Exploration of the Potential of using a Virtual Laboratory for Chemistry Teaching at Secondary School Level in Lesotho
With the ever-increasing economic challenges facing education in Lesotho and indeed the world at large, there is a need for innovative solutions to support academic programmes without compromising quality. The use of computer simulations and video demonstrations is increasingly finding use globally in order to respond to economic challenges and purportedly to improve understanding of abstract phenomena. This manuscript presents the views of the chemistry teachers and students registered at the National University of Lesotho (NUL) towards the development of a Virtual Laboratory (VL) where the experiments in the secondary school chemistry syllabus, will be video-recorded and distributed to schools. The results demonstrated a need for VL since only 4 % of the respondents indicated having performed more than 10 experiments with reasons ranging from poorly equipped laboratories (66 %) to no laboratories (6 %) for fewer to no experiments having been performed. This venture is generally accepted (96 % of 166 respondents) with only a minority stating it can never replace physical laboratory. Distribution of the VL would require innovative means since internet accessibility seems a challenge for most schools with accessibility of only 35 %.
KEYWORDS: Lesotho, secondary school chemistry, experiments, poorly equipped laboratories, virtual laboratory.
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