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Masters Degrees (Science and Technology Education)

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    The effectiveness of kitchen chemistry in developing science process skills in high school physical sciences.
    (2022) Mkhaliphi, Zimele Nonkanyiso.; Chirikure, Tamirirofa.
    The purpose of the study was to explore the effectiveness of kitchen chemistry (KC) in developing science process skills (SPS) in high school Physical Sciences. KC refers to using the available tools, materials and household chemicals in performing practical work at home, that is, in the kitchen to provide familiar environments in which learners can participate in practical work without being bound to curriculum time. This study was stimulated by the persisting decline in performance in Physical Sciences in examinations requiring SPS competency. To answer the research questions, a mixed methods research was conducted. Thirty Physical Sciences Grade 12 learners of a rural secondary school in UMkhanyakude District were purposively sampled. Data were generated through pre-tests, post-tests, semi-structured questionnaires and analysis of the documents. Quantitative data were analysed using SPSS. Qualitative data were analysed to isolate and understand salient themes comprehensively. KC was understood as a strategy where kitchen tools and materials are used in learning. It emerged that there was a significant statistical difference in performance after engaging in KC. The learners reported the KC activities as fun and meaningful ways in which learning and understanding of science concepts could occur. Besides, KC activities were effective in stimulating the development of SPS and encouraging knowledge construction. Therefore, it is recommended that Physical Sciences teachers integrate suitable KC activities into their science lessons teaching and planning. The researcher recommends that curriculum developers include the use of KC as one of the suggested alternatives to schools where laboratory resources are limited.
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    Dynamical mass estimates of Sunyaev-Zel'dovich E_ect selected galaxy clusters in the millennium gas simulations.
    (2016) Mthembu, Nhlakanipho Kwazi.; Hilton, Matt.
    Abstract To extract and make estimates of the cosmological parameters requires knowledge of the cluster mass. Cluster mass is not directly observable but can be predicted by numerical simulations of structure formation and can be inferred from observable proxies for mass. One way to nd a cluster is by the Sunyaev-Zel'dovich (SZ) e ect, caused by the inverse Compton scattering of photons from the cosmic microwave background (CMB) by hot gas in clusters. The observable SZ e ect signal (Y , the integrated Comptonisation parameter) does correlate well with cluster dynamical mass. The cluster mass can be estimated from measuring the one dimensional (1D) line-of-sight (LOS) velocity dispersion ( v) of galaxies in clusters, however, depending on the type of galaxies selected, such measurements may be subject to biases. We investigate this issue using simulated cluster and galaxy catalogues produced by the Millennium Gas Simulations Project. We aim to design an optimal observing strategy which is important for future dynamical mass measurements of Atacama Cosmology Telescope (ACT) clusters that aim to use the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) for much larger studies of dynamical mass measurements (M500). We describe the methods used to make mock cluster catalogues by following the same procedure used in multi-object spectroscopic observations with the Robert Stobie Spectroi graph. In our case we applied a di erent number of slits masks for targeting the galaxy clusters and investigate the impact it has on the recovered v and estimated M500. We do this for both an idealized case (100% redshift z completeness), and for a realistic case, where redshift completeness decreases for fainter objects. We calculate the velocity dispersion ( v) of each cluster at z = 0.3 using galaxies selected as members only, and then use galaxy cluster scaling relations derived from N-body/hydrodynamic simulations to estimate the cluster dynamical mass M500. The recovered velocity dispersion is almost unbiased (1.5􀀀2%) but with much bigger scatter (12􀀀18%). We found that the bias of the estimated M500 for 100% z completeness is less than that for the realistic z incompleteness, which is as expected. For realistic redshift completeness, the bias in recovered M500 ranges from 11􀀀30%. The ultimate goal for this project is to determine how many masks we need to use per cluster, and how many clusters in total we need, to make a reasonable measurement of the Y500D2A 􀀀 v relation, since the observing time on a queue-scheduled telescope such as SALT is quantized by how many masks are allocated to each cluster. Using a Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) method to t the Y500D2A 􀀀 v relation, we found that the recovered slope of the relation has less bias when using a large sample of clusters with poor quality v measurements, as compared to a smaller sample of clusters with high quality v measurements.
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    Exploring Grade 10 learners’ engagement with the Kahoot game in Physical Sciences: action research study in Umgungundlovu District.
    (2022) Mbokazi, Nontokozo.; Sibanda, Doras.
