Date of Award


Degree Name

Curriculum and Instruction


College of Education

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Dr. Lisa A. Heaton, Committee Chairperson

Second Advisor

Dr. Luke Eric Lassiter

Third Advisor

Dr. Edna Meisel

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Emily Waugh


The purpose of this study was twofold: (1) to determine the effectiveness of virtual laboratories relative to traditional or blended laboratories in the attainment of conceptual knowledge and skill in microscopy, and (2) to explore how such technologies are integrated in real world classrooms. Four sections of a non-major’s introductory biology course were utilized for the study (N=100). After attrition, the maximum number of intact cases for each question was utilized. Results show no difference between groups in the attainment of conceptual understanding of microscopes parts and functions; however, the Traditional treatment condition scored significantly higher than both the Virtual and the Traditional→Virtual treatment conditions. Qualitative data suggested several themes how technology is integrated, namely logistical issues and newness of design caused a higher level of difficulty than normal in the execution of the classroom experience, but conversely, those same difficulties led to reflection and learning and further development of TPACK skill in the instructors. Further, qualitative findings suggest that the thoughtful redesign of unit had a greater impact than the inclusion of technology and context issues found in the study support Chai, Koh, and Tsai’s (2013) revised TPACK with TLCK framework. Further, reflections of implications for further research and how to conduct research in real world classrooms is discussed.


Educational technology -- Research.

Science education -- Research.

Blended learning -- Research.