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Biology Teachers’ Access and Utilization of Virtual Laboratory in Secondary Schools in Okene Local Government Area

Abstract

This study was on Biology teachers’ access and utilization of virtual laboratory in secondary schools in okene local government area. Five objectives were raised which included:  To find out the perception of Biology teachers on access and utilization of virtual laboratory in secondary schools in okene local government area, to find out the effect of virtual laboratory on performance of student on biology and to find out the availability of facilities for virtual laboratory in secondary school in okene local government. A total of 77 responses were received and validated from the enrolled participants where all respondents were drawn from selected secondary schools in okene local government. Hypothesis was tested using Chi-Square statistical tool (SPSS).

 

Chapter one

Introduction

1.1Background of the study

The current age is witnessing rapid progress in the field of educational technology. This has made it easier for many students to receive their education anywhere and anytime. It has made it possible for students to attend lectures and implement experiments in places far from the lecturing place. Moreover, they canary out scientific experiments that they have missed through virtual laboratories. In this approach, the technology in education offers a field that gives all students the scientific and technical knowledge to be able to keep pace with contemporary developments and acquire various skills that expand their intellectual perceptions and expand their knowledge. The use of educational technology in implementing virtual experiments has become one of the important concerns. Educational institutions need to pay attention because it provides an excellent alternative to known laboratories. It is providing students with experiences and skills. Furthermore, educational technologies offer students a great ability to visualize many concepts that are challenging to imagine realistically. It provides the students with an interesting interactive climate that allows them to practice scientific experiments gradually

The virtual laboratories are considered as interactive e-learning and teaching environment, through which scientific experiments may conduct virtually or remotely (Keller and Keller, 2005). It simulates the real application of the experiment. The researcher procedurally defines those laboratories as a virtual learning environment. It implements the applied experiments related to biology, which may not be available. It allows the students to use their skills and develop their cognitive abilities by participating in experiments step by step and repeating these by any number of times as per their requirements. The use of the virtual laboratory allows synchronization between the process of explaining theoretical ideas and the scientific application. The actual scientific experiments are linked to a separate laboratory schedule from the theoretical lectures. So, the experiment can be repeated in any number according to the students’ comprehension ability without having a watchdog offering the possibility to interact with others in conducting the experiments. This encourages students’ integration into the learning process. Its importance has been proven by many studies that dealt with the use of virtual laboratories (Al-Bawi and Salem, 2017; Al-Dulaimi, 2018; Al-Da’ajah, 2018; Nael, 2018; Hussain and Aady, 2019; Babateen, 2011; Tatli and Ayas, 2013; Herga et al., 2014; Nikoonezhad et al., 2015; Sari and Yilmaz, 2015).

Based on the above-mentioned discussions, the importance of using virtual laboratories in teaching scientific materials is presented. It contributes to achieving ideal academic performance and educational outcomes from students through actual and virtual practice. Otherwise, in most cases, it requires expensive equipment or an increase in the number of classes to enable science teachers to explain and implement it. Therefore, it is important to shed light on the awareness of biology teachers regarding the importance of this technique in teaching biology. It is one of the important scientific materials that broaden the student’s knowledge and connect this knowledge with real-life experience because of the importance of the topics it contains.

Statement of the problem

While physical laboratories are absent or not fully equipped in many schools due to the high costs of their equipment and maintenance, virtual labs have been affirmed to lessen financial constraints related to laboratory equipment, space, and maintenance (Fisher et al., 2012). These potential advantages have triggered research interest, and a good number of empirical studies have been conducted about the effectiveness of virtual laboratories (Breakey et al., 2008; Dyrberg et al., 2017; Muhamad et al., 2010, 2012; Pope et al., 2017; Radhamani et al., 2014; Ray et al., 2012; Triola & Holloway, 2011). Along this vein, several review studies on the effect of virtual laboratories in teaching sciences have been carried out (Brinson, 2015; De Jong et al., 2013; Ma & Nickerson, 2006; Smetana & Bell, 2012; Udin et al., 2020). However, most reviews only included laboratory practices of many other disciplines, such as physics, chemistry, and engineering, with few review studies about Biology teachers’ access and utilization of virtual laboratory in secondary schools

Objective of the study

The following research hypotheses are formulated;

  1. To find out the perception of Biology teachers on access and utilization of virtual laboratory in secondary schools in okene local government area
  2. To find out the effect of virtual laboratory on performance of student on biology
  3. To find out the availability of facilities for virtual laboratory in secondary school in okene local government

Research Hypotheses

The following research hypotheses are formulated;

H1: there is no perception of Biology teachers on access and utilization of virtual laboratory in secondary schools in okene local government area

H2: there is no effect of virtual laboratory on performance of student on biology

Significance of the study

The study will be very significant of students, teachers and ministry of education. The study will give a clear insight on the  Biology teachers’ access and utilization of virtual laboratory in secondary schools in okene local government area. The study will also serve as a reference to other researcher that will embark on the related topic

Scope of the study

The scope of the study covers Biology teachers’ access and utilization of virtual laboratory in secondary schools. The study will be limited to selected secondary schools in Okene local government area

Definition of terms

Utilization: An act or instance of making practical or profitable use of something

virtual laboratory: Virtual labs are interactive, digital simulations of activities that typically take place in physical laboratory settings. Virtual labs simulate the tools, equipment, tests, and procedures used in chemistry, biochemistry, physics, biology, and other disciplines.

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