    Digital educational games can enhance learners’ engagement in learning different concepts. This action research study, therefore, endeavoured to enhance learners’ engagement when learning Physical Sciences via a digital Kahoot game-based learning tool. The qualitative study was carried out with one grade 10 Physical Sciences class, consisting of ten female participants who all opted to participate in this study. Five action research cycles were followed to respond to the research questions. The first action research cycle was conducted by a pre- and postintervention questionnaire that was administered to recognise any shift in learners’ engagement. Learners were then asked to complete diary entries concerning their emotional, behavioural, and cognitive engagement after each of the three Kahoot games played. A teacher log was used to allow reflection concerning the implementation of the intervention. The learners and the researcher spent more time on reflection in the 2nd- 4th action research cycles to implement changes for improving engagement. Learner interviews were conducted finally, with five participants to gain further insight into their engagement. Based on the evidence obtained from the data collection tools, the participants in the study found learning Physical Sciences prior to the game interesting because of watching videos and conducting practical investigations. They viewed Kahoot to be more interesting, exciting, and fun. Learners were not cognitively engaged with learning Physical Sciences via the Kahoot game because it has a cognitively undemanding nature. The outcome was not exactly what was anticipated. That is, I had concealed strong suspicions that the Kahoot game would increase all three dimensions of engagement positively. However, the findings indicated that learning Physical Sciences via the Kahoot game increases two out of three learner engagement dimensions. The findings that emerge from this study will inform the way games and used to promote the teaching and learning of Physical Sciences.
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    The effectiveness of YouTube videos in developing process skills in grade 10 Life Sciences curriculum.
    (2022) Mbanjwa, Nobuhle Priscilla.; Chirikure, Tamirirofa.
    For effective science enquiry and acquisition of concepts in science learning, learners should have a good mastery of the science process skills (SPS). SPS are the fundamental components of problem-solving, critical thinking and enquiry in science. The main objective of this study was to establish the effectiveness of YouTube videos in developing SPS in the Grade 10 Life Sciences curriculum. The study was framed by a model of evaluating the effectiveness of YouTube videos. It was supported by the theories of constructivism and active learning. The pre-test and post-test and a semi-structured questionnaire were administered to 100 conveniently selected Grade 10 Life Sciences learners of a secondary school in KwaZulu Natal. Quantitative data were analysed using descriptive statistics, which comprised a t-test. Qualitative data were analysed using a thematic analysis method. The null hypothesis was that there was no statistically significant difference between the performance of learners in the pretest and post-test. The results of the study revealed that there was a statistically significant difference in the learner’s post-test performance. The YouTube videos had a significant impact on the development of skills such as inferring, interpreting data, constructing a hypothesis, communicating and predicting, as these showed an average increase of 40,2%. The learners demonstrated a positive perception of YouTube videos, as they improved their development of SPS. Hence, it was recommended that teachers incorporate relevant YouTube videos and design effective practical tasks to enhance and elevate
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    Exploring the impact of the use of technologies on accounting lecturers’ pedagogy during online teaching.
    (2022) Machaka, Mokgadi Elsa.; Singh-Pillay, Asheena.
    The adoption of online learning by many institutions has become essential since December 2019, when COVID-19 cases began to manifest all over the world. South Africa's lockdown, which began on March 26, 2020, compelled higher education institutions to employ alternative teaching strategies and offer online support to students. Academic activities had to continue during this crucial period, even though students and lecturers were not in the typical classroom setting. This study sought to explore the impact of the use of the effects of technology on TVET accounting lecturers' pedagogy during online teaching under COVID-19 conditions. The study was guided by the interpretive paradigm, and adopted a case study design with a methodological approach because it had a qualitative design. Purposive sampling was used to select 12 accounting lecturers and convenience sampling was used to select the research site. Data was generated via questionnaires, observations, and interviews. The Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT) framed this study at a theoretical level. Age, lecturers' level of experience, and openness to learning were the three constructs used to build the conceptual framework in the UTAUT model. The main findings revealed that accounting lecturers had access to a variety of technological tools, but they preferred to use the laptop and internet. The use of technologies impacted accounting lecturers’ pedagogy in terms of instructional design, teaching, and personal growth. Technology has changed how they use their in-depth subject knowledge to design stimulating lessons and tasks that have inspired student centred learning. Since they needed to improve their familiarity with technology, their knowledge of it and content, as well as their understanding of best practices and online teaching pedagogy, lecturers created their own learning communities. The factors that constrain accounting lecturers’ use of technology in the classroom was determined to be a lack of training for online teaching.
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    Grade 11 Civil Technology teachers’ practice of promoting active learning during the teaching of graphic communication.
    (2022) Hove, Sithembile.; Singh-Pillay, Asheena.
