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Volume 18  Issue 4  

Elementary Education Candidates’ Integration of Technology in Science Units

by Drew Polly & Ian Binns
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This study used the framework of technological pedagogical and content knowledge (TPACK) to examine how elementary education preservice teachers integrated technology in science units that they designed after completing courses on science education and technology integration. The findings indicate that technologies included at the end of lessons were associated with higher order thinking, while those included at the beginning or middle of lessons were focused more on lower order thinking and presenting content. Further, frequently used technology-rich activities such as viewing videos and PowerPoint presentations were associated with lower order thinking, while activities such as completing an interactive whiteboard activity or having students make presentations or videos included more opportunities to develop higher order thinking. Implications from this research suggest that science educators and teacher educators should focus more on technologies that support higher -order thinking and support course work with special attention to technology in the context of designing engaging science instruction.

Volume 18  Issue 3  

Youth Views of Science and Engineering in a Program for Preparing Teachers to Use Educational Technology in STEM Education

by Stephen Adams, Paul Burns & Lisa Martin-Hansen
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As part of a graduate course for supporting K-12 teachers’ use of technology in teaching science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects, teachers worked in teams to create workshops for youth at a Boys & Girls Club site. Teachers used curriculum kits from the Engineering is Elementary project of the Museum of Science, Boston, together with technological resources including iPads, to plan and conduct workshops with four sessions of 8 hours each. A mixed-methods evaluation examined perceptions of 36 youth regarding science and engineering. The youth (Grades 2 to 8) self-identified as 47% African-American, 33% Hispanic/Latino, 3% Asian, and 17% as other/Caucasian/mixed ethnicity. After the workshops, boys and girls more strongly agreed with an engineering-related question, that they liked thinking of new and better ways of doing things, and they agreed more strongly that they knew what scientists did for their jobs. Also after the workshops, girls more strongly agreed they knew what engineers did for their jobs, reaching a similar level as boys, whose responses did not change significantly.  Focus group data aligned with the survey responses for most questions.  Overall, the study suggested benefits of the program to participating youth, an indicator supporting this teacher preparation model.

Volume 18  Issue 2  

Teachers and Technology: Present Practice and Future Directions

by Isha DeCoito & Tasha Richardson
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Technology cannot be effective in the classroom without teachers who are knowledgeable about both the technology itself and its implementation to meet educational goals. While technology use in the classroom is increasing, improving learning through its application should remain the goal. In this study, the authors explored 74 middle school teachers’ beliefs about and use of technology through a technology, pedagogy, and content knowledge (TPACK) lens. They sought to understand how middle school teachers use and perceive technology in practice and the factors influencing their pedagogical decisions to incorporate technology into their practice. Data included surveys, administered after a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) outreach program and teacher interviews. Findings revealed that both internal and external barriers were present and influenced how teachers situated their pedagogy in terms of technology integration. It was also found that teachers were confident in content, pedagogy, and technology; however, most viewed technology as a tool rather than an embedded part of the learning process. This study contributes knowledge about professional development initiatives and the need to address not technology knowledge as much as the interdependence of technology, pedagogy, and subject content matter.

Volume 18  Issue 1  

Leveraging Analysis of Students’ Disciplinary Thinking in a Video Club to Promote Student-Centered Science Instruction

by Tara Barnhart & Elizabeth van Es
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Recent policy reports and standards documents advocate for science teachers to adopt more student-centered instructional practices. Four secondary science teachers from one school district participated in a semester-long video club focused on honing attention to students’ evidence-based reasoning and creating opportunities to make students’ reasoning visible in practice. Although all participants expressed value in attending to students’ ideas and shifting autonomy to students in the classroom, they experienced varying levels and types of integration in their practice. Analysis revealed that teachers’ goals and commitments influenced the incremental ways in which participants integrated learning from the video club. Sustained and substantial changes to practice likely require support through multiple cycles of shifting visions of what is possible, coupled with collaborative attempts to work through challenges of implementation.