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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The pedagogical opportunities of PhET Interactive Simulations in secondary science education in Bangladesh Toma, Mohosina Jabin


Science education in Bangladesh is losing its appeal among students at an alarming rate due to the lack of laboratory equipment, high teacher-student ratios, and outdated pedagogies. A research-based, freely available Physics Education Technology (PhET) suite of computer simulations can help teachers address these challenges. Despite their educational potential, PhET simulations are rarely used in Bangladesh. This study explores the challenges Bangladeshi teachers face in learning to implement PhET-enhanced pedagogies and examines teachers’ views of the pedagogical opportunities for PhET simulations in secondary schools. Seven PhET workshops were conducted in Dhaka city for 129 in-service and pre-service teachers before exploring their views and challenges. This study followed an explanatory mixed-method approach that included pre-and post-workshop surveys and five semi-structured interviews with teachers who participated in the workshops voluntarily. The challenges teachers faced were identified from two online questionnaires (pre- and post-workshop), observations during the workshop, and one-on-one interviews. The results suggest that teachers encountered several challenges when implementing PhET simulations. Challenges included difficulty using new technology, time constraints, particularly within the content-dense, exam-oriented, and teacher-centered education system, and a lack of pedagogical skills and sound content knowledge to take full advantage of PhET. Despite these challenges, the teachers believed that PhET simulations could enhance student learning and increase student interest and engagement in STEM Education. The teachers recognized PhET simulations’ potential as a supplement to hands-on activities for Bangladeshi secondary science education. This study suggests options to mitigate some of the challenges identified by participants. Solutions range from booklets and Bengali YouTube instructional videos to a flipped classroom approach, which requires students to access the simulations from home. Additional teacher professional development was also identified as a key strategy to support technology integration and the development of pedagogical skills needed to integrate PhET simulations into practice. Participants believed that as more curriculum-relevant simulations are developed, this technology will revolutionize Bangladeshi science education. Further study is needed to examine how building a professional learning community focused on the use of PhET-enhanced pedagogies might alleviate teachers’ challenges in incorporating this technology to engage students in inquiry-based science learning.

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