Cane toad or computer mouse? Real and computer-simulated laboratory exercises in physiology classes

West, Jan and Veenstra, Anneke 2012, Cane toad or computer mouse? Real and computer-simulated laboratory exercises in physiology classes, Australian journal of education, vol. 56, no. 1, pp. 56-67.

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Title Cane toad or computer mouse? Real and computer-simulated laboratory exercises in physiology classes
Author(s) West, JanORCID iD for West, Jan
Veenstra, AnnekeORCID iD for Veenstra, Anneke
Journal name Australian journal of education
Volume number 56
Issue number 1
Start page 56
End page 67
Total pages 12
Publisher Australian Council for Educational Research
Place of publication Camberwell, Vic.
Publication date 2012-04
ISSN 0004-9441
Keyword(s) computer-assisted teaching
laboratory equipment laboratory technology
laboratory procedures
student attitudes
Summary Traditional practical classes in many countries are being rationalised to reduce costs. The challenge for university educators is to provide students with the opportunity to reinforce theoretical concepts by running something other than a traditional practical program. One alternative is to replace wet labs with comparable computer simulations. These virtual experiments involve no harm to animals and require little ongoing expenditure. This study documents second-year physiology students' perceptions of and attitudes to simulations by incorporating several computer simulations into the practical program. Computer simulations met the conceptual and, to some extent, the motivational goals of university practical programs. While students enjoyed both wet labs and computer-simulated exercises, overwhelmingly the wet lab provided the more memorable and stimulating learning experience. Based on this study, students suggested that computer simulations could be effectively used to complement rather than replace practical classes where students gain laboratory skills.
Language eng
Field of Research 059999 Environmental Sciences not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 970105 Expanding Knowledge in the Environmental Sciences
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2012, Australian Council of Educational Research
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