Digital versatile disc as an information and communication technology variant to support geography teaching and learning / Christoffel Petrus Van der Westhuizen
Van der Westhuizen, Christoffel Petrus
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The application of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as supportive tool in teaching and learning within the framework of the radical change that Outcomes Based Education (OBE) has created, pervades and consequently alters the pedagogy and methodology of Geography teaching. Geography Is a subject in which ICT can make a definite and worthwhile contribution and it is, therefore, important that Geography educators know how to harness the benefits of ICT for their learners. Apart from the general availability of ICT to fulfil the requirements of the curricula, there are pressures from the world outside the classroom in the form of professionals who utilize Geography in their profession, such as town planners and meteorologists, who utilise new technology such as GIs, GPS, satellite images, radar summaries, air charts and meteograms as an integral part of their work. The Internet, the World Wide Web and CD-Rom are used progressively as resource-based and communication tools in teaching and learning throughout the world. The challenge to utilise ICT in Geography teaching and learning occurs in a world experiencing increasing disparities between the rich and poor, among and within nations. For example, while 72.7% of Americans currently use the Internet, only 6.4% of South Africans have access to and use the Internet. A solution for sufficient ICT support in teaching and learning for developing countries is to focus on ICT variants that are affordable and that will sustain movement toward fulfilling development objectives. Developing countries (such as the RSA) need to consider alternatives to ICT that maximise the Impact of ICT and that entail balancing investment in computers with investment in other technologies that might be cheaper and equally effective. The use of alternative ICT variants must, however, be globally competitive, but at the same time be cost-effective. The ability, versatility and low cost of an ICT variant such as the Digital Versatile Disc (DVD) suggest that it can serve this purpose. ICT supports teaching and learning in Geography in many ways and has an impact on the quality of learners' learning experience and the depth of their learning. It can be a tool for inquiry learning, a resource for obtaining secondary source material, an aid in measuring physical events and situations, models real-world situations, helps to communicate and present information, improves efficiency and pace of workload, provides resources and structure to support learning independently of the educator and improves the quality of task outcomes for learners. The introduction of OBE in South Africa since 1994 has also encouraged learner-centred teaching and learning and has required a paradigm shift away from the traditional content-based transmission model of teaching and learning. The purpose of this study is to: • determine whether or not the DVD method can support the teaching and learning of Geography teacher students effectively; • determine how the DVD alters the format, structure and number of traditional formal Geography lectures; • determine what the nature of the information on the DVD must be in order to be perceived by the students effectively; • Investigate the effect of the utilisation of the DVD on the academic performance of Geography teacher students; and • develop a model for the effective integration and utilisation of the DVD in fulltime Geography teaching and learning. An action research method constituted the backbone of this study. The action research included a combined qualitative and quantitative research method in the form of a cross-sectional study as part of a developmental research method, in order to develop and evaluate a proposed model for the effective integration and utilisation of the DVD in Geography teaching and learning. The participants in this study included the entire population of the full-time, second-year students of the Economic Geography module, GEOH251 of 2004, 2005 and 2006 of the B.Ed (teaching degree) of the North-West University (Potchefstroom Campus). The results of the study can be summarised as follows: This study indicated that the majority of the GEOH251 students were positive regarding the integration of the DVD in Geography teaching and learning. The DVD-method teaching approach challenges lecturers and students to fulfil new roles within the teaching and learning environment. The results of this study indicate the following: The integration of the DVD method can support the teaching and learning of Geography teacher students effectively. The utilisation of the DVD, together with a seminar format with a specific procedure, enhances the teaching and learning of Geography. The DVD with all the different types of information included thereon was well received by the Geography students and was deemed effective. The integration of the DVD into Geography teaching and learning evidently did not result in poorer academic performances of students in the GEOH251 module. The proposed model provides clear guidelines on how to integrate the DVD In Geography teaching and learning. It explains how the DVD should be compiled, what to include and how to employ it effectively in conjunction with seminars. It also describes the transition of formal contact sessions to seminars, which occur less frequently than traditional contact sessions, but with regular weekly intervals, as well as explains the seminar proceedings, interactions and timeframes. The DVD can be integrated into Geography teaching and learning effectively if the procedures, steps, and actions, as expounded in the proposed model, are applied. The advantages of the DVD as ICT variant in Geography teaching and learning can be clearly seen, especially if it can be implemented in developing countries.
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