    Graphic communication is a language of communication that is used for visual representation and expression of ideas and concepts. In the field of engineering and the manufacturing industry, graphic communication is useful for the design, development, manufacture of products and construction of structures and systems throughout the world (Lockhart, 2018). Graphic communication forms the backbone of all design operations that work within a framework, ranging from conceptual design, detailing of drawing specifications, analysis, interpretation of graphic text and iterative re-design, to making working drawings prior to manufacture of artefacts, assembling of mechanical components and construction of building structures (Dobelis, 2019). Graphic communication is a fundamental part of Civil Technology (CT) embedded in the CT curriculum. Through graphic communication skills, learners are taught how to read, interpret, design, and draw civil drawings using freehand or instrument drawing techniques guided by the South African National Standards (SANS) code of practice for building drawings – SANS 0143. The graphic communication skills in CT include among others, the ability to draw orthographic projections of floor plans, elevations and sectional elevations of single and double storey buildings, interpretation of site plans, detailed drawing of building features such as foundations, staircases, doors and door frame installations, cavity walls, plan and front elevation courses of brick walls in English and stretcher bond, arches, roof trusses, and so forth (Education, 2014). The National Senior Certificate (NSC) examiners and moderators’ reports for CT from 2016 to 2019 reflect learners’ remarkable ineptitude with regard to graphic communication skills. The diagnostic reports highlight learners’ poor performance on examination questions that test for graphic communication skills. The following common mistakes and misconceptions have been established from the CT NSC Examination diagnostic reports for 2018 and 2019: learners struggle to read and interpret graphic text correctly; misinterpretation of dimensions; failure to apply scale correctly on drawings; and incorrect representation of SANS symbols on drawings (Education, 2018; 2019). On a yearly basis, at professional development meetings organised by the department of education and facilitated by subject advisors, teachers are made aware of the areas that learners perform poorly in, yet learners continue to perform poorly in graphic communication. This study explores grade 11 Civil Technology teachers’ practice of promoting active learning during teaching of graphic communication lessons, using a case study of uMgungundlovu district, KwaZulu-Natal. The theoretical framework that guides this study is underpinned by the qualities of effective teachers (Stronge, 2018). A qualitative case study design approach to inquiry was used to generate data through a questionnaire, semi-structured individual interviews, focus group interviews and analysis of lesson plan portfolios and recorded graphic communication lessons. Purposive sampling was used to identify the respondents for this study. Data collected was subjected to content and thematic analysis. The findings of the study reveal that there are three ways in which grade 11 CT teachers promote active learning when teaching graphic communication. These are: chalkboard illustration/demonstration; explanation of concepts and field excursions; and learners draw and make projects to link theory and the practical. Teachers actively engage learners in graphic communication lessons in four ways, namely: giving learners individual drawing activities to complete in class; group discussions and activities; use of digital projector to show videos and pictures; and making models, simulations and giving learners enrichment exercises outside the classroom. Research findings further reveal that all CT teachers encounter challenges when promoting active learning in teaching of graphic communication. These include challenges encountered when teaching theory and practical lessons, and learners’ misconceptions on site plans, floor plans and calculation of perimeter and area of site and proposed building. The challenges encountered emanate from contextual factors that constrain the teaching of graphic communication, namely: lack of drawing equipment; learners’ lack of motivation with the subject and not submitting tasks; too much workload for teachers; lack of access to modern technology such as internet; insufficient time to cover the expected content; and underresourced workshops to perform practical lessons. My findings illustrate that a combination of contextual factors and teachers’ pedagogical knowledge, pedagogical content knowledge or subject matter knowledge and their classroom practices impede the promotion of active learning when teaching grade 11 graphic communication lessons. This problem manifests itself in poor quality NSC results at matric level when learners exit the school system. The findings of this study point towards suggestions and recommendations of professional development intervention programmes to support CT teachers in their endeavours to promote active learning when teaching graphic communication in uMgungundlovu district.
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    Exploring grade 10 physical sciences learners’ views and preferences of instructional strategies in electricity.
    (2022) Dhlamini, Thulani Zakhele.; Molefe, Leonard.; Govender, Nadaraj.
    Physical Sciences is one of the subjects perceived by high school learners in South Africa and beyond as difficult. The examiners’ report from Department of Basic Education over the years have highlighted a poor performance in Electricity in the National Senior Certificate examinations. The researcher was then curious to find out other means of improving conceptual understanding of the topic in question. The aim of this research is to investigate Grade 10 Physical Sciences learners’ views and preferences of Instructional Strategies in Electricity. Instructional Strategies also known as “teaching strategies” give direction and approaches teachers have to follow in order to achieve the fundamental aims of instruction. The study explored three aspects: firstly, Grade 10 Physical Sciences learners’ views concerning Instructional Strategies used in Electricity. Secondly, the experiences of Instructional Strategies (i.e., teacher guidance, practical work and computer simulations) the present learners preferred during the exploration research. Thirdly, to understand factors that motivated learners to prefer the Instructional Strategies the way they do. The research approach in this study is qualitative. This approach allowed the researcher to generate data directly from the learners through constant interactions while observing their behaviour within their context. A sample of twenty-five Grade 10 Physical Science learners was conveniently selected from one of the township schools in Umlazi. Case study research design was adopted. This design was an exploratory type, treating learners as both the case and the unit of the study. An interpretive approach complemented with action research was used to collect data through questionnaires, video recordings and one-on-one interview for triangulation purposes. The transcripts further assisted in the formulation of themes that were used to answer the research questions. The analysis and interpretation of results indicate that learners enjoy the presence of their teacher in the classroom helping them throughout the lesson when working on assessments and practical experiments, which is why demonstration was selected as the most favourable Instructional Strategy amongst others. Furthermore, it was clear that teacher guidance was selected as the most preferred IS by the learners in comparison with practical work and computer simulation.
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    Understanding teachers’ integration of information and communication technology (ICT) in teaching Grade 7 natural sciences.
