This study describes a personal science story podcasting assignment that was developed to help preservice teachers reflect on their use of everyday and academic vocabulary in the context of science, as well as how to communicate effectively with their students. Podcasting assignments were collected from 16 elementary education candidates and nine Master of Arts in Teaching candidates. The kinds of personal science stories they wrote were categorized, along with the extent to which they used the podcasts to demonstrate their understandings of the contexts of their students and the relationship between academic and everyday vocabulary.
Teacher images can impact numerous perceptions in educational settings, as well as through popular media. The portrayal of effective science teaching is especially challenging to specify, given the complex nature of science inquiry and other standards-based practices. The present study examined the litany of representations of science teachers available via a Google Images search. Initial data collected included image type (photograph, cartoon/clip art, text/graphic) and demographic information of the depicted science teachers. Common themes were detected and documented, including science teachers’ attire, actions, materials and equipment, and interactions with students. The potential impact of these images is discussed, including comparisons with science education literature. Implications include ways science teacher educators can use these images to foster reflection and dialogue among preservice and in-service teachers. Furthermore, an examination of stereotypes may need to be addressed and overcome in order to recruit, prepare, and support science teachers successfully.
Science teachers’ experiences, attitudes, perceptions, concerns, and support needs related to the use of educational computer games were investigated in this study. Data were collected from an online survey, which was completed by 111 science teachers. The results showed that 73% of participants had used computer games in teaching. Participants who had used computer games in teaching had more positive attitudes toward the use of educational computer games in the classroom than those who had not used games. Middle school teachers were more confident and reported a higher level of perceived benefits than did high school teachers. Potential distractions appeared to be the major concern the participants had about using computer games in the classroom. The major barriers to integrating educational computer games into the classroom included lack of computers, lack of time, time needed for preparation for school and national high-stakes testing, and lack of knowledge about science games. Participants indicated their greatest needs were computers and access to trial versions of games to integrate educational computer games effectively in their classrooms. Participants reported that a computer game must be aligned with state and national standards, free, compatible with school computers, fun, challenging, proven to be effective, and easy to use in order to be used in their classroom.
This study was conducted to investigate eighth-grade science teachers’ self-efficacy during the implementation of a new, problem-based science curriculum. The curriculum included applications of LEGO® robotics, a new technology for these teachers. Teachers’ responded to structured journaling activities designed to collect information about their self-efficacy for teaching with the curriculum and, later, to a survey designed to probe their self-efficacy for enacting specific elements of the curriculum. Participants reported high confidence levels throughout the study but expressed some concerns related to their local contexts.