, and even letting learners know the multiplication process through memorisation, especially of numbers less than ten (10) without calculators. At that point, it could lead learners to understand the Grade 10-level Mathematics at the level of their abilities in schools. In addition to this, the tendency of conducting the extra Mathematics classes could assist to strengthen its teaching to the Grade 10-learners. In so doing, the best ever seen results might simply be obtained in Mathematics Grade 10-level at least every year. Once again, the strictly use of the basic knowledge due to be explained later in this study, would also without any further doubt enable the learners to understand Mathematics at Grade 10-level properly well.
University of Zululand