Visualizing the Teaching / Learning Process through Computer Graphics. Visualizing, technology, computer graphics, education

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1 Visualizing the Teaching / Learning Process through Computer Graphics 1 Aghware F. O.; 2 Egbuna E. O.; 3 Aghware A. and 4 Ojugo Arnold 1, 2, 3 Computer Science Department, College of Education, Agbor 4 Computer Science Department, College of Sports and Science, Mosogar Abstract In the past, learners were taught by the act of counting (sticks and stones) which advanced into the ABACUS; representations in form of pictograph and other graphical symbols and items that could be seen and thus served to enhance the teaching and learning process. As technology improved, the visualizing technique and educational capabilities increased correspondingly. For instance the emergence of inexpensive computer and multimedia projectors as well as technologies for mass storage media including optical videodiscs and compact disks has given instructional technologists better tools with which to work. With even newer technologies now being developed, such learning stations have eventually been commonplace in homes for both entertainment and educational purposes. This paper thus emphasises the relevance and in the need to apply computer graphics in knowledge delivery especially at the foundational level and progressively to higher levels of educational systems. Keywords: Visualizing, technology, computer graphics, education 1.0 Introduction Computer Graphics are images created by using a computer. Computer graphics are used in a variety of fields, including entertainment, science, education, medicine, business, and industry. Computer graphics also help make computers easier to use. Graphical user interfaces (GUIs) allow computer users to interact with their computers by selecting small images called icons to execute instructions, eliminating the need to use text commands as much as possible. Teaching and Learning is an integral part of everyone s life. Aghware and Malasowe (2005) submitted that teaching the child with what they can see make more sense to them than mere abstract explanations based on the same concepts. In the natural sense, whatever the eyes sees creates a long lasting impression on the mind than what is heard only. In our world today, computers have been used to create visual impressions in such as charts, pictures, images and clipart which are used to communicate ideas to students in classroom situation. Many of these visual objects enhance the teaching and learning process when employed in deploying complex and abstract concepts to students through computers graphics prepared on slides and presented using multimedia projector. Computer graphics includes almost everything on computers that is not text or sound. Today almost every computer can do some 173

2 graphics and people now expect to control their computer through icons and pictures and simulation thus creating more impact rather than just typing. According to Smith (1982), some experiences with a classroom computer graphics facility are recounted to show how such a facility has changed the views of some instructors teaching mathematics at the college level. The author therefore stressed that teachers are encouraged to search out and seize opportunities to acquire graphics hardware, with the added teaching capabilities promoted. In the same vain, Plant (2009) emphasized the introduction of a visual concept of the number "e" an idea which was suitable for teaching secondary school and undergraduate tertiary students that images can be used for more than just the enhancement of existing material and the addition of pretty pictures to documents. Apart from utilization of computer graphics in prints and television which are seen every day, they have also have an enormous impact in other less public fields. Hence, it is obvious to emphasis the relevance of visualization of the teaching and learning process using computer graphics as a tool in deploying complex and abstract concepts to students for better understanding. 2.0 Application areas of Computer Graphics 2.1 Multimedia Education In the world over, computers have become valuable multimedia educational tools mostly in the classroom. They allow students to learn about a particular topic through written text, sound, graphics, animation, and video. According to Microsoft (2009), nearly every school in the United States has desktop computers available for use by students. Basically, multimedia is the presentation of information using the combination of text, sound, pictures, animation, and video. Common multimedia computer applications include games, learning software, and reference materials. Most multimedia applications include predefined associations, known as hyperlinks that enable users to switch between media elements and topics. Multimedia often enhances the scope of presentation in ways that are similar to the roving associations made by the human mind. 2.2 Education & Training If a picture is worth a thousand words, there can be few more obvious uses for it than in the area of imparting knowledge to others. Berque (2005) suggested that using various pen-based computing devices, including inexpensive graphics tablets that can turn an ordinary laptop or desktop machine into a pen-based system, video tablets, and Tablet PCs, teachers and learners can use these devices to support effective pedagogy in the classroom. As noted previously on Multimedia, text is not a very natural teaching medium. Not only does it have a low information density but it also results in 174

