The Use of Realia in Distance Learning from Museums

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Title: The Use of Realia in Distance Learning from Museums
Author: Baird, Elizabeth Denton
Advisors: Dr. Harriett Stubbs, Committee Member
Dr. Lundie Spence, Committee Member
Dr. Glenda Carter, Committee Chair
Abstract: The purpose of this case study has been to examine the use of realia, or real objects, in distance learning from the North Carolina Museum of Science. In this case study, videotapes of six distance learning classes were used to observe student behaviors and use of real objects during a program from the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. Additionally the students and teachers from those classes completed surveys about their experiences. Before using the objects, the students appear uncertain about the program, and disinterested. After receiving the objects, the students appear to be engaged in learning. Later when presented with a live animal that is only seen remotely, the students continue to be active participants in the program. At the conclusion of class, the students frequently identify using the realia as a significant part of class, although in the surveys completed after class, the technology was listed as the most important part. The teachers rated the hands-on materials as significant on their surveys. The use of real objects changes the student behaviors in class. The objects generate multiple forms of interactions, support student dialogue with the instructor and each other, and decrease the sense of separation experienced by the students in distance learning.
Date: 2003-11-20
Degree: MS
Discipline: Math, Science and Technology Education

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