    (2022) Zungu, Nkosinathi Victor.; Govender, Nadaraj.; Good, Mary-Anne.
    Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) have evolved into the most fundamental component of modern industrial civilization. Many countries have now acknowledged, adopted and are starting to master and understand basic ICT skills and knowledge. The South African Department of Basic Education has also taken the initiative to implement ICT integrated teaching by providing ICT resources to schools. Teachers in South Africa are now confronted with an educational shift that challenge their technical skills as well as their knowledge and pedagogical expertise in the use of ICT in the classroom. Therefore, this study seeks to understand how teachers use Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) to integrate Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in their teaching of Natural Sciences in Grade 7. The study was carried out at three primary schools in the KwaDukuza region of the iLembe District, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. It was focused towards teachers who were already incorporating ICT into their teaching of Grade 7 Natural Sciences. This qualitative study involved three teachers purposefully selected from these schools. Data were gathered from document analysis, questionnaire, lesson observations, and semi-structured interviews. Teachers were observed teaching different topics of the Grade 7 Natural Sciences curriculum, such as Water Cycle, Solar System and Tides. The data collection were based on action research methodology and were done in two cycles. The collected data were analysed using thematic analysis, the categories and emerging themes formed the main findings of the study. The findings revealed that all three teachers had basic ICT skills such as using digital projector connected to their laptop to teach Grade 7 Natural Sciences but were poorly integrating ICT into their lessons. Teachers did encounter some difficulties in their classrooms, such as a lack of internet connection and insufficient resources, but they remain optimistic and eager to incorporate ICT into their teaching. Teachers further stated that they favour technology enhanced teaching over traditional teaching because it allows them to explain complex content more easily in a visual manner. They do have a positive attitude towards ICT but need advanced professional development in integrating ICT pedagogically. The participants feel that ICT can be utilized to improve Grade 7 Natural Sciences teaching and learning since it captures learners' interest and motivates their learning.
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    Grade 9 learners’ views concerning the environment: a correlation study in Msunduzi and the Midlands, Kwazulu-Natal.
    (2022) Kassier, Talita.; Molefe, Leonard Musetsi.
    Environmental justice is one of the leading principles infused throughout the National Curriculum Statement (NCS) Grades R-12 (DBE, 2011). The NCS places an emphasis on an active and critical approach to learning. Furthermore, the curriculum envisages learners that are able to use “scientific knowledge responsibly in the interest of ourselves, of society and the environment” (p. 9; emphases added). It is evident in all the specific aims of the learning area (Natural Sciences) that environmental awareness is encouraged (DBE, 2011). Additionally, there is a focus on the significance of affective objectives in the development of EE in South Africa (Reddy, 2011). This study sought to explore Grade 9 learners’ views concerning the environment. Three constructs – perceptions, attitudes and behaviour – were investigated as indicators of their (learners’) views. The theoretical framework for this study maintained that a balance between perceptions (education about the environment), attitudes (education in the environment), and behaviour (education for the environment) would lead to effective EE that could bring about attitude and behaviour changes for sustainable living. Furthermore, factors that shaped the learners’ views concerning the environment were explored. This study used an explanatory sequential mixed methods design. Quantitative data were collected through a survey of 354 Grade 9 learners in Msunduzi and the Midlands, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, to establish their views concerning the environment. The second qualitative phase collected in-depth data through open-ended questions and from six individuals taking part in a focus group interview. The two sets of data were integrated to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the sample of Grade 9 learners’ views concerning the environment. The quantitative findings indicated that Grade 9 learners in the sample had high perceptions (M = 4.16 [out of possible 5]) and lower attitudes (M = 3.76) concerning the environment. The findings also showed lowest scores in terms of the learners’ behaviour (M = 3.61) concerning the environment. The quantitative data further suggested a significant correlation between learners’ perceptions and their attitudes (r = 0.56) concerning the environment, as well as between their attitudes and behaviour (r = 0.60). However, the low correlation between the learners’ perceptions and behaviour (r = 0.33) could show the low impact that merely increasing environmental knowledge has on behaviour. This study further indicated the importance of the affective domain in altering behaviour concerning the environment. The qualitative data revealed some of the significant influences our learners respond to in relation to forming their environmental views, for instance the use of media, education in the environment for actual observations of their surroundings, and the influence of significant persons as role models. These could be incorporated in EE to better engage learners with content concerning the environment. The overall results suggested that Grade 9 learners in this study had positive perceptions concerning the environment, compared to less positive attitudes and virtually negative behaviour. The findings from this study could be used by teachers and policymakers to better incorporate ESD principles and improve EE praxis with Grade 9 learners in South African schools.
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    Towards decolonising a unit of work in the curriculum: exploring the inclusion of scientists of non-western descent in the science curriculum, by pre-service teachers.
    (2021) Khan, Riaan Kazan.; Mudaly, Ronicka.
    Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statements of 2010, was established after 1994 to deal with several things such as gender and racial inequalities in education. However, women and individuals of non-western descent continue to be under-represented in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) careers, while white, euro-western men dominate in these fields. This study provided an opportunity to pre-service teachers to analyse the school science curriculum in South Africa. To develop a lesson plan based on a unit of work in the science curriculum in which they could incorporate scientists of non-western descent. This qualitative study was located in critical and decolonial theory. Data generation involved; document analysis of lesson plans which pre-service teachers were instructed to develop within groups and individual interviews which were conducted via WhatsApp. Participants were sampled from the registered stream of students in the Natural Sciences 211 module of the first semester of the 2020 academic year. The implication of the findings was that white euro-western male scientists continue to be perpetuated as the holders of scientific knowledge in school science education. This study concludes by proposing that curriculum designers portray males and females of non-western descent as equal producers of scientific knowledge, therefore addressing the colonial nature of the school science curriculum. In this way, more conducive environments for science teaching and learning will be attained, and possibly advance female and non-western representation and participation in STEM fields.
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    A self-study of a novice teacher’s experiences of using information and communication technology (ICT) in teaching grade 10 physical sciences.
    (2020) Njoko, Nqobile Antonia.; Govender, Nadaraj.; Good, Mary-Anne.
    The purpose of this study is to improve my technological pedagogical and content knowledge (TPACK) in teaching grade 10 Physical Sciences. I use my experiences of ICT in education to understand my current teaching as a novice teacher. To improve my pedagogy through the use of ICT in teaching Physical Sciences Grade 10 learners in the topic Wave Sound and Light. I have obtained feedback on my teaching using ICT through the views of learners and critical friends. The methodical approach used is self-study, as it lends itself to analysis and reflection of one’s own teaching. Three research questions guided my study. The first research question was: How do my past experiences of information and communication technology (ICT) in education influence my teaching pedagogy as a novice teacher? To address this question, I used memory work, artefact retrieval and pictures to recall my past experiences with ICT. This question helped me look back on my own education, how I learnt to use ICT tools and how ICT was used in my own learning. This reflection made me appreciate having learned how to use ICT at school because I had not been exposed to it at home or in the community. My second research question was: What are learners’ responses to my teaching after the use of information and communication technology (ICT) in Grade 10 Physical Sciences? Data was generated through questionnaires and interviews for Grade 10 Physical Sciences learners after each lesson in waves, sound or light where ICT had been used. I found that learners’ responses fell into four dimensions, which were social, psychological, cognitive and learning styles. From these dimensions, I perceived that the use of ICT stimulated learners’ interest, improved their conceptual understanding but it did not guarantee their sustained involvement. My third question was: How can I learn information communication technology (ICT) pedagogical tools and use them to better teach Grade 10 Physical Sciences? In answering this question, I reflected on the views of friends who had observed and critiqued my lessons using ICT. Being the main participant, I reflected on my lessons with the help of an audio recording and reflective journal. I then reflected on my growth as a science teacher using ICT, in terms of science-personal knowledge and skills and on education views and perspectives in general.
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    Exploring the development of TSPCK of grade six natural science and technology pre-service teachers: a case for matter and materials.
    (2021) Naidoo, Rosann Chantel.; Alant, Busisiwe Precious.
    The literature suggests that pre-service teachers lack an integrated Natural Science and Technology pedagogical content knowledge and as a result cannot make good pedagogical decisions in classroom practice. This study argues for the place and space of adequately trained Natural Science and Technology specialists with an integrated understanding of Natural Science and Technology, who can plan, design, implement, and reflect on suitable instructional strategies and classroom activities that would promote the envisioned integrated curriculum for the Intermediate Phase. It therefore endeavoured to understand the process of engagement and the types of understandings that come to the fore when pre-service Natural Science and Technology teachers are exposed to active learning aimed to develop their topic-specific pedagogical content knowledge in an integrated way. The focus was on Matter and Materials and Processing in the knowledge strands of Natural Science and Technology. Using an exploratory case study methodology, the study addressed the following two questions: (i) How do we engage Grade 6 Natural Science and Technology pre-service teachers to elicit their understanding of an integrated Natural Science and Technology curriculum through concept mapping? and (ii) How do Grade 6 Natural Science and Technology pre-service teachers represent their understanding of an integrated Natural Science and Technology curriculum through concept mapping? W.r.t. Research Question 1, the four-phase engagement process of using concept mapping by Wang which was adapted to three for the purposes of this study, showed that when these phases are combined with a framework of Topic specific Pedagogical Content Knowledge as proposed by in the literature, does indeed, promote the graphical representation of facts, concepts, and relationships; aids in the construction and retainment of knowledge as well as clarity and a deeper meaning of knowledge through communication. After the concept mapping activity was completed, the Grade 6 Natural Science and Technology pre-service teachers had a full view of their prior Grade 4 to 6 Content Knowledge in topics and concepts pertaining to Matter and Materials and Processing. This