3 processing overheads for the brain, as long as it is a symbolic representation of information that has to be decoded. Still and moving images, on the other hand, usually require no decoding (although they need a lot of interpretation) and have high information densities. Moreover, the human visual system has evolved to be highly efficient at information gathering and processing, so the presentation of information as graphics takes advantage of this natural ability. It would not be accurate to say as yet that visualizing teaching and learning has qualitatively changed the delivery of education and training, although it has certainly significantly enhanced the quality of teaching. Berque (2005) further draw a contrast to science where new technologies open up new avenues of research and change actual scientific practice, the practice of teaching changes slowly and is driven by theories of learning as well as more contingent socio-economic factors. Hence it can therefore be argued that one major factor, of course is the availability of funding, and this means that the use of computer graphics in public education has lagged tremendously behind private training. That is why many corporations are willing to spend large sums on high-end training facilities because of the real productivity gains that can be realised and measured in cash terms. This contrasts with public education where 'productivity' is a more slippery concept and where the information being conveyed is of a different nature from training: broadly speaking education is about techniques and concepts - the How and Why - whereas training concentrates narrowly on the How. Although teaching and learning can be visualized in certain scientific areas, there are a few subjects that would not benefit substantially from the use of computer graphics in their teaching: it's difficult to see how courses in such areas as English Literature, Philosophy, Music, or Religion, could be much enhanced by images whether moving or still. These, though, are the exceptions rather than the rule, and in most subjects the judicious use of manipulated pictures and images can only improve the teaching material. If nothing else, the inclusion of interesting images and sounds can make learning fun, which of course has a positive effect on the student's attitude and thus on knowledge uptake. 3.0 Audiovisual Education Audiovisual education is described as the careful planning, preparation, and use of devices and materials that involve sight, sound, or both for to enhance educational purposes. That is to say, it combines both sound and visual. Among the devices used are still and motion pictures, filmstrips, television, transparencies, audiotapes, records, teaching machines, computers, and videodiscs. The growth of audiovisual education has reflected developments in both technology and learning theory. 4.0 Computer-Based Training Computer-Based Training (CBT) is one aspect of the visualization of the teaching and learning process which involves the use of computers and specially developed tutorial programs for teaching. CBT uses color, graphics, and other attention-getting aids to help maintain interest, and it has both simple and sophisticated 175

4 applications. Series of CBT lessons with an application to give new users a hands-on feel for the program to a great extent improve teaching and learning. 5.0 Tools needed for effective visual classroom teaching and learning The major tools needed to achieve a visual sense in modern day teaching and learning are basically the Information and Communication Technology equipments. These include Computers (Desktops, Laptops/Notebooks, Tablets and Personal Digital Assistants, PDAs) Multimedia Projectors Multimedia speakers Multimedia (Macromedia and Microsoft PowerPoint) Compact Disk Read Only Memory (CDROM), Digital Versatile Disk Read Only Memory (DVDROM) Optical or trackball mouse Closed-circuit Camera systems Satellites Presenter Large memory modules 6.0 Impact of visualizing the teaching/learning process Audiovisual devices can expose students to experiences beyond the classroom, and they can disseminate instruction across large areas, making education accessible to more people. Going by the researches above, visualizing the teaching/learning process has impacted enormously on learners in the following aspects: Accelerated perception Raised achievement in the classroom process Engaged and enthused learners while reduced stress explanations Foster improved written, verbal and virtual communications ideas and concepts Enabled better understanding of abstract concepts Foster effective teaching 7.0 Summary Visualization of teaching and learning has proven to enhance the rate at which learners grasp essential fundamental concepts thus reducing the time spent delivering such concepts and consequently giving room for more learning techniques. Researches 176

5 have shown that more learning occurs when information is received simultaneously in two modalities (vision and hearing, for example) rather than in a single modality like hearing. Furthermore, learning is enhanced when material is organized and that organization is evident to the student. 8.0 Conclusion Charts, pictures, images which are seen with the eyes and appreciated by the mind as well as sounds make learning fun and this of course has a positive effect on the student's attitude thus enhance knowledge. Therefore the integration of wonderful graphics, using computers in no small measure, boost overall teaching/learning process in the classroom. References Aghware F. O. and Malasowe B. O. (2005): Computer Graphics Fundamentals; Ayo- Matt Prints, Benin City Berque D. (2005): Promoting classroom interactivity in computer science courses using laptops, pen-based computers, Tablet PC's, and Dyknow software; Journal of Computing Sciences in Colleges Volume 21, Issue 2, pp Plant A. (2009): Demonstrating e Using Areas under Curves; Australian Senior Mathematics Journal, Vol. 23 No. 1 p Smith D. A. (1982): Using Computer Graphics to Teach Mathematics. Journal of Computers in Mathematics and Science Teaching, Vol1 No. 4 p Encarta

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