Universidad de Oviedo (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2011 Proceedings
Publication year: 2011
Pages: 7025-7030
ISBN: 978-84-615-3324-4
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 4th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 14-16 November, 2011
Location: Madrid, Spain
In this work we describe our teaching experience based on the implementation of a methodological change in the laboratory sessions of Numerical Methods, a subject of the first course in Engineering´s Degree.
We designed didactic tools with varying degrees of contextualization, that is, activities that were more or less related to the professional focus and the dayly life of students, in order to improve their motivation, attitude and ultimately their learning. We compare, evaluate and analyze the results obtained by students in each activity with the aim of obtaining their significance level.
More specifically, the methodology implemented in the labs was the use of a scientific computing program to implement codes for the different numerical methods introduced in the theoretical lectures to solve a variety of problems with a different degree of contextualization. We provided the students with three types of activities:
Activities with a high degree of contextualization, based on solving problems highly connected with the students everyday life.
Activities with a moderate degree of contextualization, based on solving problems connected to society general interest applications.
Activities without contextualization, based on solving traditional mathematical problems with no reference to applications.
The lab sessions consisted of two parts, a fundamental part, which was of mandatory fulfillment, and an optional “extension” part, which was where the experience took place. We evaluate the results of the different levels of contextualizing the lab materials through objective measures, such as the level of permanence of the students in the optional part of the sessions, and subjective measures such as the apparent level of involving and collaboration during those parts.
The final goal of our approach is to build meaningful learning. This means, that students can apply all their knowledge significantly not only in the context of their professional development as engineers but also in other situations of everyday life.
Mathematics, Numerical Methods, contextualization, computer codes, laboratory sessions, meaningful learning, motivation.