holistic view of the concept maps also exposed to the Grade 6 Natural Science and Technology pre-service teachers’ various gaps in their prior Grade 4 to 6 Content Knowledge and misconceptions that may have possibly formed earlier on in primary school. The findings suggest that Natural Science and Technology pre-service teachers’ understanding of an integrated Natural Science and Technology curriculum could be elicited by engagement using instructional strategies and a concept mapping activity to promote the development of an integrated Topic Specific Pedagogical Content Knowledge in Matter and Materials in Natural Science and Processing in Technology. W.r.t. Research Question 2, two understandings of integration were elicited which were spread through the eight categories. • Understanding 1: Integration of two processes: the scientific and design processes • Understanding 2: Integration of various Natural Science and Technology topics and concepts. Understanding 1 was held by nine (22,5%) pre-service teachers, whilst Understanding 2 was held by 31 (77,5%). The first understanding was derived from one category where an integrated NST was perceived as an: Integration of two processes: Scientific and Design processes. The second understanding was derived from seven categories, where an integrated Natural Science and Technology was perceived as the integration of Grade 4 to 6 Natural Science and Technology topics and concepts. It is significant to note that it is these nine pre-service teachers in Category 1, who successfully identified the problematic (lack of provisions of clean water in rural contexts) and applied their understanding of an integrated NST curriculum to solve an authentic, real-world context (in this case, the water and sanitation problems in the uGu district in the KZN region). This study offers a glimpse into the opportunities that could be afforded when Natural Science and Technology pre-service teachers acquire a deep conceptual understanding of these two subject disciplines. They could, make good pedagogical decisions on designing effective activities related to evolving Content Knowledge to teach the integration of Natural Science and Technology. In teaching practice, Natural Science and Technology pre-service teachers who have developed a strong Pedagogical Content Knowledge of integrated Natural Science and Technology will begin to motivate Intermediate Phase learners to see relevance and importance of studying science and technology in high school and higher education. Consequently, these learners will follow science and technology career paths and may possibly become prolific citizens who could contribute to our country’s science, technology and innovation in the future.
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    Exploring how Science teachers engage with the curriculum to teach socially responsive Science.
    (2020) Naidoo, Thishen.; Mudaly, Ronicka.
    Abstract available in PDF.
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    Secondary school learners' intuitive modelling strategies for solving problems in kinematics.
    (2000) Chetty, Pritha Devi.; De Villiers, Michael David.
    Abstract available in the PDF.
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    Exploring understandings of key concepts in electric circuits: a case of 20 grade 11 Physical Sciences learners in uMgungundlovu District collaboratively constructing concept maps.
    (2020) Gumede, Mpumelelo Blessing.; Kolobe, Lebala Miriam.
    This study presents an action research project on teaching and learning where understanding of fundamental concepts and their relationships in electric circuits were explored. A sample of 20 Grade 11 Physical Sciences learners was conveniently selected from one of the township schools in the uMgungundlovu District. A single case design was used, treating learners as both a case and the unit of the study. An interpretive approach was used to collect data in the form of concept maps, audio discussions, and a semi-structured interview. A series of three concept mapping sessions were conducted to probe and deepen learners’ understanding of the relationships between key concepts in circuits as reported in the literature, including the Department of Basic Education’s diagnostic reports over the years. A semi-structured interview focused learners’ conceptual understanding of key concepts in electric circuits after undergoing teaching activities and collaborative concept mapping. Analysis and interpretation of the results indicated that learners understand that there is a significant relationship between the potential difference, resistance, and current in an electric circuit known as the Ohm’s Law. This relationship was expressed both descriptively and in mathematical form. Although learners showed expected understanding of the relationship between key concepts in electric circuits, they still had issues when it came to providing scientific reasons as to why the circuit behaved that way. This was an indication that more emphasis needed to be put in the discussion of the cause and effect of concepts in electric circuits. The findings of this study also revealed that learners rarely use their prior knowledge when constructing a concept map to deepen their understanding of new concepts as suggested by the literature. While there were some noticeable improvements in their understanding of the Ohm’s Law, it was also found that some learners had alternative conceptions regarding the relationship between the power source and the electric current in a circuit. Another alternative conception was related to the views that learners have about the voltmeter readings which hindered them from fully understanding the concept of potential difference. Learners also showed alternative understanding related to windmills and how they are used in the real world. Some alternative conceptions, such as the power supply alternative conception, were successfully addressed during teaching. However, the meanings attributed to the voltmeter reading alternative conception remained unchanged throughout the study despite attempts to address them. The study therefore proposes that concept maps should be used with several other teaching aids such as PhET simulations to help learners navigate through their difficulties and simplify the process of learning key concepts in electric circuits.
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    Mainstreaming climate smart technology adaptation in Msinga’s farmers’ everyday agricultural practices through university, smallholding farming community and government partnerships: the place and space for indigenous knowledge systems.
    (2020) Nwokocha, Godson Chinenye.; Alant, Busisiwe Precious.
