CONTEMPORARY EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY
e-ISSN: 1309-517X
Assessing the Impact of Dynamic Software Environments (MATLAB) on Rural-Based Pre-Service Teachers’ Spatial-Visualisation Skills

G. Amevor 1, Anass Bayaga 2 * , Michael J. Bossé 3

CONT ED TECHNOLOGY, Volume 13, Issue 4, Article No: ep327

https://doi.org/10.30935/cedtech/11235

Submitted: 12 January 2021, Published Online: 23 September 2021

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Abstract

Dynamic visual tools such as MATLAB have inbuilt features which are believed to be able to empower students to learn through the visualisation of three-dimensional objects. While student learning through MATLAB has been investigated regarding students in urban settings, only a handful of studies have investigated how MATLAB can assist students in rural settings. Spatial visualisation (SV) as a measure or reflection of one’s cognitive reasoning is affected by family social economic status (SES). For instance, it is argued that SES in combination with other components, do enhance cognitive development in different ways. What is meant is that components such as but not exclusively, economic and occupational components of SES may vary and hence provide opportunities for generating better understanding of education (cognition). In this study, we randomly selected 100 second-year rural-based pre-service teachers in a vector calculus class at University of Zululand (UNIZULU). Students need SV skills to learn vector calculus and the Purdue spatial-visualization test/rotations (PSVT/R) is well established for measuring individuals’ spatial reasoning. In this study, spatial reasoning skills were assessed through a vector calculus pre-test and through a post-test using the Purdue spatial-visualization test/rotations (PSVT/R). The experimental group of students learned the vector calculus topics supported by activities and investigations using MATLAB. Duval’s Theory of Register of Semiotic Representation (TRSR) was employed to comprehend the impact of MATLAB on rural-based pre-service teachers’ spatial-visualisation skills. From using an independent sample t-test, our findings indicated that, for participants in this study, using MATLAB had positive impact on the rural-based pre-service teachers’ SV skills.

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