The use of a database to improve higher order thinking skills in secondary school biology : a case study

Phipps, Owen Dudley (1994) The use of a database to improve higher order thinking skills in secondary school biology : a case study. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.

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Abstract

The knowledge explosion of the last decade has left education in schools far behind. The emphasis in schools must change if they are to prepare students for their future lives. Tertiary institutions as well as commerce -and industry need people who have well-developed cognitive skills. A further requirement is that the school leaver must have skills pertaining to information processing. The skills that are required are those which have been labelled higher order thinking skills. The work of Piaget, Thomas and Bloom have led to a better understanding of what these skills actually are. Resnick sees these skills as being: nonalgorithrnic; complex; yielding multiple solutions; involving nuanced judgements; involving the application of multiple criteria; involving uncertainty; involving self-regulation of the thinking process i imposing meaning and being effortful. How these can be taught and the implication of doing so are considered by the researcher. The outcome of this consideration is that higher order - thinking entails communication skills I reasoning l problem solving and self management. The study takes the form of an investigation of a particular case: whether a Biology field trip could be used as a source of information l which could be handled by a computer, so that higher order thinking skills could be acquired by students. Students were instructed in the use of a Database Management System called PARADOX. The students then went on an excursion to a Rocky Shore habitat to collect data about the biotic and abiotic factors pertaining to that ecosystem. The students worked in groups sorting data and entering it into the database. Once all the data had been entered the students developed hypotheses and queried the database to obtain evidence to substantiate or disprove their hypotheses. Whilst this was in progress the researcher obtained data by means of observational field notes, tape recordings, evoked documents and interviews. The qualitative data was then arranged into classes to see if it showed that the students were using any of the higher order thinking skills. The results showed that the students did use the listed higher order thinking skills whilst working on the database.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Education, Data processing, Biology, Teaching
Subjects:L Education > L Education (General)
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Education > Education
Supervisors:Marsh, Cecile
ID Code:4152
Deposited By: Mrs Carol Perold
Deposited On:28 Nov 2012 06:33
Last Modified:28 Nov 2012 06:33
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