    This study adopted the Sustainable Livelihood Approaches (SLA) and the Quintuple Helix Innovation Model (QHIM) to explore the mainstreaming of climate smart technology adaptation in the everyday agricultural practices of smallholder farmers in Msinga, KwaZulu-Natal, through partnerships amongst university, government and smallholder farmers. Guided by an exploratory qualitative case study research design, involving questionnaires (open and closed-ended), document analysis and focus group interviews, the study was divided into two phases, namely, a preliminary and a main study. The preliminary study explored the knowledge and awareness of Msinga smallholder farmers about climate change and the accessibility as well as the suitability of support services available to them. In this regard, the current agricultural extension practitioners within Msinga were engaged to ascertain their level of competency to offer climate-related extension services to smallholder farmers within Msinga. Equally, the education and training programme of pre-service agricultural extension practitioners of one of the higher education institutions in KwaZulu-Natal was analysed to determine its suitability in training future extension practitioners. The second phase of the study explored the existence or non-existence of partnerships between the stakeholders engaged in this study as well as the roles played by each stakeholder group in these partnerships. Furthermore, the type of Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) as well as Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) promoted in these partnerships were explored. The findings from the preliminary study revealed that Msinga smallholder farmers are indeed aware and knowledgeable about climate change. Their knowledge and awareness were classified into four categories, namely, evidence of climate change, causes of climate change, effects of climate change and solutions to climate change. Furthermore, the findings showed that a good number of the in-service agricultural extension practitioners are not adequately equipped to offer extension services related to climate change to farmers, when considered in terms of their level of qualification, exposure to content related to climate change during training and in-service training on climate change. This confirmed the view in the literature that most agricultural extension practitioners in smallholder farming contexts in South Africa lack the requisite knowledge and skills to facilitate adaptation to climate change. In tracing the root of this problem through research question three in the preliminary study, it was revealed that content related to climate change and climate change adaptation was not accommodated in the pre-service extension programme. However, content related to climate change was implicitly included by academic staff members while teaching topics such as social sustainability, environmental sustainability and economic sustainability. The findings from the main study showed that there are indeed different types of partnerships existing between academia, government and the smallholder farmers. In addition, the findings from the main study showed that the government and academia, as represented by Agricultural Extension and Rural Development lecturers are supporting the farmers through their roles in the direct and indirect partnerships they share. This was contrary to the assertion in some literature that there is a lack of interactions between stakeholders on climate change in developing countries and contexts. The roles played by academia and government stakeholder groups corresponded with the roles of academia and government, as conceived in QHIM, thereby paving way for the attainment of livelihood outcomes of food security, adaptation to climate etc. Again, these finding highlighted that not having the required qualification does not necessarily mean that the extension practitioners are incapable of offering extension services related to climate change adaptation. Surprising, the findings of the main study revealed that farmers were de-centred and hence played no roles in these partnerships, even though they proved to be aware and very knowledgeable about climate change during the preliminary study. This was contrary to the conceived roles of end-users under QHIM. It was found that the partnership between academia and the government promoted one CSA practice, while the partnership between the government and farmers promoted one other CSA practice. Additionally, the findings revealed that the partnership between the government stakeholder group and the farmers promoted six CSA practices while the partnership between the farmers and government yielded two CSA practices. It was significant to note that the highest number of CSA practices were promoted in the partnership between the government and the farmers. This implies that the government stakeholder group are the main drivers of climate change adaptation and sustainable livelihood outcomes in rural Msinga. Interestingly, the CSA practices promoted in these partnerships uphold the three key pillars of climate smart agriculture, namely adaptation, mitigation and food security. Most significantly, is the finding that these partnerships, do indeed, promote the use of indigenous knowledge systems (IKS) in the form of indigenous agricultural practices in the everyday agricultural practices of Msinga smallholder farmers. This means that the place/space of IKS still largely resides with the end-users.
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    Putative HIV-1 reverse transcriptase inhibitors: design, synthesis, in vitro evaluation and in silico analysis.
    (2018) Poonan, Preantha.; Gupthar, Abindra Supersad.
