Education is formation of conscious competence in realistic context. It is very important for the above-mentioned to correspond with children’s interests and facilitate active education. Based on the above-mentioned, education process should be focused on creation of such environment, which will enable construction of knowledge. In such environment the student should be given motivation to find solution of the problem individually by means of research and experiments. The student should be encouraged to ask questions, study and associate different objects or different opinions on the same object, present an argument during the working process.
In the sphere of contemporary education the process of teaching and studying is considered as the process during which not only exchange of knowledge is taking place but also the knowledge is transferred by the student means of his social environment.
Information and communication technologies are one of the main components of educational environment, which facilitates construction of knowledge. Besides, computer technologies facilitate increase of student’s motivation; it enables education process to get beyond the classroom in time and space and become open at most. By means of communication technologies the teacher and the student may discover information, which is really necessary for settlement of particular issue and involve into educational process people, having direct connection with current educational activities (for example, colleagues from other schools, representatives of academic circles and people working on similar issues).
During the process of construction of knowledge it is necessary that the new conception, object or procedure is introduced and apprehended in realistic context. It is not so simple. Transferring of real circumstances to class environment is not always possible. For example: application of visual and laboratory tests during the education process. Besides the fact that all of the above-mentioned require material resources, such means may be used for realization of restricted amount and small scale events.
Settlement of this very issue is addressed by the simulation type educational programs. Simulation software is based on the process of modeling a real phenomenon. The program allows the user to observe an operation through simulation without actually performing that operation. Moreover, observation process may be repeated as many times as necessary. It is especially important in such spheres where it is complicated and sometimes impossible to hold and repeat real experiment several times (for example in economics, social sciences, biology). Application of such software in physics and chemistry will allow us to prevent from purchasing expensive equipment and materials. In addition to simplification of visual observation one of advantages of simulation software is that it makes possible registration and usage of quantitative measures for better studying of the phenomenon.
To make it more obvious we may specify advantages of using simulation software during educational process:
- Studying of phenomenon in real circumstances without observation;
- Repetition: it is possible to simulate/repeat phenomenon without restrictions;
- Ability to change parameters: you may change parameters in a way which is often very complicated or impossible, for example: decrease or increase of temperature during chemical tests; journey through time during simulation of historic events; to develop velocity similar to velocity of light during simulation of physical phenomenon;
- Registration of data: registration of data during real phenomenon or laboratory test demands special means and is quite difficult. This process is very simplified in computer simulations;
- Security: sometimes laboratory tests and observation over real events are connected to some risks, for example: implementation of chemical tests using some acids, implementation of physical tests using electric circuits.
Notwithstanding the above-mentioned advantages, it should be noted that such software has only auxiliary assignment and it is not able to substitute real experiment or observation over real events. Observation is very important for development of researching skills of the student.
Student’s attitude towards computer technologies during education process, for instance quiz maker software is equally important as these instruments. They are most effective when integrated with the activity connected to construction of student’s knowledge. Besides, the process of construction of knowledge should not be hampered due to students’ (as well as teacher’s) insufficient competence.
Student must be capable of using computer software indicated by the teacher but also he must be capable of choosing corresponding instrument independently. The student must determine whether the issue may be settled without computer (for example only by means of paper and pencil).
Competencies of application of information communication technologies may be divided into three levels:
- Knowledge of user software on the level, enabling students to use the mentioned instruments for handling of the material, for example: entering the text, sticking of photo into the document, entering of numerical data and implementation of simple calculations in accordance with previously indicated scheme, indication of right answers in quiz maker program;
- Skills of independent creation of simple model by means of instruments. For example: independent elaboration of design during creation of text material loaded with graphics and execution; creation of corresponding form and execution by means of indicated instruments (for example: elaboration of table, diagram, graphics);
- Independent choosing and usage of corresponding technological means, determination of adequacy of used software in accordance with the issue, for example: determination of which option is better for keeping and processing of data – simple electron table or data base; determination of which graphic editor is better for handling of graphic material or if it is necessary to use any graphical material at all; while elaborating presentation amount in which it is better to use visual materials in the way that it does draw attention from main issues.
Application of instruments should enable the student to think and apprehend. The above-mentioned activity should make the student want to study: what he may discover? What links can he make? What conclusions may be drawn? How can new discovery be explained? Instrument should be connected and based on student’s knowledge and skills: on the initial stage of choosing technology, the student should implement realization of what he knows. Connection to real phenomenon and its apprehension should be implemented by means of an instrument. This should facilitate arrangement of cooperative activity and what is more important student should be given as fewer directives while using computer as possible: it is preferable that the student acquires skills of using functional elements of technologies by method of discovery. This activates thinking process, facilitates development of skill of making discoveries and at the same time improves competencies connected with technologies.
One of the most important spheres of education process, where information and communication technologies may be effectively used is evaluation. Automation of evaluation process includes evaluation of student by means of standard test assignment. Similar assignment may be created by means of widespread office programs as well as by means of special quiz maker software. This kind of software allows to create a knowledge database, which is maintained in structured form. Many quiz maker software also allows to analyze results of evaluation which is very important while definitive estimation. On the basis of results on the analysis the teacher may adjust teaching strategy in accordance with strong and weak sides of the student.