With a national emphasis on integrated science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education in K-16 courses, incorporating technology in a meaningful way is critical. This research examines whether STEM and non-STEM teachers were able to incorporate technology in STEM courses successfully with sufficient professional development. The teachers in this study consisted of faculty from middle schools, high schools, and colleges recruited for STEM Guitar Building institutes held between 2013 and 2016. Each teacher participated in a 50-hour professional development opportunity in the manufacture of a solid-body electric guitar and received instruction on how to teach integrated STEM Modular Learning Activities (MLAs), which are aligned with the Common Core mathematics standards and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The data collected include pre- and postassessment from 769 students in three grade bands (grades 6-8, 9-12, and undergraduate level from 15 states). The results showed statistically significant gains at the p < 0.05 level across all 12 of the core MLAs, with no statistically significant difference between STEM and non-STEM instructors for all except two MLAs. The two MLAs that did reveal a statistically significant difference were more technical—Set Up and Computer Aided Design/Computer Aided Manufacturing Systems (CAD/CAM). These results show non-STEM and STEM teachers alike in this study were able to successfully incorporate technology in NGSS-aligned integrated STEM lessons, as evidenced by student learning gains.
While iPads and other mobile devices are gaining popularity in educational settings, challenges associated with teachers’ use of technology continue to hold true. Preparing preservice teachers within teacher preparation programs to gain experience learning and teaching science using mobile technologies is critical for them to develop positive beliefs and self-efficacy for future technology integration. The purpose of this study was to investigate changes in preservice elementary teachers’ technology self-efficacy during their participation in a specialized science content course that utilized a mobile technology-based physics curriculum, Exploring Physics. The Exploring Physics curriculum is available as a hybrid online-offline application running on multiple platforms (iOS, Android, PC/Mac). Participants included 34 preservice elementary teachers who participated in pre- and post-implementation of a technology self-efficacy survey. Data sources also included two focus-group and individual interviews with six participants, weekly classroom observations, and artifacts. Results showed significant positive changes in participants’ technology self-efficacy regarding the use of mobile technologies in science teaching. Factors that supported participants’ technology self-efficacy included: (a) firsthand experiences with iPads, (b) enhanced science content understandings, (c) high interactivity and engagement, and (c) instructor modeling the use of technology. Findings have implications for preservice teacher preparation for technology integration in science teaching.
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.