    One of the most significant treatments for HIV-1 infection has been the combination of drugs targeting the HIV life cycle with the aim of preventing further destruction of the host immune system. This study addresses the design, synthesis, in vitro evaluation, and in silico analysis of putative HIV-1 reverse transcriptase (RT) inhibitors. The inhibitors comprise two structurally diverse components which are intended to bind separately to the enzyme allosteric site and to a location at, or close to, the polymerase active site. Therefore, the hydrophobic N-tritylated phalo-DL-phenylalanine derivatives (fluoro, chloro, bromo, iodo) have been coupled to 8-(6- aminohexyl) amino-adenosine-3',5'-cyclic monophosphate through N-hydroxysuccinimidecarbodiimide chemistry. Compounds were characterized by thin layer chromatography, UV spectroscopy, MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry and proton NMR spectrometry. A reverse transcriptase colorimetric assay kit, which features a sandwich ELISA protocol, based on biotin-avidin and digoxygenin-anti DIG interactions, was used for quantitative determination of the inhibitory effect of synthesized compounds on recombinant HIV-1 reverse transcriptase activity in vitro. Molecular docking simulations of the chimeric inhibitors within the allosteric site of HIV-1 RT, were performed using AutoDock Vina. The predicted binding associations were compared with laboratory findings on HIV-1 RT inhibition. Two dimensional representations of protein-ligand interactions were generated using LigPlot. The non-halogenated N-trityl-L-phenylalanine-8-(6-aminohexyl)amino-adenosine-3',5'-cyclic monophosphate derivative (4a) inhibited RT activity down to 57 % at 10-4 M, while the Ntrityl-para-fluoro-DL-phenylalanine-8-(6-aminohexyl)aminoadenosine-3′,5′-cyclic monophosphate derivative (4b) was the strongest RT inhibitor reducing RT activity to 69 % at 10-7 M (IC50 = 29.2 μM). In the same assay, Nevirapine, a first-line anti-retroviral drug, showed a decline in RT activity down to 43% at 10-5 M (IC50 = 3.03 μM). Ranking of inhibitors according to estimated docking energies obtained from in silico docking was in excellent agreement with potencies calculated from experimental studies. The docking score of N-trityl-para-fluoro-DL-phenylalaline-8-(6-aminohexyl)amino-adenosine-3',5'-cyclic monophosphate was -8.8 kcal/mol, while that of Nevirapine was -9.9 kcal/mol. The benzene rings of the N-trityl-fluoro-DL-phenylalanine-8-(6-aminohexyl) amino-adenosine-3',5'-cyclic monophosphate derivative formed hydrophobic interactions with hydrophobic, non-aromatic amino acid residues Pro176 and Val179 in the allosteric site. Nevirapine, on the other hand showed strong van der Waals interactions with Val106 ,Val179 and Tyr188 due to the aromatic properties of the pyridine ring. Possible π-π stacking between phenyl rings of Nevirapine and Tyr 181/Tyr188 aromatic side chains may also be present. Other HIV-1 RT large subunit residues in the allosteric site common to the binding of Nevirapine and the active para-fluoro derivative include Lys101, Tyr318, Leu 100, Trp229 and Phe227. Apparent binding to the allosteric site suggests that compounds may be acting primarily as non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs).
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    Exploring gender representations in selected science textbooks.
    (2019) Ndlovu, Penelope Princess Zandile.; Mudaly, Ronicka.
    South African education policies such as Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statements of 2010, and legislation such as National Education Policy Act of 1997, and South African Schools Act of 1996, were established after 1994 to deal with (among other things) gender inequalities in education. However, women continue to be under-represented in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) careers, while men dominate in these fields. This study provides the analysis of selected science textbooks that are used to teach science in South Africa, to establish if science textbooks could be the reason for women’s under-representation in STEM fields. This qualitative study was located in the critical paradigm and Critical Discourse Analysis was adopted as the method of data generation and analysis. The sample comprised of four purposefully selected science textbooks that are used for teaching and learning from the Intermediate Phase to Further Education and Training phase in the South African context. The Feminist Post-Structuralist Discourse Analysis was used as a lens to guide the interpretation of the findings. The implication of the findings is that science education continues to be permeated with patriarchy. Science teachers have the responsibility to critically evaluate science textbooks to verify whether they are gender inclusive or possess gender bias. In the cases where there is evidence of gender bias, teachers need to point out the bias to the learners. They must then work with learners to develop strategies of how to resist symbolic violence and political ideology presented by print media. This study concludes by proposing that science textbooks portray males and females as producers of scientific knowledge and as possessors of scientific inventions, to address masculinist science that is presented in patriarchal view. In this way conducive environments for science teaching and learning will be attained, and possibly advance women’s representation and participation in STEM fields.
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    Exploring Life Sciences educators’ enactment of resource-based teaching in three rural secondary schools in South Africa.
    (2019) Mahambehlala, Sindile.; Chirikure, Tamirirofa.
    The purpose of the study was to explore Life Sciences educators’ enactment of resource-based teaching. Resource-based teaching refers to the use of teaching and learning resources by educators to mediate the subject curriculum. This study was prompted by the persisting poor performance of Life Sciences learners in the OR Tambo Coastal District and in South Africa at large. To answer the research questions, a qualitative case study was conducted. Six Life Sciences educators from three rural secondary schools in the Eastern Cape were purposively sampled. Two educators were chosen from each school. Data were generated through semi-structured one-on-one interviews, questionnaires, lesson observations and the analysis of documents. The data were later transcribed and analysed to isolate salient themes. The participants understood a resource as a teaching material whereas resource-based teaching was understood as a teaching strategy. It also emerged that Life Sciences educators enacted resource-based teaching through the use of interactive teaching aids, practical work, relevant technology, and resource persons. The participants’ enactment of resource-based teaching was mainly influenced by various factors such as resource availability, the participants’ understanding of resource-based teaching, and technical competence. It is concluded that the participants had a limited understanding of RBT and their enactment of RBT was very basic. Therefore, it is recommended that universities should expose pre-service educators to the use of traditional and unconventional resources, including modern teaching technologies. The researcher further recommends that educators should make use of the readily accessible natural ecosystems in their surroundings to mediate the Life Sciences curriculum and spark learners’ passion for science.