Effects of a selected computer simulation on high school students' academic performance in technology education
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Instructional technology has been an important element in recently initiated educational reforms. Computer simulations are very suitable for developing learners’ problem-solving skills. In technology education, though computer simulation has been increasingly used, there is a dearth of studies conducted on its effects. This quasi-experimental study examined the effects of a selected computer simulation on the academic performance of high school students in a technology education. The research question asked, “Does involvement in a selected computer simulation improve high school students’ basic knowledge of truss bridge building in secondary technology education classes?” The basic knowledge of truss bridge building was measured by a pre- and post-test. Situated cognition theory guided this study. The theory holds that learning is a combination of activity, context and culture. Eighty students participated in the study and were recruited from 7 different courses offered by a Career-Technical Education (CTE) academy. There were 42 students in the treatment group and 38 students in the control group. ANOVA test showed no statistically significant difference between learning through computer simulation and traditional method. Bootstrapping method was used to validate the result. This finding implies that computer simulation may be an alternative to traditional teaching that produces comparable results. This research adds more knowledge to existing literature on integrating computer simulation into (technology) education. Recommendations are made.